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.

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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.

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The Effects of COVID-19 on Cannabis Legalization & Legislation

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Emerging Cannabis States: Michigan, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Colorado

Emerging Cannabis States: Michigan, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Colorado

This month our focus is on Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Oklahoma. For Colorado and Massachusetts, Social Equity has been a subject of contention. Michigan opened a licensing opportunity in May and Oklahoma has opted to test breathalyzer technology to find tools to better determine whether a driver is impaired.

Oklahoma Cannabis Market

Scott Fegatter, a Republican Oklahoma State representative, has proposed expanding access through full adult-use cannabis legalization in order to generate tax revenue for the state budget, up to $100 million annually. His proposal is just one measure to alleviate the $250 million deficit anticipated for 2021 due to the pandemic. Oklahoma had a ballot initiative effort in the form of a petition prior to March 15, however that was before the shut down when the governor declared a State of Emergency due to COVID-19. There is however, concern that there is not enough support within the state legislature to legalize cannabis.

Something that might aid in decreasing opposition to expanding access to cannabis to full Adult-use is the pilot program for a cannabis breathalyzer which has recently been approved. The bill, approved in May, would require the Department of Public Safety to spend $300,000 on creating a pilot program for testing breathalyzers designed to detect cannabis impairment, the results of the test would not be admissible in court. This could really alleviate some issues with cannabis use and DUI laws for determining impairment. This is one of the first programs to make sure that the breathalyzer system can work to solve the problem of identifying drivers who are actually impaired due to cannabis use as

Michigan Cannabis

In early March 2020 Michigan began phasing out caregivers’ ability to sell cannabis to adult-use cannabis companies and are scrapping the ability to for caregivers to supply the Adult-use market entirely. Medical cannabis dispensaries may still obtain products from licensed caregivers, but the Adult-use market cannot. This opens up opportunities for licensed cultivators and producers to ramp up production and be able to meet demand within the privileged licensee supply chain.

In a move that might prompt employees to vote themselves into a union, an update has been made to Michigan’s cannabis industry regulations to no longer require operators to maintain labor peace agreements. This can be seen as controversial as there are many states that are starting to require labor peace agreements to protect both the industry and its workers. Considering unfolding events in Massachusetts where reactions to the pandemic are prompting employees to vote to go union, it will be interesting to see if the same would happen in Michigan and other states.

emerging cannabis states

Colorado Cannabis Market

This year Colorado has taken another step towards greater social equity by passing and signing into law HB1424 changing the Accelerator Program to a Social Equity Program by more clearly defining what the state is looking for in terms of social equity applicants. The legislation also allows for a social equity applicant to own a marijuana store or dispensary this is a change from the original Accelerator Program, which only allowed social equity licenses for manufacturing and cultivation. According to the law an Accelerator Endorsed Licensee is a retail marijuana cultivation, production, or store who has, pursuant to the rules, been endorsed to host and offer technical and capital support to a Social Equity Licensee. These Accelerator Endorsed Licensees may qualify for incentives such as reduced application or licensing fees. A Social Equity licensee is considered a natural person who meets criteria is established in section 44-10-308 (4). A Disproportionately Impacted Area will be defined to the extent relevant State of Colorado data exists or is available and is used for the purpose of determining eligibility, which means that depending on the data sets that are available to determine the areas that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, Colorado will set guidelines. There are requirements for social equity licensees for operating in the same licensed premises or on a separate premise possessed by an Accelerator Endorsed Licensee. Accelerator Endorsed Licensees are not required to exercise the privileges of their license on the premises where a social equity license he operates. The implementation deadline has been moved from July 1, 2020 to  July 1, 2021.

 

This legislation also has created an exception to the felony restriction for social equity applicants. A marijuana conviction shall not be the sole basis for a license denial. Effective January 1, 2021 a social equity applicant may apply for a license and the qualifications for a social equity licensee are as follows:

  • The applicant must be a Colorado resident
  • They may not be a beneficial owner of a license subject to legal action
  • They must demonstrate the following
    • Residence in Colorado for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in any census tract designated by the office of economic development and international trade as an opportunity zone or designated as a disproportionately impacted area as defined by section 44-10-203 (1)(j).
    • They have a parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, child, or minor in their guardianship that was arrested for a marijuana offense or was subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation.
    • Having a qualifying household income can also be a determining factor
  • Applicant must hold 51% or more of the beneficial ownership of the company applying for a social equity license.

 

State licensing for marijuana Accelerator store licenses is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2021.

Massachusetts Cannabis

Massachusetts Cannabis Market

Massachusetts intends to speed up cannabis license there cannabis licensing process from application applicants having to wait 121 business days down to only 60, that is if COVID-19 hasn’t ruined the chances for that in the budget. The Governor of Massachusetts deemed adult-use dispensaries as non-essential over concerns that adult-use cannabis dispensaries attract clientele from neighboring states and closed them only weeks after the market’s opening, jump-starting a considerable fight over whether or not Adult-use dispensaries should remain closed. A judge ruled in favor of the governor’s position and Adult-use dispensaries were eventually reopened on May 26 along with other businesses.

Whether or not to determine Adult-use cannabis dispensaries as essential hasn’t been the only controversy in Cannabis licensing. Cannabis activists are currently in opposition to Massachusetts changes to Social Equity guidelines. This was due in large part to regulatory change that decreased the percentage of the ownership percentage from 51% down to 10% of minority ownership. There is currently a petition to revise it. The drop down to 10% does directly conflict with many city and town ordinances that require 51% ownership for social equity applicants. Cambridge Massachusetts is also dealing with a social equity issue. The municipality chose to only allow social equity applicants for the first stage of license applications and is being sued by a current medical marijuana licensee That is demanding to have the opportunity to have a co-located adult-use facility. The city appears to have established the special licensing for social equity applicants in an attempt to provide social equity licensees an opportunity to establish market share before non-social equity applicants are able to dominate the market. Massachusetts also began accepting business license applications for cannabis delivery on May 28 though it is unclear as to whether or not an application period is currently open.

In a move to protect employee interests, Massachusetts Mayflower Medicinals employees have voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445. The employees chose to join the union due to Coronavirus related issues such as a lack of consistent treatment from management, inadequate

healthcare coverage, and slow responses to the pandemic. They are obviously not the first in Massachusetts to choose a union, however, it is a trend that is worth watching because it’s occurring in multiple states not just Massachusetts

Conclusion

While none of the states in this report have legalization efforts in their legislatures or on the ballot there are developments occurring that have implications for the cannabis industry as a whole. Social Equity programs are becoming more than token efforts to address the cannabis industry’s issue with diversity while the continued efforts of labor unions to unionize the Industry’s labor force showcase a need in some markets to address labor concerns and management practices.

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Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

This article was written by Stephanie Till of Green Rush Indexed Data with data compiled and provided by Bridge West CPAs. Stephanie is a Compliance Expert as well as a Historian who is currently archiving the Green Rush of the cannabis industry. The mission of her company is help clients by providing quality research services, custom tailored cannabis compliance consulting, dynamic training materials and exceptional customer service for those in the young cannabis industry.

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