In this week’s issue, we recap the biggest cannabis industry news stories for the week of March 16 – March 20, 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic has already had far-reaching effects on the cannabis industry and its impact is present in many of the top cannabis industry stories from this past week. Keep reading for an overview of the top news stories related to cannabis and the cannabis industry.
Marijuana Businesses Deemed “Essential,” Allowed to Stay Open During Coronavirus Pandemic
As non-essential businesses across the country are required to close in an effort to stem the coronavirus, several state and local officials are acknowledging that customers rely on cannabis for health reasons and have declared marijuana dispensaries as “essential” services. Dispensaries are continuing to operate while exercising caution and implementing social distancing protocols to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. Nevada, New York State, Los Angeles County, the City of San Francisco, and rural communities like Gunnison and Summit counties in Colorado are among the areas allowing dispensaries to stay open.
Cannabis Sales Surge as Consumers Stock Up in Preparation for Social Distancing
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are stocking up on cannabis in preparation for isolation and staying home. Cannabis dispensaries and online cannabis stories across the country are reporting increases in sales as people are buying in bulk. Sales have surged in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, according to the cannabis data firm Headset.
NBA Pauses Marijuana Testing During Coronavirus-Caused Stoppage
The National Baseball League (NBA) announced that it will temporarily suspend the drug testing of its players during the hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA postponed the current season for a minimum of 30 days. Players are normally given no more than four random drug tests throughout the season and a maximum of two during the offseason. Those will be put on hold until the season resumes.
New Analysis Shows CBD is the Most Researched Wellness Trend Online
Babylon Health examined the volume of scholarly articles and social media posts related to wellness trends and found that cannabidiol (CBD) leads the way. The analysis found more than 500,000 Google scholarly articles and more than 8 million Instagram posts on the non-intoxicating cannabis-derived compound. Learn more about CBD on our CBD oil education page.
FDA Seeks More Public Comments on CBD
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reopened a public comment period to gather more information on CBD and its effects. The agency is specifically requesting information on CBD safety and scientific evaluation. Thousands of people submitted comments in the first open comment period last year.
Baltimore Halts Drug Cases to Help Curtail Spread of Coronavirus
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced in a letter to staff this week that she is moving to dismiss pending charges against people accused of most drug charges. The new policy is intended to reduce the number of individuals in jail to limit exposing intimates to the coronavirus and that it will be reevaluated once the pandemic is over.
Study Shows Marijuana Legalization and Dispensaries Boost Housing Values
A new analysis from economists at the University of Oklahoma suggests that legalizing marijuana elicits an increase in housing values. By examining listings on Zillow.com, the researchers found that housing prices increased in Colorado and Washington State following legalization. Neighborhoods where dispensaries opened saw an even greater increase in price.
Connecticut Residents Voice Support for Legal Marijuana
A new poll published Thursday by the Hartford Courant and Sacred Heart University found that 63.4 percent of Connecticut residents support legalizing marijuana. More than a third responded they “strongly support” full legalization, while 29 percent said they “somewhat support” it. Adult-use marijuana in Connecticut remains illegal, but state officials are collaborating on cannabis reform efforts with neighboring states New York and New Jersey and legislation is making its way through committee.
Marijuana Sales Jump 34% in One Month in Michigan
Michigan’s monthly recreational marijuana sales reached $14.8 million in February, a 34 percent increase over the roughly $9.8 million in sales in January. Michigan’s marijuana market launched on December 1, 2019, and has been steadily climbing ever since. The state logged $7 million in sales in its first full month of sales in December. Learn more about marijuana laws in Michigan.
Colorado Issues First Marijuana Delivery License
Bounder-based medical marijuana dispensary The Dandelion has received Colorado’s very first permit to deliver medical marijuana to patients. While the law allowing medical marijuana deliveries took effect on January 2, offering delivery is timely considering the need for patients to utilize social distancing to limit their exposure to COVID-19. The Dandelion will begin its first deliveries by the end of the month and will serve those within Boulder and the nearby town of Superior.
Maryland Lawmakers Approve Bill to Hide Marijuana Convictions from Public Database
The Maryland legislature approved legislation on Tuesday that would shield nearly 200,000 prior marijuana convictions from being accessible on a public database. The bill, now waiting for Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, would prevent convictions for marijuana convictions prior to October 1, 2014 to be publically viewable on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.
Medical Marijuana Bill Advances in Alabama
The Alabama state Senate has approved a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Passed in a 22019 vote, the bill would allow patients to buy cannabis in the form of capsules, patches, and topicals at 34 locations throughout the state. It now advances to the Alabama House of Representatives.
Ongoing Cannabis News and Analysis
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