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Scapegoat or solution? Ouster of top New York marijuana official raises questions

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The exit of Chris Alexander, the top state official overseeing New York’s rollout of adult-use marijuana sales, is seen by many as assigning blame for what has been decried as the country’s worst cannabis market launch to date.

More than three years after New York legalized adult use, only 122 stores were open for business statewide, and the market’s $123 million in 2023 sales was only about one-quarter of projections.

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But whether Alexander’s departure as executive director of the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will mean a turnaround – or whether his replacement, to be assigned by Gov. Kathy Hochul upon completion of Alexander’s term in September, will be any better – is far from clear, industry observers told MJBizDaily on Monday.

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Marijuana Business Daily

Tribally owned marijuana store numbers up 25% since 2023

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(This is a contributed guest column. To be considered as an MJBizDaily guest columnist, please submit your request here.)

Matthew Klas (Courtesy photo)

Marijuana businesses owned and operated by Native American tribes experienced strong growth in the past year.

Tribally owned cannabis retailers have continued to open across the United States as tribes have looked to diversify their economies, assert their sovereignty and seize the first-to-market advantage in certain states.

The U.S. government recognizes 574 Native American tribes, and roughly 350 are in the contiguous 48 states.

As sovereign nations, tribes’ marijuana laws might differ from state statutes that are applicable off tribal lands.

Tribal laws can be more restrictive – such as banning cannabis use even in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized – but they also can be more permissive than state laws.

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Marijuana Business Daily

Michigan is selling more cannabis, but retailers are taking in less money

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Michigan marijuana retailers sold about 9.3% more cannabis in April than in March, but they brought in about 3.5% less money.

In April, Michigan retailers sold 573,206 total pounds of cannabis – 569,620 pounds to adult-use customers and 3,586 pounds to medical marijuana patients – for a total of $278,546,444.

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Of that April total, $276,685,183 was spent by recreational shoppers and $1,861,261 by MMJ patients, according to monthly statistics from Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA).

In March, Michigan retailers sold 524,285 total pounds of marijuana – 520,469 pounds on the recreational side and 3,816 on the MMJ side – for $288,843,279.

Of that March total, $286,790,258 was spent by adult-use customers and $2,053,021 by MMJ patients, according to CRA data.

The agency reported

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Marijuana Business Daily

AI is making cannabis cultivation smarter

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(This story is part of the cover package in the May-June issue of MJBizMagazine.)

Machine learning is becoming increasingly common in indoor cannabis grows, as cultivators use sophisticated sensors and cameras to maintain optimal growing conditions, sound the alarm about threats such as pests or disease and reduce labor costs associated with both menial and high-level cultivation tasks.

“Cannabis has always been the enabler of some of these bleeding-edge technologies,” Nick Genty, CEO of North Carolina-based AgEye Technologies, said in an interview with MJBizMagazine.

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“They’ve had the margins, and they’ve had the budgets to support investing in new technology versus some of the vegetable guys who don’t.”

There are two main reasons why cannabis and other indoor agriculture companies are implementing artificial intelligence or machine-learning

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