Top 10 cannabis business stories of 2020

cannabis declared essential

Here’s a look back at the year that was through the lens of MJBizDaily‘s most-read marijuana business stories of 2020.

 

 

 

 

cannabis declared essential

US markets that have allowed marijuana businesses to remain open during coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders

As states declared COVID-related lockdowns, most allowed dispensaries and other cannabis businesses to stay open, even if only on a curbside or delivery basis. MJBizDaily kept track.

free cannabis program in France

France to distribute free medical cannabis, launch experiment in 2021

Maybe it was the magic phrase “free cannabis,” but when France announced a long-awaited pilot program to start a medical marijuana program and confirmed that participating companies will have to supply the medical cannabis products to patients free of charge, people flocked to read more.

United Nations cannabis vote

United Nations approves WHO recommendation to reschedule cannabis in historic vote

On Dec. 2, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) accepted a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

The historic vote in Vienna could have far-reaching implications for the global medical cannabis industry, ranging from regulatory oversight to scientific research into the plant and its use as a medicine.

Indoor cannabis grow

Newly legal states offer marijuana growers fresh opportunities, but some greener than others

The Nov. 3 election opened the door for marijuana growers in five states that could generate more than $2.5 billion in medical and recreational cannabis sales a year by 2024.

But some of these new markets are more appealing than others to cultivators.

Chalk it up to location, size and overall friendliness of business regulations.

Here’s our state-by-state breakdown for growers.

California state and cannabis

How California’s legal marijuana market wound up in crisis mode after two years

2020 marked the two-year anniversary of the start of legal recreational cannabis sales in California.
MJBizDaily‘s three-part series on “how California’s legal marijuana market wound up in crisis mode after two years” sparked a lot of commentary, but none more than this piece on three connected problems for the state:

  1. A dual licensing system that requires local municipality authorization before businesses can obtain a state marijuana permit.
  2. High taxes that shrink profit margins and drive consumers to the illicit market.
  3. The ongoing success of the illegal cannabis market.
Vermont state capitol building

Vermont becomes 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana market

Vermont  became the 11th state to approve an adult-use marijuana program. 

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, allowed the legislation to regulate and tax cannabis sales to become law without his signature.

Within a few months, four other states added adult-use marijuana programs via ballot initiatives.

US House passes historic bill to legalize marijuana at federal level, but Senate looms

In a groundbreaking vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and end the federal government’s decades-old prohibition on the plant.

Regardless of inaction from the Senate, the cannabis community recognized the vote’s symbolic impact.

Lawmakers in effect voted to legalize marijuana by approving the social justice-focused Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act by a margin of 228-164 after an hour of debate. A handful of Republicans voted for the measure. (How each legislator voted is available here.)

Canopy Growth Canadian cannabis cultivation

Canopy Growth shuttering facilities across Canada, abandons outdoor marijuana cultivation

As part of an ongoing restructuring, cannabis producer Canopy Growth shuttered more facilities across Canada amid a fresh round of layoffs in an effort to streamline operations and improve margins, the struggling company announced.

Canadian and U.S. audiences took note.

The cuts come amid a broad supply-demand imbalance in the Canadian cannabis industry. The glut has resulted in a mountain of cannabis inventory – both unpackaged and packaged – sitting in warehouses.

Map of states that might legalize marijuana in 2020

Several states could legalize cannabis sales in 2020 as marijuana industry eyes lucrative East Coast market

Back in February 2020, MJBizDaily previewed states likely to legalize medical or adult-use marijuana programs in the months ahead.

So far, we’ve got at least six of the 11 right, between Vermont starting a recreational program via its Legislature and five states passing ballot initiatives in November.

Here’s the latest list of states we believe will be next.

Oklahoma state flag and marijuana program

Price war erupts among Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries

In early 2020, Oklahoma had so many medical marijuana dispensaries  that retailers slashed prices to stay competitive.

The downward pressure on cannabis pricing had some dispensaries fearing for their future.

Little did they know, a global pandemic was about to open a whole new set of worries – and creative solutions.

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