Then and Now: How the Cannabis Industry Changed in 10 Years

Then and Now: How the Cannabis Industry Changed in 10 Years

[Canniseur: It’s always interesting to see where an industry has been in the past. We’re seeing a new industry, legal cannabis, develop right in front of our eyes. Very exciting indeed.]

In many ways, the cannabis industry of today is unrecognizable to that of ten years ago and more. Here we explore the maturing cannabis industry and look at where it is headed.

The cannabis industry in the U.S. and worldwide has grown out of the black market to become a billion dollar force, disrupting everything from the pharmaceutical and wellness industries to the beauty products market and leisure industry. As Medical Marijuana, Inc. celebrates our 10 Year Anniversary, let’s take a moment to look at how the cannabis industry has transformed over the last ten years.

Cannabis Remains in a Legal Gray Area

10 years ago, the cannabis industry in the U.S. was still very much in its infancy. It was just over a decade since California became the first state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana, a radical idea at the time (1996) that received pushback from the federal government.

Then, 2009 began with an announcement from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that directed the DEA not to pursue raids on state legal marijuana dispensaries. Later that same year, Holder’s office announced that it would not prioritize prosecution against legal medical marijuana patients.

These moves in the opening year of the Obama administration made it clear how the federal government intended to approach state legal cannabis operations and consumers, leaving the industry feeling confident enough to grow with less fear of prosecution.

However, at times during the Obama era, raids would continue at the local, state, and federal level, causing friction between marijuana businesses, legal cannabis states, and the federal government. Despite this, the legal cannabis industry continued to grow.

In 2014, the cannabis industry was given further protections by Congress when it passed the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prohibited the use of funds to prevent states from enacting laws legalizing marijuana. With the retirement of Rep. Sam Farr, (D-CA), the law became the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment. This amendment has been attached to the government’s omnibus spending bill since its first passing, continuing its protections for legal cannabis states to create their own marijuana regulations without interference.

Then, with the start of the Trump administration in 2018, new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear where the cannabis industry stood as long as he headed the Department of Justice when he took steps to roll back Obama era protections for legal cannabis businesses and consumers.

Jeff Sessions resigned late in 2018, leaving a vacancy for the U.S. Attorney General post. Trump’s nominee to replace Session is William Barr. In written responses to U.S. Senators, Barr confirmed that he will not crack down on legal cannabis businesses, potentially giving the industry the breathing room it needs to grow.

Shifting Perceptions on Cannabis

The cannabis industry also benefited from a radical shift in the perception of cannabis over the past ten years. This shift has come as politicians, the medical community, and the public have become more favorable towards marijuana.

In 1996, when California became the first medical marijuana state, just 25 percent of voters supported legal cannabis. In 2009, the year Medical Marijuana, Inc. went public, the majority of voters in the U.S. were still against the legalization of marijuana, but the gap was narrowing, with 44 percent of voters in favor. Now, opinion has shifted. The majority of voters in the U.S. now favor nationwide recreational marijuana legalization, and in the minds of many, federally legal marijuana now seems like an inevitability.

Legalization of Medical Marijuana Spreads

With this increase in support for cannabis, medical marijuana has grown in our country. 10 years ago, there were just 13 states in the U.S. with full medical marijuana programs. That number has now jumped to 33 states as support of medical marijuana has grown to an incredible 94 percent of adults polled. Support for medical marijuana has also come from veterans, politicians, and healthcare professionals. This trend is expected to continue as a recent study hinted that patients may prefer medical marijuana over prescription medications.

legal weed shops

Recreational Marijuana Begins

California was the first state to attempt independent, state-level cannabis legalization in 1972 with Proposition 19, but the law failed to gain the 66.5 percent of the vote it needed to pass. In 2010, one year after the launch of Medical Marijuana, Inc., California again failed to pass voter approved recreational cannabis.

Then in 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states in the country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Oregon, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts would pass their own recreational marijuana laws in the following years. There are now a total of 10 states, along with Washington, D.C., that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Legalization has come with some unexpected benefits for communities that embraced it. Marijuana dispensaries have been shown to increase a neighborhood’s property value, and unlike opponents to legalization warned, teen use of marijuana has not gone up. In fact, teen use is at its lowest levels in 22 years. Cannabis tax revenue has been used to improve roads, create college scholarships, house and feed the homeless, and more.

With advantages like this, states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island are all eying potential cannabis legalization in coming years.

You can learn more about changes to cannabis policy in the U.S. and around the world on our news feed, or you can find cannabis laws by state here.

CBD vape products

CBD Gains Attention as Part of Cannabis Industry

Medical and recreational marijuana aren’t the only sectors of the cannabis industry that are experiencing growth. The hemp derived CBD market has also experienced booming growth over the past ten years.

Despite being non-intoxicating due to its incredibly low levels of THC, hemp was routinely lumped in with its illicit cousin marijuana, leading to laws banning its cultivation in the U.S. and a negative stigma in the minds of many.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. was the first company to distribute mainstream CBD brands nationwide, creating the CBD hemp oil market in 2012 with brands like Dixie Botanicals® and Real Scientific Hemp Oil™. We worked hard to overcome these negative attitudes regarding hemp by educating law makers, health professionals, and consumers around the world about the differences between hemp and marijuana and the advantages of a daily CBD regimen.

Since then, CBD has moved beyond the cannabis market and has taken hold as a major ingredient in a number of major markets. Because of this, the CBD market in the U.S. has experienced significant growth, with CBD being infused into foods and beverages, botanical tinctures, beauty products, vapes, and more. CBD is even prescribed as a medication in some countries.

With the legalization of a domestic hemp industry in the U.S. due to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp industry in the U.S. is set to explode in coming years. The hemp-derived CBD market alone is anticipated to grow to $22 billion by 2022 as hemp becomes a legal source of cannabinoids. About 7 percent of Americans now use CBD products, a number that could reach up to 10 percent by 2025.

marijuana automated industry

Cannabis Industry Innovation

One of the reasons that cannabis has been able to take its place as a major influence over U.S. and global industries is that companies focusing on cannabis have been quick to adapt strategies successful in other industries and are eager to bring innovation to this specialized market.

Cultivation technology has also impacted the cannabis industry’s ability to grow. Improvements to lights, growth mediums, nutrient supplements, and more have made it possible for growers to produce more cannabis of higher quality. The availability of quality cannabis has helped fuel the surge in popularity of cannabis and has led it to becoming a viable alternative to products like alcohol and medications in the legal medical and recreational markets.

Innovation in cannabis testing has also allowed the industry to ensure that the products being distributed to consumers are safe, reliable, and of the highest quality. A decade or more ago, when the legal cannabis industry was just beginning in many regions, cannabis quality and safety testing at any level was rare, and when it was conducted, it was usually voluntary.

As the industry has matured, most legal marijuana states have now enacted some level of 3rd party testing requirement for cannabis products as a way to regulate the industry and protect cannabis consumers.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. was a pioneer of cannabis testing, being the first mainstream CBD product line to voluntarily test our products at three points in our cultivation and manufacturing process, taking advantage of a 3rd party testing lab to verify the integrity of all our products.

The cannabis industry has also benefited from automation. From filling pre-rolled joints and vape cartridges to trimming dry cannabis flower and manufacturing edibles, the cannabis industry has been able to scale to keep pace with demand largely due to automation that allows companies to do in minutes what previously took hours.

Automation also allows companies and governments to track cannabis through cultivation, manufacturing, and retail. This helps to control inventory, ensure compliance at all levels, and prevents product from leaking onto the black market.

Around the country, cannabis companies are preparing for nationwide legalization by ramping up capacity and preparing to meet increased demand. Capitalizing on innovations like automation can help make sure the industry is prepared for further growth through legalization.

big marijuana

Interest from Mainstream Brands

For most of its history, the cannabis industry has been avoided by large companies due to its questionable legality in the eyes of the federal government. This has allowed smaller mom and pop businesses to thrive and for some even become major players in the cannabis industry in their own right. Now that cannabis legalization seems like an inevitability, larger brands are expressing interest in entering the market, either with THC or CBD products.

The media went crazy with reports that Coca-Cola was considering entering the cannabis industry with CBD-infused products, by far the biggest consumer brand to hint at a possible entry into the cannabis market.

Constellation Brands, maker of alcohol brands like Corona, Svedka, Modelo, and Robert Mondavi, has also made a move to enter the cannabis market by investing $3.8 billion in Canopy Growth, the major Canadian cannabis business formerly known as Tweed Marijuana, Inc.

Similarly, Altria Group, the biggest tobacco company in the world and the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, reportedly invested approximately $1.8 billion into the Cronos Group, one of Canada’s major cannabis producers.

Beauty product company Estee Lauder has also been suggested as a potential player as CBD makes its way into a range of beauty products.  The beauty industry was worth $532 billion globally in 2017 and is expected to reach $863 billion by 2024.

Ten years ago, major mainstream brands like these were showing no interest in the still illicit cannabis market. However, as recreational marijuana legalization spreads at the state level and proves to be a lucrative market, many successful national and global brands are preparing for potential legalization at the federal level.

As public opinion on cannabis continues to shift and legalization spreads, more mainstream companies may look to enter the cannabis market. In turn, this infusion of cash from big businesses looking to move into the cannabis market could help drive cannabis further into the mainstream, adding to its potential for growth.

will marijuana be legal america

Next Steps

The cannabis industry has come a long way since its roots on the black market. As legal cannabis enters its third decade, the industry looks on with anticipation of nationwide legalization of recreational and medical cannabis in the U.S.

A bill has been introduced that would allow state to regulate marijuana independently. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 would remove marijuana altogether from the Controlled Substances Act, eliminating the potential of the federal government cracking down on states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Other recent bills to legalize marijuana, such as the Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), take a similar approach.

As the cannabis industry continues to mature, Medical Marijuana, Inc. will bring you developments as they unfold. You can learn more about what to expect from the cannabis industry in 2019 here or visit our news feed for the biggest headlines from across the cannabis world.

The post Then and Now: How the Cannabis Industry Changed in 10 Years appeared first on Medical Marijuana, Inc..

Then and Now: How the Cannabis Industry Changed in 10 Years was posted on medical marijuana inc.

Where’s the Cheapest Cannabis? A State-by-State Comparison

Where’s the Cheapest Cannabis? A State-by-State Comparison

[Canniseur: About Washington, California, Nevada, & Colorado States only. Lots of diverse factors and trends drive cannabis markets. If you’re into understanding cannabis market forces, this is a fascinating read.]

As US states have legalized cannabis over the past decade, they’ve created a patchwork of small economies. These economies are governed by divergent state laws and separated by firewalls; not a single gram can legally cross state lines. Unsurprisingly, then, markets have evolved considerable differences even as they’ve developed side by side.

A new report by cannabis data firm Headset explores the differences in price that have arisen across these state markets. Looking at Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and California, the report traces price trends across various product categories.

Where’s the Cheapest Cannabis?

bar graph of average price per cannabis productClick to enlarge. (Headset)

Of the four states Headset looked at, Washington had the lowest average price per cannabis product. The aptly named Evergreen State also offered the cheapest average gram in terms of concentrates, pre-rolls, and vape pens. Colorado came in slightly lower on average price per gram of flower, but only by a hair.

According to the Headset data, a gram of cannabis flower runs an average of $4.90 in Washington. That wasn’t always the case. “The first day of legal cannabis sales in Washington state saw grams of cannabis being sold for as much as $30, which is unheard of now,” the report notes.

What’s behind the precipitous drop in price? After all, Washington’s 37% cannabis excise tax is one of the highest in the nation.

“Washington has thousands of distinct cannabis brands, and a ‘tiered house’ market system that gives retailers a lot of power to push back on price,” the report says. “Colorado’s system allows for vertical integration, so even though it has seen prices come down over the years, the brand landscape is less hotly contested.”

And the Most Expensive?

bar graph of price per gram of cannabis in inhalable formsClick to enlarge. (Headset)

If Washington offers the lowest average cannabis price of the four states Headset analyzed, Nevada boasts the highest—by far. The state had the highest average price per gram across flower, concentrates, pre-rolls, and vape pens.

Tourism might account for some of Nevada’s premium pricing. Vape pens, which are particularly popular among out-of-towners and casual consumers, were considerably more expensive in Nevada than in any other state. The average price per gram for vape carts in Nevada was $96—nearly triple Washington’s average of $36.

California reigns supreme when it comes to average product price, although part of that has to do with what products retailers choose to carry. The average item price is $30.90, according to the Headset report, which is more than double Washington’s average of $15.33. Some of the difference is the result of increased compliance costs that came with California’s recent transition to a regulated market. “In California, which just came online in 2018,” the report says, average item price “has actually gone up by $5, but that can’t last forever.”

california cannabis prices in 2018Click to enlarge. (Headset)

Non-Inhalable Products

Price trends in non-inhalable products—including infused beverages, edibles, capsules, tinctures, and topicals—were a bit less clear. Headset evaluated price per milligram of THC in these products and found that “price trends don’t mirror the state trends shown in inhalables.” Variance in prices from state to state was also more limited.

Nevada, for example, is still on the expensive side in terms of beverages, edibles, capsules, and topicals—but it had the lowest average price when it came to tinctures. And despite California’s high average item price, the Golden State has the lowest-priced edibles of any state Headset looked at.

Original Post: Leafly: Where’s the Cheapest Cannabis? A State-by-State Comparison

Medical Marijuana Facility Opening in Old Peet Packing Plant Hopes to Restore Jobs

Medical Marijuana Facility Opening in Old Peet Packing Plant Hopes to Restore Jobs

[Editor’s Note: A grow and processing cannabis business is fabulous news for Saginaw County, which is just north of Flint, MI. The area’s economy has been depressed for quite some time. These jobs are very much needed.]

CHESANING, MI — A building that has sat vacant for nearly 25 years after a meat-packing plant shut down there will now house a business that claims it will restore hundreds of jobs to the community.

OrganiLife, located at 15403 Sharron Road in Chesaning, opens at the end of March as a medical marijuana growing and processing facility, said property owner Beau Parmenter. The 30,000-square-foot building will start off with 4,500 plants, but the business has an 16 additional buildings on the 19-acre property that would allow 500,000 plants to grow if the business continues to expand, said Parmenter.

The business currently has three Class C licenses which amounts to 1,500 plants per license and one processing license. The business will distribute product to provisioning centers throughout the state.

In June 2017, the Village Council opted in to the state medical marijuana facilities act.

Parmenter has owned the more than century-old property since 2007, about a dozen years after Peet Packing, then owned by former Detroit Tiger Denny McLain, filed for bankruptcy and nearly 300 employees lost their jobs. The meat packing business employed generations of families in Chesaning and surrounding communities to produce smoked meats, cold cuts and sausages.

“The whole goal is to bring those jobs back into the community,” said Zach Chludil, cultivator for OrganiLife. “It’s gonna take a little bit of time, but there’s no reason with the current demand in the market that once were licensed and up and going, we should be able to literally grow along with demand which can lead to significant jobs in due time.”

Over time, Parmenter estimates the new marijuana business will generate up to 350 jobs. Since renovations to the building began last year, about 20 jobs were created and this year, about another 20 will be added.

“Quite a list of provisioning centers are waiting for the product already. They’ve got a waiting list that keeps growing daily, because they need good product,” Parmenter said. Parmenter said what sets the business apart from other budding marijuana-related businesses are the products that will be used for plant cultivation. “It’s an all-natural product that they’re producing,” Parmenter said. “They’re using plant-based material for all the sprays, nutrients. No pesticides. No insecticides. That’s a thing. Going all-natural,” Parmenter said.

The facility will house seven grow rooms, office space, a conference room and shower area.

So far, the community has welcomed the business, said Parmenter. “Two large employers have sat empty for so long are now being re-purposed, and it’s good for the community,” said Kate Weber, executive director for the Chesaning Chamber of Commerce. Weber is referring to VB Chesaning, 624 Brady St., another medical marijuana business in Chesaning, which formerly housed McDonald’s Dairy. Weber said both businesses are members of the chamber.

Last year, Zach Chludil and other members of OrganiLife went to the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners to get the property annexed from Chesaning Township to the village of Chesaning so it could be included in the medical marijuana ordinance. The annexation was approved to promote the business and economic development.

Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said he recognizes the two marijuana businesses can be targets for crime and says his department will do its best to protect the community.

“This is a commodity,” Federspiel said. “It’s valuable to some people and it’s expensive to some people. It has a lot of potential to generate a lot of money.” Federspiel has been working closely with Great Lakes Natural Remedies, another medical marijuana facility in Spaulding Township, set to open in the spring. He said the township has one Saginaw County deputy on contract now and two more will be added in May. “We’ll be focusing on (the facility), but we’ll be serving the entire area,” Federspiel said.

Parmenter said he’s reached out to the Chesaning Police Department to discuss security for OganiLife, which will be equipped with plenty of security cameras.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for employment and investors in the community,” said Parmenter. “It’s phenomenal what we’re bringing to the table to get this place back on track.”

Job seekers can email their resumes to

Original Article: Medical marijuana facility opening in old Peet Packing plant hopes to restore jobs –

Denver Council Makes Social-use Cannabis permanent

Denver Council Makes Social-use Cannabis permanent

[Canniseur: Coming soon to Denver, Co. – cannabis cafes! Now that Denver is offering permanent licenses, consumption lounges in Denver should see some traction.]

One of the clouds over Denver’s marijuana hospitality businesses is about to go away.

On Monday night, the Denver City Council decided in a 10-1 vote that the city should permanently allow “social” cannabis use at certain businesses in the city. Until now, the city’s social-use laws were scheduled to expire at the end of 2020.

The change is meant to give some stability to businesses where people can vaporize or eat marijuana legally.

The social-use law approved by voters in 2016 included a four-year “sunset” date. But the industry has been slow to develop since then. So far, only two businesses have won a social-use license: a coffee shop in a strip mall and a new lounge on Broadway, which was recently closed and posted for sale.

The time limit has discouraged some business owners, according to Councilwoman Kendra Black.

“With less than two years available, it’s difficult to get financing. If you’re leasing a space, most leases, they’re three to five years. And then you’d have to get funds to build out the space,” she said at an earlier meeting. “And so it’s just really not feasible for a prospective business to open a business in that time frame.”

Councilman Kevin Flynn wasn’t convinced. He said that the city should take on business owners’ other complaints first.

“I think that we ought to have a more comprehensive package of changes that could address the problems that we’re looking to solve,” Flynn said at the earlier meeting

Councilman Rafael Espinoza agreed that it was too early, with the program still struggling, to end the sunset. The bill passed with Flynn opposing; Espinoza and Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore were absent.

City officials also are examining the city’s distance requirements. Social-use businesses must be at least 1,000 feet from schools, day care centers, city recreation centers and pools, and addiction treatment centers.

Council members are considering further changes to loosen those distance restrictions. Meanwhile, state legislators could tackle an agenda of cannabis changes, including a potential bill for use at businesses.

Original Article: Denver council makes social-use cannabis permanent

Photo provided by Megan Lumpkins

He Took the Leap Into Cannabis. Now Everyone is Following

He Took the Leap Into Cannabis. Now Everyone is Following

[Canniseur: Constellation Brands used to have a different name – Canandaigua. Canandaigua is the maker of Wild Irish Rose. In 2000, they changed their name to move into higher quality wines. These are smart people who know how to successfully move forward.]

Constellation Brands, a major American beverage company, had been weighing whether to break into the cannabis business for a while when executive chair Rob Sands had an epiphany. While marijuana legalization was moving slowly in the United States, it would soon be legal in Canada — a sizable market. Sands saw clearly that it was time to make a move.”That was really the genesis of what got us thinking about it,” Sands, 60, told CNN Business.

In October 2017, Constellation Brands, which makes Corona and Modelo beer, Svedka vodka, Casa Noble tequila and more, paid $245 million (Canadian), about $183 million (US), for a small stake in a Canadian cannabis company called Canopy Growth. Bill Newlands, Constellation’s president and CEO, was nervous on the morning of the announcement. We “all sat around the table and just said, we have no idea how the market is going to react,” Newlands told CNN Business. “There’s a certain level of risk attached to that question when you don’t know the answer.” That first morning of trading was a “hold your breath moment,” said Newlands, who replaced Sands as CEO on March 1, when Sands, who had led Constellation since 2007, took the executive chair position.

Rob Sands, executive chair of Constellation Brands, sees a huge opportunity in cannabis.
Rob Sands, executive chair of Constellation Brands, sees a huge opportunity in cannabis.

Shares of Constellation ticked up slightly, and then rose nearly 3% the following day. The strategy behind the investment in cannabis may have been obvious to Sands, but it took the industry largely by surprise. “That was the last thing I was thinking I would read,” Tim Ramey, a food and beverage analyst with Pivotal Research Group, recalled. “To me the cannabis industry was a bunch of corner head shops,” he said, rather than a scalable, strategic investment. At the time, Constellation was the only major beverage business thinking seriously about cannabis.

Sands wasn’t finished. In August 2018, Constellation Brands said it would increase its ownership to about 38% and pour another $4 billion US into Canopy. The terms of the deal allow Constellation to take up to a 55% stake — something Sands thinks it will do, calling a still larger investment a “no brainer.”

The hefty sum has already spooked investors.

In January, Constellation slashed its 2019 forecast because of additional expenses from the deal and expected weakness in its wine business. Shares of the company plummeted. That report shows just how much Constellation has on its plate. Not only is the company breaking ground in the cannabis sector, but it also has to keep up with evolving consumer tastes in alcohol, its core business. It’s not an easy feat. But Sands isn’t shying away from the challenge.

An ‘aggressive entrepreneur’

In many ways, Cannabis is an enticing new market for beverage companies. Consumers are increasingly looking for drinks that give them something extra: A jolt of caffeine, a nutritional boost or, in theory, a cannabis buzz. But Cannabis’ questionable legal status has scared off many big companies. “Other alcohol companies were saying no, or turning down opportunities to even meet with us in any meaningful way,” Bruce Linton, founder and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, told CNN Business. Linton reached out to Constellation Brands (STZ) after he saw that Sands had said publicly that cannabis could be a good move for the company. He sent a LinkedIn message to a member of Constellation’s business development team in 2016. Less than a year later, the deal was announced.

Workers harvest cannabis plants in July 2018 at a facility operated by Canopy Growth in Smith Falls, Ontario.Workers harvest cannabis plants in July 2018 at a facility operated by Canopy Growth in Smith Falls, Ontario.

Sands is an “aggressive entrepreneur,” Linton noted. “He interacts with a purpose.” Linton said he gets emails from Sands at 1:30 in the morning, and that they have quick, decisive conversations. “When you talk to him, it’s three minutes and you get it done.” The decision to invest in Canopy “was vintage Rob Sands,” said Bob Duffy, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, where Sands serves as chairman of the board. “It’s a gutsy, courageous, bold decision.” Sands “has the courage to lead and take action, and he does it without any hesitation,” Duffy said. Sands likes to play devil’s advocate, Newlands said, to make sure big decisions have been fully considered. Often, Sands will argue against his own opinion. “He’d much rather have a long debate around a topic,” than make a quick call and rethink it later, Newlands noted. The “beauty of that is that it allows us to make, in some instances, fairly bold decisions.”

‘It’s a bold move. Is it a risky move?’

Congress voted to legalize hemp in the United States late last year as part of the 2018 farm bill, months after Constellation upped its stake in Canopy. Hemp is high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound which some say helps reduce anxiety and stress, and low in THC, which gets you high. Before the farm bill passed, the DEA had said that it wouldn’t go after businesses and consumers over hemp or CBD. But companies that tried to sell CBD drinks nationally ran into problems. Dirty Lemon, a startup that sells beverages over text, pulled its CBD drink after trucking companies refused to ship the products and insurance carriers refused to work with Dirty Lemon because of the CBD beverages. The farm bill should make laws around selling CBD products easier. But marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and it’s not clear when, or if, that will change.

Marijuana plants are seen at the Canopy Grown cannabis factory in Smiths Falls, Canada.Marijuana plants are seen at the Canopy Grown cannabis factory in Smiths Falls, Canada.

Sands isn’t bothered by any of that. “You don’t have to read the tea leaves very closely to understand that it’s being legalized in one form or another pretty much all around the world on a rapid basis,” he said. For Constellation, “it’s going to be a multi-billion dollar business.”

“It’s a bold move,” he said. “Is it a risky move? I’d say probably not as risky as it seems from the outside.”

Sands’ cannabis pitch is clear and convincing. In the Constellation Brands’ Victor, New York office, on a frosty day in December, he laid out the reasoning in a straightforward, methodical way. Constellation Brands is “all about entertainment and making life enjoyable,” he said. People who drink beer and wine may also want to try a nonalcoholic cannabis beverage, or eat a cannabis-infused snack. With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, Constellation has a guaranteed market. Even if the US government drags its feet, Constellation can start selling cannabis products in Canada.

“Just based on Canada alone, our investment’s really going to be good,” Sands explained. Anything else is “gravy.”

Cannabis is ‘a huge global opportunity’

Newlands is all-in on the investment. “We put ourselves in a position to be the leader in a once-in-a-lifetime growth opportunity,” he said. Cannabis will “be an important part of our success story in the future.” Sands sees the Canopy investment as comparable to other mergers and acquisitions that have helped Constellation Brands grow. “Constellation is a very entrepreneurial company,” he said. And “entrepreneurship is not gambling — It’s taking very calculated risks.”

At first, Sands saw the partnership with Canopy as allowing Constellation to make non-alcoholic cannabis beverages. But after a second epiphany, he started to think bigger. “We shouldn’t be restricting ourselves to either just beverages or any particular market” like Canada, he said. Cannabis is “a huge global opportunity.”

Sands poses for a portrait in a wine cellar at Constellation Brands' headquarters in Victor, New York. Sands poses for a portrait in a wine cellar at Constellation Brands’ headquarters in Victor, New York.

Sands has a grand vision for the partnership. Through Canopy, Constellation will enter into medical cannabis, edibles — every cannabis channel, in every market where it’s legal. “Canopy is Constellation’s arm for participation in the cannabis sector,” he explained. Sands plan has convinced some analysts.

Ramey wrote in October that Constellation Brands is on “an upward trajectory,” adding that “the core business is growing faster than anyone believed, and the Canopy Growth investment is very likely a masterstroke.” Ramey has a personal investment in Canopy Growth. Vivien Azer, an analyst who covers the beverage and cannabis sectors for Cowen,wrote in a December note that she expects Constellation’s “first mover advantage in cannabis to pay dividends as the industry continues to gain momentum and more traditional CPG companies look to enter the space.”

A boon for investors

Thanks in large part to Sands leadership, what seemed unthinkable in October 2017 is becoming the norm. Molson Coors Canada announced a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a Canadian cannabis company, in August of last year. Marlboro-owner Altria announced in December that it is investing $1.8 billion in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group. Soon after AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, announced that it is teaming up with Canada’s Tilray to research cannabis-infused drinks. Cannabis may be a good bet, but it’s not yet a sure thing. Consumers may always have a taste for cannabis, Ramey noted, but a long path to legalization could be a problem. The question is, “did they miscalculate how quickly the development of the market could occur,” he said. There’s also a risk to Constellation’s stock price in the short term, Ramey said. Shares of Canopy Growth swung wildly when recreational cannabis became legal in Canada, a case of investors buying the rumor and selling the news. That volatility could drag down Constellation Brand’s stock, Ramey noted. But if Canopy shares soar, they could lift Constellation’s stock as well. Sands sees the investment as a boon to Constellation’s shareholders. “They’re getting the cannabis business for free,” he said.< — CNN Business’ Paul R. La Monica contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on CNN Business

Cannabis Female Executives Feel Frustration On International Women’s Day

Cannabis Female Executives Feel Frustration On International Women’s Day

[Canniseur: A lot of forces may be at work causing the reduction of women leaders in the Cannabis industry. This doesn’t make it right. Shedding the light on this problem can change it.]

March 8 is International Women’s Day and while there are many successes to celebrate in the cannabis industry for women, there is increasingly the feeling that many of the early gains are slipping away. In the early days of the cannabis industry, it was estimated that over 36% of the companies were led by women, that number is believed to have slipped to 27%. Some think it is even lower.

Diane Katz, President of Electrum Partners, a venture management company specializing in
medical and adult use cannabis and ancillary businesses said, “I know many women in the space and they are extremely frustrated.” Katz noted that she has a great deal of experience in many industries and feels the cannabis industry treats women worse than other industries.

“I have sat at multiple meetings where I’m the only woman in the room and I get no eye contact,” she said. Katz relayed stories of women she knows that apply for licenses but gets dismayed when they continually get awarded to men. “Women represent such a large portion of the cannabis market now, but if licenses aren’t awarded to them or companies don’t add more women to the executive suite, how can they address these markets appropriately,” she asked. Katz said she attended a cannbis conference that was supposed to target women and investing, but every panel was only populated by men.

A report from the Cannabis Consumers Coalition (CCC) says that just as many women consume cannabis as men. This result is dramatically different from other reports that usually find that men dominate the cannabis consumption crowd. CCC’s survey  had 53% of women consuming cannabis versus 42% for men. “Although there is a disparity among reports of the gender of the cannabis consumers, the importance of the female consumer is not negligible,” said Larisa Bolivar, author of the report. “The most profound finding in our report was that that majority of respondents were women by over a 15% margin.”

Carol Ortega Algarra, Founder & Managing Director of Muisca Capital Group also voiced the same observations as Katz. “I have always been the only woman in the room,” said Algarra. “And the only Latina in the room. Unfortunately, the numbers of female executives are limited, not only for women but also for Latinas.” Her background is in the accounting industry and after receiving a Masters Degree from NYU, ended up in Portland OR working for a cannabis company.

She also believes that women in cannabis have a harder time than men in raising money for ventures. They have mostly given up on the cannabis venture funds and have turned to female-led funds. These have sprung up as women in finance realized that women were not signing deals the way men were.

Katz told of a woman she knew who had a bubbly voice and enthusiasm for her business, but that trait was not respected by men looking to invest in the cannabis industry. She wasn’t taken seriously because her voice didn’t have business gravitas. Female investors have a different reaction to that type of executive.

Looking Ahead

Alagarra is hoping to bring more diversity and inclusion into the industry. She founded Cannabis Entrepreneurs Network and has been providing help with financial knowledge. “We’ve been putting our effort in terms of education. We’re teaching them what a financial statement is, what ROI is and how to prepare decks.” Katz is working at Electrum to help build female networks to bring together alliances. “I think women can run things differently because it’s a new industry and its ripe to do things in a new way.”

The post Cannabis Female Executives Feel Frustration On International Women’s Day appeared first on Green Market Report.

Original Post: Green Market Report: Cannabis Female Executives Feel Frustration On International Women’s Day

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

[Canniseur: Fabulous list of honorees! These women are all certainly making their mark in the cannabis industry, but where’s the diversity? Certainly there are women of color who should be on this list.]

At High Times, we strive to uplift and center the women who make the cannabis space what it is: innovative, progressive, inclusive, and welcoming. This International Women’s Day, we’d like to announce the 2019 High Times Women of Weed honorees. These twenty individuals have made significant change, progress, and advances in their fields—and of course, in cannabis. Ahead of this year’s Women of Weed event, here are the honorees and what they do:

Courtesy of Alison Gordon

Alison Gordon

Alison is a veteran of the Canadian cannabis industry, bringing unique experiences and relationships to her role as Chief Executive Officer of 48North. A skilled marketer, she is celebrated for her ability to shift public opinion and consumer behavior. She’s even been named one of Canada’s Top 10 Marketers by Marketing Magazine and was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Cannabis Canada Council in 2018.

As co-founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, Alison is credited with growing a new generation of young breast cancer supporters compelled by her groundbreaking communication and pharmaceutical expertise in the healthcare realm. Today, Alison is applying her skills to 48North’s business plan in this new era of the cannabis industry.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

M’leah Webb

Amanda Ostrowitz

Amanda Ostrowitz is a regulatory attorney and entrepreneur who’s identified a need for a user-friendly, scalable platform to research regulations and laws in the cannabis industry.

Amanda founded RegsTechnology and its current product, CannaRegs, as a tool to aid attorneys, business people, and governments with localized tracking of regulatory issues.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Amanda Reiman

Amanda Reiman

Amanda Reiman is the Vice President of Community Relations for Flow Kana, a branded cannabis distribution company that works with small farmers in the Emerald Triangle. She is also on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association, a Board member for the California Cannabis Tourism Association, the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association, The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, and The Initiative—the first incubator/accelerator for women owned cannabis businesses.

After receiving her PhD from UC Berkeley, Dr. Reiman was the Director of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the country, and the Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance. -She also taught courses on substance abuse treatment and drug policy at UC Berkeley for 10 years and has published several research articles and book chapters on the use of cannabis as a substitute for opiates and the social history of the cannabis movement. Amanda currently resides in Ukiah, CA.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Jordan Rahmil

Amy McClintick

Amy McClintick has been a key player on the Cura team since its inception. After starting in Sales Operations, Amy is a shining example of what it looks like to grow with the company and industry. Moving from her previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Amy is essential to the Cura team and comes with in-depth knowledge of the cannabis industry, operations, compliance and regulations. Additionally, Amy has proven the ability to fast track the company into new markets. Under her direction, Cura’s new internationally-based team has become a focused and powerful force of superstars achieving history-breaking sales numbers.

Prior to Cura, Amy built a 15-year independent career in the study and practice of holistic medicine—a personal passion that has proven to enhance her positive influence on Cura’s path forward. Amy’s multi-platform career experience includes specialization within management and business operations, with notable top-performance awards within tech sales and food and beverage distribution.

Amy graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in Marketing and Political Science. She is a native of Idaho, but has made Portland her home since 2005. She is a wine connoisseur and, with what little spare time she has, runs a wine tasting club.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Jillian Reddish

Cassandra Farrington

Cassandra heads up the cannabis industry leading daily news website Marijuana Business Daily and its family of content resources for the B2B cannabis marketplace, including the internationally recognized family of MJBizCon conferences.

Previously a vice president at Citi, she earned her MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business. Cassandra and her business partner co-founded MJBizDaily in 2011; it is now the most established ongoing business to business news organization serving the cannabis industry.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Cevon Levy

Cevon Levy

Holding an expertise in luxury fashion, Cevon started her career in international production and transitioned into business development and executive roles across the international fashion industry.

In 2017, Cevon partnered with Avanzato Tech to create House of Eden, an 18k gold, charge-free vaporizer geared toward the chic consumer.

For women by women, House of Eden is the first of its kind to raise the bar for your vaporizing experience.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Jennifer Skog

Corey Thomas 

Corey Thomas is a second generation cannabis farmer, founder of Honey Pot and a fourteen-time cannabis cup winner. In 2018 Thomas rebranded Honey Pot, re-released some of her award-winning products and released a new line of vaporizers infused with organic essential oils.

Today, Honey Pot holds the title of High Times most awarded topical manufacturer with products that have developed a loyal consumer following and a distribution network including some of California’s most popular dispensaries.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Cynthia Salarizadeh

Cynthia Salarizadeh

Cynthia Salarizadeh is Managing Partner at KCSA Strategic Communications, the founder of the cannabis industry’s leading newswire and entrepreneur tech suite, AxisWire, and the founder of the luxury brand House of Saka, which houses world’s first cannabis infused still and sparkling rosé out of Napa Valley.

Additionally, Cynthia is the co-founder of Green Market Media which is currently most recognized for its cannabis finance news publication Green Market Report, as well as co-founder of the network Industry Power Women.

Prior to joining KCSA, Cynthia was the Founder and CEO of the leading cannabis public relations firm Salar Media Group, which KCSA acquired. She is also a council member on Forbes Communications Council as well as a contributing writer for Entrepreneur on the leading women and business of cannabis.

In 2018, Cynthia was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year and CEO of the Year by her peers through Cashinbis, she was named by High Times as one of the 100 Women in High Places and featured by Dope
Magazine as one of the “Outstanding Women in Cannabis”. Cynthia earned her degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a certificate in political journalism from Georgetown University.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the co-founder and CEO of the cannabis financial news website Green Market Report. Debra has covered the cannabis industry since its earliest stages when she recognized that the legalization story was the biggest business news story of the decade. As a senior producer and reporter
at, Debra was awarded by the American Society of Business Publication Editors in 2014 in the Best Video—News category for “Guess Where People Want To Buy Pot.”

Debra is also a Co-Founder of the women’s cannabis executives networking group Industry Power Women and serves on the board of the cannabis newswire Axiswire.

She began her career in the securities industry where she was a Vice President at Bear Stearns, holding three securities licenses. She left Wall Street to earn her Masters Degree in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University. At that point she embarked on a career as a financial journalist and spent eight years at working daily with Jim Cramer.

Looking ahead to 2019, Debra has big plans for GMR, which includes the launch of additional websites. Following the successful Green Market Summit in 2018, she is planning her next Green Market Summit event in Chicago on May 7—in addition to everything else, she is a frequent panel moderator and guest at cannabis conferences.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Beth Stavola

Elizabeth Stavola 

Beth Stavola is Chief Strategy Officer and Board Member of iAnthus Capital, and is also the founder and CEO of the top CBD self-care and wellness brand, CBD For Life.

In 2017 Cannabis Business Executive named Beth #3 on the “CBE 75 Most Important Women In Cannabis” list for being a true pioneer cannabis operator and is one of the only female C-Suite executives in the public, multi-state cannabis companies.

Beth holds the esteemed honor of being named as one of the leading medical cannabis expert entrepreneurs on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2014 by Congresswoman Dina Titus. She holds a BS in Finance and Economics from Monmouth University and spent most of her Wall Street career at Jefferies and Company.

Beth resides in New Jersey wth her beautiful family and is proud to be the mother of six children.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Emily Paxhia

Emily Paxhia 

Emily Paxhia is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Poseidon. She has reviewed thousands of companies in the cannabis industry and has worked with countless founders in many capacities, such as shaping pitch preparations and market strategies and product launches, and advising on day-to-day business operations. Emily has over 10 years of experience working as a consultant and researcher and has become an expert at extracting actionable insights from research and applying them to make corporations function more efficiently and successfully.

Emily has also dedicated time and energy to supporting policy groups and has served on the Board of Directors of the Marijuana Policy Project. She also currently serves on the Board of Athletes for CARE.

Emily graduated from New York University with an M.A. in Psychology in 2008.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Grace Lahlouh

Grace Lahlouh 

Grace Lahlouh is a self-described “motivated stoner”. A cannabis consumer since her teens, Grace left a successful career in real estate to join two friends at Ganja Gold to become pioneers in the fight to end prohibition.

A California native, she relocated to Los Angeles in 2016 to expand the company, running distribution, curating events, writing, and donating cannabis to the homeless. She feels honored and humbled to be named one of the High Times Women of Weed.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Ognjen Ugljenović

Jackee Stang

Jackee Stang is a serial marketing entrepreneur with a distinct focus on building brands that aim to help people live better lives. She is the founder of High Times’ Women of Weed and the High Times’ Women’s Council, and is the former the VP of Programming at High Times Magazine.

An award-winning producer for Bulletproof Radio, Jackee is the co-founder of Quarter Brands, a new lifestyle cannabis brand available at MedMen, and is also the president of Delic—an emerging new media brand mainstreaming psychedelic culture.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Nicole Hanratty

Jamie Pearson

Jamie Pearson, COO of Bhang Corporation, is a rare, second-generation cannabis executive. She has been a leader in numerous industries including real estate finance, investment, and strategic celebrity cannabis partnerships.

Jamie is widely recognized as a win/win deal-making ninja, and leads negotiations for all global joint ventures and licensing deals for Bhang—the world’s most-awarded and distributed cannabis brand featuring the eight-time Cannabis Cup winning line of gourmet chocolate bars and an award-winning line of CBD products.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Karson Humiston

Karson Humiston

Karson Humiston is the Founder and CEO of Vangst, the cannabis industry’s leading hiring platform. Launching in 2016, Vangst has connected over 10,000 people with jobs at over 650 leading cannabis businesses. Vangst has raised over $12M in funding from institutional investors.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Chris Mirosevic

Kathleen Thibault

Kathleen Thibault is the driving force behind constructive change at Advanced Nutrients, Big Mike’s Blends and Lacturnus Labs, spearheading the culture of advocacy that is foundational to the company. As a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, Kathleen brings over two decades of professional experience in assessment, research and policy to her position as chief culture and people officer with tertiary qualifications in psychology, social work, and health policy.

When she first joined the Advanced Nutrients family, Kathleen immediately set about reviving the company messaging, starting with edifying BigMike’s core values. To that end, she has implemented new hiring practices and training systems that have achieved a more diverse, inclusive and insightful company atmosphere.

Cannabis has a fearsome proponent in Kathleen Thibault.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Maya Elisabeth

Maya Elisabeth

Maya Elisabeth is dedicated to creating the highest quality cannabis products. She is the owner and operator of Om Edibles and Whoopi and Maya, two companies that specialize in treating cannabis as a superfood.

Then winner of 11 High Times Cannabis Cup awards and 9 Emerald Cup awards, she knows her products are only as good as the ingredients she uses to create them.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Cynthia Howard

Rachel Gillette 

Rachel Gillette is among the first attorneys in the nation to dedicate her practice to the cannabis industry. Since 2010, she has helped cannabis businesses with licensing and regulatory compliance, business law and transactions, contract drafting and review, tax litigation, corporate formation, and tax matters, including audit representation. She works with startups and entrepreneurs, investors, and ancillary industry businesses to help develop the cannabis innovation ecosystem, and is a zealous advocate for the industry.

Rachel has served as the executive director of the Colorado state chapter of NORML, and was a founding member of Women Grow and the National Cannabis Bar Association.

She earned her JD from the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut, where she served as Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac University Probate Law Journal. During law school, she interned with the New Haven Public Defender’s office. It was there where she developed her commitment to advocacy for those facing the many challenges of the criminal justice system.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Courtesy of Raechel White

Raechel White

Raechel White joined Cresco Labs in January of 2018 as the Director of Marketing and Communications. Raechel joined Cresco from a position in sales marketing Pandora Media, where she led the sales narrative efforts for healthcare, quick service restaurant, and consumer packaged goods sales teams.

Prior to her time at Pandora, Raechel served as a marketing specialist at Centro Media. Now serving as Director of Brand Marketing at Cresco Labs, Raechel leads the national implementation of a strategic house of brands, tailored to all major consumer segments in medical and recreational markets.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees

Holly Aubry

Rylie Maedler

At 13 years old, Rylie Maedler has accomplished more than most of us midway into adulthood. Not only is this teenage powerhouse the CEO of her own cannabis company, Rylie’s Sunshine, and the founder of a non profit, Rylie’s Smile Foundation, but she is the driving force behind three laws granting children in her home state of Delaware legal access to medical cannabis.

She travels the world speaking at medical cannabis conferences, advocates for pediatrics to have safe access to medical cannabis and for advancements in the research of rare diseases using cannabis preparations.

Rylie has found a way to continue her goals while living a full and happy life, despite having a seizure disorder and one of the rarest types of debilitating bone tumors in the world, AGCG.

While the word “inspirational” is grossly overused, there is no other word to describe the young cannabis activist and daily medical cannabis user.

Rylie is an honors student in the 7th grade who also loves to sing and spend quality time with her cat, Toby.

Meet The 2019 High Times Women of Weed Honorees was posted on High Times.

Women Grow Announces First East Coast Summit in June

Women Grow Announces First East Coast Summit in June

[Editor’s Note: The 1st annual east coast Women Who Grow cannabis conference is coming to Washington DC. Look for great networking and discussions. See you there!]

Women Grow NYC holds monthly networking events at Galvanize.

As the cannabis and hemp industries continue to build throughout the U.S., no area has experienced as rapid a growth as the East Coast. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont (plus Washington, DC) have all established medical-cannabis programs, several states (Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont) have passed adult-use laws and several more are on their way or still weighing the option. Hemp is also poised to be a major force in the region.

Reparative justice, equity programs, diversity and inclusion, environmental and public-safety concerns and evolving regulations are all part of the ongoing conversation shaping East Coast cannabis.

Here’s how Women Grow plans to impact East Coast female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Summit Moves to DC

Women Grow will bring its annual Leadership Summit to Washington, DC in on June 7-8 at the Washington Court Hotel. It will be the first woman-focused cannabis conference on the East Coast. This is a unique opportunity for us to carry our message to the nation’s capital while introducing the Women Grow brand to a new audience. Women Grow’s new leadership team also hails from the area, exemplifying the many opportunities now available to those outside of traditional cannabis strongholds.

Growing East Coast Markets

As the popularity of adult-use cannabis legislation intensifies nationwide, East Coast governors have responded to this trend by accelerating legalization efforts. New Jersey and New York are discussing such measures, expanding their medical programs to serve more patients and embracing the rising industrial hemp industry.

Women Grow’s headquarters and leadership has been on the East Coast since 2017 (we were founded in Denver in 2014). Based on feedback we’ve received, we intend to increase our East Coast presence in 2019, ensuring that women in these regions who seek to enter the industry have access to an active community and dedicated support.

Educational Programs

Reparative justice, equity programs, diversity and inclusion, environmental and public-safety concerns and evolving regulations are all part of the ongoing conversation shaping East Coast cannabis. Educating our members on these and other issues related to business, healthcare and social justice is a major component to ensuring the viability of the entire industry. Women Grow will continue its series of educational initiatives aimed at preparing the next generation of women leaders and refining the skills of trailblazers already within the space.

As the cannabis renaissance continues, the East Coast is sure to emerge as a major hub for years to come. Women Grow is committed to helping the women of the region be a part of this budding industry.

Original Post: Freedom Leaf: Women Grow Announces First East Coast Summit in June

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