Tag: Industry

Maine Dispensary’s Offer: Clean Up Trash, Get Free Cannabis

A medical marijuana dispensary in Maine offered do-gooders a chance to trade community service for free cannabis over the weekend—and it’s thinking about expanding the initiative statewide.

Gardiner-based Summit Medical Marijuana on Saturday offered cannabis to volunteers who cleaned up the community. Pick up a bagful of trash, the offer went, and trade it for a free gram of flower.

“Bring us back the full trash bag, and we give them a gift of cannabis,” Owner Dennis Meehan told local news station WCSH-6, adding that he got the idea after hearing about a similar event in Colorado. “They had a great response to this, so I was hoping to do the same thing in Maine.”


Maine Wants Advice on How to Regulate Cannabis

According to the company’s Facebook page, the event was a success. On Saturday afternoon, the dispensary posted an update showing a dumpster full of trash bags. “Mainers rock!!! You’re all amazing people!!!” the post said. “Anyone want to help do this statewide in 1 month or so?”

Giving out free bud may not be best for the company’s bottom line,  but Meehan says his number one goal is to make a better Maine.

“Something that caregivers do all across Maine that very few people know about is that they make huge sacrifices every week to help others live a better quality of life,” he told WCSH.


Maine Panel Mulls Doubling 10% Tax on Cannabis

Gifts of small amounts of cannabis between adults 21 and over are legal under state law.

Phil Fontaine: Fostering First-Nation Reconciliation Through Cannabis

Phil Fontaine is a longstanding Aboriginal Canadian force. After serving three terms as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Fontaine founded Ishkonigan Consulting and Mediation, his Ontario firm dedicated to “providing practical solutions to complex issues involving Indigenous communities, governments, and corporate Canada,” as the website touts.

More recently, Fontaine’s turned his attention to cannabis, with the launch of Indigenous Roots, a project created in collaboration with the licensed cannabis producer Cronos Group and devoted to facilitating connections between Indigenous communities and Canada’s booming cannabis industry. Indigenous Roots’ aims range from establishing medical-marijuana grow-ops on Indigenous land to prepping Indigenous citizens for a variety of cannabis-industry jobs, with the ultimate goal of progressing First-Nation reconciliation via the manufacture and sale of legal cannabis.


A Guide to Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program

“Clearly the revitalization of First Nations economies is one expression of reconciliation, so that means that we ought to be able to participate and engage in every sector,” Fontaine recently told Marie-Danielle Smith of the National Post. “It’s really about moving away from being dependent on government and creating our own capacity, our own source revenue, so that we’re in a position to make our own investment decisions that will be beneficial to the interests of our communities and citizens.”

As the Post reports, Indigenous Roots is scheduled to break ground on its flagship operation in Armstrong, B.C. later this summer. Once fully operational, the Armstrong grow-op is expected to generate $1.5 million in monthly revenue and create more than three dozen jobs.


Confirmed: Canadian Cannabis Patients Love Their (Imperiled) Dispensaries

Indigenous Roots will also take pains to market its products directly to Indigenous communities, which Fontaine says have been typically underserved by medical marijuana. “It’s about doing whatever is necessary to make a difference in terms of ensuring that Indigenous people have access to quality products when it comes to medical cannabis and that they are able to access good service,” as Fontaine told CBC News last year.

As for the overarching goal of using the Canadian cannabis market to further Indigenous reconciliation: “This is really about the revitalization of First Nations/Indigenous economies, and it will lead, in my view, to the positive transformation of our communities,” Fontaine told Vice’s Cara McKenna. “I’m really talking about moving from dependence to independence, and independence will only be achieved if we can develop sustainable economies within our communities….I haven’t witnessed such enthusiasm, such excitement about any economic possibility than what I’ve seen in this business. I find this very encouraging and it has such exciting and enormous possibilities for our community.”

Colorado Has Brought in a Cool Half-Billion in Cannabis Taxes

With legal, regulated markets in legal states continuing to grow, it can sometimes feel like sales records are broken every week. But the latest report out of Colorado marks a milestone, as the state has now made more than half a billion dollars in cannabis-related tax revenue since legal adult sales began in 2014.

Colorado cannabis revenues come from a combination 15% excise tax on wholesale transfers, a 10% special tax on retail sales for recreational use, and an additional 2.9% state sales tax put on both adult-use and medical marijuana.


Data Dive: Cannabis Sales Keep Climbing in Washington and Colorado

According to state data analyzed by Denver-based VS Strategies, the majority of the more than $500 million dollars received by the state has gone to fund school projects: $117.9 million was used to fund school construction, while an additional $5.7 million was put into the Public School Fund.

The money is also helping fund after-school programs and related initiatives, with $5.8 million allocated to programs aimed at preventing dropping out and bullying. More than $16 million was spent on substance abuse prevention and treatment, with another $10.4 million used for mental and behavioral health services.

Leafly has already reported on the success seen in the state’s Pueblo County, which used $420,000 in local cannabis tax revenues to provide college scholarships to 210 graduating high-school students.


Colorado County Gives High School Graduates $420K in Cannabis-Funded Scholarships

Colorado State University-Pueblo has also seen benefits. The university opened an Institute of Cannabis Research using cannabis tax dollars.

Mason Tvert, a former Marijuana Policy Project staffer who now serves as the communications vice president for VS Strategies, said that he hopes lawmakers continue to see the cannabis industry as a legitimate economic engine.


Oregon’s Young Cannabis Market Already on Pace With Washington, Colorado

“We hope lawmakers will continue to distribute these funds responsibly and not lose sight of what voters intended when they opted to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol,” said Tvert, who was the a campaign co-director for Amendment 64, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the state.

So far in 2017, Colorado cannabis sales have continued at a good clip. The state has seen over $100 million in cannabis sales each month since the year began. The state’s best month so far was March 2017, with the state recording $127 million in sales—the highest monthly figure yet.

Leafly Investigation: Why Are CBD Prices So Confusing?

Hard to Know What You’re Getting

Even as public awareness of CBD’s healing potential has grown, it remains difficult to assess the quality, safety, and, importantly, the origin of most CBD products, thanks to the 80-year federal prohibition of cannabis and the resulting lack of both research and regulation.

“God knows what toxins are in the hemp processed in countries like China or Romania.”

Dr. Ethan Russo, leading cannabis researcher

Even though the law does not classify CBD as a Schedule I narcotic, the DEA claims that it is. (CBD, unlike THC, is not psychoactive.) That discrepancy leaves a lot of gray area when it comes to knowing how to operate. “It’s why some manufacturers don’t list CBD on the label,” says Heather Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Realm of Caring, a patient research and advocacy nonprofit in Colorado. “They may list ‘hemp extract,’ which is code for the entire cannabinoid content, but not necessarily CBD.”

Until recently, hemp growing and production was banned in the United States. As a result, much of the CBD being used today is extracted from hemp grown in Europe, or in some cases, China. (Google “CBD powder” and Alibaba and see what comes up.) This is troubling. Hemp has an extraordinary ability to absorb toxins from polluted soils—it’s a natural soil remediator. After the 1988 Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown, hemp was planted around the contaminated disaster site for exactly that reason. Oils extracted from plants grown near soils contaminated by pesticides or industrial effluents may contain those impurities in concentrated amounts. In today’s CBD market, manufacturers are under no obligation to tell consumers where their hemp was grown or to test it for contaminants.

Caveat emptor: Chinese-sourced CBD powder can be ordered in bulk for less than 2¢/mg on Alibaba.com.

“God knows what toxins are in the hemp processed in countries like China or Romania, which don’t have the same laws about pesticide use that we have,” says Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist, ethnobotanist, and one of America’s leading researchers into medical cannabis. “I don’t trust any of it and I don’t think anyone else should either.”

It’s a tough choice for patients: $200/month for CBD or $11/month for Advil.

The good news is that it’s increasingly possible to source higher-quality, laboratory-tested CBD derived from organic hemp grown in Western European countries—Austria, Germany, the Netherlands—with strong environmental regulations. High-quality hemp oils from Europe now wholesale for 0.5 cents to 1 cent per milligram. If encapsulating, bottling, and labeling that oil doubles the production cost, a manufacturer filling a pill bottle with 30 20-mg capsules (a standard dose) and selling that bottle online for $60 (8 cents/mg) is realizing at least a 400% markup. 

While that may suit American manufacturers, it’s challenging for financially strapped patients who must cough up $200 to $300 a month—the equivalent of a monthly car lease—for CBD meds. In a rational world, health insurance would cover much of that cost. But the federal government still refuses to treat cannabinoid medicine with any sort of rationality. For people on fixed or low incomes, CBD isn’t a sustainable option, especially compared to an NSAID like Advil, which clocks in at about 6 cents per pill, or about $11 per month.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the renowned Harvard psychiatrist who wrote the 1972 best seller Marihuana Reconsidered, dubbed medical marijuana “the people’s medicine,” precisely because it could be made economically or grown at home. But at this price, CBD is more of a luxury product than an affordable treatment, less for the people and more for the pashas.


How to Assess THC and CBD Levels in Cannabis Strains and Products

The Price of Risk

I’m a patient, but I’m also a small business owner. I understand the challenge of conducting business in the cannabis space, which in many states is still considered a criminal activity. The media crows about “marijuana millionaires,” but the weight of prohibition can often be crushing to a small business with high startup costs, low revenue, and a fair amount of risk.

Federal law doesn’t directly address the status of CBD. But the DEA claims it’s illegal.

CBD producers shoulder a greater risk than the maker of any “normal channel” medicine. With the Trump administration sending mixed signals on hemp oil—the DEA’s notorious December 2016 Federal Register rule had manufacturers fretting that the government would ban it outright—the risk could suddenly turn hazardous.

Still, it’s difficult to fathom why CBD, derived from an easily grown and processed weed, is ten times more expensive than a precious metal.


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Is Green the New Silver?

Prohibition imposes a criminal risk factor, certainly. But cocaine carries a far greater risk factor than CBD. And at $100 per gram, cocaine sells for the same exact price—$2,835 per ounce. So legal risk can’t be the only reason.

As I asked industry manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and researchers to explain the high price of CBD, five answers were consistently floated: inefficient farming and production, the costs of introducing a new product into an unregulated market, insufficient consumer information, limited patient access, and greed.


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Wanted: Better Hemp Farming

Modern hemp farmers say that hemp cultivation methods in the United States are antiquated and inefficient. “Farmers spend way too much money using outdated methods on something which grows quite simply,” says Jacob Goldstein, co-founder of two-year-old Green Mountain CBD in Vermont.

Green Mountain CBD co-founders Jacob Goldstein, right, and Alejandro Bergad.

Goldstein, who counts Seventh Generation founder Alan Newman as one of his primary investors, sells one of the lowest-cost CBD products on the market.

Growers “are cloning plants before transferring them to soil, which requires massive manpower and expensive real estate and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Goldstein told me. “We don’t do clones, so we don’t need $1000/square foot climate-controlled grow rooms and we don’t need all the manpower required to get them into the ground.”

Instead, Green Mountain breeds its own high-CBD seed crops indoors, which, Goldstein says, makes for stronger roots and heartier plants. Green Mountain then cultivates the plants on its small, 14-acre farm. Medical marijuana is legal in Vermont, so Green Mountain has fewer concerns about state law enforcement officials raiding the farm. Some hemp farmers in other states haven’t been so fortunate.

Other hemp producers use pricey extraction processes, often with harsh solvents such as butane or hexane that require further processing to remove. Green Mountain pares its costs by extracting with coconut oil, which Goldstein claims has the added benefit of enhancing the bioavailability of the CBD in each dose.

That all sounds good. But Green Mountain doesn’t employ scientists to test its products and guarantee consistent and reliable dosing. That may be another way to minimize production costs, but it means consumers are essentially trusting the Green Mountain brand to deliver the 600 mg of CBD it promises on the label—and deliver them without pesticide residues or other adulterants.

The Stanley Brothers’ CW Hemp Capsules.

CW Hemp, the Colorado makers of the oil that successfully treated Charlotte Figi, does test its products through a third-party lab. The company also has a staff microbiologist test regularly for molds and other microbes. CW Hemp’s revenues allow the company to voluntarily follow CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) methods, even though it’s not required. “That’s the gold standard, and it adds costs,” says Jesse Stanley, CW Hemp co-founder and vice president.

The company grows its own famously CBD-rich plants. Patients registered with Realm of Caring, the nonprofit group created by the Stanley brothers, can purchase its CBD oil in bulk for as little as 5 cents per milligram. If you’re not registered with Realm of Caring, CW Hemp will ship its CW Simply capsules anywhere in the United States for 6 cents per mg. It’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting, though, because CW Simply says each capsule contains 15mg of “Charlotte’s Web extract oil.” Does that mean each capsule contains 15mg of CBD? We’re meant to infer it, as Charlotte’s Web is synonymous with low-THC, high-CBD cannabis. But we can’t know for sure. The company may be skittish about actually listing CBD due to federal legal concerns—but that doesn’t do a patient any favors.

Brand Assurance

Green Mountain was founded about two years ago. The company sells its products exclusively online and does very little marketing. When I told a fellow patient about the company’s products, he was skeptical. “I’ve come to know and trust some of the pricier manufacturers precisely because they’ve invested millions in establishing that brand,” he said. “They’re less likely to cheat me, because they have more at stake.”

Well… possibly. It’s true that the costs of building a trustworthy brand, while unseen by consumers, are not insignificant. In an industry where the usual markers of quality assurance (FDA approval, state-mandated testing) simply don’t exist, brand equity becomes an important indicator of quality.

In the absence of an authority to police the brands, though, consumer awareness guarantees nothing. Reputations can be built on unsubstantiated claims. In 2015, the FDA tested 26 CBD products produced in California, Washington, and Arizona and discovered that many contained miniscule amounts of CBD—or none at all. One year later the FDA repeated the test on 22 CBD products from other states: same result.


The History and Emergence of the CBD Cannabis Strains

Botanical Bells and Whistles

Here’s another way to command a high price: Create sophisticated formulations, package them beautifully, and sell them for a premium. The beauty industry was built on this formula. Most of the $300 potions on the shelves at Sephora cost about $2 to make, according to Perry Romanowski. Romanowski is a cosmetic chemist and co-founder of BeautyBrains.com, a site that educates consumers about the science behind the cosmetic industry.

CBD companies know this strategy well.

“Not all CBD products are created equal,” says Kurt Forstmann, hemp category manager for Colorado-based Dixie Brands, one of America’s largest and best-known cannabis companies. “The vast majority are just squirting CBD in coconut oil and calling it medicine. Our products have synergistic ingredients that potentiate the medicinal qualities, and many of them are as expensive as CBD.”

Dixie’s Aceso brand: CBD only, in a beverage powder.

A year and a half ago, Dixie created the Aceso brand, which offers THC-free CBD products to consumers around the country, regardless of the legal status of their state. Aceso’s “Calm” formulation combines L-theanine (a Green Tea extract), plus two pharmaceutical-grade terpenes: linalool, which is found in lavender; and limonene from grapefruit. It’s packaged as a beverage powder, with 7.5 mg of CBD per sachet, at a price of 22 cents per mg. (The company’s CBD capsules, offered under the Dixie Botanicals brand, offer CBD at about 20 cents per mg.)

Aceso Calm certainly smells luxurious. But are those terpenes an integral part of a medically effective entourage effect, working in harmony with the CBD—or do they just please the olfactory sense? They jury’s still out, again, due to the lack of scientific studies. We do know one thing for sure: The addition of terpenes do enhance the cost.

Even if those supplementary ingredients equal the costs of CBD, though, Dixie’s products are still three to four times the price of Green Mountain’s. To give Dixie its due, the company spends a lot of money double-testing every batch of imported CBD oil for heavy metals, pesticides, microbes, and solvents—once when the oil arrives at their facility, and again after the final product is assembled. “We don’t trust anyone in this business,” Forstmann says.


Terpenes: The Flavors of Cannabis Aromatherapy

Hemp-Sourced Vs. Cannabis-Sourced

Another way of judging the value of hemp-derived CBD is to compare it to the CBD extracted from more expensive cannabis flowers.

Unlike the other manufacturers surveyed in this article, Aunt Zelda’s, a small patient collective based in Bodega Bay, CA, makes its CBD tinctures and balms using cannabis flower, which is usually about two to four times more expensive than hemp. Their CBD oils, which are typically blended with THC, cost 2.25 cents per mg to manufacture, and that cost includes lab testing, tinted bottles, packaging, compliance, labor, rent, and utilities.

Unlike most CBD manufacturers, Aunt Zelda’s posts its independent lab test results online. A 600-mg bottle of their CBD-THC oil costs $13.50 to produce. It wholesales for $27. California distributors tack on another 30%, which ratchets the price up to $34. Dispensaries double that—a typical markup in any retail business—to about $70.


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Aunt Zelda’s delivers CBD to the patient at 11.6 cents per mg—but only in California. Because their oils contain more than 0.3% THC, they sell only to authorized California medical cannabis patients. And it’s not easy for patients to find; retail partners listed on Zelda’s website do not actually list Zelda’s CBD on their own menus. Aunt Zelda’s might make some of the highest-quality CBD in America, but it’s extremely difficult for most patients buy.

Today’s CBD market is young and unnaturally warped by prohibition. As it matures, prices will stabilize—and hopefully decline.

Aunt Zelda’s is a nonprofit patient-based service. Revenue is important, but it’s not the sole driver of the operation. That raises a question. If Zelda’s meticulously crafted, high-end cannabis-sourced product sells for 11.6 cents per mg, how can a bottle of CBD tincture made from cheap imported hemp oil, of unknown quality and purity, sell online for two to five times the price?

The answer can be found in a complicated mix of factors. Today’s CBD market is young. Four years ago it was practically nonexistent. It’s also unnaturally warped by cannabis prohibition, legal uncertainties, the absence of FDA regulations, and insufficient consumer information and access. Some companies are producing high-quality, locally sourced, lab-tested, and toxin-free CBD. Others are importing cheap hemp oil of unknown quality and slapping a CBD label on a bottle. It’s extremely difficult for patients to know the difference. Aunt Zelda’s produces excellent CBD guaranteed by lab results—but almost nobody outside California can buy it.

Manufacturers are rushing in with products and tossing out prices to see what sticks. If you believe in market efficiency, a middle price zone will eventually emerge when today’s massive inefficiencies subside. Companies will learn how to increase their quality and decrease their prices and still turn a profit.

That occurs, however, only when markets mature. Right now, “there are a lot of snake oil salesman trying to profit off people in need,” Jesse Stanley told me. “It’s unfortunate, but those dynamics are very real.” In the long run, though, Stanley believes the scamsters and low-quality manufacturers will be driven out, and the promise of this theoretically affordable plant-based medicine will have its due. “CBD is a new product that is revolutionizing the way we treat disease,” he said, “and I think we’ll see amazing things in the future.”

Gordon Baker, a medical cannabis researcher and patient advocate, contributed to this report.

Reward Your Regular Customers With a Dispensary Loyalty Program

In the increasingly competitive cannabis industry, it can be hard to stay ahead of the curve. Ensuring that you retain your customers’ loyalty and give them a reason to return to your store can be an ongoing process.

One of the best ways to encourage regular business among repeat customers is to offer rewards for those who do. A loyalty program allows customers to earn points for every dollar they spent–it helps you get rid of excess inventory that might not otherwise sell and gives customers and patients a great incentive to keep coming back, perhaps with new friends and patient referrals in tow.


6 Strategies for Selling Excess Cannabis Product Inventory

Here are a few examples of exemplary loyalty programs from dispensaries across the United States.

List Your Business on Leafly

Dockside Cannabis

Dockside Cannabis is one of the pioneering brands in Seattle when it comes to unique innovation, and it’s one of the first retail cannabis stores to create a loyalty program to encourage repeat business. The location offers an in-store kiosk where customers can enter their cell phone number. Every time members check in, they earn more points, adding up to great deals and discounts with each visit.


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Infinite Wellness Center

With two locations in Fort Collins and Lakewood, Infinite Wellness Center offers a Loyalty Member program that gives any retail customers a point for every dollar spent and bonus points for checking in. Medical marijuana patients with a valid registry card get even more benefits–a $50 patient gift voucher, a free hat or T-shirt, and lower prices on flower!


7 Ways to Make Your Dispensary Event a Success

Silver Stem Fine Cannabis

Silver Stem Fine Cannabis offers both a Primary Patient Program, a Loyalty Program, a discount for new customers and patients, cash back on all purchases, and a bonus of $100 when they refer a friend. The dispensary chain has two locations in Portland, Oregon, and four locations in Colorado, all of which honor the Silver Seeds Loyalty Program.


6 Lessons Learned Transitioning From a Medical to Adult Use Market

Urban Greenhouse

Customers who join the Bonus Buds Rewards Program at Urban Greenhouse in Phoenix, Arizona can get the most bang for their buck earning points that add up to spendable cash in-store. As soon as they reach 250 points (or $25), points can be redeemed to use towards any merchandise or cannabis products.


How to Market Your Cannabis Business Part 6: Using Merchandise and Apparel to Your Advantage


By becoming a free rewards member through LivWell‘s Colorado dispensaries and retail shops, customers earn points towards future purchases for every dollar spent. They also earn points for referring friends, and receive extra points on their birthday and LivWell Rewards anniversary date. Members also receive special promotional emails and news.


6 Tips for Using Email Marketing to Help Your Cannabis Business

The Jazz Club

Repeatedly earning the #1 spot on Michigan’s Leafly List, the Jazz Club in Detroit offers generous rewards to loyal patients, including 500 bonus points for referring a new patient, matching donations and a gift bag for first-time patients, and great daily deals. There’s a reason it’s been voted best of Michigan and #3 for medical marijuana dispensaries nationwide.


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Bloom Room

All California dispensaries require a membership signup, but Bloom Room treats its patients with a little more TLC. The location offers free massage and reiki healing, joint-rolling workshops, and product sampling demos, and even serves the community with monthly volunteering opportunities. It’s a loyalty program with more heart and soul than just a few discounts (but don’t worry, it offers patient deals, too).


Reputation Marketing for Cannabusinesses

Southwest Patient Group

Southwest Patient Group in San Diego goes out of its way to ensure that patients have many reasons to return. From first-time patient discounts for the first three visits to monthly specials to loyalty points accruing for every dollar spent, SPG knows how to treat its patients with love and compassion and keep them coming back for more. It even offers bonus refer-a-friend hookups for both the customer and their referral!

List Your Business on Leafly

Have you had success with a dispensary loyalty program? Share your tips and tricks for customer retention in the comments!

Nevada Wholesaler Steps Up to Restock Dispensaries

Nevada’s cannabis crisis may have been averted…at least for the time-being.

New Cannabis Ventures reports that a cannabis distribution company known as Blackbird Logistics will be helping restock empty shelves at newly opened Nevada dispensaries and retail cannabis shops for the first time since legalization went into effect on July 1.


Legal Cannabis in Nevada: What to Expect

Blackbird Logistics is an ancillary company based out of Reno and offers a number of services, including a point-of-sale system, home and dispensary delivery services, data collection, and, most crucially in this instance, facility transportation from producer to retailer.

When Question 2 was passed last November, the text specifically allowed for alcohol wholesalers to have the first crack at cannabis distribution licenses for the first 18 months of retail cannabis sales. This created a lawsuit that nearly delayed the opening of the first retail shops, as alcohol wholesalers fought medical marijuana distributors for the right to produce and distribute cannabis for Nevada’s legal market. However, the Nevada Department of Taxation released a statement that, as of July 5, none of the seven alcohol wholesalers that have applied met the application requirements to complete the licensing process.


Some Nevada Cannabis Retailers ‘Running on Fumes’

With distribution licenses tied up in litigation, dispensaries and retailers were restricted to selling only what was already on the shelves on June 30th before opening day. With legal cannabis in high demand on the tourist circuit, retailers ran out of cannabis so quickly that Governor Brian Sandoval agreed to sign an emergency regulation to expand distribution licenses.

Blackbird Logistics has been a medical marijuana distributor since 2015, but recently partnered with an alcohol distributor to allow them to distribute cannabis on the retail market, making them officially the first licensed cannabis distributor on the legal Nevada market.


Nevada Cannabis Sales Exceed Stores’ Expectations

The Nevada Tax Commission is scheduled to meet July 13th to determine whether there will be enough alcohol wholesalers to distribute cannabis, and they may adopt the emergency regulations in an effort to support new retail business and avoid customer diversion to the black market.

There are currently 47 licensed cannabis retailers spread across Nevada, selling approximately $3 million worth of cannabis in just the first four days of legal sales. State officials are expecting sales to top $30 million by the end of 2017, making a licensed distributor all the more important in the coming weeks.

Does Closing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Increase Crime? Study Says Yes

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions mulls over how to take down legal cannabis in the United States—making ludicrous comments like “DARE became fundamental to our success,” to a group of supporters of the war on drugs—a new study shows that closing medical marijuana dispensaries actually increases crime in the area where they operated.


Jeff Sessions’ (Unfounded) Love Letter to DARE

Published in July’s Journal of Urban Economics, the study Going to Pot? The Impact of Dispensary Closures on Crime, by Tom Chang of the USC Marshall School of Business and Mireille Jacobson of the Paul Merage School of Business at UC-Irvine, correlates medical dispensaries to restaurants.

The study found a connection between restaurants and dispensaries—specifically, when either one closed in the Los Angeles area (where the study took place), crime increased around the former location. Both medical dispensaries and restaurants attract bystanders and eyeballs, and if one of those closes in an area, it generally leads to certain types of crime, mainly property crime and car thefts.

“Contrary to popular wisdom, we found an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open,” Jacobson told Science Daily.


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Jacobson adds, “The connection between restaurants and medical marijuana dispensaries is that they both contribute to the ‘walkability score’ of a given area. Areas with higher scores have more ‘eyes upon the street’—a factor that is proven to deter some types of crime.”

When the two professors examined the impact of temporary restaurant closures in Los Angeles County, they found an increase in crime similar to what they found with medical dispensaries: an increase in car thefts, property crime, and thefts.


Jeff Sessions Asks Congress to End Medical Cannabis Protections

Both Jacobson and Chang attributed this result to the fact that these types of crimes are generally deterred if bystanders are present. Also, the study found that once a restaurant reopened, crime immediately went back to where it was before the closure.

As Jacobson said, “We can conclude from our research that retail businesses are effective in lowering crime, even when the retail business is a medical marijuana dispensary.”

To check out the full study, you can find it here.


Brooklyn DA Challenges Sessions, Says Decriminalization Works

High-CBD Cannabis Cigarettes Coming to Swiss Supermarkets

Shoppers in Switzerland will soon be able to purchase cannabis cigarettes alongside their bread and cheese. The major Swiss supermarket chain Coop has announced that it will sell what’s being billed as the world’s first hemp cigarette.

The cigarettes are so low in THC that they’re legal under Swiss law, according to the company Heimat, which manufactures the cigarettes. While many EU countries cap allowable THC at 0.2%, Swiss law has a higher limit: 1%.


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The cigarettes will indeed deliver a burst of cannabinoids, just not psychoactive ones. Heimat says the smokes will contain 20% CBD. So even though the cannabis cigarettes won’t produce a noticeable high, the amount of CBD means they could offer relief from pain, inflammation, depression and anxiety, epilepsy, or other ailments.

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According to the English-language Swiss news outlet The Local, a Coop spokesman said the supermarket already sells other hemp products, like tea, beer, and oil, and are in “high demand.”

Manufacturer Heimat, which is based out of the Swiss city of St. Gallen, has been producing tobacco cigarettes since last year. Only recently did the company turn its attention towards making cigarettes using hemp.


Hemp-Infused Beers a Hit Among European Palates

The cigarettes are expected to retail for 19.90 Swiss francs (around US$20.61) per pack and will be available for purchase on the company’s website and through various outlets across the country, including Coop supermarkets.

CBD products, such as oil, are already experiencing a boom in the country, as the annual sales of legal cannabis is around 100 million Swiss francs (US$103.6 million).


How to Assess THC and CBD Levels in Cannabis Strains and Products

A promotional video and more information are available (in German) on the product website.

Some Nevada Cannabis Retailers ‘Running on Fumes’

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Most of Nevada’s recreational marijuana retailers are optimistic an emergency regulation that state officials are expected to approve will help keep them from running out of cannabis products, but some are “running on fumes,” an industry official said Tuesday.

The State Tax Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on an emergency measure Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed late last week in an effort to allow the state to issue cannabis distribution licenses currently banned by a court order.


Nevada Officials to Consider Emergency Rule on Cannabis Distribution

Nevada Tax Department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said some of the 47 licensed retailers have reported twice as much business as they anticipated since recreational sales began July 1, and many fear their shelves soon will be empty.

Nevada Dispensary Association President Andrew Jolley said Tuesday most stores are “still doing OK in terms of supply.”

“But there are some that are obviously concerned given that we are 10 days into retail sales without being resupplied,” Jolley said. “I have heard of some dispensaries running on fumes, if you will.”

A legal battle over distribution of cannabis for recreational use threatens to jeopardize the flow of supplies from growers and manufacturers to retailers in the coming weeks.

The ballot measure voters approved in November legalizing the sales dictates that licensed alcohol wholesalers have the exclusive rights to cannabis distribution licenses for 18 months. But no alcohol wholesalers have completed the licensing process.


Nevada Cannabis Ruling May Delay July 1 Start Date

Before recreational sales began July 1, most dispensaries selling medical marijuana were authorized to serve as their own middleman and the bulk of them started stockpiling supplies months ago in an anticipation of high demand.

“Everybody that I know tried to augment their inventory as much as possible in the days and weeks leading up to July 1, but I’m not sure to what extent they were able to do that,” Jolley said Tuesday.

About a week before sales began, Sandoval’s chief of staff Michael Willden said state officials had been informed the dispensaries may have up to a 60-day supply of cannabis products.

“We are now informed that many have only days or weeks of product to be sold,” he said last week when the governor announced his endorsement of the emergency regulations to facilitate the issuing of distribution licenses to existing retailers.


Legal Cannabis in Nevada: What to Expect

The head of a company that owns hemp and cannabis operations in southern Nevada said the regulatory move can’t come soon enough.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated this strong of an initial demand, and by all accounts it’s a very real possibility that the state could literally be out of sellable products in August,” Friday Night Inc. CEO Brayden Sutton said Tuesday.

“Current production in Clark County was set up for a snoozey medical market, not the 10-time increase in sales that retailers experience once they can sell to anyone 21 and up,” he said.

On Monday, the Sparks City Council became the latest local jurisdiction to approve an ordinance allowing for recreational cannabis sales. Currently, there are four licensed retailers in Reno, one in Pahrump, one in Mesquite, one in Laughlin, four in North Las Vegas and 36 in Las Vegas.