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Colorado’s medical marijuana sales hit lowest point since legalization

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Colorado’s medical marijuana sales fell to their lowest point since retail sales began — the latest signal that the state’s once-robust industry is facing headwinds as others crowd the U.S. market and new regulations take hold.

In July, the state’s marijuana sales for both recreational and medical were shy of  $154 million, according to Colorado Department of Revenue figures, down from nearly $203 million a year earlier. Sales for the calendar year have passed the $1 billion mark.

July’s medical marijuana sales reached a little more than $18 million – the lowest monthly number since January 2014, when retail sales were legalized in the state. Recreational marijuana sales fared better at more than $135 million – down from $168 million a year earlier, but higher than the numbers in April, May and June.

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.



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All about Cannabis

Cannabis Topicals: Consumer Trends – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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What’s up with cannabis topicals? Why aren’t they more popular?

Cannabis topicals make up less than 1% of total cannabis sales in North America. And its popularity is slowly decreasing in both Canada and the US.

Why?

They have greater bioavailability than capsules, for instance. You can find near-instantaneous relief by directly applying cream or gel to sore or infected areas.

But this also explains why cannabis topicals aren’t as popular. 

As flower is the largest category, and pre-rolls are one of the fastest growing, it’s safe to assume most people are smoking or vaping cannabis. 

Cannabis-infused topicals are cannabinoid therapy, but not in the same physiological way smoking or vaping cannabis is.

Fortunately, Headset has put together a report that looks into consumer trends with cannabis topicals. The data is theirs; the interpretations and comments are my own.

Market share of Topicals in North America

This graph looks at the market share of topicals compared to other cannabis products.

As you can see, topical products aren’t that popular. They account for a small share of total cannabis sales in both the US & Canada.

From January through August 2022, topicals make up only 0.5% of the total Canadian cannabis market.

And this is a 9% market share decrease from the previous year. 

For the US, this January-August 2022 period saw topicals account for 0.7% of total cannabis sales. A 3.4% reduction in market share.

Market share over time

This graph looks at market share over time. In the US, topicals peaked at 1.89% in 2018. Since then, market share has been decreasing and has levelled off.

Market share has been decreasing in Canada, as well, levelling off at about 0.7%,

In Canada, topicals peaked at 0.85% in December 2021. Possibly because of the holiday season and novelty gift buying. Because by August of this year, sales decreased to 0.52%

Cannabis Topicals in states & provinces

Across Canada, topical popularity differs from province to province

Alberta has the highest share of any province, with 2.7%.

This is five times the national average. Ontario & BC also have higher than national average sales.

Saskatchewan lowers the national average, making topicals 0.1% of all cannabis sales.

Florida wins first prize in the US as the highest topical market with 1.3% of total cannabis sales. Florida is the largest medical cannabis market in the United States. 

No doubt because of the older adults using CBD cream. (Older adults tend to use topicals more than younger adults, as seen in the data below).

Topical use is also high in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize, back in November 2012.

Cannabis Topicals Price Volatility in Canada

This graph looks at the average price of topicals since 2021 in Canada. 

Prices are comparable between the US and Canada, where the average topical price in the US is $26.70. In Canada, it’s $31.25 or $25.71 in US dollars.

Where Canada differs is in price stability. Especially over the past two years.

In Canada, the price of topicals fell in 2021 to the point that by August 2022, there was a 12.3% decrease. 

In other words, what was once a $40 cream is now only $33.

The lowest average price came in December 2021, when retailers priced topicals at $28.44. Since then, prices have been on a slight but steady upward trend.

Price of cannabis Topicals in the US

This graph shows the average price of topicals in the US which has been much more stable and predictable. 

Since the beginning of 2020, the average price has stayed around $26-27. There has been a slight increase of 1.4% as of August 2022.

What kind of Topicals do people buy?

Cannabis Topical

What kind of topicals are popular in the US and Canada? Which are the highest-selling according to the data?

Lotions, salves, gels and cream have been the most popular.

In Canada, these products make up 60% of total sales, while in the US, these products account for 74.6% of total topical sales.

Canadians also seem to like cannabis-infused soaks, scrubs, and bath salts. (The bath salts you put in your bath, not THC-infused synthetic cathinone).

CBD is Raison d’état for topicals

Cannabis Topical

Topicals are the most popular when they have CBD in them. 

CBD is anti-inflammatory and good for the skin. It works on pains, aches, and cramps and has neuroprotective properties. 

So, how popular are CBD products in Canada and the US?

In Canada, 92.7% of topical products had CBD either exclusively or mixed with THC and other cannabinoids.

In the US, 79.4% of topical products contain some CBD. However, it’s worth noting that Americans can buy CBD-only products practically anywhere (depending on your state). 

Thanks to Donald Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law, Americans can easily access legal CBD products online.

Across the border, the Canadian government handicaps consumers with the legal cannabis access system. Retail varies from province to province, but overall, both levels of government keep CBD prices artificially high.

Nevertheless, products with a balanced THC-CBD ratio of 1:1 are the most popular in both countries.

US consumers prefer CBD products containing more THC because the data doesn’t show non-cannabis store CBD purchases. So when Americans come to a cannabis store for a topical, they want it to have THC.

That’s why THC topical products with 300mg of THC or more are the most popular in the US and account for 1/3 of topical sales.

But again, the different access systems skew the market data.

For example, CBD isolate sales account for 30.9% of topical sales in Canada. Compared to 7.1% of sales in the US. 

Americans can purchase CBD isolates from anywhere, including online, where the Canadian government restricts consumers to legal access points set by federal and provincial governments.

Demographic preferences

Cannabis Topical

This last graph shows the different age groups and how that accounts for topical sales. 

Not surprisingly, older people prefer to use topicals than smoke flower. 

Females are more likely than males to shop for topical products, which is also not surprising, as females make up a large part of the non-cannabis topical market.

Baby boomers account for 16.1% of all topical sales, whereas they only make up 4.6% of the total cannabis market.

In contrast, female consumers in the generation Z category make up 3.6% of topical sales.

Conclusion

Topicals and flowers may be contracting in the cannabis space. Still, other products like pre-rolls and beverages are gaining market share and popularity.

Trends and consumer demand always change, so nothing here should be considered long-term. 

It may be common in a few years for many cannabis consumers to have a nanoemulsion processor in their homes to make their own cannabis drinks.

This change in consumer trends and market technology would likely see decreased sales in the beverage market. This might coincide with topicals increasing in popularity as more baby boomers discover the healing and soothing powers of cannabis topicals.

It all depends on the consumer. 

In a free market, the consumer votes with their dollar. No one rises to the top unless they arrange the resources necessary to satisfy consumer demand. 

Footnote(s)

https://www.headset.io/industry-reports/cannabis-topicals-an-analysis-of-category-trends-data





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Italian Election Doesn’t Imply Good News for Legal Weed

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Elections are a time of change, but not always the change we’re looking for. The Italian elections just went down, and the resulting right-wing win doesn’t look good for legal weed in the near future. This is a huge break from where the country was at the beginning of this year, when it was getting ready to let the people choose legality themselves. This was set to happen via an election-time ballot, which was approved, and then taken away by Italy’s highest court.

What does the recent Italian election mean for legal weed? Probably nothing good! We’re a fully-rounded independent news site reporting on topics in the cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Subscribe today for regular updates via the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and for some sweet offerings on tons of cool products including vapes, smoking devices, edibles, cannabis paraphernalia, and the always popular cannabinoids like Delta 8 & HHC. Head to our ‘best of’ lists to get the low-down, and pick yourself up some brand new swag.


The election

The Italian general election was held on September 25th, 2022, and the results of it don’t look good for left-wing moves like legal weed. This election comes at a time of political upheaval in the country, which led to former Prime Minister Mario Draghi stepping down, and President Sergio Mattarella dissolving the parliament in early July. The normal end to the parliamentary session wasn’t for eight more months, leading to the need for early elections.

These elections provided the lowest voter turnout Italy has seen, with 63.91% of the population making it to the polls (a nine point decrease from 2018). The Fratelli d’Italia party, headed by Giorgia Meloni, took the lead with 26% of the vote.

Fratelli d’Italia is considered a far-right party, and its expected that the new government that Meloni is likely tasked with forming as the likely new Prime Minster, will be the most right-oriented party since World War II. Fratelli d’Italia is a part a center-right alliance, formed with the far-right League party headed by Matteo Salvini, and the center-right Forza Italia party, led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Italian election
Italian election

For its part, Fratelli d’Italia stayed out of the failing government this past summer, which is probably what helped it build support in light of recent controversies. As such, the party went from as little as 4% of the vote four years ago, to commanding about 44% as part of the alliance in 2022. In fact, it was Fratelli d’Italia that really brought the vote in, as alliance partners League and Forza actually fell in support. The party also benefited from disagreement among the ranks of opposing parties, leaving a non-unified front on the liberal side.

According to election results, the next biggest showing at the election went to the Democratic party, which collected a little over 19% of the vote, followed by Five Star Movement, which received 15.42%. The League, Forza, Third Pole, and Italian Left/Greens, took 4th-7th places with 8.78%, 8.12%, 7.78%, and 3.63% of the vote respectively. Its expected that the center-left will have 78 seats in the Chamber, and 40 in the Senate.

While its hard to know exactly how any new leader will actually lead, Fratelli d’Italia is a party associated with Benito Mussolini’s fascist government. In a speech earlier this year, Meloni explained her stance this way: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology… no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration… no to big international finance… no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”

Meloni has stirred up other issues, both in her alliance with parties that harbor Russian ties, and in often putting out a very anti-EU rhetoric. This has been brought down a couple notches since election time began, with Meloni at least outwardly showing more support. For anyone paying attention, however, this is questionable, as it goes against her usual stance.

What does the Italian election mean for legal weed?

The election just happened, and the government is far from being worked out. So far, nothing much has been said about cannabis in the press, as the post-election pieces fall into place. However, new likely PM Giorgia Meloni is not exactly a proponent of cannabis reform, making whatever government she forms, unlikely to push very hard in this direction.

Meloni, herself, is an outspoken critic of cannabis reform, and regularly goes up against any progressive measures put in place. She has argued that decriminalizing cannabis will increase the use of other drugs.

Legal weed Italy
Legal weed Italy

The rise of Meloni and Fratelli d’Italia show that perhaps not everyone in Italy is onboard with cannabis legalization. Past opinion polls have shown a strong connection between right-wing voters and a negative view on cannabis legalization. Plus, alliance partner the League is helmed by the very anti-mariujuana Salvini, who claimed drugs are death, and who wanted to wage war against cannabis light (smokable hemp), when he was deputy prime minister.

As in many places, the younger generation is where more support for reform is found. In a recent petition meant to get a ballot measure in front of the population at this very election, almost half of the signatures came from those under 30, signaling very strong support. This indicates that at a certain point, regardless of leadership, these reforms will likely happen; but, as much of the population is older, and of a different mindset, it probably won’t right now.

Wasn’t the Italian election supposed to have a ballot measure for legal weed?

Yes, the Italian election was supposed to include a ballot measure allowing residents to vote on whether they want legal weed, or not. The ballot also covered the cultivation of entheogenic plants like magic mushrooms, and was therefore rather wide-reaching. It did, however, collect enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. 630,000 signatures were collected in the end, and handed over to the Supreme Court of Cassation for verification.

That court indeed verified the signatures, but in order to include a ballot measure, it must get a pass from the Supreme Court of Cassation, as well as the Constitutional Court, which is tasked with making sure a ballot measure is in line with the country’s laws. A referendum cannot conflict with the constitution, and this particular one was written in a way that was expected to satisfy legal requirements.

The 15-judge panel that makes up the Constitutional Court in Italy did not agree that the ballot measure was legal as per Italian law. The court rejected it even though it had technically collected more than enough signatures for inclusion. The referendum committee had this to say about it: “This is not a defeat of us and of the hundreds of thousands of citizens and citizens who signed up for legal cannabis. Today’s first and foremost is a defeat for the Institutions that are no longer able to comprehend a major part of this country.”

Looking at it now, it’s not shocking that there was issue with the measure, and perhaps its writers should have attempted a more narrow approach. Court president Giuliano Amato stated the multi-drug issue was a problem that would “violate multiple international obligations which are an indisputable limitation of the Constitution.”

Italian Constitutional Court
Italian Constitutional Court

He said this “leads us to ascertain the unsuitability of the aim pursued. The referendum was not on cannabis, but on drugs. Reference was made to substances that include poppy, coca—the so-called hard drugs.”

Beyond the wide range of drugs, the referendum came with a couple other strange issues. One being that it didn’t do anything to remove the fine currently in place for the decriminalization policy. Even if the referendum had gone through, the fine would have remained, making it seem like not a real legalization anyway. It also came with the caveat that no processing could be used, meaning regular weed or mushrooms would be legal, but something like hash, not.

Conclusion

With the Italian election resulting in a right-wing win, the future of legal weed in Italy is more unsure than ever. As are reforms to fix supply issues on the medical front, or anything else in the vein of loosening restrictions for cannabis, or drugs in general. The country has already suffered from contradictory laws and mandates in the past, and it seems the future is not any more clear.

Hey everyone, welcome! We appreciate you stopping by Cannadelics.com, where we work hard to get you the best in independent reporting on the cannabis and psychedelics fronts. Stop by regularly so you always know important headlines, and subscribe to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, to ensure you’re never late to get the news.





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Cannabis Control boss Shannon O’Brien, paid $181,722, has business before her own board

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The state’s new pot boss Shannon O’Brien, paid a smoking $181,722 salary, has been involved in two applications for cannabis cultivation, according to documents reviewed by the Herald.

O’Brien is listed on an application filed in 2020 by Greenfield Greenery LLC, as an “Owner/Partner” in a proposal to open an outdoor growing operation occupying upwards of 100,000 square feet.

A second application, by Charlemont FarmWorks LLC, lists O’Brien under a section titled “Our Team” as an adviser, noting her role as the former state treasurer and as a former state senator. She also ran for governor in 2002, losing to Mitt Romney.

Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.



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