The legal cannabis industry continues to mature, which means the sector is confronting the accompanying growing pains.
That includes facing its first recession.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States officially entered a recession in February, the result of nationwide stay-at-home orders and an enormous economic downturn spurred by the COVID-19 crisis.
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In many jurisdictions with legal marijuana, businesses in the cannabis industry have been deemed essential services and permitted to remain open during shutdowns ordered to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. And while most companies appreciate being able to stay in operation during troubling economic times, doing so presents its own challenges to keep employees and customers safe.
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Later this month, members of the House will debate a relatively inconspicuous appropriations amendment that seeks to remove a single word from the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Should a majority of members approve the amendment and enact it into law, it will be the most significant step that Congress has ever taken to end the failed and cruel policy of federal marijuana criminalization.
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Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy awarded five cannabis processing licenses in late 2018, and three of the recipients are expected to begin dispensing cannabis products to patients within the next two months. The program remains rather narrow at the onset, even after several big improvements, but, like many other states, it should expand in the years ahead. Click the link in our bio to read more about the history and rules of the program, review the licensed operators and assess the likelihood of growth.
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As Congress prepares large-scale legislation to fund federal agencies for the next year, marijuana reform seems to be making progress. House versions of spending bills unveiled this week include provisions to protect medical legalization laws from federal interference, ease marijuana businesses’ access to basic banking services, expand cannabis research, oversee the country’s fledgling hemp and CBD industries and finally grant Washington, D.C. the ability to legalize recreational sales.
The specific provisions are still subject to change over the course of the legislative process, but as introduced in subcommittees this week, they signal a meaningful shift by lawmakers: Key cannabis provisions, once relegated to a convoluted amendment process, have been included in the base versions of the new bills. Some activists see the change as a sign that marijuana is no longer an afterthought in Congress.
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As more brands enter the marijuana products marketplace, competition for retail shelf space in key adult-use markets such as Colorado and Washington state is intensifying.
While the number of new brands – and, consequently, the amount of new products – continues to rise, growth in the number of retail stores has not kept pace, according to the 2020 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook.
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With the increased demand for medical cannabis and the potential for adult use on the horizon also comes risk, much of which can be mitigated through planning and due diligence. This is particularly true regarding the siting of the operation. It is never too early to start identifying potential locations due to the business needs, governmental regulations, and environmental concerns that exist. Early action and securing a site that meets the many items addressed above may be the difference between becoming an active licensee or waiting on the sidelines.
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Covid-19 has accelerated cannabis industry trends and highlighted business principles that set companies up for success regardless of external circumstances.
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Amid recession and social unrest, the cannabis industry sees its moment.
Actions by states to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession are fueling momentum for the broader movement to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an economic engine for cash-strapped coffers, industry members and policy experts say.
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Tune into the Granjapreneur podcast for a conversation about cannabis software, where many technology companies in the space have gone wrong, the importance of information security in the digital age.
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