What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

The Bible Belt certainly isn’t known for being particularly friendly to cannabis, but opportunities are slowly starting to open up in certain areas. The Louisiana marijuana program is one example of a small but promising start, and a few other Southern states show limited potential, as well. 

While as a whole, the Southern states are often slow to accept cannabis as anything other than a drug, there have been significant shifts. Florida, for instance, was the first to legalize medical marijuana and open up a cannabis program (albeit an extremely limited one). 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Here’s what you need to know about the state of cannabis in this hold-out region of the U.S., from the bare-minimum Texas CBD allowances to the small-but-promising Louisiana marijuana program. 

Southern States With Little to No Movement

The Florida, Texas, and Mississippi marijuana programs may have had decent starts but have since stalled for the foreseeable future — or at least the next few years. We’re keeping an eye on them for future developments, but we don’t expect much movement at this time.

Florida 

True to the common conception of Florida as a separate entity from the rest of the South, Florida’s marijuana program is very different from what we see in other states.

Initially, Florida’s program issued only five licenses, though it later opened up a few more. However, Florida’s program is not an open application route, so no one is currently able to compete for licenses in the state. 

Although Florida’s legalization measures helped trigger a domino effect to get the other Southern states moving, it’s likely to be a few years before Florida’s own program picks up any further momentum.

Texas 

Texas does have a medical marijuana program, but the state allows only 1% THC in their medical marijuana products. At such a low THC rate, it’s essentially a CBD program. And it’s very minimal — just over 3,000 patients are registered, and there isn’t much movement happening in the state, overall. 

If you want to get into the Texas market, be prepared to work exclusively with CBD and CBD-adjacent products for a while. Cultivation is another option to consider, but the market is saturated. While we don’t recommend starting out in Texas at this time, if you’re so inclined, manufacturing will be your best bet. 

Mississippi 

In early 2021, Mississippi looked like it would follow in Oklahoma’s footsteps in terms of plentiful and accessible license availability. Unfortunately, however, government and legislative issues have put the program on hold for the next two or three years. 

If you want to build a cannabusiness in one of the Southern states, we’d suggest exploring opportunities in the Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana markets instead.

Southern States With Some Opportunities

The Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana programs offer a few more opportunities, especially if you establish the right connections prior to entering the market there. 

Arkansas 

Arkansas is currently legalized for medical cannabis, and the application window is open. However, the state also has a high barrier of entry. You’ll need expensive surety bonds and to meet strict zoning limits. Once a zone fills its allotted number of dispensaries, no more dispensaries will be allowed to open in that zone. 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

While you can certainly apply for a license in the Arkansas medical marijuana program, know that it will be an expensive endeavor and that you may have better luck with the Alabama or Louisiana marijuana markets. 

Alabama 

Alabama’s Compassion Act will likely resemble Florida’s cannabis program. Although there probably won’t be a low THC cap, it does appear as though operators will only be allowed to sell manufactured products — no raw plant, smoking or vaporization products, or baked goods.

The Act also has a large residency requirement — 51% of all license holders must be Alabama residents — as well as huge capital requirements, making the barrier of entry extremely high. 

If you’re looking at entering the Alabama marijuana market, you’ll want to get started as soon as possible finding real estate and establishing yourself as a local team. MSOs are already moving in, but they’re required to work with local teams, and it will take time to build up those connections. 

Louisiana 

The Louisiana marijuana program kicked off in 2018 with a total of nine licenses. But despite being a small program, it was set up well and there are many lobbying efforts to expand cannabis retail.

However, growth within the Louisiana marijuana program is still slow. Louisiana legislation only authorized the Louisiana State University and Southern University agriculture centers to grow medical cannabis, so you’ll have to contact the Board of Pharmacy regarding licensing to dispense any medical cannabis.

As is true of any Southern State, entering the Louisiana marijuana market is all about who you know and how you advocate locally for cannabis. You can’t just show up and submit an application; you have to play an active role in educating the community and helping write ordinances that simply don’t exist yet.

That’s where HYC comes in. We can help you make important local connections and develop the necessary knowledge base to educate your community. There will always be local political challenges, but with the right knowledge and connections — and an early start — you have the opportunity to impact change. 

Get Your Foot in the Door With Louisiana Marijuana

The Louisiana marijuana program offers a fairly typical example of what to expect in Southern states — slow movement, small programs, and the importance of making the right connections. But if you can get your foot in the door early and weather both political and local delays, opportunity is there. 

Working with an experienced cannabis consultant can give you the credibility, connections, and partners you need to be successful. Don’t miss your chance to get into the Louisiana marijuana market early! Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

Marijuana programs in the Midwest aren’t much of an improvement on those in the South. While Illinois and Michigan have both legalized adult use — and the Ohio marijuana program seems poised to follow suit — other Midwestern states remain restrictive. 

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

The Midwest is split pretty evenly between the restrictive states and the front-runners, but even many of the latter have fallen into disorder recently. With much of the region currently inaccessible, the greatest potential for cannabis success in the Midwest lies in Ohio. 

Here’s what you need to know about the state of cannabis regulations in the Midwest states and why the Ohio marijuana program might be your best option in this region. 

Restrictive States

The Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota marijuana programs are not very promising at this time. However, they are worth keeping in mind should things change in the future. 

Wisconsin & Iowa 

Both Wisconsin’s and Iowa’s medical marijuana programs are extremely restrictive. For instance, Iowa’s program isn’t even fully medical; rather, they call it a medical cannabidiol program, and it only allows a patient 4.5 grams of THC every 90 days. 

Unfortunately, these programs, especially in Iowa, are also very racially disproportionate. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black individuals are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than white individuals. 

Minnesota 

Minnesota has been a medical-only state since its first medical marijuana sale in 2015. Since then, there had been little to no movement on adult use until May of this year, when the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to legalize cannabis

However, the regular session was adjourned only two days later, stalling the senate bill in a committee. It’s unlikely that legislation will pick the bill back up until at least the second half of 2022, but Minnesota is taking steps to improve its restrictive medical marijuana program by increasing its nine qualifying conditions to 17

If you want to get into Minnesota’s market, the best thing you can do is to join local advocacy groups in their efforts to lobby for more reform. In the meantime, it may be well worth considering the less-restrictive Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio marijuana markets.

Front-Runner States 

The Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio marijuana programs were front-runners for legalization in the Midwest. While some problems and delays have since cropped up, opportunity remains — especially in Ohio. 

Illinois

In Illinois, adult use sales began in January of 2020, shortly after legalizing adult use. But what seemed a promising start turned into an absolute nightmare with delays, lawsuits, and scandals. 

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

We’d advise staying out of Illinois until the state can get itself sorted out and instead focusing on the Michigan and Ohio marijuana markets.

Michigan 

Michigan is legalized for both medical and adult use. While overall, the state itself is not terribly competitive, that can depend on the region. Detroit, for example, took years to get their adult-use program off the ground but is now a highly competitive market. 

Michigan is a generally accessible state but leaves much of the regulating and restricting up to the municipalities. While the state has set certain limits on the total allotted number of cultivations or dispensaries, local levels set their own limits within their municipalities. 

If you’re looking to get started in Michigan, first ensure you meet the municipality requirements, as those will be harder to meet than state requirements. It’s best to start with a list of areas you don’t want to operate in, and then see which of the remaining counties have municipality requirements you can viably meet. 

Your facility must be ready for inspection within 60 days of submitting your second application, so you’ll need to be strategic in figuring out real estate and municipality limits ahead of time. Also, be open to considering areas in Michigan that might not seem ideal, because they may have more licenses available to you. 

Ohio

The Ohio marijuana program is currently medical only, but they did recently open up another round for dispensaries and will be awarding 130 licenses based on a lottery system. Licenses will be extremely difficult to win, and if you don’t already have everything prepared, you won’t likely have enough time to get into this round. 

However, it’s possible Ohio may legalize adult use in 2022. Legislators have been pushing for it, and they’ve been cleared to collect signatures and potentially get a bill passed. 

Two major fears keeping people from joining Ohio’s medical marijuana program may help push adult-use legalization through because these concerns would then become irrelevant:

  • Taking medical marijuana — even for legitimate reasons — could cause some people to forfeit access to their other medications.
  • In Ohio, it’s illegal to own both a gun and a medical marijuana card

If you’re interested in getting into the Ohio marijuana market, be sure to follow updates on the signature collection and get involved by helping collect signatures yourself.

Ohio Marijuana Programs: The Midwest’s Point of Access

Despite some promising starts, the Midwest as a whole is pretty inaccessible, with potential Ohio marijuana programs as the only glimmer of hope. But if the other states can get their acts together, the Midwest could be a huge market for cannabusinesses. 

If you’re interested in breaking into the Ohio marijuana market or other Midwest states, contact HYC for a feasibility study to explore your best options.

Marijuana Decriminalization & Legalization Trends for 2022

Higher Yields Consulting Marijuana Decriminalization & Legalization Trends for 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the cannabis industry — and the world as a whole — into much uncertainty. With federal marijuana decriminalization put on hold, you may have been tempted to wait and let some of the uncertainty settle before trying to expand or start your cannabusiness.

Now that things seem to be moving forward again, there are a number of state and national developments to keep your eye on in the coming year or two. You’ll want to be prepared to take action as quickly as possible to set yourself up for your best chance at success.

Higher Yields Consulting Marijuana Decriminalization & Legalization Trends for 2022
Cannabis bud and leaf with handcuffs depicting legal, law and decriminalization concepts

Here are some upcoming state and national marijuana decriminalization and legalization trends to help you decide what actions to take on your cannabusiness in 2022. 

Delaware

Currently, Delaware is legalized for medical-use only. However, their adult-use bill, HB150, is set to be voted on in 2022. According to Marijuana Policy Project, the majority of Delawareans support both marijuana decriminalization and legalization, so it seems very likely this bill will pass. 

Bill HB150 was actually set to pass in 2021, but Delaware legislators appear to still be working on its amendment. Instead, it has been pushed to the next session in January of 2022. 

If HB150 does pass, it will move pretty quickly. Just 19 months after the effective date of passage, the state will already be issuing licenses to 30 retailers (15 for social equity), 60 cultivators (20 for social equity), and 30 product manufacturers (10 for social equity and 10 for microbusinesses). 

The process is going to be highly competitive, applications will be scored, and the application window will likely be short, so start your application as soon as possible.

North Carolina

Revisions to North Carolina’s medical marijuana bill, SB711, were approved in August of this year by the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, the bill still needs another full vote, and then it will need to clear the health care and operations committees to reach the Senate floor for a final vote. 

Regulations will include a large physician’s role, and applicants will have to have been state residents for at least two years. For the regulatory authority, North Carolina will likely follow Alabama’s example and create a nine-member cannabis production commission. 

Most people in North Carolina seem to support cannabis for medical only, not marijuana decriminalization and legalization for adult-use. Although the bill is slow moving, for a southern state and a new medical program, SB711 isn’t as restrictive as some areas are in terms of qualifying conditions. 

Currently, no southern states have any type of adult-use program, and none are likely to in the next few years, except potentially Florida

Wyoming

If Wyoming gets enough signatures by its February 14 deadline, residents will have the chance to vote on a medical cannabis bill to support marijuana decriminalization in 2022. But it will still likely be a slow rollout for the medical program, and there isn’t a lot of information yet on what the program would look like. 

Higher Yields Consulting Marijuana Decriminalization & Legalization Trends for 2022

Keep your eye on Wyoming throughout the beginning of next year for further developments. 

Other States to Watch for Future Developments

If one year seems like too short a timeline, and you’d rather have a little longer to get your feet under you, here are some states to keep an eye on for marijuana decriminalization and legalization developments in late 2022 or 2023. 

Virginia

It’s a good idea to start preparing in 2022 for Virginia’s adult-use program, even though applications aren’t going to be accepted until sometime in 2023. When those applications do open, Virginia will allow as many as 400 retailer licenses for under 50 cultivations and 16 manufacturers. 

Marijuana decriminalization and legalization in Virginia will likely lead to increased competition and a shorter application window, so start getting everything in order now. That way, when the state does start accepting applications, you’ll be prepared. 

Oregon

Oregon’s moratorium on cultivation licenses is set to end on January 2, 2022, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will open an application window. 

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will have the final say on whether they want to add more cultivations and accept cultivation licenses, as well as how many they will accept and what that would look like. 

If the state does open applications, it will likely be similar to what Denver has done with their social equity applicants in limiting it to people who have lived in the state for 15 years. 

Alabama

Alabama’s application window is set to open September 1, 2022. The market is going to be very competitive and connection-based, so now is the time to start building relationships with the right people. 

Connect with the community and local representatives by attending city council meetings to gauge the level of interest and acceptance of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. Also, talk to other local business owners and express your interest in opening up a cannabusiness there.

As you form these connections, look into whether you qualify for social equity and who can be on your team for social equity. Much of preparing to open in Alabama will rely on convincing the people of your municipality that your business will be an asset to the community, so these connections are crucial. 

Federal Marijuana Decriminalization

While the economic side of federal marijuana decriminalization would be beneficial, there are other priorities at the moment. Democrats seem to be playing the next four years very safe, and President Biden likely doesn’t want to be the president to legalize — or even decriminalize — cannabis. 

Too much is uncertain right now, especially with COVID-19, so marijuana decriminalization at the federal level has been pushed to the backburner. Still, many legislators continue to propose bills and lobby to get them passed. And although lobbying took a dip due to the pandemic, it’s beginning to pick back up. 

If you’re looking into opening up a cannabusiness and are waiting on federal marijuana decriminalization before you do so — don’t. It’s better to start doing your research, find a state, and get in now, because there’s no way of knowing how long you’d be waiting for decriminalization to happen. 

In the cannabis industry, it’s all about proper planning and solid connections. Get in touch with HYC to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of success in this highly competitive market. 

Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Latin America is seeing a lot of movement in cannabis regulations and legislation. Brazil — which is sort of the Oklahoma of the international cannabis scene — is a fairly progressive area with the largest market and over 1,100 new import authorizations. But the challenge is getting the product out and into other areas.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Despite an estimated $9.75 billion market value for cannabis, there’s no clear leadership. New cannabis lounges and on-site consumption facilities are emerging, but no one particular group appears to be spearheading cannabis regulations and movement in the region. It’s an ever-changing environment with a lot of potential. 

 

If you’re considering getting into Latin America’s cannabis market, there are four hot places to watch: Colombia, Buenos Aires, Uruguay, and Mexico. Read on to learn about cannabis regulations in these four parts of Latin American, and how you can best prepare to enter the market.

Colombia

Colombia’s cannabis regulations are laser-focused on cultivation licenses. There are no provisions for extractions or other segments; rather, they focus on this one area because of their strong agricultural background.

 

Both personal cultivation and consumption have been decriminalized in Colombia. But within the commercial cannabis industry, it’s permitted strictly for medicinal use and strictly from an agricultural standpoint. 

 

There are, however, whispers of change. With Colombia and Panama in such close proximity, there’s a lot of tension and positioning to watch. 

Buenos Aires

Argentina as a whole has great IT resources but poor economic solutions. There’s an interesting element of technology and the cannabis industry meeting, as certain groups are developing apps to connect the community of personal growers. 

 

Right now, cannabis regulations surrounding growing for medical use in Buenos Aires are limited to individuals and certain networks. But with all this technological innovation and creativity, we expect the growing model to increase and expand.

 

Anytime a market or an industry grabs a foothold in a particular area and applies technology to it, you can anticipate those sectors growing at a pretty rapid rate. Keep an eye on Buenos Aires for new developments of technology and creativity in dealing with cannabis regulations. 

Uruguay

Uruguay got their foothold in the cannabis industry through hemp, which they were able to sell all over the world. Then, in 2012, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize commercially produced adult-use cannabis. Even tourists are allowed to purchase marijuana.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Regulations in Latin America: New Developments

Because of this, Uruguay seems to be decreasing emphasis on hemp and increasing their focus on cannabis. These two industries have great potential to work together and improve the country’s economy overall, but that doesn’t appear to be their intention right now. 

Mexico

Currently, Mexico is a difficult place to get started in the cannabis industry. We at HYC had the opportunity to help write the cannabis regulations in Mexico a few years ago, and those regulations were recently put in place. However, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to enter the program. 

According to current cannabis regulations in Mexico, it’s legal to sell cannabis — but not to obtain it. You can’t grow, acquire, or import it. The country is basically hamstringing themselves for cannabis sales.

We are seeing an increase of interest in the Mexican market, however, and receiving a lot of inquiries. Be sure to keep an eye on future developments for the cannabis industry in Mexico to finally get off the ground. 

The Future of Cannabis Regulations in Latin America

There’s a lot of potential for cannabusinesses in Latin America. Low operational costs and prime growing conditions make for a lucrative opportunity. However, there are also plenty of barriers, so it’s important to find the right country to operate in and the right partners to work with. 

The cannabis industry is seeing plenty of movement in Latin America. Even though it’s a slow movement, it’s still important to get started sooner rather than later so you can prepare for the specific level of competition, politics, and cannabis regulations of the environment you’ll be entering.

Start making connections as early as you can so you’ll be fully aware of government requirements and limitations in the country you choose. HYC can help. Schedule a consultation for help entering the Latin American cannabis market and understanding its cannabis regulations. 

Marijuana Reform in Sports: Fighting the Stigma & Changing the Culture

Marijuana Reform in Sports: Fighting the Stigma & Changing the Culture

Cannabis in sports is a loaded, but relevant, topic. Although it lacks empirical evidence, the argument against marijuana reform in sports is often emotionally charged. As a result, stigma is emboldened and reform stagnates.

Marijuana Reform in Sports: Fighting the Stigma & Changing the Culture

As members of the cannabis community, the onus is on us to help change the culture. The first crucial step in doing so is learning about the issues that stall marijuana reform and perpetuate stigma in sports.

Here is your guide to fighting against the stigma of cannabis in sports.

The Political — Not Scientific — Origins of the Debate

The modern athlete is a machine. Rigorous training and nutrition programs paired with cutting-edge technology ensure athletes perform at their best. Additionally, stringent supplement protocols keep them safe and out of trouble with governing bodies, like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or the NCAA.

Normally, when an organization bans a substance ㅡ like anabolic steroids, harmful stimulants, or narcotics ㅡ an array of authoritative research supports the ban. However, the ban on cannabis is far from normal.

Rather than being based on cold, hard science, the issue of marijuana and marijuana reform in sports is largely political.

Comprehensive research on elite athletes’ cannabis use doesn’t exist, but some former professionals estimate upwards of 80% of ex-NFL and NBA players regularly use cannabis. In fact, research suggests the use of THC and CBD can enhance sleep, reduce anxiety, and generally improve well-being. So what’s the problem?

Stigma Surrounding Marijuana Reform

The issue of marijuana reform doesn’t stem from any harm cannabis can cause. Nor does it come from any unfair ergogenic benefits it provides. No, the real problem with marijuana in sports is stigma

For decades, marijuana and those who use it have been demonized. The utter hatred that accompanies cannabis has created an ideological rift that makes marijuana reform seem nearly impossible. This stigma doesn’t just harm the industry, though; it harms athletes, too. 

The widespread — albeit uneducated — perception of athletes who smoke is that they’re just potheads who do it to get high. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Elite athletes are beasts of human beings, and most of what they do is deliberate. Cannabis is often used to wind down and improve sleep, thus boosting recovery. It can also be used to cope with the chest-crushing pressure athletes face on a daily basis. However, THC remains a banned substance in the eyes of the IOC.Marijuana Reform in Sports: Fighting the Stigma & Changing the Culture

Interestingly, the U.S. championed this ban in the 1990s. Using sports as yet another weapon in the War on Drugs, the United States bullied the IOC into enacting a ban on cannabis under the guise of protecting the youth.

The Double Standard

As always seems to be the case in sports, a double standard exists. Many would like to compare the suspension of would-be Olympian and star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson to 28-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, but comparing the two proves difficult. 

While we are sympathetic to the circumstances, Richardson consumed cannabis during an in-competition period — the only time cannabis is banned. Conversely, the infamous photo of Michael Phelps smoking marijuana was taken three months after the 2008 Olympics when he was not in competition.

The double standard that acts as a barrier to marijuana reform exists not between these two athletes but two methods of pain management: cannabis and opiates. While cannabis, an efficacious method of pain management, is banned by the IOC, highly addictive opiates are freely prescribed. 

According to a 2020 study, athletes are at a higher risk of opiate addiction. In fact, opioid use among NFL players was reported to be 52% during their careers. Some research even suggests that cannabis use can reduce the effects of opiate withdrawal! 

So not only can marijuana serve as a viable alternative to opiates, but it can also help solve some of the problems they cause. Yet marijuana is still banned. How does that make any sense at all?

Pushing for Marijuana Reform in Sports

As of right now, the road ahead seems to involve more research. Conducting more studies, collecting more data, and drawing more conclusions will help our cannabis community build up an irrefutable base of evidence to support marijuana reform.

However, research can’t operate without funding, and a good chunk of research money comes from the federal government. Federal legalization may be necessary to fund significant research into cannabis.

Another less expensive step we can take is to support athletes who use cannabis. So we’d like to give a shout-out to Sha’Carri Richardson: We support you. We believe in you. Most importantly, we’re confident your bravery will inspire true change.

For now, continue the conversation and get involved in the debate. Get in touch with us to discuss being a guest on our podcast.

Which States Are Hot for Medical Marijuana?

Higher Yields Consulting Which States Are Hot for Medical Marijuana?

If you’re looking to enter the cannabis market, starting out in a state that has approved medical marijuana only can be a good strategic move. But alongside the opportunities in medical-only states are also limitations.

Currently, 20 states have medical-only programs, which are approved through either voter initiative or legislation. Each state will have its own patient registration and caregiver programs, as well as a list of debilitating conditions that qualify patients to receive state-certified medical marijuana cards.

Higher Yields Consulting Which States Are Hot for Medical Marijuana?

Even with a medical marijuana card, though, only certain states and municipalities allow individuals under the age of 21 to purchase cannabis.

So, which states are ideal for getting into the medical marijuana market, and which ones should you keep an eye on for future developments? Read on to find out.

Pennsylvania: Most Successful Medical Marijuana Program

Pennsylvania easily tops the list of hot medical-only states, proclaiming itself as one of “the most successful programs across the country.” Success here isn’t measured by registered patients or dispensaries but rather the efficiency and continued development of the state’s overall program. 

Pennsylvania’s 23 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana aren’t limited to terminal illnesses. People with conditions across the board, from chronic pain to cancer, are able to get their medication.

The state has 119 dispensaries but only 30 growers and processors. Capping off licenses to create this ratio has contributed massively to Pennsylvania’s success, and some of the hotter recreational states are now trying to emulate this model.

Further, Pennsylvania’s competitive application and licensing process has kept it from facing the same problems as states like New Jersey, whose lenient processes have kept medical marijuana programs tied up in litigation and prevented them from getting a proper jumpstart on their programs.

Oklahoma: Hungry for Quality Brands

In many ways, Oklahoma is the exact opposite of Pennsylvania: Its market is incredibly saturated with 10,000-plus licenses, and the state is notorious for a lack of quality control. However, its low barrier of entry is an excellent opportunity for those who know how to operate under higher standards of quality.

Business is booming, and the fact that so many are out there doing it wrong — from branding and marketing to customer service to the product itself — leaves the door wide open for someone to do it right.

The best way to enter the Oklahoma market is through manufacturing, which our cannabis experts have determined makes up only 13% of licenses compared to cultivation (64%) and retail (21.9%). In other words, there’s a ton of product out there but not enough people to process it.

On the flip side, despite fewer manufacturing licenses, there are still many brands out there to compete with — many of whom have very poor branding and marketing (or none at all).

The companies that do have good branding and marketing are usually multi-state operators (MSOs) who have recognized the opportunity of introducing quality into a low-quality market that is so easy to enter.

Delaware: On Its Way to Legalization

Although Delaware is small, it’s on the brink of opportunity. The state recently passed House Bill 150, initiating its path to legalization for adult recreational use. That means it’s the perfect time for dispensaries with dual licenses to get an early in.

From an operator’s perspective, it’s best to get started in a state that either already has a successful adult-use market or will allow adult-use soon. When Illinois and New Jersey first legalized adult-use, for example, they opened early application rounds specifically for their medical marijuana license holders.

Higher Yields Consulting Which States Are Hot for Medical Marijuana?

Now, dispensaries with dual licenses are raking in the profits while those with only adult-use licenses have been tied up in litigation for more than a year. Dispensaries in Delaware also have the advantage of reciprocation: Customers with medical marijuana cards for other states, such as Pennsylvania, can shop in Delaware, too.

Note that there are already a few MSOs in Delaware, including Columbia Care and CannTech (acquired by Ayr Technologies), and there may be legal issues with attempts to block the adult-use bill. But overall, Delaware is a small state with big opportunities — especially for dispensaries with dual licenses.

Mississippi: A Cautionary Tale

Until recently, Mississippi was well on its way to becoming a hot state to enter. In November 2020, 74% of the population voted in favor of the state’s medical marijuana initiative, and Mississippi’s cannabis market was poised to be a competitive but extremely lucrative industry.

Politicians and legislators were less excited about the initiative. On May 14, 2021, the state’s Supreme Court overturned Initiative 65, citing a “flawed process.” Now, for any such legislation to pass, it must be done by lawmakers rather than citizens, and the state’s once-promising cannabis market is stalled for the foreseeable future.

However, the people can still fight the decision by appealing to their lawmakers. Despite the obstacles, people interested in getting into the Mississippian cannabis market should keep an eye on the state’s future developments.

States to Watch for Medical Marijuana Programs

In addition to the above four states, cannabis entrepreneurs should keep an eye on a number of states whose medical marijuana developments are currently in process.

Ohio

Ohio has just opened up its medical marijuana round for the first time in years. The state not only approved three additional debilitating conditions to qualify patients for a medical card but is also going to double its marijuana dispensaries and award 73 additional licenses later this year.

Lowering the barrier of entry suggests that the state is preparing to expand its patient base significantly and may even approve recreational marijuana use soon.

South Dakota

Although South Dakota does not have a medical marijuana program set up just yet, both medical and recreational cannabis were approved on their ballot in November 2020. Its Supreme Court is trying to fight the recreational side — and will probably win — but the state is planning on moving forward with a medical program. 

While this will create more opportunity for medical dispensaries, they could become overwhelmed if they don’t have enough cultivators or producers. Still, South Dakota is a state to watch because there will likely be opportunity for business licenses in the near future, once the adult-use mess is sorted out.

Missouri

In Missouri, opportunity for more licenses is coming soon, although we don’t have an exact date yet. The first round was very competitive, and with competition comes a lucrative market, so keep an eye out for the second round to open.

Knowing which states to enter — and when — can be crucial for the success of your medical marijuana dispensary. Contact us at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting to determine which state is the best fit for you and how you can get in with the strongest application.

Cannabis Legalization & Decriminalization: What You Should Know

To many, cannabis legalization and decriminalization are the same. But as professionals in the industry, we know the two are very different. One is a quick fix, and the other can dramatically overhaul a community — yet both are big steps on the path toward a 420-friendly future.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Legalization & Decriminalization: What You Should Know

However, legislation surrounding cannabis use is constantly changing. For this reason, it can be tough and confusing for businesses to successfully navigate the changing landscape of full legalization or simple decriminalization. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Here’s everything cannabusiness owners need to know about legalization and decriminalization.

The Realities of Cannabis Decriminalization

When it comes to cannabis legalization, decriminalization is a quick fix. Similar to a Band-Aid on a large wound, decriminalization only solves part of the problem. Nothing is done to facilitate a legal market for cannabis and no framework for regulation or taxation is offered.

Without a regulated market, the illicit sale of cannabis will continue to exist. Although users may no longer be criminally prosecuted, there will still be those who benefit from unregulated products that are not required to guarantee safety.

Furthermore, decriminalization itself is a forward-thinking idea and does nothing for previous offenders. Only the expungement of previous offenses can completely remove cannabis users from the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, decriminalization and expungement don’t always go hand in hand.

In fact, there are 26 states (including the District of Columbia) that have decriminalization laws on the books. However, of those states, only 15 have legislation expunging, vacating, or otherwise removing past offenses from the public view.

Although decriminalization is not an outright fix to this problem, it can be a stepping stone. Decriminalization can be used as a tactic to make progress toward full legalization. Here in the United States, we are living in one of the most politically charged times in our history. As a result, partisanship is bound to get in the way of cannabis legalization.

When full legalization or even just medicinal use is held up, a decriminalization bill can work to satisfy legislators on both sides of the aisle. Such a bill would take huge burdens off of law enforcement, the judiciary, and the all-important taxpayer.

Decriminalization may only be a quick fix, but if it’s all that can be done — or all that some are willing to do — it’s still a step in the right direction.

How Full Cannabis Legalization Does More

Full legalization is the real deal. Legislation legalizing the recreational use — or even medicinal use — of cannabis lays the groundwork for a safe, regulated, and taxed cannabis industry.

Cannabis legalization benefits both communities and economies alike. In fact, the significant tax revenue that comes from cannabis is one of the strongest arguments for full legalization. For instance, in 2019, California boasted more than $600 million in tax revenue from cannabis. Additionally, Washington has seen an influx of more than $1.3 billion since the state legalized cannabis back in 2012.

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Legalization & Decriminalization: What You Should Know

 

That being said, money isn’t the only reason for legalizing cannabis. Full legalization helps communities heal from the devastation of the war on drugs. For decades, communities have been ravaged with cannabis-related criminal charges and plagued by the dangers of unregulated and sometimes unsafe products.

Of course, legalization allows members of these affected communities to enjoy their cannabis freely, but it also does more than that. Cannabis legalization allows these individuals to succeed in the industry with a product that they’ve known for so long. Through social equity programs, many states are creating even more opportunities for minorities to succeed in marijuana.

Cannabis Legalization & Decriminalization Going Forward

Full cannabis legalization is the way of the future — there’s no getting around it. The best option is to accept and recognize legalization in your community. You’ll find that many legislators are beginning to realize this as well.

Lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation to further legalization efforts. In particular, the STATES Act decriminalizes state-legal cannabis on a federal level. Somewhat of a “decriminalization-plus” act, the STATES Act requires federal funding of research into the safety of cannabis use. With plenty of states in which cannabis is legal, the data to determine its safety is surely there.

Cannabis is here to stay and so is confusion surrounding legalization and decriminalization laws — at least for now. Any new legislation can alter or disrupt an already-established industry. At Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, we have the know-how to help you navigate this changing landscape.

Book a consultation today and learn how your operation can handle any legal challenge.

Bermuda Prepares for Legalized Cannabis

Bermuda Prepares for Legalized Cannabis

Crystal blue waters and pink sands may be the key to Bermuda’s charm, but thanks to a new proposal from the island’s government, Bermuda looks to be moving towards legalizing cannabis. On June 3, 2020, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Kathy Lynn Simmons announced the Bermudian government’s intention to fully legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use by the end of the year.

Higher Yields Consulting: From Pink Sands to a Green Rush: Bermuda Prepares for Legalized Cannabis

Simmons has released a draft of the Cannabis (Licensing and Regulation) Act 2020 for public comment. For anyone paying attention, this comes as no surprise. Change has come incrementally to Bermuda, first with a decriminalization bill in 2017, and then with a move to legalize hemp in 2019.

With full adult-use legalization on the horizon, a new world of opportunity is emerging in Bermuda. Here’s what you need to know.

Bermuda & Cannabis: How We Got Here

Though Bermuda’s government has taken swift and decisive steps to legalize cannabis in 2020, regulation is hardly a new topic of discussion. In 2018, the possibility of expanding patient access to cannabis-based treatment was being explored. However, when the proposal was brought forward for public consultation, it was met with unexpected criticism — and not in the way one would assume. The overwhelming consensus was that the government’s aspirations, impressively proactive though they were, didn’t go far enough.

Full legalization was demanded. Bermudians wanted a simplified framework that would allow all citizens to participate, no matter their economic standing. They also wanted help to bring a semblance of social equity, which was especially important because of the stark economic disparities that have long been a part of island life.

Bermuda’s population is basically made up of rich and poor with no prevalent middle class to speak of. As an island nation, Bermuda relies on imports for many everyday staples, which pushes up the cost of living and further widens the divide between the haves and the have-nots.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these circumstances. With international travel ground nearly to a halt, Bermuda’s tourism-based economy has taken a catastrophic hit, leaving an overwhelming number of Bermudians with no way to make ends meet.

It’s no coincidence that the Bermudian government has now decided to accelerate the cannabis legalization process. In fact, the pandemic’s economic impact has been directly cited in documents for public consultation on the topic. As of July 3, 2020, the window for submission of public comments officially closed, setting the stage for the bill’s final adjustments ahead of becoming law.

Setting Up the System

Public documents released thus far have cited the regulatory frameworks of Canada and neighboring Caribbean nations as Bermuda’s inspiration. However, U.S. industry operatives will also find similarities to the framework of Colorado.

Higher Yields Consulting: From Pink Sands to a Green Rush: Bermuda Prepares for Legalized Cannabis

Regulations will be overseen by a five-member board — the Cannabis Advisory Authority — selected from the “disciplines of health, scientific research, business, planning, and agriculture.” The Authority will be responsible for advising on policy matters, the distribution of educational materials, the execution of training programs, and the receipt and submission of licensing applications. The Authority will also give recommendations on approvals and refusals. Let’s take a quick look at the broad strokes of the proposal:

  • Adults age 21 years and older will be permitted to carry up to seven grams on their person.
  • Personal cultivation will be allowed but will require an annual license of $750.
  • Individuals with prior cannabis convictions will NOT be automatically barred from participating in the new industry.
  • Retail cannabis outlets will be required to submit to an inspection by the Commissioner of Police a minimum of once every six months.
  • Retail cannabis outlets will be permitted to allow consumption on their premises with the proper licensing.
  • Licensing will be required for every level of the vertical, including cultivation, importing, exporting, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and research.

The Bermudian government is implementing rigorous protocols to ensure that the system can’t be scammed. Still, excessive regulations are being adamantly avoided so as not to unduly burden aspiring participants.

Pushback

Despite the overwhelming popularity of legalization among Bermudians, not everyone is happy with all of the details of the proposal. According to an article in the Royal Gazette, Social Justice Bermuda — an activist organization — has taken issue with the $750 licensing fee for home cultivation. The group argues it will disproportionately exclude Black citizens from taking part in the legal growing scheme. Moreover, Social Justice Bermuda argues that such an exclusion would only further encourage illegal activity.

While there has been no direct response to this objection as of yet, the statements that have been released do bode considerably well for Social Justice Bermuda’s agenda. In her update on the public consultation,  Attorney General Simmons stated emphatically that all comments submitted by the public were being considered. The update also noted that license fees were being re-evaluated in hopes of finding a balance between the costs of all available licenses and “to achieve the best participation for under-represented or marginalized groups.”

The Island Way

Throughout all of this—the language of the bill, the process by which they created it, and the consultations by which they refined it, one thing is abundantly clear: This piece of legislation is for the people.

bermuda cannabis consulting

There’s no buying or selling of licenses allowed, meaning it won’t become a game of Monopoly for the rich. Bermudian citizenship is also required for participation. Most importantly, the Bermudian government has made it clear that their goal is to tip the scales in favor of the underclass. They’ve doubled down on that assertion through a rare attentiveness to the populace and a dynamic response to their concerns.

Still, even the most reasonable of regulations can prove to be an arduous regimen for the average entrepreneur to tackle. Having a green thumb or a silver tongue doesn’t typically correlate with a propensity for bureaucratic details. Those are the Devil’s domain, according to the old cliché.

As the Bermudian government takes the final few steps to make the dream of legalization a reality, an entirely new territory of opportunity will be opening. If you’re a Bermudian approaching this new opportunity with a plan and a passion, make sure you’re equipped to stake your claim.

If you’re not sure where to start, we here at Higher Yields Consulting can help. Since 2008, we’ve been putting our diverse skillset to work for the cannabis industry — both in the U.S. and abroad — and have consistently garnered stunning results for our clients.

Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.

Share this Article

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule an initial consultation.

The Latest from our cannabis consulting blog

Government Collaborations for a More Cannabis-Friendly Community

cannabis government outreach

The government and the cannabis industry have been bitter rivals for decades. Since the days of Woodstock through to the era of CBD-everything, it seems that we’ve encountered increasing instances of opposition, legal strife, and logistical nightmares caused by the tension between these two over time. Now, like Jim and Dwight, the cannabis-friendly town of Edgewater is proving that long-time rivals can become cooperative friends. Hear from the man himself, Kris Teegardin, and pick up his tips for finding harmony in hardship.

Continue reading

Minorities in Cannabis: Social Equity During a Racial Pandemic

cannabis social equity

In any industry, life is more difficult for people of color, women, and other minorities. The cannabis industry is no different. In fact, there’s been an obvious lack of representation of communities of color since the inception of legal cannabis. Here’s everything you need to know about minorities in cannabis fighting for social equity.

Continue reading