Posts Tagged ‘marijuana business’

Recreational Cannabis in Nevada Hits a Roadblock

vegas-cannabisExcited for recreational marijuana in Nevada on July 1? Hold that thought.

On Tuesday, a Carson City judge, James Wilson, issued an injunction that reverses the Tax Department’s decision to allow more than just alcohol wholesalers to transport recreational marijuana from growers to dispensaries. The move could delay a planned July start date for recreational cannabis sales.

When voters approved Question 2 to legalize recreational marijuana in November, the initiative included a requirement that distribution licenses would be issued only to alcohol wholesalers for the first 18 months of sales.

Representatives from the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada (IADON) and the state Department of Taxation gave testimony on Monday in an 8-hour hearing. In his 11-page ruling, Wilson said that a “brief filed on behalf of the liquor distributors corroborated evidence that the businesses would be shut out of the marijuana distribution business entirely if the tax department issues licenses to non-alcohol distributors…Once licenses are issued to others, it will be difficult if not impossible to revoke those licenses.

However, the Department of Taxation said in March that there was limited interest among alcohol wholesalers and that the requirement would result in an in insufficient number of distributors.

According to the spokesperson for the tax department, Stephanie Klapstein, at the end of the application deadline in May, only five of 93 applications for recreational cannabis distribution licenses were issued to alcohol wholesalers. And of those five, none have actually completed the application. The other 85 applications were from existing medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Nevada Department of Taxation is reviewing the court’s decision with the attorney general’s office and “will explore all legal avenues to proceed with the program as provided in the regulations,” Klapstein said in a statement.

The approval of Question 2 tasked the state with creating a regulated marijuana sales structure by the start of 2018. But after visiting and studying other states that legalized marijuana, Nevada officials determined that waiting a full year after the drug became legal would risk growing the black market. Instead, they planned for an “early start” to get the program up and running by July.

Colorado Cannabis Tax Revenue Exceeds $105 Million

mjbizColorado governor John Hickenlooper signed a budget bill on Friday that earmarks how marijuana tax revenue will be spent. Marijuana is still big business in Colorado, and tax revenue from the 2016-2017 fiscal year brought more than $105 million to the state’s “Marijuana Cash Fund.”

The bill allocates funds to programs that support health programs in public schools, housing for at-risk populations, and treatment programs aimed at combating the opioid epidemic.

Housing for at-risk populations:
$15.3 million of the tax revenue will be used to pay for “permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing assistance for individuals with behavioral health needs, and for individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. By providing stable housing, which includes rental assistance and supportive services, we expect to reduce incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness for many of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Addressing Mental Health in Colorado’s Criminal Justice System:
The Department of Human Services will receive $7.1 million aimed at “ending the use of jails for holding people who are experiencing a mental health crisis, and to implement criminal justice diversion programs at the local level. These initiatives will help direct individuals with immediate mental health and substance needs to more appropriate services outside the criminal justice system.”

School Health Professionals Grant Program:
Colorado’s Department of Education will receive $9.7 million. The money will go towards hiring 150 health care workers  who will visit high schools statewide to provide “education, universal screening, referral, and care coordination for students with substance abuse and other behavioral health needs.”

Unregulated “Gray Market” Medical Marijuana Activity:
$5.9 million will be doled out to combat the gray market–marijuana diverted from the regulated medical and recreational markets and sold in the unregulated market. Funds will go towards reimbursing local governments for law enforcement and prosecutions costs. In addition, the governor signed legislation that places a new 12-plant cap on the number of plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for Opioid Addiction:
Finally, Hickenlooper signed a bill that allocates $500,000 per year for the next two years towards creating a pilot program to expand access to medication-assisted treatment in Pueblo and Routt, two Colorado counties hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

Still Plenty of Investment Opportunity in Cannabis

marijuana-bankingWhile many players in the cannabis industry are a bit hesitant about its future given its still illegal status with the federal government, many cannabis entrepreneurs still see a lot of hope for the future of the industry.

Traditionally, access to banking and venture capital has been difficult for new cannabis businesses. Lately, due to the rapid legalization of cannabis on the state level (8 states are fully legal, 20+ have medical marijuana laws), more opportunity exists for banking and potential investing.

As the cannabis industry in legal states continues to boom in legal states, New Frontier Data, an organization specializing in industry statistics, predicts legal marijuana sales will jump to more than $24 billion by 2025. As a result, some venture capital companies are diving on the opportunity while its here.

While there’s plenty of cashflow coming from the cannabis industry, entrepreneurs have found it to be a difficult road to navigate since investors with deep pockets are few and far between. Limited access to banking and the overall acceptance of cannabis nationwide still holds many back from investing in a cannabis business.

Whatever the future holds, the majority of Americans currently support legal cannabis, and the industry continues to expand state-to-state every year.

 

Looking for an investment opportunity? Check out our investor’s page!

Marijuana Could Benefit Native Tribes in Nevada

tribal lands cannabisLast week, tribal leaders in Nevada testified in support of a bill that would bring the medical and recreational cannabis industry to tribal lands.

Senate Bill 375, introduced by Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), would allow the state to work with individual tribes whose tribal councils have approved medical and/or recreational cannabis.

“The tribes would oversee what is happening on their reservation, but when they participate in the system they would have to follow the state rules,” Segerblom said of the bill.

Opening marijuana dispensaries and production facilities could be a big deal for the tribes, bringing revenue and new opportunities to their communities. Most of the tribal leaders at last Thursday’s meeting said that marijuana could help mitigate high unemployment and poverty rates.

Tildon Smart, former chairman of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone tribe, said that about 98 percent of her community of 1,100 are unemployed.

“We lack a tribal court system, we lack a police department, we lack health services – this may help create those services,” said David Decker, Chairman of the Elko Band Council for the Te-Moak Tribe of the Western Shoshone. “Just to pay for dispatch, this is very expensive. This could help us pay for all those economic securities that we currently can’t provide.”

If the bill passes, Nevada wouldn’t be the first state to reach a compact with tribes. In 2015, the Suquamish and Squaxin Island tribes signed 10-year compacts with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Unfortunately, Washington seems to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to cannabis on American Indian reservations. Similar compacts between tribes and states have fallen flat, especially because tribes still have to contend with the federal government–many tribes rely on federal funds to keep their communities afloat.

“They are sticking their necks out on this one, but at some point you have to say, ‘We can’t sit around and twiddle our thumbs,'” Segerblom said. “I think the tribes – because they’re sovereign nations – they will have a better leg to stand on.”

Denver: First U.S. City to Allow Public Cannabis Use

Denver is one step closer to setting guidelines for public marijuana use in clubs and businesses located in Denver. The initiative, passed by voters in November, allows adults 21 and older to consume cannabis at marijuana clubs and places like yoga studios, art galleries, and coffee shops.

Regulators met with business owners, cannabis activists and detractors, and law enforcement authorities on Wednesday to hammer out details about what’s ahead for social cannabis use. Aside from the 21-and-up age restriction and a ban on smoking indoors, the initiative didn’t set rules for how these businesses operate.

So, what can you expect social cannabis use in Denver to look like? Here’s what we know so far:

  • Licenses for social cannabis use will cost $2,000 per year. Applications are available on January 20, but it’s worth noting that the city has no deadline for issuing the licenses. Supporters hope to see the first application approvals by this summer.
     
  • Forget about bringing your marijuana to restaurants or any business that serves booze–the state Liquor Control Board has already decided that businesses with a liquor license will not be allowed to apply for a social cannabis use license.
     
  • Social use clubs or venues will be strictly bring-your-own weed. Marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, will not be allowed to apply to the program.
     
  • Denver hasn’t set any zoning rules yet, but businesses interested in applying for a permit from the City of Denver must also have approval from their local neighborhood association or business group.
     
  • Tourists may have to depend on locals to direct them to pot bars, as advertising will likely be limited.
     
  • The initiative is a pilot program meant to last four years, until the end of 2020. At that point, City Council has the option of making changes, making it permanent, or allowing it to expire.

2016: The Year in Weed

2016 was a bummer for a lot of people, but 2016 marked a turning point in cannabis prohibition.

Here are a few of the biggest cannabis news stories of the year:

One Election to Rule them All

In the early months of 2016, the presidential race had a slew of candidates -all with very different stances on marijuana. While the outcome of the election and its impact on the marijuana industry are still unclear, states overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to cannabis.

As a result of November’s election, medical cannabis is legal in more than half of U.S. states. Medical marijuana measures were approved in Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota. In Montana, existing medical cannabis rules were expanded by removing the three-patient limit for providers.

Five states had ballot initiatives for recreational marijuana–California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Arizona–with four states approving the initiatives and Arizona as the only holdout.

More than 20% of the U.S. population will now live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. Medical marijuana is legal in 28 states.

Americans Love Weed

A host of polls and studies released in 2016 show the positive impact of cannabis legalization as well as just how much Americans’ views of marijuana have changed in the last few years.

In 2013, only 7 percent of adults said they were marijuana smokers. Gallup’s July poll reported that 13 percent currently use marijuana, equating to more than 33 million cannabis users in the U.S. About half of adults between the ages of 30 and 49 (50%) and between 50 and 64 (48%) report having tried it. 61 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization.

Marijuana has been a boon in states with medical and/or recreational marijuana laws:

The DEA’s War on Pot

In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency rejected a petition to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II.

The DEA’s report stated that there is “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and that there’s “high potential” for marijuana abuse that can lead to “severe psychological or physical dependence.”

However, there’s a growing amount of anecdotal and scientific evidence that marijuana has the potential treat symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including epilepsy and seizures, and to serve as an “adjunct to or substitute for opiates in the treatment of chronic pain.” Cannabis is also being used to treat heroin and opioid addiction.

Despite evidence to the contrary, in December, the DEA classified CBD, the cannabinoid that’s shown the most medicinal value and is non-psychoactive, as a Schedule I drug, right up there with heroin.

Cannabis Sales Boomtown

In the first ten months of 2016, medical and recreational cannabis sales in Colorado amounted to $1 billion. Yes, that’s ‘billion’ with a ‘B.’ The state was jut shy of that amount in 2015.

Medical and recreational cannabis can be a boon to a state’s economy, creating millions of dollars in tax revenues.

Florida, one of the states that approved a medical marijuana initiative, is poised to become the second largest medical marijuana market in the country, behind California.

Nationwide, some experts estimate that the legal marijuana industry in the U.S. industry could reach nearly $22 billion in total annual sales by 2020.

First Recreational Cannabis Shops to Open in Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city, will finally see its first retail marijuana shops open for business on December 17.

The state’s first dispensary opened October 29 in Valdez, nearly two years after Alaskans voted to legalize recreational cannabis sales. Dispensaries have been popping up around Alaska, but unlike other cities, Anchorage requires marijuana business applications to be certified by the state.

So far, only a few of dispensaries have passed final inspections and received the go-ahead from the state. One of the biggest hurdles for dispensary owners has been meeting building compliance codes. Under Alaska’s so-called “Title 21” rules, properties going through a change of use must be physically improved to meet modern standards.

“We have to come up to compliance, and it’s costing a lot of money to make sure that we have enough parking, snow removal, gates around our dumpsters and those kinds of things,” Jane Stinson, co-owner of Enlighten Alaska, told the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Erika McConnell, marijuana coordinator with the Municipality of Anchorage, isn’t blind to the difficulties facing business owners looking to open marijuana shops.

“I certainly have compassion for people who are pouring their life savings into opening their business,” McConnell said. “We are trying our best to keep the process moving and resolve any issues without putting up road blocks.”

“They can’t get finances from banks, can’t get investments from out of state, from larger companies, (so) they presumably don’t have very much capital available to them,” McConnell said. “So they have to look for these properties that are older, or vacant or less well-kept-up.”

A handful of retail pot shops are opening throughout the month, with more expected next year.

Cannabis Buyer’s Remorse? Not in Colorado!

Four years after voters approved Amendment 64, do Coloradans regret legalizing cannabis? Not according to a new poll that shows the majority of voters in the state, 51 percent, would oppose repealing the amendment if it were to appear on the ballot.

When asked about Amendment 64’s impact on Colorado, 47 percent said legal cannabis has been good for the state while 39 percent said it’s been bad, 9 percent said it’s had no real impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.

Marijuana’s impact on the state’s economy reported higher levels of approval: 61 percent said the impact has been positive — and 19 percent said it’s been negative, 14 percent said there has been no impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.

The poll was commissioned by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project and conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

Since legalization, Colorado has seen a drop in violent crime, increased tax revenue going to schools, new jobs, and a booming economy.

Despite how Coloradoans feel about legal cannabis, anti-marijuana groups and politicians who want to maintain prohibition see marijuana as some kind of doomsday catalyst. In March 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational marijuana “blood money.”

In an interview last year, presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said, “I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about it. They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.”

Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman and co-director of Colorado’s Yes on Amendment 64 campaign, is used to anti-cannabis rhetoric. “There are a lot of folks trying to make it seem like the sky is falling in Colorado or that voters regret their decision, but this is yet another poll showing that they still support it,”Tvert told the Cannabist.

“It’s easy for opponents of legalization to put words into the mouths of Colorado voters,” Tvert said, “but these results actually let voters speak for themselves, and voters by and large would not want to go back to prohibition.”

Florida: The Second Largest Medical Marijuana Market?

floridaOn November 8th, Floridians will once again vote on a proposed medical marijuana amendment. Amendment 2 would broaden medical marijuana access and expand the number of debilitating conditions eligible for treatment.

A vote in 2014 barely defeated a similar medical marijuana amendment. The measure received about 57% of the vote; 60% support is required to pass a ballot measure in Florida.

Florida has existing legislation that allows compassionate use of cannabis. Cancer, seizures, and people living with epilepsy have access to CDB-only products. Terminally ill patients who have less than one year to live are eligible to use cannabis with THC. However, access to cannabis requires a patient to have a relationship with a prescribing physician for 90-days, especially difficult for patients with a short time left to live.

If Amendment 2 passes, the list of illnesses eligible for treatment with marijuana would include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

United for Care, supporters of Amendment 2, received a $1 million donation last week from New Approach, an organization that’s donated big money to other supporters of medical marijuana initiatives.

Ben Pollara, the campaign manager of United for Care, said, “We are obviously very pleased to receive such a generous donation. It’s going to be put to good use very quickly, making sure that our message is on television across the state and that Floridians understand this is about putting medical decisions back in the hands of doctors and patients and out of the hands of politicians.”

“According to a September survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Saint Leo, Florida, 68.8% of likely voters supported Amendment 2, as the medical cannabis measure is known, up from 65.1% in June.”

If Amendment 2 passes, Florida could become the second largest medical marijuana market in the country, behind California.

America’s First Cannabis Resort Opens in Colorado

budandbreakfastCannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012, but options for tourists looking for a place to light up are still relatively hard to find. Consumption laws in the state prohibit smoking cannabis openly or publicly–making lighting up in parks, music venues, bars, or basically any place with people, illegal. However, hotels and bed and breakfasts in the state are allowed to choose whether or not guests can consume marijuana on the premises, though most hotels have opted to ban any type of smoking.

One pot-friendly exception in the Colorado hospitality industry is the MaryJane Group. Founded in 2014 by Joel Schneider, the company bills itself as the “leader and creator of the canna-lifestyle hospitality sector.” MaryJane already owns a successful chain of pot-friendly B&Bs in the state, with locations in Denver, Silverthorne, and Colorado Springs.

On Friday, the company announced plans to open the country’s first cannabis resort. Camp Bud+Breakfast at Aspen Canyon Ranch, a 414 acre all-inclusive getaway in Parshall, Colorado, will open for this year’s summer season, July 1 – September 30.

From the MaryJane Group’s press release:

Located in the Rocky Mountains approximately 1.5 hours from downtown Denver and within 25 minutes of the Bud+Breakfast at Silverthorne location, the ranch is near some of the state’s most beloved outdoor destinations, The resort combines recreational marijuana use and education with a traditional ranch experience to create the country’s first-ever cannabis resort.

Guests will enjoy renowned Bud+Breakfast dishes throughout the day including “Wake and Bake Breakfast,” “420” Happy Hour, dinner and late night dessert. Complimentary drinks including soda, water, beer and wine will also be available to guests throughout their stay. Guests will also enjoy unlimited access to equipment and guides for outdoor activities, plus arts and wellness classes like Canvas and Cannabis and Cannabis Yoga. The resort will offer a variety of courses, workshops and interactive learning series focused on cannabis-related sciences, cultivation and pairings. Sessions will be led by a respected group of pharmacologic cannabis pioneers, wellness coaches, yogis, culinary wizards and dispensary owners. Camp Bud+Breakfast at Aspen Canyon Ranch, which is situated on the Williams Fork River, has hot tubs, nightly entertainment and recreational activities such as bocce, river tubing, fly fishing, horseshoes and beach volleyball, and provides daily shuttles to lakes and hot springs within 20 minutes of the property and shuttles to and from Silverthorne, Colorado. For an additional fee, guests can go on horseback riding and ATV tours.

Camp Bud+Breakfast Resort will begin accepting reservations on March 15.

Check out more marijuana-friendly hotel options at https://www.coloradopotguide.com/marijuana-friendly-hotels.

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