Marijuana or cannabis is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant intended for medicinal or recreational use. It has over 400 chemical entities with dominant compounds being tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabinoids. The THC in cannabis is what results in marijuana’s psychoactive qualities while CBD is known for its countless health benefits. Marijuana is typically consumed by smoking it, adding it to food or as a liquid extracted from cannabis shake.
Marijuana Industry: An Insight
The cannabis industry is composed of legal cultivators and producers, consumers, independent industrial standards bodies, ancillary products and services, regulators and researchers concerning cannabis and its industrial derivative, hemp.
Marijuana is currently legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana in 9 states, including Washington D.C which are discussed below:
In the year 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use. In November 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. California also began sales of recreational marijuana on January 1. According to BDS Analytics, consumers spent an estimated $339 million on marijuana products just in the in the first two months of legalised recreational sales in California. The cannabis market is expected to rise to $3.7 billion in 2018 alone and further to $5 billion in 2019.
In addition, the price of pot is expected to increase to 15% owing to a new excise tax on recreational sales in California . Thus the price of, let’s say eight ounce of marijuana, which is currently $54 including tax, will increase to approximately $65 depending on what the local municipality will levy.
The Colorado Amendment 64 Act, was passed by voters on November 6, 2012, which ultimately led to the legalization of the recreational and medical use of cannabis, for adults over 21, in January 2014. Since then, the total market sales of marijuana rose from $683,523,739 in 2014 to $1,507,702,21 in 2017.
The Colorado cannabis market, comprising of residents as well as visitors, is estimated to consume between 104.2 and 157.9 metric tons (MT) per year, accounting for Colorado residents and visitors.
According to a study, in the year 2014, there was a 6.5 percent reduction in opioid abuse-related deaths in Colorado, indicating a short-term reduction in opioid-related deaths.
- Washington D.C
In Washington, D.C., a voter-approved ballot by the District’s marijuana law legalized the possession, cultivation, and gifting of certain amounts of recreational marijuana and use of marijuana for medical purposes. It is available in the form of strains, CBD oil and seeds. Strains and seeds are available in a wide variety. From a lemony combination flavour to a rich chocolate taste, the options are innumerable.
It is also important to know that marijuana is barred from commercial sales. Although marijuana has been approved by the District law, it is still prohibited in military property, national parks, and federal lands as per Federal laws.
Alaska legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1999. Cannabis in Alaska became legal for recreational use after a successful ballot in November 2014, which went into effect on February 24, 2015. It allows adults aged 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and six plants, making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado and Washington.
In this state, cannabis flower is taxed at $50 per ounce and trim at $15 per ounce. Tax is usually imposed when marijuana transferred from a marijuana cultivation facility to a retail marijuana store or sold from these stores.
The Alaska Department of Revenue reported that they collected nearly $600,000 in marijuana tax revenue during July 2017 when 612 pounds (280 kilograms) of cannabis bud and 369 pounds (170 kilograms) of stems or leaves were sold. This equals a third of the total marijuana tax revenue brought in last fiscal year.
On July 1, 2017, Nevada became the fifth state to allow the recreational use of cannabis. The state permits wholesalers an exclusive right to distribution licenses for the first 18 months recreational marijuana is legal in the state. Nevada is the only state with legal recreational marijuana to allow wholesalers to possess this advantage.
Sales of recreational marijuana have exceeded past expectations in Nevada, leading to a shortage in marijuana stocks in dispensaries. Nevada retail stores have sold more than $195 million worth of cannabis in the first six months since the legalisation of recreational cannabis use in the state. The cannabis market in Nevada has summoned in more than $30 million in tax revenue and sales of $195,467,170 for the state till date. The state has earned nearly $20 million in marijuana tax revenue since its recreational use was legalized in July, 2017.
Massachusetts, Maine and Oregon, and Vermont are other states in the US that have legalised recreation as well as medical marijuana use but are still subject to restrictions with regards to supply, cultivation or purchase of cannabis. The cannabis news in Florida is evidence that more and more people are turning towards the cannabis lifestyle. These states are now subjected to experimentation and never-before-seen rules which will be closely watched by both the cannabis industry and regulators around the country.
The “cannabusiness” market is a fast-growing industry. According to a report by Marijuana Business Daily, the total economic sales of legal marijuana in the US could increase from $20-$23 billion in 2017 to $63-$77 billion by 2022. It has also generated a lot of job opportunities from cultivators and growers to distribution and dispensary jobs.
Guest Author Jessica K has written for us before - thank you Jessica for this great contribution!