It sounds like a broken record, but the ever-changing marijuana industry is well…ever-changing. Month-to-month and, if elections occur, day-to-day reform seems to be constantly taking place. Here’s a look at various developments in the cannabis industry throughout the United States.


State Department of Revenue is considering a third tax tier for cultivators to help thwart the black market. Current excise tax rate per wholesale ounce of bud or flower is $50. But this high rate has only encouraged the illicit market in the state.


Finally, the medical marijuana program moves ahead. Previously, a lower court had stalled the licensing process. Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the decision.


The state put into motion an insurance program for cannabis companies. The Cannabis Owners Policy (CannaBOP), will offer property and liability coverage. Furthermore, the program was designed in response to the 2017 wildfires that destroyed a number of Northern California cannabis farms.


Medical marijuana sales are down in Colorado. The State Department of Revenue released sales figures from April 2018 and compared them to April 2017. Overall, medical and recreational sales reached $124.31 million in 2018 and $124.27 million in 2017. Specifically, the total amount may be up, but overall, medical marijuana sales have begun shrinking since 2017.


Opioid addiction has been rejected as a medical marijuana treatable condition by a board of physicians. Specifically, degenerative spine disease was added to the qualifying list. Since 2014, 26,000 medical marijuana patients have been added to the patient list.


Medical marijuana businesses are still unable to expand their product lines after a Florida court reinstated a smoking MMJ ban.


The state is trying to combat opioid addiction through MMJ. Specifically, the legislature passed a bill allowing patients to obtain medical marijuana instead of certain opioids.


Recently, legislators voted to override two MMJ bill vetoes. One eliminates qualifying conditions. One permits doctors to recommend MMJ for any medical reason they deem sufficient.


Now the state’s medical marijuana tracking systems broke down due to a glitch. The purpose of the system tracks the amount of cannabis purchased within the 30-day period and alerts the patient when he or she is close to purchasing limits.


The first recreational cultivation license was approved for Sira Naturals. They’ll be allowed 10,000-20,000 square feet of indoor growing space.


New ailments added to the state’s qualifying conditions list include arthritis, autism, chronic pain, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, Tourette syndrome and ulcerative colitis.


Interim Finance Committee approved more money for background checks for marijuana facility workers.

  • The money is earmarked for more staff and security guards.


Medical cannabis prices are now listed and advertised online. Overall, this means better brand differentiation through social media.


Soon, patients may soon enroll in a medical marijuana program if they have been prescribed opioids. Overall, the plan is an attempt to reduce opioid addiction and overdose risk.


Cannabis proponents hoped to pass the most progressive reform in the country, but the proposition failed on November 6th.


The Ohio marijuana market delayed due to testing lab issues. Currently, five labs operate. But none test for potency and purity – required by Ohio law before sales can begin.


As many already know, Oklahoma approved MMJ. But there are no caps on licenses or qualifying conditions.


Outdoor cultivation facilities must notify authorities – the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) –  before harvesting. The OLCC regulates Oregon’s cannabis industry. Overall, the move is an attempt to curb the out-of-control marijuana production in the state. Oregon is the first state to take this preventive step.


The recent medical marijuana research legislation allows eight medical schools to partner with cultivators for pharmacological research. Additionally, the cultivators can open up to six dispensaries (twice the number of commercial licensees currently allowed). But not everyone loves the idea though. Opponents want the permits to only allow research, and to require financial disclosure, and specific medical research parameters.


Major fee increases are in store for dispensary licensees. The state budget approved an increase from $5,000 per license to $250,000.

  • 12 additional dispensaries originally planned
  • Rhode Island Finance Committee said no.
  • But Rhode Island Cannabis Association worries three current dispensaries will be overloaded with demand and will priced out of the market.


The relatively new medical marijuana market is facing a banking dilemma. But the banks that currently work with West Virginia have refused to accept cannabis-related monies. The solutions under consideration include the creation of a state-owned bank or implementing a closed-loop payment system.

(Source: Marijuana Business Magazine. But please be aware that in the fast-paced and ever-changing cannabis market, some of the above developments may have changed since publication.)

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