Nevada‘s nine-month start to recreational marijuana sales has generated $49 million in state taxes, surpassing all expectations.
A record month in March brought in $41 million, and a total of $386 million in gross sales (with $304.7 in cannabis sales). While its neighbor California brought only 40% of projected 3-month sales, Nevada seems perched to approach half-a-billion in revenues for its first full year of RMJ sales.
Cannabis supporter and former State Senator Tick Segerblom is facing a tough primary from another Sheldon Adelson-backed candidate in the June 12th Democratic primary. Labor leader Marco Hernandez has received the maximum contribution from Sands Corp, an Adelson company which opposes all marijuana expansion. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Segerblom has “taken almost a hostile attitude towards us,” especially over the issue of marijuana legalization.
Another major liquor distributor has entered the cannabis space joining Canadian LP, Aphria, as that firm’s exclusive sales distribution outlet to create local MJ sales channel. Great North Distributors is a newly-created subsidiary of Miami-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (Bacardi, Remy) which has 22,000 employees with annual sales of $16.5 billion. Forbes ranks Southern Glazer as the 17th largest North American private firm. “We’re going to be able to take a lot of the experience we have from the beverage alcohol market and translate it to the cannabis market,” said Doug Wieland, general manager of Southern Glazer’s Canadian division.
Colorado continues to set records for early spring consumer sales, with March reporting an increase of six percent over the same period of 2017. In March a total of $105.8 willion in RMJ sales were added to MMJ sales of $29.2 million, for a strong $134.7 million in statewide revenues. For the quarter, Colorado sold $365 million, generating more than $64 million in statewide taxes.
Meanwhile, at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a new teen messaging program, “Responsibility Grows Here,” has launched. With “Meg the Budtender” as spokesperson, the new campaign runs through a group of tips for responsible consumption, including not mixing alcohol and cannabis, waiting for edibles’ full effects, lockboxes around children, no public toking, and avoiding impaired driving. See the full messaging at http://responsibilitygrowshere.com.
Link of the Week: With the increasing number of public companies arriving on the cannabis circuit, New Cannabis Ventures has developed a tracking chart for MJ firms posting at least $2.5 million in quarterly revenues. The 18 stocks represent 11 Canadian firms, five U.S. based companies, and one each from Sweden (Isodiol) and London, U.K. (GW Pharma.). Link is at https://www.newcannabisventures.com/cannabis-company-revenue-ranking. One of the 18 listed, Canopy Growth, will remain on the Toronto exchange, and also “uplist” to the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CGC next month. Also in Canada, Aurora Cannabis completed its’ all-stock acquisition of MedReleaf valued at $3.2 billion, making it the largest licensed producer acquisition to date.
House Bill 878 has arrived on the desk of President Trump, and may hold some hope for terminal patients looking for possible access to medical MJ. While a similar bill has passed in 38 states, this federal bill would allow a “compassionate use” exception to any person seeking relief from end-of-life suffering, as long as the experimental (non-FDA approved drug) medication has completed first round clinical trials. The bill, which has raised some pharmaceutical opposition over liability issues, would allow sick persons access to substances like MDMA, psychedelics or psilocybin. The reason cannabis may qualify is thanks to research undertaken by Dr. Sue Sisley for PTSD where first round clinical trials using 12% THC/12% CBD cannabis has been completed. Although he asked the House of Representatives to move on the bill during his State of the Union address, it was unclear if Trump intends on signing the legislation.
Election News: Oklahoma residents will go to the polls June 26th to vote on bringing MMJ access to the conservative Midwest state. Polls have shown adult support in the low to mid 60s for passage. In Michigan, despite gaining enough signatures to appear on the November ballot, some lawmakers are floating a plan to address legalization in a bill to be taken up before the session ends. With the ability to control implementing language (and potentially reduce more liberal voter turnout) the details of the bill have not been released.
A recent poll says 63% of New Mexico residents favor full legalization, and the likely replacement of anti-cannabis governor, Susanna Martinez, with a cannabis-friendly democrat is growing. With a 2019 citizen vote possible, advocates say the state would gain $60 million a year in new taxes.
In Hawaii, a multi-year motorists’ study (before and after MMJ access began in 2001) claims that cannabis-related fatalities have tripled since the beginning of 2015. Hawaii’s 6th dispensary, Have A Heart, owned by Green Aloha, became the first dispensary on the island of Kauai.
San Francisco‘s Black Hammer Brewery has been told to stop selling the CBD-infused beer, which it launched to great success in April, 2017. The move was not due to any Schedule I concerns, but rather in response to the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax/Trade Bureau’s assertion that the cannabinoid addition to the popular been must have special approval as a “non-standard beer ingredient.” Black Hammer does not know how long it will take to restore the IPA Toke Back Mountain to company kegs.
A new study claims marijuana smoke is as unhealthy as cigarette smoke. Attendees of the May 18-23 meeting of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego heard study results which suggest a similar “decline in lung function” comparable to nicotine smoking from cannabis smoke. With 5,291 subjects over age 40, the researchers created subgroups who smoked both cannabis and tobacco, just one substance, or neither substance. The long-term study examined changes among subjects every 18 months, looking for increases in pulmonary impairment markers.
“Marijuana smoking imparts similar risks as tobacco smoking for the development of chronic airflow obstruction and the progressive decline in lung function,” said principal researcher Dr. Tan Bourbeau. The study said that combination smoking, or smoking cannabis by itself, “should be regarded as a risk factor for the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”