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Global cannabis sales will grow to $57B but depend on new markets

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As prohibition lifts an ugly grasp on cannabis, the new market prospers. BDSA is an analytics firm that tracks the industry through an enormous point-of-sale network. A recent report by the firm suggests global cannabis sales will grow to $57 Billion by 2026.

This author spoke with the Founder and CEO but also Andy Seeger who serves as one of the BDSA’s Director of Analytics. Seeger gave insight into the US cannabis market’s current era.

We’re now in an innovation 2.0 wave based on price. And that’s at both ends. We’re seeing bulk where full ounces are dominating the market in Colorado, even though it’s an ounce daily purchase limit. All the way down to Illinois, where they’re selling a 0.3 G chillum for $12 — that’s a thirty-six dollar gram. 

Whether it’s one gram cartridges taking over vapes because the price got so low — or sample and trial in Illinois because the price is so high — price realization is driving a lot of the innovation, accessibility, and trends in the market right now. 

Andy Seeger

Quality as global cannabis sales grow

BDSA expects Illinois to reach $2B in total cannabis sales in 2022, a 14% increase from last year. Following their most recent report, this author discussed the growing market with BDSA’s founder and CEO, Roy Bingham. During a price reduction, though, quality can be partially maintained through product diversification.

I think there is a difference if you’re talking about flower versus vaporizer products — possibly. But certainly if you’re talking about edibles.  

There’s a lot of competition in the mature market. And there is an excess supply in some situations. So the price is a byproduct of that, isn’t it, as the price has been going down for the last year in the mature markets. 

Roy Bingham

Brand reputation and quality are essential for different cannabis products as global sales grow.

Product appreciation is found in the right lane

Brand reputation and consistency are vital for more processed Consumer Packaged Good [CPG] markets such edibles and vapes, according to Bingham. Whereas the quality of dried flower, while less laborious to produce, is more multifaceted.  

Now, I don’t know that there is necessarily a trade-off between price and quality in cannabis — perhaps not. When you’re talking about relatively processed products like vaporizers and edibles, I am not sure if there is very much difference to be determined. Except, maybe, a lack of innovation if prices are low. There is less incentive for companies to come up with the next new thing or the next new technique. 

But when you’re talking about flower, I guess there’s a possibility that cutting corners in various grow stages might lead to a lower quality product.

Bingham

On the consumer side, Seeger noted that top-tier products are conversely becoming more affordable on the market.

Infused pre-rolls offer a higher value proposition than regular prerolls that are now comparable to very cheap flower everywhere else. We’re seeing those [infused pre-rolls] take off with additives of keif or wax.

We’re seeing rosin being pushed into edibles and cartridges at accessible prices, or higher-order cannabinoids now utilized in lower-order formats. So the quality is there. But the price is just affecting quality, and now consumers expect it. 

Seeger

Mapping the state-to-state roll-out

BDSA released their report this morning highlighting new market strengths contrasting flat mature states. Do you see advantages or disadvantages to the slow state-by-state rollout compared to immediate federal legalization?

I think, historically, there have been some advantages to a state-by-state rollout. Some companies were able to build a very solid base in their own state before facing the challenges of logistics and other challenges of trying to expand very rapidly over large distances. 

We’re probably at the point where federal legislation would benefit the consumer the most and probably many of the large and well-established companies. And, of course, it’s not just a benefit from the point of view of being able to grow and distribute cannabis products. It’s also a benefit from access to banking and financial services and other services that are not readily available to the industry because of federal legislation.

Bingham

Lessons for upcoming markets

The cannabis market currently still under values accountants. And Bingham noted a major issue with taxation. But he instead warned nations preparing for cannabis legalization, such as Germany and Mexico, of potential supply shortages.

Even if you go far enough back to the medical-use market, there was a supply problem at the beginning. And that could last anywhere from a few months to several years.

It’s difficult to anticipate the level of demand and build a supply chain capable of coping and flexing without taking outrageous risks and bets as a business. And then I think the other thing we see is usually there is a category of product format. 

You basically sell out of your flower each time before you’ve actually get far enough down the pipe to start to produce those alternative products.

Bingham

Producers can keep sales strong as global cannabis grows with products, quality, and brand strength.

Balancing oversupply

BDSA’s report discusses Oregon and Washington’s moratorium to slow the oversupply problem. Bingham called their oversupply a different problem that occurred six or seven years later.

And, of course, it’s associated a lot to do with the legal status of the market and the extent of which there is an illicit market. And also what’s happened to prices as well — so you can end up in a situation of massive, oversupply. 

Bingham

Advantages and shortfalls of a federal bill

National legalization would alter the course of the entire market. While that bill could take until at least 2026 to come into force, it might lead to a short-term fallout amidst great potential.

You have growth and processing facilities established in every state. They would be needless if you could transport your product across state borders. And then you’ve got a lot of suboptimal operations in terms of scale.

Bingham

BDSA’s Founder and CEO remarked on the classic cannabis industry trend. That is, licensed producer with deep pockets and a lack of know-how frequently enter the competitive market with a trajectory half-a-country wide.

And therefore, much more efficient because there are a lot of economies of scale in the production of cannabis products. 

Corporate LPs perpetually attempt to encompass smaller competition. Yet, the Globe’s cannabis market has room to grow — from 30$ billion in 2021 to 57$ billion by 2026.

[The industry) will have its rapid growth years and more challenging years — like this year for the mature markets. But we will see its overall growth outstrip any other food and most other CPG category.Roy Bingham

The cannabis industry hosts new markets with unusually prosperous values. In contrast, sales flatline after maturation. New markets are, therefore, projected to support global cannabis sales growing until 2026.





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Brother's of Italy

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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420 Investments Ltd

Problems in The Industry? Cannabis Giant Canopy Growth Sells Retail locations

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It’s the coolest industry in the world, right? Well, maybe it is, but for all the government claims of tax flow, it doesn’t seem to be the most lucrative. Now, as industry giant Canopy Growth makes deals to sell its retail locations, what does this really say about our coolest new industry?

Canopy Growth selling its retail locations could signal a big problem in the retail weed market. This news site is an independent resource for stories in the growing cannabis and psychedelics industries of today. Subscribe to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for regular updates to your email, and to get access to a host of awesome deals on a range of products including vapes, smoking devices, edibles, other cannabis paraphernalia, and the highly-in-demand cannabinoid compounds Delta 8 & HHC. You can find more info in our ‘best of’ lists, so head on over, and pick out the products you’re most happy to use.


Who the heck is Canopy Growth?

A decade ago, cannabis companies weren’t much of a thing. Sure, there were some medical markets opening, but recreational was still years away, and the same issue of federal government illegalization kept anything from really popping on a huge level. Plus, weed was still illegal for all purposes nearly everywhere in the world at that time, so no large global markets existed.

Since then, the cannabis industry has become a real thing, complete with verticals from seed to sale. And while we hear of all the money its worth, and projections for how big it *could get, the reality has been creeping alongside the whole time; that it’s not quite the lucrative industry so many predicted. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, a very much struggling industry. This is exemplified by recent news of industry giant Canopy Growth, making plans to sell off its 28 brick-and-mortar retail locations.

Canopy Growth isn’t a nobody in the industry. The company, based out of Swiss Falls, Ontario, in Canada, was the largest cannabis company in 2019 in terms of stock value. Canopy Growth came out of a merger between Tweed Marijuana, Inc, and Bedrocan Canada, in 2015. The company has the designation of being the first Canadian cannabis company to be federally regulated, licensed, and publicly traded in North America.

It trades under WEED on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and opened in the New York Stock Exchange under CGC in 2018. It was the first cannabis producer to enter the NYSE. Canopy was also the first company to make a recreational cannabis sale when it was officially legalized in Canada. This took place in a Tweed store located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Back in November 2016, the company was singled out as the first unicorn of the weed industry, with a $1 billion valuation according to the Financial Post. The company operates dispensaries through its subsidiary Tweed, Inc. in the provinces that allow a private sector market, including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It operates as well in Manitoba and Ontario under the brand name Tokyo Smoke.

By 2018, the company had market capitalization exceeding $14 billion, and Canopy even funded Professorships in Cannabis Science at University of British Columbia in Vancouver. However, the company’s quick rise, started to falter in 2018. The biggest issue stemmed from Canopy’s attempt to make greenhouses in British Columbia and Quebec larger, which led to pretty big losses. How big? In the last quarter of 2018, the company posted losses of $335.6 million for shareholders. Constellation Brands, which held four out of seven board seats at that time, was unhappy with the company’s direction.

All this led to an emergency board meeting where CEO Bruce Linton was thrown out; but this didn’t stop stock prices from falling. In 2019, stock prices slid further down for Canopy, and it was reported that all of the cannabis industry was suffering, showing the lowest numbers since 2017. The company instituted new CEO David Klein in December 2019. By 2020, Canopy was already announcing the closing of stores.

Canopy Growth has operations globally. It’s partnered with Alcaliber S.A. pharmaceutical company in Spain; owns Spectrum Therapeutics GmbH in Germany for medical cannabis imports; is partnered with Spectrum Cannabis Denmark ApS, which cultivates medical cannabis; acquired Annabis Medical, a Czech Republic distributor; as well as Daddy Cann Lesotho, an African medical cannabis supplier; has a partnership with the UK’s Beckley Foundation for medical cannabis; and has other operations in Australia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Jamaica.

Canopy Growth sells retail locations

It was already a downhill slide for the weed giant, so this latest news isn’t surprising, but it is a little depressing; especially in what it signals for the legal marijuana industry as a whole. On September, 27th, 2022, the company announced that it was forging agreements to sell off its retail market locations throughout Canada. This includes retail stores under both the Tweed and Tokyo Smoke brand names.

OEG Retail Cannabis, already a Canopy partner that owns and operates franchises of Tokyo Smoke stores in Ontario, will take all of Canopy’s corporate stores outside Alberta, and all intellectual property related to Tokyo Smoke as well. Canopy also reached an agreement with the company 420 Investments Ltd., in which the latter will take ownership of five retail locations within Alberta. Neither deal is officially closed, as they are both subject to regulatory oversight and approval.

While this doesn’t necessarily say good things about how Canopy Growth sees the retail market, it’s certainly not the end of the company, which is using this move as a way to refocus attention elsewhere. According to its press statement, the company will continue on with a focus on premium cannabis consumer packaged goods.

According to David Klein, “We are taking the next critical step in advancing Canopy as a leading premium brand-focused CPG cannabis company while furthering the Company’s strategy of investing in product innovation and distribution to drive revenue growth in the Canadian recreational market.”

Premium cannabis goods
Premium cannabis goods

He continued of the deals, “By realizing these agreements with organizations that possess proven cannabis retail expertise, we are providing continuity for consumers and team members. Through the best-in-class retail leadership that OEGRC and FOUR20 have demonstrated, they will continue to serve Canadian consumers with the high-quality in-store experiences that are essential for success in a new industry.”

It’s expected that this change will lead to operational savings for the company. These savings are projected to put the company back at the high end of their yearly target range. The company announced its overall cost reduction plan earlier this year in April.

What does this mean for the cannabis industry?

Companies switch direction all the time, or take on new ventures. Technically, it’s not that weird for a company to see a different aspect of a market, and go towards it. Cannabis food products are getting quite popular, so it could be seen as Canopy Growth simply changing lanes for the drive forward.

But there are some other stark realities to this situation. Realities that are often hidden behind announcements of all the cannabis tax income for states. The reality that this industry is not bringing in nearly as much revenue as expected. That the black market is a formidable opponent that many still prefer, and that legal markets were instituted with taxes so high, that it makes legal operators struggle to stay afloat. Sure, some companies are making money, but not that many.

It’s easy to forget that one of the biggest winners in the weed game is not private companies, but government entities. And for them, this is all new income; so whether its high or low, its adding money to government coffers. Think of how much cigarettes cost because of those ‘sin’ taxes meant to dissuade us from buying them. Obviously, sin taxes don’t work, but what they do mean, is that as we continue to buy these sinful products (in the same quantities as when they weren’t taxed to kill us), the government reaps the benefits.

Philip Morris still makes plenty of money from cigarettes, but probably not as much as the government. In Mexico, for example, its reported that an entire 70% of the price of a pack of cigarettes, is taxes. That governments have turned taxing items into a full industry, means that governments can profit off an industry as much, or more, than the actual companies within it. Such is the case right now with cannabis, where tax money is coming in, but the markets themselves are waning.

This whole concept was exemplified well by economists Daniel Sumner and Robin Goldstein, who together put out the book Can Legal Weed Win?: The Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics. The two UC Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics professionals, who did an interview for TIME magazine, point out how the legal weed industry is very much weighed down by overly strict regulatory measures, a market competitive within itself and with the black market, and because of a host of agricultural issues that come up in the industry.

As Sumner put it, “There are companies that have done well and there are lots of companies that have not done well at all. There are growers that are doing OK and there are lots of farms that are not doing OK at all… It’s been a gold rush and a few people have found some gold and a lot of people haven’t.”

Canopy Growth retail cannabis
Canopy Growth retail cannabis

Goldstein explained further about investing in the industry, that “The ones that are probably making the safest money are probably the ones who were taking flat fees… But folks who took their compensation in the form of shares in these big cannabis holding companies, those stocks have not done well on the whole.”

If this doesn’t sound like the headlines blaring about a massive and growing weed industry, with no obstacles in its way, that’s because those headlines mainly speak in market projections, and market projections aren’t real. That’s the nature of projections, they’re just someone’s thoughts, but they’re not facts, or indicative of what will actually happen. Market projections were extremely high for the cannabis industry, but that never meant they had to be realized.

In actuality, according to Sumner, “People say this is a $100 billion industry. Robin and I are skeptical of that, but there could be a $10 billion industry, which is a lot of money if shared among a few players… We’ve seen nothing like the consolidation yet where the really big money could be coming. We haven’t even seen an indication that it’s going that direction.”

Canopy Growth is one of those big players, which is why this move is a possible signal of a bigger problem; namely an inability to really make enough money outside of projections. After all, why would a leader in the retail cannabis industry, give up that part of their business in an effort to recoup losses? As Canopy Growth sells its retail locations and exits that part of the game, we should wonder who can survive in the market, if this company can’t.

Conclusion

The news that Canopy Growth is selling its retail locations to focus on other aspects of the market in an attempt to recoup losses, is a pretty big indication that its a bumpy ride in the cannabis retail industry. What will happen next for Canopy Growth and the market in general? Stay tuned to life to find out.

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