Kristina Etter   |   May 24, 2019

Weekly News in Cannabis and Hemp

California is taking cannabis banking into their own hands and other legislative actions are happening from coast to coast. Meanwhile, the Hemp Industry Association takes aim at Facebook Advertising policy.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

California Tackles Cannabis Banking

While the legal ambiguity continues at a federal level, states all across the US continue to make changes of their own. The California Senate made it clear they are tired of waiting for a national solution for the banking crisis, so they approve legislation to help the industry with state-chartered cannabis banking services.

Approved 35 to 1 in the Senate, SB-51 allows limited-purpose charters for private banks and credit unions, allowing them to service state-licensed cannabis businesses. However, the bill still needs Assembly approval, as well as the governor’s signature.

In Other Legislative Headlines

The Texas Tribune reported the state Senate advanced a bill to expand the qualifying list of conditions for medical marijuana. Currently, Texas law only includes intractable epilepsy, but the new law would add all forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, terminal cancer, as well as, neurodegenerative diseases.

On the East coast, New Jersey is also seeking to expand its medical cannabis program. Allowing a more considerable list of conditions, the bill called S-10 will also increase the number of dispensaries and doctors who can make cannabis recommendations. Additionally, patients can anticipate increased product limits and an end to state taxes on medical marijuana in 2025.

Unfortunately, Kansas residents and cannabis entrepreneurial hopefuls have a formidable opponent standing in the way of legalization; the state’s law enforcement. A report on a local news channel pointed out that 18 medical marijuana bills in The Sunflower State have been shot down since 2016. Only one received a hearing, but law enforcement opposition, claiming increased traffic accidents and violent crime from Mexican cartels, prevented the initiative from receiving any votes.

“Hemp is Legal” Campaign Kicks Off in Time Square

The Hemp Industry Association (HIA) took aim at Facebook’s Advertising Policy, publicly calling out the social media mogul in Times Square this week. Along with partnership from Hoban Law Group, Bluebird Botanicals, a Colorado-based CBD producer, and Bish Enterprises, the association is hoping to force Facebook to change its advertising policy to allow hemp producers to advertise their products. The current system still lists hemp as a Schedule 1 substance and bans producers from marketing their products on the platform.

In the article, Colleen Keahey Lanier, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, stated, "Our goal is to change Facebook's current policy by applying pressure in the most public way possible. They use a wide-reaching platform to communicate, and so are we." 

This ad will run in August in Times Square.

Canadian Cannabis Stealing Beer Market

New survey results show that more, and more Canadians are choosing cannabis over beer. In fact, beer sales in Canada saw the most significant drop in two years, with a 6.8% decline in the month of March alone. The survey, published by Cowen and Co. and reported in Barron’s, also shows more Canadians than ever are consuming marijuana products.

Interestingly, the survey also shows that many cannabis consumers may be opening up more about their use. Previous government-sponsored studies showed around 15% of consumers acknowledged using cannabis, while the new poll indicates that 40 percent of respondents consumed cannabis in the last month.

Colorado On Track for Record-Breaking Year… again

While it may feel like déjà vu, new sales data out of Colorado shows an incredible trend for the cannabis market. This week, The Denver Post reported overall sales in Colorado are on target to break the record for annual pot sales; marking astounding year over year growth. With $1.55 billion in sales reported in 2018, the Centennial State has already seen $387 million in medical and recreational cannabis sales in the first quarter this year. In fact, the month of March alone set the record for a single month of sales with $142 million pouring into the state.

In the first year of sales after lawmakers approved recreational marijuana witnessed a whopping 46 percent increase over the previous year. From 2015 to 2016, sales continued to climb with a 31 percent increase; and growth continued in 2017 with 15 percent from a year earlier. While the margin certainly slowed down in 2018 at just 2.5 percent, some analysts believe the market may be starting to stabilize.

Michigan Sales Projections to Rival Colorado

The Wolverine State is anxious to reap the benefits of recreational cannabis, as well. The Detroit News reported on new data from Brightfield Group shows the Michigan cannabis market could rival Colorado and Nevada by 2023.

As the only state in the Midwest to legalize recreational cannabis so far, early predictions expect the cannabis industry to triple in size over the next few years. The article reported that several established marijuana producers are eyeing the opportunity with interest coming from companies such as Acreage Holdings out of New York and Wana Brands, a Colorado edible giant.

 

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