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Cannabis Sales Go Flat Across Most States 36 Months after Legalization?



cannabis sales flat in ohio

The Ohio Department of Commerce stated that medicinal cannabis sales in Ohio reached a new high in 2023, totaling $484.4 million. Nonetheless, a recent Crain’s research shows a meagre 1.2% gain over the previous year, pointing to a sluggish market trend. A parallel reduction in the yearly financial growth rate over time is revealed by the data, despite an initial upward trajectory in annual sales since its statewide introduction.


In 2016, House Bill 523 was signed into law by then-Gov. John Kasich, legalizing medicinal cannabis in Ohio, sometimes referred to as the Buckeye State. The state’s medicinal marijuana program encountered difficulties in its first year, including patient discontent, licensing delays, and high costs. Sales of medical marijuana officially began in January 2019. In 2020, income increased by an astounding 297%.


However, subsequent years showed diminished year-over-year revenue increases, with 2021, 2022, and 2023 witnessing growth rates of 72%, 26%, and 1%, respectively. Despite a perceived slowdown attributed to market maturation, concerns have been raised.


Andy Rayburn, CEO of Buckeye Relief and president of the Ohio Cannabis Coalition, expressed apprehension, stating, “One percent growth in a five-year-old medical market is a major concern, especially when licensees have had to increase product shipments by 20% to 30% to keep up with 2022.”


According to state data for 2023, Ohio cannabis operators saw a 39% increase in the sale of plant materials, such as flowers, and a 25% rise in manufactured product sales compared to 2022. Concurrently, the average retail price of flowers witnessed a significant 37% drop between January 2022 and December 2023.


Preparing for the Launch of Recreational Sales


Despite Buckeye Relief and Amplify maintaining stability, Rayburn notes a significant reduction in returns compared to the preceding three years. Emphasizing the importance of preserving market share and shelf space, he anticipates the eventual introduction of a recreational program.


Ohio decisively voted in favor of legalizing adult-use marijuana in November, despite opposition from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. The law officially came into effect on December 7, yet recreational marijuana sales have not begun.


Following the approval of Issue 2, two competing bills, House Bill 86 and House Bill 354, are currently advancing through the state legislature. These bills aim to address the intricate details surrounding the upcoming launch of the recreational cannabis market.


In the meantime, proactive operators like Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC: GTBIF), Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (OTC: CURLF), and Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC: CRLBF) are strategically positioning themselves for the impending opportunity.


Cresco’s CEO, Charlie Bachtell, sees Ohio’s legalization of recreational marijuana as a “tipping point.” Recognizing the significant role of cannabis-related ballot initiatives in encouraging voter turnout, Bachtell commends the people of Ohio for addressing a crucial issue that has transcended partisan divides in states nationwide. With over 85% of the U.S. population residing in states with some form of legal cannabis and over 50% in states allowing adult-use cannabis, Bachtell believes the tipping point has been reached.


Early Struggles and Remarkable Surges


Ohio’s foray into medicinal cannabis faced significant hurdles during its initial phase. In its inaugural year, challenges like patient discontent and delays in the licensing process cast shadows over the program’s prospects. Patient dissatisfaction raised concerns about the acceptance of medical cannabis within the community, while licensing delays complicated the industry’s early operations.


Despite these obstacles, the medicinal cannabis program showcased resilience and adaptability. The challenges of the first year were met with strategic adjustments by industry stakeholders, reflecting a determination to overcome initial setbacks. Notably, the sector experienced a transformative surge in 2020, defying early doubts. The remarkable 297% increase in income during that year underscored the industry’s potential for growth and stability, offering a glimmer of hope after the tumultuous start.


The early challenges of Ohio’s medical marijuana program shed light on a larger story of the industry’s development. Through strategic revisions brought about by patient discontent and delays in licensing, the industry not only weathered early obstacles but emerged stronger. The exceptional 2020 result not only showed the industry’s tenacity but also established it as a major participant in the changing cannabis scene, opening the door to a more promising future.


Anticipating Ohio’s Recreational Cannabis Landscape


After Ohio voters approved the legalization of marijuana for adult use in a ballot held in November, the state is about to see a dramatic change in the cannabis scene. Although the law—which goes into effect on December 7—is a major step forward, recreational marijuana sales have not yet begun. Two crucial proposals, House Bill 86 and House Bill 354, are advanced by the state legislature as the regulatory framework takes shape. These laws are intended to handle the complex intricacies and rules related to the upcoming opening of the recreational cannabis market.


Industry leaders are actively preparing for the opportunities presented by Ohio’s move into recreational cannabis. Proactive operators, including Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC: GTBIF), Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (OTC: CURLF), and Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC: CRLBF), are strategically positioning themselves to navigate the evolving landscape. The anticipation of the recreational market’s launch has prompted these companies to make strategic moves, ensuring they are well-positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities and meet the demands of a broader consumer base.


The CEO of Cresco Labs Inc., Charlie Bachtell, views Ohio’s decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use as a critical “tipping point.” While acknowledging the influence of cannabis-related ballot measures on voter turnout, Bachtell praises Ohioans for their contribution to tearing down party boundaries. Bachtell contends that the time has come for broader acceptance, given that more than 85% of Americans live in states where cannabis is legal in some capacity and more than 50% in states where it is legal for recreational use. This represents a turning point in the development of the cannabis market on a national scale.


Bottom Line


Ohio’s medicinal cannabis market, though marking a milestone with record-breaking sales in 2023, grapples with a restrained growth rate and concerns about market maturation. The industry’s journey from legalization in 2016, overcoming early struggles with a notable surge in 2020, sets the stage for a proactive response from operators preparing for the anticipated launch of recreational cannabis sales. With legislative advancements and strategic positioning by industry leaders, including Green Thumb Industries Inc., Curaleaf Holdings Inc., and Cresco Labs Inc., Ohio’s cannabis landscape reflects a transformative phase. Cresco Labs Inc.’s CEO, Charlie Bachtell, underscores Ohio’s recreational legalization as a “tipping point,” symbolizing a broader shift in cannabis acceptance nationally, as the industry navigates challenges and steers toward a dynamic and promising future.





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Australia Cannabis: Recreational Use Legislation Update




Australia is said to have one of the highest cannabis prevalence rates in the world and public attitudes to its use are shifting. North American, European and other cannabis companies looking for investment opportunities would do well to follow these shifts.

Growing cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes was legalized under federal law in 2016. Low-THC hemp foods were then legalized federally in 2017. Recreational use, though, remains prohibited under federal law. Similarly, at the state and territory level it is mostly illegal to use, possess, grow, and sell cannabis. Despite these continuing prohibitions, there are legislative trends toward legalization.

If passed, the Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023 would change the federal landscape. It would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use in Australia. The Bill would establish the Cannabis Australia National Agency as a statutory agency to register cannabis strains and regulate cannabis activities. These activities include growing and possessing plants, manufacturing and selling cannabis products, operating cannabis cafes, and importing and exporting cannabis products.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is presently conducting an inquiry into the Bill. Submissions have now closed and public hearings have opened. The Committee’s reporting date is May 31, 2024. The Bill is expected to be debated in federal parliament later this year. At the same time, cannabis legalization bills are now being debated in several Australian states.

Despite shifting public attitudes, federal legalization may still be a way off. While the federal Bill has been promoted by a minority party, it does not enjoy the support of the ruling party or the major opposition party. It also lacks the support of the Australian Medical Association.

Stay tuned for updates on Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023 and all thing Australian cannabis. And please reach out to us if you are interested in doing business in Australia.

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Why Is Everyone Suddenly Eating Magic Mushrooms and Having Wild Sex?




magic mushrooms and sex

New Study Reveals That Magic Mushroom Consumers Have Better Sex Lives

Magic mushrooms have been on a heyday, thanks to the numerous health and therapeutic benefits it has been proven to offer. These include, but are not limited to: treating anxiety and depression, PTSD, OC, suicidal thoughts, and other mental illnesses.

However, we’re only starting to discover the myriad of benefits that the humble magic mushroom has. Now, there’s even new science suggesting that psilocybin can help improve sex lives.


In what is believed to be the first-ever study to delve deeper into the connections between sex and arousal with magic mushrooms, researchers have discovered fascinating findings. Investigators at the Imperial College London surveyed almost 300 individuals before and after taking magic mushrooms. They focused on two subject groups: individuals who consumed psychedelics for recreation or wellness, and those who were consuming it for clinical study purposes to analyze its impacts on depression. Thanks to the data, they were able to pull incredible insight into the link between sex and psychedelic experiences.

The data shows that on average, there are improvements on several areas pertaining to sexual function for as long as 6 months after psychedelic experiences. Psychedelic consumption has been shown to positively impact arousal, sexual satisfaction, enjoyment, self-esteem, connection, communication, and attraction to one’s partner – all of which contribute to better sex lives. For the group who were taking magic mushrooms as part of a clinical trial for depression, nearly half experienced improvements when it came to interest in sex, satisfaction, and arousal. In contrast, individuals who are treated with popular pharmaceutical antidepressants usually say that their sex lives are negatively impacted.


“We believe this is the first scientific study to explore the effects of psychedelics on sexual functioning. Our findings suggest potential implications for conditions that negatively affect sexual health, including clinical depression and anxiety,” said Tomasso Barba, the study’s first author, and a PhD candidate at the Centre for Psychedelic Research.


“This is particularly significant given that sexual dysfunction, often induced by antidepressants, frequently results in people stopping these medications and subsequently relapsing,” they added.  

In addition, it’s nothing short of fascinating that the results showed that the improvements in sexual function were observed for up to 6 months among some participants. However, it’s important to note they didn’t study performance while high on the drug, which is how many people on psychedelics experiment with sex: while on magic mushrooms.


“It’s important to stress our work does not focus on what happens to sexual functioning while people are on psychedelics, and we are not talking about perceived ‘sexual performance’,   they emphasized.


They do call for more studies on the subject. “While the findings are indeed interesting, we are still far from a clear clinical application, because psychedelics are yet to be integrated into the medical system. In future, we may be able to see a clinical application, but more research is needed,” said Dr. David Erritzoe.


Can Psychedelics Unlock The Key To Better, More Satisfying Sex?

As millions of us are plagued by mental health disorders, ranging from everyday anxiety to more severe depression, our sex lives will naturally suffer.

It is known that for many of us, especially women, mental health is critical to sexual satisfaction and pleasure. Sure, it’s an integral part of being human – experiencing sexual joy and arousal, but when we’re suffering from hard-to-treat mental conditions, it can be difficult to enjoy sex. Perhaps that’s where the potential of psychedelics, such as magic mushrooms, come in.


When one is struggling with family conditioning, previous traumas, depression, and self-acceptance, pleasure can be shameful and even painful to even address. But psychedelics can help open us up mentally, and challenge past thoughts that have to do with social conditioning, receiving love and pleasure. All in all, psychedelics can help create new mental pathways that make it easier for us to receive pleasure.


These days, it’s no longer uncommon for couples to medicate with psychedelics together. And we don’t just mean magic mushrooms: MDMA, LSD, and ayahuasca are other forms of healing psychedelics that can help couples work through their own traumas and issues together, and as a result, enjoy better sex.


In another study from 2021, researchers utilized interviews to conduct a qualitative study to understand the impact of microdosing MDMA on male and female couples whose ages ranged from 20 to 35 years old. The interview questions were focused on how microdosing psychedelics affected their sexuality, confidence, relationship satisfaction, inhibition, and openness.

The participants reported that microdosing did indeed have a positive effect on sexual well-being as well as other aspects, most especially because of its ability to reduce anxiety and stress. As a result, they experienced heightened sexual pleasure, desire, and communication. Overall, they reported better sex and they attributed it to microdosing.




Aside from these studies, psychedelics are already an accepted tool for young people all around the world to help them improve many aspects of their lives, including sex. It is becoming clear that the ability of psychedelics to help where pharmaceutical medications fail in treating everyday mental illnesses and stress that hinder sex lives, can transform how we relate, show up, and communicate in our intimate relationships. We hope to see more studies on the subject so we can learn more about the specifics involved, and the magic that psychedelics brings into human lives.





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How Can Cops Tell the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?




police test for hemp or cannabis

Researchers funded by the federal government have unveiled novel techniques for distinguishing between marijuana and hemp by precisely measuring the THC levels in both flowers and edibles.


The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a branch of the Justice Department, is championing the findings from two research endeavors it sponsored, focusing on refining cannabis lab testing. These findings are being disseminated to specific law enforcement agencies.


The primary goal of these projects was to streamline testing procedures to address the increasing backlog in crime labs, exacerbated by the federal legalization of hemp with THC levels of up to 0.3 percent under the 2018 Farm Bill. This legalization has complicated cannabis-related cases.


According to a recent update by NIJ, existing testing methods fall short of accurately quantifying THC levels in samples. However, the researchers supported by NIJ have made a breakthrough by utilizing two distinct forms of mass spectrometry—gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and direct analysis in real time-high-resolution mass spectrometry (DART-HRMS)—to isolate THC content, along with other cannabinoids.


Pioneering Techniques


The GC-MS methodology was pioneered by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), enabling them to extract THC from samples and conduct precise cannabinoid content analysis. The Department of Justice (DOJ) initially disclosed in 2020 its allocation of $350,000 in funding to NIST for this research endeavor.


Conversely, the DART-HRMS approach presents a solution to another complexity in cannabis testing encountered in forensic laboratories. This method facilitated the determination of THC levels in various products such as baked goods, candies, beverages, and plant materials with minimal pre-treatment requirements.


Rabi Musah, the primary researcher on the DART-HRMS team, envisions that the accelerated utilization of DART-HRMS for THC detection in cannabis samples could mitigate testing backlogs, reduce chemical reagent expenses, and streamline analysis protocols, as noted by NIJ.


NIST’s GC-MS technique has already catalyzed the development of new standard operating procedures for laboratories, with outcomes integrated into training procedures for law enforcement entities like the Montgomery County Police Department and Maryland State Police.


Furthermore, in 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a call for portable marijuana analyzers to expedite cannabinoid profile identification and aid in differentiating between marijuana and hemp.


In a separate initiative, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in 2019 its pursuit of a device capable of distinguishing between hemp and marijuana, particularly since the legalization of the former crop.


The ramifications of hemp legalization became evident in Texas, where marijuana possession arrests decreased by nearly 30% from 2018 to 2019 after the state legalized the non-intoxicating cannabis crop. Subsequently, prosecutors in Texas dismissed numerous low-level cannabis cases following hemp legalization. In 2020, officials announced that laboratories would no longer conduct testing in misdemeanor cases, citing capacity limitations within the Department of Public Safety.


Meanwhile, stakeholders in the hemp industry and agricultural officials nationwide are urging Congress to increase the THC limit for hemp to one percent by dry weight. A researcher from the Department of Justice recently questioned the rationale behind the current 0.3 percent THC limit, suggesting it was arbitrarily based on a decades-old anecdote.


Advancements in Law Enforcement Procedures


The integration of novel testing methods heralds a significant shift in law enforcement strategies concerning cannabis-related cases. Crime lab forensic studies have advanced to a new level of paradigm with the use of the DART-HRMS method and the GC-MS technology developed by NIST. Law enforcement officers will be able to distinguish between marijuana and hemp with remarkable accuracy thanks to these state-of-the-art approaches, which promise increased precision and efficiency. By integrating these advanced technologies into routines for standard operating procedures and training, law enforcement organizations are providing their staff with the necessary resources to handle the complex terrain of changing cannabis laws.


This revolutionary method improves the ability to conduct investigations and makes it easier to comply with state and federal laws on cannabis. Law enforcement organizations may ensure compliance with the ever-changing legal framework pertaining to cannabis cultivation, distribution, and use while efficiently upholding justice with the use of these cutting-edge tactics. Officers will be better prepared to handle the issues raised by the legalization of cannabis and its effects on law enforcement procedures as they become used to these innovative techniques.


Legal and Regulatory Implications of Hemp Legalization


The legalization of hemp with THC levels of up to 0.3 percent under the 2018 Farm Bill has sparked significant legal and regulatory ramifications. This legislative shift has not only complicated cannabis-related cases but has also necessitated a reevaluation of existing law enforcement protocols. As prosecutors and law enforcement officials grapple with the distinction between marijuana and hemp, the landscape of criminal justice procedures undergoes notable evolution. The dismissal of numerous low-level cannabis cases in states like Texas following hemp legalization underscores the profound impact of this legislative change on law enforcement practices.


Furthermore, the proposal to raise hemp’s THC limitations to 1% of dry weight is indicative of continuing discussions about federal cannabis legislation. The debate over THC restrictions highlights the necessity for a nuanced approach to cannabis regulation as advocates for legislative changes, including agricultural officials and hemp sector players, are in favor of it. In the meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s examination of the present THC restriction of 0.3 percent emphasizes how crucial evidence-based policymaking is to determining how cannabis legislation will develop in the future. Stakeholders from a variety of industries must negotiate the tricky convergence of legal, scientific, and sociological factors surrounding the legalization of hemp as regulatory frameworks continue to change.


Bottom Line


The integration of novel cannabis testing methods, including DART-HRMS and GC-MS, marks a significant advancement in law enforcement’s ability to differentiate between marijuana and hemp, streamlining investigative procedures and ensuring compliance with evolving legal frameworks. These state-of-the-art technologies promise heightened precision and efficiency, empowering law enforcement agencies to navigate the complexities of cannabis-related cases with unprecedented accuracy. As debates surrounding THC limits and federal cannabis legislation persist, stakeholders must engage in evidence-based policymaking to shape the future of hemp regulation. By staying abreast of legal and regulatory developments, law enforcement agencies can adapt their procedures accordingly, ensuring justice is served while upholding compliance with the law, thus paving the way for more effective practices in the dynamic landscape of cannabis legalization.





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