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Cannabis Legalization

Michigan Expected to Rival Colorado for Recreational Marijuana Market

Daniel King

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Michigan Recreational Marijuana Passage
Michigan's Recreational Marijuana

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan, a new report by Brightfield Group says Michigan will surpass marijuana sales of large states including Colorado.

According to Detroit Metro Times, by 2023, it is expected that the marijuana market will triple in size, reaching about $650 million or 3% of the overall marijuana sales in the whole of America.

“We’re seeing a shift from the West Coast to the East Coast. Cannabis is not just for West Coast hippies anymore. It’s a growing industry and it’s everywhere,” said Brightfield’s Research Director Kay Tamillow.

One thing that contributes to the increase in sales is that 3% of Michigan residents have a medical marijuana card. This document lets an individual purchase cannabis and THC-infused products for medical purposes.

Growers and Manufacturers Eyeing Michigan for Operations

Because the state’s medical marijuana market is already attracted interest, different cannabis companies and growers are eyeing expansion to Michigan.

The partnership of Wana Brands, a Colorado edible business, with Michigan cultivator VB Chesaning LLC shows that companies are slowly marking this territory for cultivating, processing and retail operations in Michigan.

Meanwhile, New York-based Acreage Holdings acquired Michigan-based Blue Tire Holdings to produce its products in the state.

Another good thing for businesses is that Michigan doesn’t have a license cap, which means, the number of businesses operating in the state isn’t regulated. However, criminal records and financial disclosures are required to get cannabis license.

Sales Tax on Recreational Marijuana

Another revenue generator is the expected increase in recreational marijuana taxes in the state. For this year alone, the Michigan State Fiscal Agency is expecting about $77.1 million revenues from these taxes and $260 million in 2023.

The tax is slightly lower compared to other states like California, where retailers collect 15 percent tax from customers. Oregon also charges high taxes on marijuana products, about 17 percent for sales tax.

Meanwhile, the state that charges the highest tax on recreational marijuana in Washington, about 37 percent for sales.

Overall, there are ten states that legalize the recreational use of marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Vermont. However, only eight of these have markets where the substance can be legally bought and sold.

Regulations in marijuana use and retail is still yet to be finalized, however, Michigan has a lot of potential for the marijuana market.

 

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Cannabis Legalization

Pennsylvania Rep Files a Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana in State-Run Liquor Shop

Jordan Webber

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PA Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana on Liquor Store

A lawmaker from Pennsylvania introduced a bill on Wednesday, Oct 2, that would legalize the sale of recreational marijuana and allow cannabis to be sold in over 600 state-owned liquor stores.

David Delloso, a Democratic state representative, introduced House Bill 1899, which allows individuals aged 21 and above to legally possess and consume marijuana. Under the bill, sales of cannabis will be limited to businesses licensed by the state. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) would be responsible for administrating the production and sale of marijuana at the state-controlled stores.

“What I’m afraid of is, without this bill, if we don’t sell cannabis in the state stores, big corporate interests throughout the United States are going to come to Pennsylvania and they’re going to put corner stores up,” Delloso said. “They aren’t going to provide family-sustaining jobs, and all the profits are going to leave Pennsylvania.”

The medical marijuana in the state has been approved last April 17, 2016, with 17 initial qualifying medical conditions.

Economic Benefits to Pennsylvania

According to Pennsylvania’s Budget and Policy Center, over 18, 000 new jobs could be produced once recreational marijuana is to be legalized within the state. The bill also proposes that retail sales of cannabis be taxed at 19%, which could generate around $581 million per year for the state in new tax revenue.

“As an administrative agency tasked under current law with responsible, effective, and efficient regulation of the sale of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania, we generally leave policy discussions regarding the future of this agency up to the General Assembly and the Governor,” said press secretary for the Liquor Control Board, Shawn Kelly. “If, however, a new law presents the PLCB with additional or different duties and responsibilities, we would adapt accordingly.”

With the said measure, individuals convicted of possession of marijuana would have their criminal record expunged while inmates currently confined for such offenses would be released.  Employers would also no longer be able to fire or discipline employees if a drug screening shows the “presence of a nonintoxicating level of cannabis.”

“It is time for us to not just have a conversation but sit down and really look at details on how we can do this in Pennsylvania understanding that the support is there, the revenue will be there for us and we could do a lot of good things with those resources,” added State Rep. Jordan Harris, (D) Philadelphia County.

To date, the House Bill 1899 has been raised to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

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Cannabis Legalization

Australia allocated $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

Stacey Wellington

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AU $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

The Australian Federal Government allocated A$3 million (US $2.03 million) for medical cannabis research in the country. Greg Hunt, the Australian health minister, made the announcement last Sunday, October 6, 2019, alongside Grease star Olivia Newton-John in a wellness walk held in Australia.

Research in the field aims to address the growing number of cancer patients within the nation and the potential ability of cannabis to provide relief and cure to these patients. The research will build upon existing studies to gauge the effectiveness of the plant in pain management and its potential side effects on users.

The government’s decision to fund research comes as more than 11,000 patients have been approved for medical marijuana use.

In a statement, Hunt said that “there have only been a limited number of well-designed clinical studies on medicinal cannabis, and we need to increase the evidence base to support medical professionals.” In line with the safety and security measures observed by the Australian government and its healthcare institutions, individuals who are given access to cannabis medication are required to only obtain these from accredited medical professionals.

Despite more than 10,000 individuals being given access to medical marijuana, the Grease star voiced her disappointment for other patients and individuals having little to no access to cannabis. She said “I’m a great proponent of it, for general health, for pain, for sleep, for anxiety. I really believe it is important in my journey”. Olivia Newton-John had been diagnosed with cancer, and she has admitted to using cannabis to manage her pain.

Newton-John spearheaded the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run held in Melbourne, Australia. The actress supported the event in the hopes of raising awareness about the plant and the wealth of benefits and possibilities that could come from using it. In a statement, the Grease actress said “they’ve discovered it hasn’t caused all the problems that people are afraid of. People need to let go of that old hippie thing,” when asked about the lack of advancement and accessibility of medicinal marijuana in the nation.

ACT Cannabis Law

While the Australian federal government is providing funding for medicinal cannabis research, recreational use is still largely prohibited on a federal level. However, through the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), six states and two main territories have filed to legalize the recreational use of the plant.

The ACT Law is slated to start on January 31, 2020, with some of its provisions conflicting with the current laws in place.

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Cannabis Legalization

Cresco Labs Gains State Approval To Grow Recreational Marijuana for Sale

Daniel King

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Cresco Labs

Cresco Labs attains government approval to grow marijuana in the state of Illinois. Three of its cultivation facilities in the states have been granted approval and licenses to cultivate from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Apart from the cannabis company, 3 other businesses have been issued licenses to operate their respective facilities. These include Ascend Illinois, Columbia Care, and PharmaCann. In total, the state sees a total of 21 operational facilities spearheaded by 17 cannabis cultivators.

In a press release, Cresco Labs chief executive officer and co-founder Charlie Bachtell expressed excitement for their company’s approval, saying they “are very pleased to receive the first adult-use cultivation approvals granted in Illinois, which speaks to our continued success in efficiently executing on our strategic priorities.”

Cresco Labs’ Plan and the Increasing Demand for Recreational Marijuana

According to the company CEO, “the approval of our cultivation facilities is a key milestone in our preparation for the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois on January 1, 2020. As the only operator with three cultivation facilities in Illinois – the maximum number allowed in the state – we will have the scale and capacity to effectively capitalize on the dramatic increase in demand for cannabis expected next year.”

Cresco Labs’ three facilities are located in Joliet, Kankakee, and Lincoln. The combined total space allotted for its sites reaches up to 630,000 square feet. All of its three labs in these locations have been permitted to grow recreational cannabis.

Under the Illinois state law, cultivators who have licenses will be allowed to grow marijuana geared for recreational use and purposes. Through gaining state approval and valid operating licenses,  cultivators will be given the chance to determine the type of products individuals and consumers will see and buy once recreational selling starts by 2020.

To keep up with the increasing demand for recreational marijuana, growers of the plant are making changes and gearing up to expand their operations. Apart from catering to an adult market in the recreational sector, cultivators are still providing medical cannabis to patients. Based on some reports, patients who availed marijuana as part of their medication grew in size.

In line with these demands, Cresco Labs intends to sell its Joliet and Kankakee operational sites for $46.3 million, providing an extra source of funding for the company. With help from Innovative Industrial Properties, the cannabis company plans to lease back these sites for a specific period of time.

Other companies who have been awarded licenses include Ascend Illinois’ facility in Barry, Columbia Care’s facility in Aurora, and PharmaCann’s two facilities in Dwight and Hillcrest.

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