D.C. medical cannabis market sales still dropping; VA continues to lob fines at hemp businesses


Catch the Smoke: Aug. 21, 2023

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D.C. medical cannabis sales continue to drop

As Maryland’s new recreational market hits records with sales, D.C.’s metrics continue their two month drop, according to ABCA monthly metrics released last week. D.C. dispensaries sold $2,964,534 worth of product in July 2023. Despite the falling sales, July 2023 is still beating 2022 sales by a miniscule $34,000. It is not clear if this fall in sales mirrors a commonly slow retail August or reflects Maryland smokers now picking up in that state’s new adult-use market. Of course, these metrics do not track D.C.’s hundreds of gifting shops. 2,500 lbs of cannabis was destroyed in July about 34% less than June.

On the mission to Statehood

A documentary exploring D.C.’s cannabis industry and the shackles of lacking statehood showed at the DC Black Film Festival this past weekend. Higher Power covers Black Washingtonians’ struggle to enter the legal cannabis industry. This of course was filmed before the new medical market expansion that is D.C.’s first serious effort at chasing industry equity. We want a sequel! Listen to WAMU interview Rafi Crockett, the executive producer.

Remember: The next license application period opens on Aug. 29, 2023 at 9AM. Questions can be sent to ABCA.cannabislicensing@dc.gov. 

MD woman looks to train unemployed and formally charged for weed jobs

CannabizMD, owned by Jacquie Cohen Roth,is training people looking for jobs and those with prior cannabis charges for work in the cannabis industry. She also plans to train people who will process, grow, test and sell cannabis. Roth hopes to help people who will now have to show the state a certification to work in the industry.

  • Another entrepreneur, Jeff Diggs, plans to help businesses that will be tossing green cannabis waste come the increase of licensed growers.

Improvements already in the pipeline

Maryland lawmakers are considering amendments to the state’s new marijuana legalization law for the 2024 legislative session. The proposed changes include allowing home cultivation, reducing the tax rate on retail sales, and expunging the records of people convicted of minor marijuana offenses. The changes include allowing adults 21 and older to grow up to six plants per household, reducing the retail tax rate from 6% to 3% and automatically expunging minor cannabis offenses. The proposed amendments are still in the early stages, and it is unclear whether they will be adopted by the legislature.

VA continues to lob fines at hemp businesses 

Hemp sellers in Virginia continue to get hit with thousands of dollars of fines for selling hemp products not in compliance with the new laws that went into effect last month. CBD products must not conform to a 25-to-1 ratio of CBD. Six businesses faced fines totaling over $200,000. The fines could be reduced if paid within 30 days.

East Coast Round Up

Big government 

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill creating a commission to study the feasibility of legalizing marijuana through a state-run model. The commission will be tasked with drafting legislation to enact the reform and its work is due Dec. 1, 2023.

NY still on pause

A beleaguered cannabis market in New York faces an extension in its most recent set back. A judge extended the pause on licenses last week for another 14 days due to a lawsuit by veterans who claim the social equity program in discriminatory.

Culture Corner

Cannabis leads to reduction in health costs

A new study found that states with legal medical marijuana have seen significant reductions in health insurance premiums. The study analyzed a decade’s worth of private health insurance data and found that premiums dropped by $1,663 after 7 years in states with medical marijuana laws. The study’s authors say that the decline in premiums is likely due to the fact that medical marijuana can help people manage chronic conditions, which can lead to lower healthcare costs.

Substance use on the rise across the board

A new study found that marijuana and hallucinogen use, as well as binge drinking, reached historic highs among adults ages 35-50 in 2022. Hallucinogen use among adults in this age group reached an all-time high of 4%, up from 2% in 2021. Binge drinking also reached a record high of 29%, up from 26% in 2021. The study was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and surveyed over 70,000 adults.

  • Colorado generated more tax revenue from marijuana than alcohol or cigarettes during the last fiscal year.

  • According to a Gallup poll, half of all American adults (50%) have tried cannabis at least once. This number has increased from approximately one-in-three Americans two decades ago (33%).

From the Swamp

  • Back and forthThe Justice Department has appealed a federal court ruling that found the ban on marijuana users possessing guns unconstitutional. The DOJ argued that the appeals court had misapplied the Supreme Court’s precedent on gun rights. he case is the latest in a series of challenges to the federal ban on gun ownership by marijuana users.

This week, don’t miss

The Black Canni

The Living Well presents The Black Canni, a conference focused on Black entrepreneurs and leaders in the cannabis industry at Baltimore Unity Hall. (Oct. 14-15; $25-100)


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