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RIP Olivia Newton-John: Medical Cannabis Advocate – Cannabis News, Lifestyle

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Olivia Newton-John, the Grammy Award-winning singer, died this week at 73 years old after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. While she was known as one of the stars of Grease, the Australian singer/actress was also a medical cannabis advocate.

And her use of medical cannabis may have extended his life. Diagnosed in 1992, Olivia battled breast cancer for over 30 years.

Olivia Newton-John: Medical Cannabis Advocate 

In a Facebook message, Olivia Newton-John’s husband said she “passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California,” surrounded by family and friends.

“Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years, sharing her journey with breast cancer. Her healing inspiration and pioneering experience with plant medicine continues with the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer,” the post states. It also asks that interested fans send the foundation a donation in place of flowers.

In a September 2018 interview with High Times, Olivia Newton-John said she was consuming cannabis as part of her treatment. She called it a “magical, miracle plant.”

Olivia Newton-John

“My husband’s a plant medicine man so he grew cannabis and made tinctures for me for pain and inflammation,” she said. “The pain was the hardest thing. I can walk, but I can’t go long distances.” 

Medical cannabis, she says, “helped me a lot with pain because I don’t like taking prescription drugs.”

“I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference,” she told 60 Minutes Australia in 2019. “If I don’t take the drops, I can feel the pain, so I know it’s working.”

“People have this vision from the ’60s of people just sitting around and getting stoned. It’s not about that. This plant is a healing plant. I think we need to change the vision of what it is because it helped me greatly and it helps with pain and inflammation.”

“I’m totally off painkillers, I’m totally off morphine, and I attribute that to the cannabis because it was able to take over with the pain,” she told You Magazine in March 2021.

The late singer and actress also called cannabis “kind and compassionate.” “It’s what should be available for everybody to use,” she said.

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre

Olivia Newton-John’s experience with medical cannabis led her to create the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre in Melbourne in 2012.

“I have seen the incredible beauty of the plants and their healing abilities… if I hadn’t had that experience, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you about kinder therapies… your body wants to heal itself,” she once told the Daily Mail

“That’s why I’m excited to start this foundation.”

Olivia Newton-John spent years lobbying the Australian government to legalize medical cannabis. Politicians legalized medical cannabis in 2016, but not without restrictive rules and regulations many patients criticize as overly bureaucratic. 

30 Years Battling Cancer

Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton-John’s cancer resurfaced in 2017, a third time since her original diagnosis in 1992. But, as she told the media:

“When you’re given a cancer diagnosis or a scary honest diagnosis, you’re suddenly given a possibility of a time limit. If somebody tells you, ‘You have six months to live,’ very possibly you will because you believe that. So for me, psychologically, it’s better not to have any idea of what they expect or what the last person that has what you have lived, so I don’t, I don’t tune in.”

Staying positive certainly helps. But so does medical cannabis. While Newton-John used it to ease her symptoms, research shows cannabis also has anti-tumour properties.

As well, several studies suggest cannabinoid therapy reduces breast cancer cell proliferation.

Unfortunately, cannabis’s anti-cancer properties weren’t enough to save Olivia Newton-John. Things might have been different if she had started cannabinoid treatment with her first diagnosis in the early 90s.

But we at least have her repertoire of songs and performances. And through her celebrity, she was able to promote cannabis-based medicines and therapy.

Without Olivia Newton-John’s intense lobbying efforts, would the illiberal Australian government have ever legalized medical cannabis?

Rest in peace, Olivia Newton-John. Medical cannabis advocate.





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Reviewing the Cannabis Act – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Justin Trudeau’s hashtag government is finally reviewing the Cannabis Act – a year late.

They want to know: has cannabis legalization been successful?

Not in the sense of whether it’s been working for those who buy, sell, and consume cannabis. No, according to the Liberal’s Cannabis Act, the review must focus on Indigenous people, home growing, and whether legalization has helped the children.

After all, it was never about your right to your body. Post-COVID, it’s clear that freedom doesn’t exist. It’s a privilege handed out whenever the corporate state sees fit.

According to Justin’s Health Minister, this review will be “inclusive” and “evidence-driven.” And the result will “strengthen the act so that it meets the needs of all Canadians while continuing to displace the illicit market.” 

You can see the problem here.

Reviewing the Cannabis Act – a year late.

Reviewing the Cannabis Act

Reviewing the Cannabis Act is a year late. The Liberals said they’d do it three years after legalization. Nevertheless, it’s here. 

A couple of federal ministers announced how the Liberals would be reviewing the Cannabis Act. Like the Legalization Task Farce, there will be an “expert panel” led by retired career bureaucrat Morris Rosenberg.

Rosenberg is well-liked across the board. Everyone expects him to do a competent job.

And he might. But any recommendations can be ignored by Justin Trudeau’s hashtag government. Reviewing the Cannabis Act may not yield any positive results for anyone.

The government hasn’t named the other members of the “expert panel.”

Confines of the Review 

Reviewing the Cannabis Act

The issue with reviewing the Cannabis Act is that the Act itself demands “dual objectives of protecting public health and maintaining public safety.”

“Public health” means more of the same political spin about cannabis’ alleged harms and impact on children and indigenous people. Interesting that the federal government needs to hold the hand of these two identity groups.

I thought children had parents and mentors who looked after them. And aren’t indigenous people free, adult human beings?

This is why Justin Trudeau’s government is a hashtag government. They care more for optics and sound bytes than substance—they fake sincerity.

And this causes real-world destruction.

Look at the amount of plastic waste the Cannabis Act has created. Combined with face masks showing up in the ocean, fertilizer mandates, and not building pipelines, Justin Trudeau’s hashtag government has been a net negative for the environment.

Justin, his cronies and supporters don’t understand that fossil fuels are necessary to transition off fossil fuels. You can’t dictate consumer demand and expect the market to follow.

This hubris is why the illegal cannabis market still exists.

The “public health” approach to cannabis prevents BC Bud from operating aboveboard.

Cutting bureaucratic red tape and refocusing legalization away from “public health” and toward a viable commercial industry needs to be done.

What Canadians choose to do with their bodies is of no concern to the federal government.

Reviewing the Cannabis Act: 18 Months Later

Reviewing the Cannabis Act is not only a year late, but they expect the “expert panel” to take 18 months to conclude.

The problem is, with the current excise tax regime, many smaller producers won’t last. 

The government hasn’t rewarded those who have tried to play by the rules.

And that’s the problem in a nutshell. If you want to displace the “black market,” you must make it worthwhile for those individuals to get licences.

But when even the large licensed producers complain about an overtly restricted regime, what incentive does BC Bud have?

Reviewing the Cannabis Act means an “expert” panel will spend 18 months and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars focusing in the wrong direction.

Fortunately, alongside public health busybodies, the panel will also hear from the cannabis industry and the general public.

So there’s an opportunity to turn the tide. Direct the narrative away from concern about children, edibles, and home-growing to excise taxes and a bloated bureaucracy.

Ottawa doesn’t license craft brewers in British Columbia. It has no business doing the same for cannabis.

Footnote(s)





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Making Sense of the COVID Cannabis Surge  – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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How can we make sense of the COVID Cannabis surge? As reported previously, a pandemic-induced cannabis bubble has now burst. Total market cannabis sales are now in decline but what’s happened is a return to pre-pandemic market conditions.

We can answer some pressing questions using real-time sales reporting from Headset Insight. Namely, did we see a more significant decline in transaction volume or transaction size?

Which products fared best and worst during the last couple of years? And which customers are now buying less cannabis than they were in 2020 and 2021.

Digging into these underlying issues reveals patterns we can discern from the data. We know the COVID cannabis surge was real, so let’s discuss the details.

Decreases in Cannabis Transactions 

COVID Cannabis Surge

This graph shows the monthly transaction volume of the median store in four markets (California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington). Previously, Headset marked mid-summer as the turning point for when sales begin to stagnate and decline.

You can see that point marked by a grey dotted line.

Transaction volumes have been steadily declining. For example, the California median store transaction volume dropped from 7,309 transactions in July 2021 to 6,106 transactions in July 2022.

COVID Cannabis Surge – Shrinking Baskets

COVID Cannabis Surge

Again we look at the median store in each of these US cannabis markets. This time we’re looking at the average transaction or basket size trend. (Basket size is a measurement describing how many items a consumer purchases in a single transaction).

Similar to the previous graph, there is a steady decline across all markets. Consumers are spending less overall on each trip to the cannabis store.

The average basket size at a median Colorado store in July 2021 was $59.73.

In July 2022, it was $55.21.

This means that the COVID cannabis surge was indeed a pandemic-related consumer response.

Transaction volume vs. Transaction size 

COVID Cannabis Surge

Decreasing transaction volume and shrinking baskets have both contributed to overall sales declines. But which one is causing the most impact?

The chart above compares relative declines in median store transaction volume and average basket size by state from July 2021 to July 2022.

In every market, the relative decrease in transaction volume is more significant than the relative decrease in basket size.

This decrease implies that the reduced number of transactions has had a more significant effect on sales than shrinking baskets.

Of course, this depends on the market. In Colorado, for example, the retraction in overall transaction volume is nearly double the decline in basket size. Whereas, in Washington, these two data points are almost identical.

Category performance in California 

It can be tricky discovering sales trends among the different product categories. Diving into the data, we can see what’s contributed to recent downturns in top-line sales.

The chart above shows the year-over-year sales growth of different products in California. It then compares it to total market growth over the same period.

Flower, of course, performed well. From July 2019 to July 2020, flower sales growth rates were nearly double of the overall California market. This is the COVID cannabis surge in action.

Drinks and vape pens have maintained positive growth while topical and tinctures sales are decreasing.

Category Performance in Washington 

Washington’s cannabis market performed similarly to California’s. Flower saw a massive increase in early 2020, a poster child for the COVID cannabis surge.

Flower is now correcting while drinks and vapes remain consistent. Like California, tinctures are on the decline. But, unlike California, the topical category saw positive growth. 

Trends among top cannabis spenders before and after the COVID Cannabis surge

Who helped create the COVID cannabis surge? Top cannabis consumers spend more than average and contribute a disproportionate percentage of revenue to the cannabis industry.

This graph shows the median total spending of the top 10% of cannabis consumers over three months (May to July) over the past four years.

These customers have the greatest (relative) influence on top-line sales. For example, the top 10% in California have accounted for 30% of all cannabis sales this year.

On average, the top 10% also spent $100 more during the COVID cannabis surge than in 2019.

This trend shows that the top-tier cannabis buyers were influencing the COVID cannabis surge by purchasing more cannabis than average. This trend now appears to be in decline.

Cannabis customers compared 

The graph above compares the top 10% with the rest of the group. Here, we can reach the 10% with the bottom 90% and how it relates to the COVID cannabis surge.

In 2020, all cannabis consumers increased their spending. This is what we mean by the COVID cannabis surge. 90% of customers in California increased their spending just as much as the top 10% did.

In 2021, all groups had flat year-over-year growth in spending.

As the COVID cannabis surge officially ended by 2022, the differences between these two customer types are apparent.

In both Washington and California, the summer spending of the median customer in the top 10% decreased significantly more than that of the median customer in the bottom 90%.

Cannabis’ biggest spenders are tightening their belts. This is causing top-line market retractions.

COVID Cannabis surge broken down by age

All age groups follow a similar pattern. Generation X had the highest spending levels, while Millennials still contributed the most considerable total revenue.

Year over year growth in median customer spending during the May-June period is graphed above. During the 2020 COVID cannabis surge, younger customers spent more. This may be because older generations were less willing to venture outside the house and visit a retail shop.

Median customer spending held flat in 2021 across all age groups.

So far in 2022, most age groups have averaged similar decreases in spending. One exception is Generation Z which has the most significant reduction in total spending at -11%.

This data suggests that the youngest customers were also fuelling the COVID cannabis surge in early 2020.

In Summary

The COVID Cannabis surge is over. We see this with decreases in both transaction volume and basket size. However, reductions in transaction volume have a greater influence.

Flower remains the most volatile, with massive surges early in the pandemic with significant corrections in 2022.

Beverages and vape products have remained the most consistent during the rise and fall of the COVID cannabis surge.

The top 10% of cannabis consumers increased their spending in 2022 but decreased their spending in 2022 more than the bottom 90% of customers.

Younger customers were also responsible for the COVID cannabis surge. But customers across all age groups are now reducing their spending at more or less equal rates.

Footnote(s)

https://www.headset.io/industry-reports/understanding-the-recent-sales-declines-in-legacy-cannabis-markets





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Cannabis in the US Midterms (2022) – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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What role will cannabis play in the USA 2022 midterm elections?

America’s burgeoning yet constricted cannabis industry hopes to see some change in Washington before the midterms reshape the political landscape.

America’s cannabis industry hopes to see the SAFE Banking Act passed. This legislation would provide cannabis companies access to financial services.

“Really what it comes down to is how important is cannabis for the Democrats to pass,” says Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager at Purpose Investments.

Cannabis in the US Midterms: Incremental Reform

Cannabis in the US Midterms (2022)

Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). The CAOA is comprehensive legislation aimed to legalize cannabis recreationally across the United States.

Schumer’s positioning on cannabis law reform has influenced stocks, but the Democrats haven’t delivered so far. Observers and experts have criticized the CAOA for numerous reasons. Most notably, a 15% excise tax would be levied in addition to state-level taxes.

For this reason, cannabis reformers have seen more success in incremental steps.

“Incremental reform has been defined as a mix of the SAFE Banking Act, plus social equity provisions, added on top of that to appease more left-wing Democrats,” says Nawan.

“We think there is work being done on a SAFE Banking Plus Bill, which is going to include the basics of the SAFE Banking Act. Which helps a lot of corporations get access to financial services and allows greater investor access to cannabis-related businesses.

“We think it’ll also have some social equity provisions in it. Which lays the foundation for spending a lot of the taxation that’s collected toward rehabilitation, as well as social equity and social justice programs for those adversely affected by cannabis laws in the United States.”

Promising Republican Poll

Cannabis in the US Midterms (2022)

If the midterm results are Republican majorities in the House and Senate, then the GOP may push cannabis reform aside until the 2024 general election.

“We don’t think this [cannabis reform] would be an item that the Republicans will prioritize,” says Nawan. “It’s not that they don’t support it. If we take a look at GOP support, they do look at cannabis as a positive.”

Recent polling of Republican voters found overwhelming support for cannabis legalization.

73% said there is no difference between the rights of legal cannabis businesses and that of any “regular” business. 76% of Republican voters agreed that the federal government should not interfere with individual states’ decision to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.

“So we can’t say GOP doesn’t support cannabis,” says Nawan. “There is a certain divide between the populace and the leadership, or the legislators. But overall, it’s either the Democrats pass it now or we’re going to see this being put off. At least until we have further insight into what the 2024 elections are going to look like.”

Cannabis in the US: Post-Midterms

Passing something cannabis-related after the midterms isn’t impossible. But it’s unlikely.

With a potential flip of the House and Senate to GOP control for the balance of the Biden presidency, “we don’t think this would be an item that the Republicans will prioritize,” says Nawan.

“If something doesn’t happen in the lame duck session, then we’re going to be pushing this out another 16, 18, maybe 24 months.”





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