Cannabis business takeaways for week ending Jan. 25 (SLIDESHOW)
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Florida’s governor wants to open the state’s medical marijuana market to more products and firms, New Jersey and Illinois join the ranks of states offering MMJ as an alternative to opioids, and the U.S. Virgin Islands legalizes medical cannabis – plus other important news from around the MJ industry.
FL gov signals intent to open medical cannabis market to more products, firms
Florida’s new governor announced steps that would open the state’s lucrative medical marijuana industry to new products and more businesses. Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the Legislature to end a ban on smokable products and ease Florida’s restrictive licensing rules to allow more MMJ companies to enter the market.
MJBizDaily takeaway: If the Legislature follows through, more MMJ operators could capitalize on Florida’s sizable market and smokable products would give sales a shot in the arm.
New Jersey, Illinois join states offering MMJ as opioid alternative
Medical marijuana is assuming a growing role in the forefront of the war against opioids: A pilot program is slated to launch by the end of the month in Illinois that will give patients the option of buying MMJ instead of traditional pharmaceuticals; in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is adding opioid addiction to the list of qualifying medical conditions for treatment with MMJ.
MJBizDaily takeaway: Both states reflect a growing trend seen in other marijuana markets, a development that could boost MMJ sales given the opioid crisis facing the United States.
US Virgin Islands enacts medical cannabis law
The U.S. Virgin Islands became the fourth of the United States’ five permanently inhabited territories to legalize medical marijuana, joining Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Marianna Islands.
MJBizDaily takeaway: U.S. territories have strengthened legalization’s momentum and created new business opportunities, albeit to varying degrees. Puerto Rico is thriving even after Hurricane Maria, Guam’s program has stalled and the Northern Mariana Islands are just getting started.
Arizona medical marijuana sales surged 41% in 2018
Medical marijuana sales in Arizona jumped 41% from 2017 to 2018. Sales of edibles and other marijuana products, including vape cartridges and concentrates, increased 55%. Sales of flower were up 40%.
MJBizDaily takeaway: As in other markets, vape cartridges, edibles and concentrates are a hit with consumers and taking market share from flower. Now, eyes are on the Arizona Supreme Court, which will rule on whether marijuana extracts are legal to sell and possess. If the court says they’re illegal, sales could plummet, and it would deal a huge setback to one of the country’s largest medical markets.
California marijuana growers group drops lawsuit over mega-farms
The California Growers Association (CGA) dropped a lawsuit it filed a year ago against the state over a regulatory loophole that allowed commercial-scale cannabis farms to begin operating in 2018.
MJBizDaily takeaway: The CGA saw the writing on the wall. Even if the lawsuit had prevailed, it could have unleashed new legal fights given that many marijuana companies have sunk millions of dollars into building out enormous grow operations.