Each week I perform “The Cannabis News” on The Planet Green Trees Radio Show. In honor of a visit to Michigan by Marijuana Business Daily reporter John Schroyer this week, I decided the broadcast on PGT #288 would be made up exclusively of news stories originating from the MJBD newsletters over the last seven days.
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The Cannabis News, from February 25, 2016, as read by Rick Thompson:
Recreational cannabis sales began in Oregon last October.
So far, more than 300 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have received special permission from the state to sell adult-use cannabis, a temporary solution until Oregon issues licenses specifically for its recreational marijuana program. The first licensed rec stores are expected to open this fall.
The Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association previously estimated that rec revenues hit $11 million in the first six days of sales last October.
A spokesman for the organization couldn’t be reached Tuesday for an updated estimate. But if those early sales have held up, then the rec industry has already generated more than $200 million.
Now, they can sell to anyone with a driver’s license, And dispensaries aren’t even allowed to sell edibles to rec customers at this time.
There was also another bump in the road in January, when a 25% sales tax kicked in for the first time.
Once the state’s new rec rules are fully implemented, the 25% tax will be downgraded to a 17% sales tax and any licensed recreational vendor will be allowed to start selling edibles and concentrates to the adult use crowd, and not only medical patients.
local shop owners say they estimate that about 70% of the rec customers who visit his shop ask if they can purchase edibles yet.
As of Feb. 12, the OLCC has received a total of 514 recreational applications, including 117 applications for license to add retail to a medical licenses.
Billionaire Sean Parker, of Facebook fame, has helped fund a push to legalize recreational marijuana in California. He recently contributed a second helping of $500,000, bringing his total commitment to $1 million, according to SF Weekly.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known informally as “the Parker initiative” because Parker may wind up being the driving financial force behind the campaign, now has amassed $2.25 million total for the electoral cycle. That probably won’t be enough in the long run to get the measure passed, however, which begs the question, how much is Parker willing to commit?
So far, other contributors include Weedmaps and the Drug Policy Alliance, which have both given $500,000 apiece, and a political action committee run by the heirs of longtime cannabis philanthropist Peter Lewis, which has given $250,000.
There are two petition drives to legalize marijuana in Arizona. One measure is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, and the other is from Arizonans for Mindful Regulation. Both groups are still collecting signatures to get their measures on the November ballot.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and two prominent prohibitionist lawyers in the state are putting on a March 2 workshop on how to defeat proposed legalization ballot measures,
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce donated $10,000 in December to a group that is opposed to legalization, according to the paper.
The class is by invitation only.
The workshop will include county attorneys Bill Montgomery who tried, unsuccessfully, to get permission to spend public funds to fight legalization efforts. Montgomery has tried to overturning Arizona’s 2010 medical marijuana law, shutting down a legally operating dispensary, and prohibiting the manufacture of tinctures and edibles.
According to the most recent polls, Arizonans are split about 50-50 on adult use legalization.
Marijuana legalization is “crushing” the black market in Colorado, according to research cited in the Economist.
Annual legal cannabis sales in Colorado account for or 90 tons or about 70% – – of all marijuana sales in the state, according to officials there, Most of the rest is attributable to people who grow marijuana legally at home but then sell it illegally, creating what the Economist calls a “gray market.”
Cannabis taxes in Colorado have been low enough to compete with the black market, and it has a well-regulated, legal MMJ industry as well.
Industrial hemp farmers seeking organic certification for their crops should put their efforts on hold, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasbacktracked on an earlier decision to allow such certifications.
CBDRx, an industrial hemp farm in northern Colorado, recently became the first company of its kind to obtain the USDA’s coveted organic certification label.
The development was greeted as a major breakthrough for the cannabis industry because it boosted the industry’s legitimacy and promised to give individual hemp businesses another marketing tool. CBDRx requested and received the USDA certification after being audited by a Nebraska-based certifier.
But in a directive issued last week, the USDA said third-party auditors can no longer certify hemp operations because questions remain over the legal uses of the plant.
The agency added that it will work with other federal agencies to develop a solution.
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Source: The Compassion Chronicles