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Forecast: $12B U.S. Sales in 2019

MJBiz Daily projects U.S. legal cannabis sales will hit $12B in 2019, roughly a 35% increase over 2018, and could top $30B by 2023.

  • In 2019, it anticipates REC sales of roughly $8B and MED sales of $4B with almost all the future growth on the REC side.
  • While California REC sales got off to a slow start, they began to pick up in the second half of 2018.
  • It expects precipitous declines in key MED markets California and Michigan as REC fuels the growth in those states. Another major MED market, Arizona, could vote to go REC in 2020.
  • The REC projections don't explicitly include Illinois, where the legislature voted to legalize this week.

Quick Hit

  1. Former Orange County, Calif. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher joined the board of Craig's List-like site BudTrader. 🌴For more see WW California.
  1. As anticipated, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed three pieces of industry friendly legislation, including a bill to loosen investment rules. State authorities, including Polis' office, have refused to respond to my questions about whether the state could effectively enforce the investment rules which were previously in place.

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WeedWeek Council

We're proud to introduce the founding group of WeedWeek Council members, an accomplished bunch who represent a wide breadth of professional and geographic expertise. They're old school activists and entrepreneurs, marketers and lawyers, thinkers, doers and investors. Of the 33, approximately two-thirds are CEOs or equivalent.

You'll hear from them in the newsletter shortly. In the meantime you can learn more about them here and apply for future cohorts here.

We're grateful for support from our partner, market research firm SoapBox Sample.

Harrison Baum, Daily High Club

Brad Bogus, Confident Cannabis

Ashleigh Brown, SheCann Cannabis

Tauhid Chappell, Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists

Kip Clifton, Presidio View Capital

Beth Curtis, Life for Pot

Melek Dexter, ReUP

Colin Earl, Sisu Consulting

James Eichner, Sana Packaging

Graham Farrar, Glass House Farms

Madison Fiore, Hawke Media

Lori Glauser, EVIO

Jeffrey Gonring, HelixTCS

Beth Graham, Reputation Cannabis

Pamela Hadfield, HelloMD

Frank Haughton, Brighterside Vertical Farms

Jesce Horton, Minority Cannabis Business Association

Travis Howard, Shift Cannabis

George Jage, MjLink

Eric Kaufman, Dama Financial

James Kennedy, Apothecanna

Thomas "Farmer Tom" Lauerman, Farmer Tom Organics

Paul Lawton, Sister Merci

Bryant Mitchell, BlaqStar Farms

Kenny Morrison, Plant Parenthood

Trista Okel, EmPower BodyCare

Cindy Orser, Digipath

Tammy Pettigrew, The Cannabis Cutie

Jennifer Price, MediaJel

Amber E. Senter, Leisure Life

Lynette Shaw, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana

Alicia Rose, Herba Buena

Katy Young, Ad Astra Law Group

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New REC Bill Gains Momentum in New York

A New Yorkbid to legalize REC in New York flatlined earlier this spring, but now a new bill is attracting attention. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act would allow Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to create an agency to oversee REC, MED and hemp-derived products like CBD.

Quick Hits

  1. MedMen is cutting costs after receiving the first $80M of an anticipated $250M credit line from Gotham Green Partners.
    MJBiz, L.A. Business Journal
  2. The Illinois legislature passed what one entrepreneur called a "tragically flawed" REC bill which he believes would benefit a small number of companies which are not required to disclose their owners.
  3. Cresco Labs, one of the largest Illinois-based operators, launched a corporate equity program with plans to advance record expungement, and support minority-owned vendors.
  4. A group of doctors and scientists warned the Massachusetts cannabis industry is heading for regulatory failure.
    Boston Globe
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FDA Holds Hearing on CBD

Dmitry_Tishchenko, Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a much-anticipated hearing on how to regulate CBD. It was seen as a first step towards clarity on the cannabis-derived chemical, which has become a fast-billion-dollar industry.

  • Though there have been few, if any, health issues arising from the CBD craze, the agency has safety concerns about the compound.
  • Among other issues, the FDA is concerned about poor quality CBD products on the market, and doesn't have much interest in anecdotal evidence.
  • Though mainly as a publicity stunt, Ben & Jerry's raised the possibility of CBD-infused ice cream. The creamery is owned by consumer products giant Unilever.
    Cannabis Wire
  • The TSA clarified it will allow hemp-derived CBD on flights under certain circumstances.
    Marijuana Moment
  • A synthetic form of CBD appears to be cheaper and as effective as the plant-derived version.
    New Atlas
  • European non-profits are eager for more standardized CBD products.

Quick Hit

  1. A federal court ruled the federal government must "promptly" rule on rescheduling cannabis so those dependent on MED do not suffer.
    Marijuana Moment

The View from England

Greetings from England!

A few days ago, I spoke with some of the folks at London-based consultancy Hanway Associates, which is putting together the upcoming Cannabis Europa conference. In my upcoming Guardian column I'll go into why there's unlikely to be a U.S.-style green rush anytime soon on this side of the pond.

In this week's Seeing Green column, I have five more takeaways from our conversation.

Quick Hits

  1. The L.A. Times visits Israel's burgeoning MED industry.
  2. A report claims Nigeria has the highest world's highest cannabis use.
    Business Day (Nigeria)

Google Store Bans Delivery Apps

Google said it would ban apps like Eaze and Weedmaps that sell or facilitate the sale of cannabis from the Google app store.
Android Police

Quick Hits

  1. Los Angeles is struggling to shut down unlicensed dispensaries which outnumber the city's licensed shops. The business can be profitable enough that some stay open even after the city has cut their power.
    L.A. Times
  2. In a significant reversal, Wall Street heavyweight Goldman Sachs disclosed a position in a cannabis exchange traded fund.
    Daily Marijuana Observer
  3. Canada's National Post investigates whether federal police gave preferable treatment to cannabis giant Canopy Growth after a 2014 bust. Canopy denies any wrongdoing. 🍁WW Canada has more.
  4. New Cannabis Ventures lists the top 40 pot stocks for May.

Harvard Launches MED Research Initiative

Németh Dezső

Harvard Medical School launched a major MED research initiative, the International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute. It aims to "convert potential high impact medicinal plants to evidence-based pharmaceutical grade products."

  • Of the world's 300,000 plant species, it's estimated that only 15% have been evaluated for their potential medical benefits.
  • It's being funded by Harvard-affiliated medical institutions and industry partners.
  • The sole initial MED supplier is Alberta-based Atlas Growers which will also provide $2.2M.

Quick Hit

  1. Following a long, drawn out, legal battle, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled concentrates are a legal form of MED.
  2. A new policy is jeopardizing cannabis entrepreneurship at UCLA.
    L.A. Times

Canadian Marketing Talent Goes Green

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Canadian marketing talent is rushing into cannabis, despite, or perhaps because, the country has a near-total ban on marijuana advertising.

  • AdWeek sums up the rules: "Don’t advertise anywhere it can be seen by minors (so basically all traditional media, events or sponsorships); no influencers, animals or mascots; and don’t depict glamour, vitality, enthusiasm, risk or boldness. So, y’know, no fun."
  • Zack Grossman, a senior executive who joined FIGR: “To be a part of building the next Molson or Labatt—it would be great to look back in 30 years and say I helped build that.”
  • Grossman again, “Some platforms are able to capture the ages of their users and produce a prequalified list of people that we can communicate with. Typically, that data is captured when users sign up for an account, for example. Other platforms have age-gating built right in and require audiences to self-identify their age before they can even access the content and any advertising we may have within.”
  • The other key component of Canadian cannabis marketing is consumer "education."

Quick Hit

  1. Customers aren't necessarily ready to pay more for organic-style cannabis. Cannabis shouldn't officially be called organic since the term is regulated by the federal government.

Is there a MED Gap?

An editorial in STAT argues MED access is the newest health care disparity.

  • Dr. Julia Arnsten, an internist in the Bronx and a registered New York MED doctor writes that due to high prices and inconveniently located dispensaries: "Some of my patients skip the licensed dispensaries and buy cheaper, more readily available street marijuana through unregulated sources. Purchasing street marijuana is not only illegal, but it also means that I do not know exactly what patients have purchased, how they are using it, or how it may affect their health."

Odor Problems Aren't Going Away

Cannabis odors could be a ongoing quality of life problem. In affluent Santa Barbara County, Calif., one of California's key legal growing regions, residents are incensed by the smells which pick up when the oceans breezes die down.

  • Carpinteria councilman Al Clark says residents are also "suffering reported health complaints." It's not clear what, if any, health problems can be caused by living with gusts of cannabis smells.

Impress Your Friends with a Rose Petal Blunt

The L.A. Taco explains how to roll a rose-petal joint with rose petals. It looks complicated!

  • If you try, make sure to use an organic rose. Non-organic pesticides can be toxic when ignited.

Quick Hit

  1. In the Guardian, I ask if legalization is killing the bong.

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