Weekly News in Cannabis – February 22nd

by | Feb 22, 2019

Colorado Legal Cannabis Sales Over $6 Billion in 2018

Since legalizing recreational pot in 2014, Colorado’s marijuana market continues to reach all-time highs (no pun intended). Recently released figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue show the state’s total cannabis market for 2018 reached $6 billion in sales.

Most of the growth in Colorado’s marijuana market comes from recreational cannabis. Indeed, sales of medical marijuana (MMJ) have been declining ever since 2016.

Colorado’s MMJ market reached its peak in 2016 at $445 million, which represented a 6.6 percent increase from 2015. In 2018, MMJ sales only totaled about $332 million.

By contrast, the Centennial State’s recreational marijuana market has grown double-digits every year since the passage of Amendment 64. In 2017, recreational cannabis sales reached the $1 billion mark, and this number increased to $1.2 billion in 2018.

The Colorado Department of Revenue also noted that marijuana taxes have increased by about 8 percent between 2017 and 2018. From 2014 to 2018, the State of Colorado has collected almost $930 million in cannabis-related taxes.

California Introduces New Bill to Help Cannabis Companies Acquire Trademarks

One issue American cannabis companies face is obtaining legal trademarks. Since the US government still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, it’s impossible for companies to get their IP protected at the federal level.

Some states with legal recreational marijuana, however, have put laws into place to help companies with trademark protection. Most recently, lawmakers in California unveiled a bill they hope will protect the intellectual property of cannabis companies.

This new bill, listed as Assembly Bill 64, would give the State of California the authority to approve trademarks for companies that are involved in the marijuana industry. This bill would also clarify the state’s policies on where marijuana companies can legally advertise.

In addition to prohibitions for advertising near state borders, this new bill would make it illegal to put up marijuana ads by highways throughout the state. AB-64 would also loan $3 million to the California Highway Patrol to help improve marijuana-related DUI inspections.

To read the full text of AB-64, check out CA Legislature’s official website.

National Guard Set to Inspect Illegal Cannabis Farms in Northern California

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced he is assigning over 350 National Guard troops to help combat illegal marijuana cultivation. Supporters of this policy claim it will increase the safety of the Golden State’s legal marijuana growing industry.

Approximately 150 of these soldiers will check for illegal activity in Northern California marijuana farms. Hundreds of other troops will be tasked with tracking down marijuana smugglers at the US-Mexico border.

To further his anti-illegal marijuana agenda, Governor Newsom supports investing more money into the state’s Counterdrug Task Force. In his letter to the state’s Secretary of Defense, Gov. Newsom said his primary objective is to combat illegal drug cartels.

Not much is known about how the National Guard will complete its tasks, which has led some critics to fear a new government-backed war on cannabis. If all goes according to plan, however, the National Guard should complete this operation by the end of March.

Millennials “Like” Cannabis Stocks, New Robinhood Data Suggests

New info from the mobile trading platform Robinhood shows millennials are the most likely demographic to invest in cannabis companies. According to this new data, more millennials are invested in cannabis stocks than big-name tech.

The most conspicuous case of the cannabis stock craze is Canadian-based company Aurora Cannabis. Only four months ago, Aurora ranked 22nd in Robinhood’s list of most popular stocks. Today, Aurora has surpassed tech giant Apple as the most popular stock on Robinhood.

One reason for Aurora’s sudden rise might have to do with the company’s recent talks with Coca-Cola. Although the iconic American beverage company has expressed interest in working with Aurora, a deal has yet to be confirmed.

A significant reason for the rise of cannabis-related stocks has to do with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in 2018. Other hot Canadian cannabis stocks include Cronos and Aphria.

Almost all surveys show millennials are the most likely group to support recreational cannabis legalization. Indeed, a recent Pew Research poll found that nearly 85 percent of millennials support legal marijuana.

First Shipment of Medical Marijuana Arrives in the UK

Just a few months after the UK legalized medical marijuana, the country has received its first supply of medical-grade cannabis from the Netherlands’ Office of Medicinal Cannabis. UK patients who have a prescription from a specialist can now obtain marijuana at dispensaries throughout the nation.

Since November of 2018, specialist doctors in the UK have been allowed to prescribe marijuana at their discretion. A few conditions the UK recognizes, include multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and cancer. Under current law, primary care physicians in the UK are still barred from prescribing medical marijuana.

Since 1971, marijuana has been listed as an illegal substance in the UK. A primary reason Members of Parliament changed their cannabis policy had to do with high-profile cases of epileptic children who were denied access to medical marijuana.

A recent YouGov poll shows there’s excellent support for medical marijuana in the UK, especially amongst millennials. About 75 percent of UK millennials said they believe marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes.