Parallel, Pervasive And Overpowering – Weed News

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The national price of a single pound of cannabis is $1,089.

That’s not just a freakily specific guess, it’s the number published by the market watchdog company Cannabis Benchmarks in their April 19 weekly update. They are the recognized authority on the subject of cannabis pricing in states with regulated programs. In Michigan the price of a pound of cannabis hovers around $2,000.

That’s an important figure to remember, because at the end of the month a lawsuit will be settled by Judge Borrello in the Court of Claims regarding the participation of licensed caregivers and partially licensed cannabis distribution facilities in the state’s medical cannabis business program. Proponents of the lawsuit argue that the infant industry is not capable of supplying enough cannabis to keep retail purchasers happy, and that the retail outlets are poorly distributed across the state. Both of those are true.

Businesses which are licensed by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), the business portion of the medical program, disagree. Fully licensed retail cannabis distributors have tried to push the approximately 50 partially licensed facilities out of temporary operation. Licensed cultivators have lobbied government to exclude caregivers from selling their extra cannabis product in the regulated marketplace. Both industry groups claim they cannot achieve profitability due to the influence of these wildcats on the market.

In truth, profitability of cannabis industry companies will be determined based on their understanding of Michigan’s black market for cannabis.

In a Detroit News article detailing the controversy surrounding the pending Judge Borrello decision one of Michigan’s licensed cultivators complained that he had a room full of cannabis that he could not sell to licensed provisioning centers at $3500/lb. He blamed the caregivers for his strife.

Another licensee complained that he would have to lay off 17 people from his staff because they were not generating enough cannabis sales to sustain his business model. He received his license, cranked his operation up to full capacity, and is not having success moving his merchandise. He blamed the caregivers and temporary operation of those partially licensed facilities for his downturn.

In both instances we see a fundamental lack of comprehension of the pre-existing and fully functional cannabis exchange industry in Michigan.

In the second example an operator tossed open their doors and expected to operate at full capacity from Day 1. That is a poor business model because it fails to take into account that those 300,000 people have an alternate market that they currently use. Transitioning those sales from illicit to licit markets will happen gradually, not immediately. It is impossible for MMFLA facilities to capture all of the purchasing power of Michigan patients.

In the first example the cannabis is simply not priced at a competitive rate. Remember the going price of cannabis is $2,000/lb., not $3500. Unless that cannabis regrows hair on a man’s head or corrects erectile dysfunction, you are never going to sell cannabis at retail in Michigan if you charge 75% more than the next guy does.

But if there are 300,000 registered medical patients, why can’t retail stores keep their cash registers ringing? And why can’t licensed cultivators get $3500 for a pound of cannabis they grew themselves? The unregistered, illicit marketplace is the answer.

The illicit market is parallel, pervasive and overpowering. It is parallel because it operates on a similar track as the regulated market- cultivation, production, distribution. It is pervasive because cannabis produced outside of the MMFLA is in every city, every village and every township in the state. Has been for decades and it always will be so.

The black market is overpowering because of who it serves and how long it has been in place. A frequently-cited statistic holds that there are 1.3 million regular consumers of cannabis in Michigan. Ten years ago all those consumers received their cannabis from the illicit market. Ten years later, in 2019, 300,000 of those consumers are now registered patients, many of whom still use the illicit marketplace to acquire their cannabis.

$2000/lb wholesale is the going price for cannabis in Michigan because that is the price the marketplace will support. To be specific: there are 28 grams of cannabis in an ounce and 16 ounces in a pound, meaning each pound contains 448 grams of cannabis. At $2000/lb that yields slightly less than $4.50 per gram wholesale price.

In the retail world a markup of 100% is typical for goods sold. That increase covers the cost of labor, utilities, mortgage and other expenses. If the markup is typical, the price per gram of cannabis to the consumer in our example would be $9, which is very typical of the current market. Most sales of cannabis occur per gram ($8-12 typical price) and by the eights of an ounce ($35-50 typical price). An eighth of an ounce is 3.5 grams.

These prices hold true if the cannabis is sold at a retail center or if purchased from an illicit market dealer. If patients enter a medical cannabis retail establishment and see a price of $75/eighth, they walk out with their money still in their pocket and they visit a friend’s house instead.

Patients don’t care how much it cost to grow the cannabis. Patients don’t care that you bought matching outfits for all your budtenders or that you borrowed A LOT of money to start the business. If your pricing is not in line with the typical price these patients are used to paying, your stores will be empty and rooms full of pricey unsold cannabis will be the norm.

Typical business philosophy holds that being the first to market means you can dominate the industry, set price points and capture market share. That is true, but the first to market cannabis in Michigan was the illicit trade. They dominate; they set price points; they own the market and the consumers in it. Remember more than 1 million people shop and purchase from the illicit market. Seducing those people into using brick-and-mortar stores will take time, marketing money and high-quality, inexpensive cannabis.

So regardless of Judge Borrello’s decision on the pending lawsuit, Michigan’s cannabis industry is doomed to see a massive wave of businesses failing if they do not respect the price, power and influence of the illicit market. MMFLA companies need to cut costs, run lean, modify profit projections, start slow and scale up to full capacity.

No amount of lobbying, media exposure or cranky whining will change the marketplace. Caregivers are not the problem; partially licensed facilities are not the problem. A poor understanding of Michigan’s cannabis business environment by business leaders IS the problem, along with a misunderstanding of the plant itself, and these misunderstandings will lead to the failure of many MMFLA facilities.

Standard business philosophy does not work in a non-standard industry, and the cannabis trade is the most non-standard of any American industry. Businesspersons who want to shape the industry into their vision of a profitable marketplace will fail because they fail to comprehend the dominant influence of the parallel, pervasive and overpowering black market for cannabis in Michigan.

Source: The Social Network

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Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana Use in Public Housing Introduced in Congress

A bill that would permit the use of medical marijuana by residents of public housing in states with legal medicinal cannabis programs was introduced in Congress last week. The measure, the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2019, was introduced on Thursday by Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a nonvoting delegate from the District of Columbia.

Under current federal regulations, those who use drugs that are illegal under federal law, including cannabis used medicinally, are ineligible for federal public housing assistance. Landlords are also permitted under federal law to evict residents for using cannabis or other drugs. Norton said that the law should be changed for those residents of public housing who are using cannabis medicinally in accordance with state law.

“Individuals living in federally funded housing should not fear eviction simply for treating their medical conditions or for seeking a substance legal in their state,” Norton said

Norton noted that for the past several years, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent jurisdictions from implementing their medical marijuana laws. The Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act would extend similar protection to individuals who use marijuana in federally assisted housing in compliance with the state’s marijuana laws.

The bill would require the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop regulations that restrict smoking marijuana in federally assisted housing in the same manner and to the same locations as restrictions for smoking tobacco. Spokespeople at HUD have not yet responded to a request for comment on Norton’s bill, according to the Associated Press.

Federal Cannabis Policy Should Reflect Public Opinion

Norton said that federal law should be changed to reflect the changing views of Americans in regards to cannabis policy.

“Increasingly, Americans are changing their views on marijuana, state by state, and it is time that Congress caught up with its own constituents.  With so many states improving their laws, this issue should have broad bipartisan appeal because it protects states’ rights.”

Norton’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration. Last month, the committee approved another cannabis reform measure, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, by a vote of 45-15. The bill would protect cannabis business who are operating in accordance with state law from interference by the federal government.

Norton is also leading the drive to remove congressional restrictions that prohibit the District of Columbia from using local funds to regulate the commercialization of recreational cannabis. On Saturday, she was a featured speaker at Washington, D.C.’s 420 celebration, the National Cannabis Festival.

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The Best Recreational Dispensaries in Denver

The Best Recreational Dispensaries in Denver

Updated On 04/17/2019 at 12:28PM EST
If you’re new to cannabis or to the city of Denver, it’s quite possible you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of recreational weed options here. In fact, more than 500 outposts are luring you in to spark up and gobble down hundreds of THC-infused products. That said, if you are not new to either the city or pot, and love to legally get stoned, let us pose this question: where do you go when you want to spend your hard-earned green on some locally-grown green?

Southwest Denver

An upscale homage to a historical hemp honcho… with very potent strains available
Stunning interiors, Chihuly glass art, and a pet alligator named Diego aren’t the only attractions at this top-notch locale. It’s about the consumer journey at Diego Pellicer, with a strong focus on the shopping experience. Rotating vendors have a chance to share the center display case spotlight, while inventory offers unique discounts and hard-to-find products. The namesake pays homage to an 1800s hemp entrepreneur, and the quality cannabis stems from two company grows, which regularly test with THC levels into the mid-30 and high-20 percentiles (that’s really good). Highly regarded for potency and well-grown genetics, this upscale outpost carries brag-worthy strains such as Witches Weed, Critical Mass, and Lemon Skunk…

10 most high-design marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.

Denver City Council May Allow Cannabis Clubs to Operate Closer to Daycares

The Denver City Council will decide on Monday night whether to allow cannabis consumption clubs to operate closer to daycare centers and some other so-called sensitive use facilities than currently permitted. The council is expected to approve the measure after passing it 9-2 in an earlier preliminary vote.

Under the ordinance, cannabis consumption lounges would be permitted to be located within 500 feet of daycare, recreation, and addiction treatment centers. Current law requires cannabis clubs to be located at least 1,000 feet from such facilities. Clubs would still have to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools under the new law.

Cannabis consumption will still not be permitted outside the clubs or in the view of the public. Supporters of the measure say it will allow for more cannabis consumption lounges to open in the city while reducing the use of cannabis in public. Opponents of the measure are concerned about the consequences of loosening cannabis laws in the city even further.

The new ordinance could have made the difference for a cannabis club that activist and business owner Cindy Sovine had planned to open.

“As the second business applicant to apply for a social consumption permit, I went through the gauntlet of state agencies and sought approval,” said Sovine. “I was denied for being 982 feet away from a childcare center.”

Only One Lounge Open Now

Denver currently only has one lounge that permits the consumption of cannabis onsite, but Eric Escudero of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses said that there are thousands of compliant sites under the current law and the change won’t add that many more.

“So far, the No. 1 impediment to this program’s success hasn’t been proximity restrictions from what we’ve seen because there are approximately 9,000 businesses in Denver that could apply for the license,” Escudero said.

The Coffee Joint is the only licensed cannabis consumption club currently operating in Denver. A second lounge that had been permitted to allow cannabis consumption has already closed. The city also has private clubs that permit consumption under a patron membership program that allows the businesses to operate without violating the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.

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Monday, April 22, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

The criminal president Donald Trump is seen in a close up shot while giving a policy speech.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, April 22, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// State-Legal Marijuana Use Makes Immigrants Morally Unfit for Citizenship, Trump Administration Warns (Marijuana Moment)

// Top execs at American weed retailer MedMen quit amid ex-CFO’s claims of financial duress (CNBC)

// Expungement Efforts Surge on 4/20 With Ben & Jerry’s, Code for America (Leafly)

Today’s headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast, Marijuana Today, and the Green Rush podcast. If you need to reach the best audience in legal cannabis, sponsorship of our shows is a fantastic choice. And if you want to make your own podcast, but need some help with production, then we’re there for you! Get in touch today.

// How the Queen of Etiquette Got In on Pot (Rolling Stone)

// Study: Wisconsin would see $1.1 billion benefit with medical marijuana legalization (

// Congressional Committees Outline Plans For Marijuana Reform In 2019 (Marijuana Moment)

// Rep. Ilhan Omar: Legalize marijuana nationwide expunge criminal records of those jailed for pot offenses (Newsweek)

// The Indica vs. Sativa Distinction Isn’t Real (Slate)

// Lots Of Politicians And Companies Are Tweeting About Marijuana On 4/20 (Marijuana Moment)

// Carl’s Jr. CBD Burgers Go Over Big in Denver (Leafly)

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Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Headed to Texas House Floor

Texas may see the expansion of its medical marijuana program beyond its current restriction to low THC cannabis oil for those with severe forms of epilepsy. A bill is waiting to be scheduled for floor vote in the House that would add qualifying conditions to the program, in addition to forms in which patients are able to access the drug.

Among the conditions that House Bill 1365 would authorize for entry into the program include PTSD, Alzheimer’s, cancer, less severe forms of epilepsy, and tendency to be nauseous with other forms of treatment. It would also authorize the use of cannabis via vaping, creams, and oils — though smoking will still be off the table should it pass. It would also establish more opportunities to conduct research on cannabis.

“Texans with debilitating conditions deserve treatments that improve their quality of life,” commented the bill’s sponsor Rep. Eddie Lucio in a Facebook post announcing the proposed legislation. In a press release announcing the proposed legislation he noted that 33 states in the country allow medical cannabis, and that taxes associated with such programs can have “a vital impact to our economy.”

The legislation is supported by 56 state legislators from both sides of the aisle, despite the concerns that were raised over its language that doctors “prescribe” cannabis. Some think the wording could expose medical professionals to potential issues with the federal government.

Although the Compassionate Care Act that took effect in 2016 does allow people with intractable forms of epilepsy to access cannabidiol oil of with .5 percent THC or below, marijuana is mostly far from legal in Texas. There are only 600 patients enrolled in the statewide program. Cannabis advocates in the state have been eagerly tracking the progress of not just the medical program expansion, but several other bills that would widen access to cannabis and decriminalize its possession.

Representative Tracy King’s bill to legalize hemp and its products is scheduled for a floor debate next week in the House. At the start of the month, the state’s Department of Health announced that it would be removing hemp from its list of controlled substances to clear the way for any future legalization of hemp production.

Various decriminalization bills have also been introduced this year. Rep. Joe Moody’s HB 63 has also been sent to the calendars committee to be scheduled for a floor vote. That bill would remove the threat of jail for people charged with their first cannabis possession fine and reduce the penalty for possession of less than an ounce from a maximum of $2,000 to $250.
Not all jurisdictions, however, are waiting on state legislators to reduce the penalties for small time cannabis charges. Dallas attorney general John Creuzot announced sweeping plans last week to overhaul the way such crimes are dealt with by police officers, including a resolution to longer prosecute people for their first marijuana misdemeanor.

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Insights on marijuana and opioid use in people with cancer — ScienceDaily

A new study reveals that many people with cancer use marijuana, and rates of use in the U.S. have increased over time. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also found that patients with cancer are more likely to use prescription opioids than adults without cancer.

Pain is a common symptom of cancer, and many affected patients do not receive adequate pain relief. In light of rapidly evolving marijuana legislation and a growing opioid epidemic, a team led by Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, MD, and Kathryn Ries Tringale, MD, MAS, of the University of California, San Diego, examined trends in the self-disclosed use of marijuana and opioids among patients with cancer.

After analyzing data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2014, the investigators matched 826 people with cancer to 1,652 controls without cancer. Among survey respondents who had cancer, 40.3 percent used marijuana within the past year, compared with 38.0 percent of respondents without cancer. Also, people with cancer were more likely to use prescription opioids than their demographically equivalent counterparts without cancer (13.9 percent versus 6.4 percent).

“Prospective clinical trials are needed to quantify the efficacy of marijuana in cancer-specific pain as well as the risk of opioid misuse in this patient population,” said Dr. Tringale.

When looking at rates of marijuana and opioid use in more than 19,000 survey respondents with and without cancer over 10 years, the researchers found significantly increased use of marijuana over time — likely reflecting increased availability due to legislative changes — but they found stable rates of opioid use. A diagnosis of cancer did not significantly affect the odds of substance use over time from 2005 to 2014.

“Medical marijuana legalization has previously been associated with a reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse, suggesting that if patients are in fact substituting marijuana for opioids, this may introduce an opportunity for reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Hattangadi-Gluth. “Of course, it will also be important to identify risks and adverse effects of marijuana, which has not previously been studied on large randomized clinical trials, given its scheduling as a class 1 controlled substance.”

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Medical Marijuana Sales in Arkansas Set to Start Mid-May • High Times

With the harvest of the state’s first legal cannabis crop just days away, sales of medical marijuana in Arkansas should begin in mid-May, according to government regulators. Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said on Friday that a dispensary in Hot Springs should receive final approval for its license to sell medical marijuana within the next two weeks and a second retailer in the city should be inspected in about a week. Eventually, there will be 32 licensed dispensaries to serve the state.

“Dispensaries across the state are in varying stages of development,” said Hardin. “There are a few that will be ready for final inspection over the next month to two months, while others are working to break ground. … Enforcement agents are prepared to inspect each facility and remain available to each dispensary to answer any questions throughout the process.”

Dragan Vicentic, the CEO of the Green Springs Medical cannabis dispensary in Hot Springs, said that the shop should receive final approval in time to open in early May. He said that he is already receiving about 25 phone calls a day from patients anxious to learn when the dispensary will open.

“We’re going to hit the ground running as soon as [Alcoholic Beverage Control] approves our facility,” Vicentic said.

First Harvest Next Week

Robert Lercher, a customer relations official with cannabis cultivator Bold Team, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the company should be harvesting its first crop on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The flowers will then be dried, cured, trimmed, and packaged before being sent to dispensaries during the second week of May. Lercher said that based on projections from consultants, the company was expecting to harvest about 200 pounds of medical marijuana from its first harvest.

“This process is new to us,” he said. “We’re basically just going off other people’s projections.”

Two other companies that have been licensed to grow cannabis,
Osage Creek Cultivation of Berryville and Natural State Medicinals Cultivation of White Hall, have begun operations but have not said when they expect to make their initial harvest. The final two cultivators to receive state approval are still constructing their facilities and have not yet begun to grow plants.

Arkansas voters legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 2016 and over 10,000 patients have already registered for the program. If that many patients were to buy the maximum 2.5 ounces of cannabis allowed, Lercher says the initial crop could last only two weeks.

“But who knows how many people are going to get it and if they’re going to get their full allotment?” Lercher said.

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