Julie Aitcheson, Author at Green Market Report

Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonNovember 24, 2020
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4min2260

‘Tis the season for America’s favorite foodie holiday, and whether turkey, tofurkey, or none of the above are on the menu, this is sure to be a Thanksgiving like no other. With Covid-19 spikes turning the U.S. map red and growing concerns about the capacity of states to handle an even higher coronavirus positivity rate if citizens choose to gather, some thought leaders in the cannabis industry are taking a stab at predicting the impact on Thanksgiving sales.

Cannabis compliance technology company Akerna (NASDAQ: KERN) anticipates a 78% increase over average daily sales for 2020 during this Thanksgiving weekend, hitting $270 million between November 25 and November 28. James Arendt, Akerna’s Business Intelligence Architect, explains that the huge sales spikes typically happen on Green Wednesday and Black Friday as most dispensaries are closed on Thanksgiving Day, but this hasn’t prevented Thanksgiving from being one of the Top 5 sales holidays of the year. A trend that is expected to continue in 2020.  

Akerna projects that the average order total will be around $83.30 for adult-use consumers and $128.46 for medical consumers. This is an increase of roughly $13 over average order totals for the rest of the year. Cannabis flower is predicted to be the top seller, garnering 42% of sales with cartridges and pens coming in a strong second at 37%. Male users will likely make up the majority of consumers at 64%, with under 30’s and 30-40 year-olds making up a combined 58% of the top consumers over Thanksgiving.

Akerna’s data doesn’t make correlations with anticipated sales and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but Joe Caltabiano, founder of cannabis and medical marijuana company, Cresco Labs, (OTC: CRLBF) highlights the fact that cannabis was deemed essential at the pandemic’s outset. “At the same time,” he adds, “we saw regulators rapidly adopt emergency rules allowing online ordering, curbside pick-up, and delivery in areas where it’s permitted.” These measures will no doubt contribute to keeping cannabis sales strong for Thanksgiving, as retail sales increased by 40% after the measures were taken and remained high even after the stimulus paid out by the federal government in April was exhausted. Caltabiano posits that the pandemic has made consumers even more comfortable with ordering online as a safer and more convenient purchasing option, with retailers offering special deals for those who choose to purchase online, further brightening the prospect for chart-topping Thanksgiving totals.

Caltabiano also predicts that the money saved on airfare, hotels, or other travel-related expenses by those choosing the “safer at home” approach this Thanksgiving may lead to a pandemic holiday trend of self-care. “This year’s new tradition could be treating oneself with an eighth of premium flower instead of buying a bottle of wine for the family dinner.” Between that and the fact that other pandemic-era holidays such as the 4th of July and Labor Day have seen increased retail sales, Caltablano thinks retailers will have ample reason to give thanks once Thanksgiving 2020 is done and dusted.


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonNovember 18, 2020
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8min4460

Though April 20th takes the top prize in cannabis sales year after year, Green Wednesday (Black Friday’s cannabis counterpart) has come in a strong second place since its inception in 2016, and 2020 looks to be no different. As a result of clever moves by retailers to offset pandemic-related impacts on buying behavior, starting deals and discounts earlier in the season than ever before, and tailoring the shopping experience to customer health and safety concerns, Green Wednesday sales for 2020 are poised to hit an all-time high. 

A November 16th press release from the National Retailers Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics cited the results of an annual survey which showed that shoppers are getting an earlier start on purchasing for the upcoming holidays. According to the survey, 59 percent of holiday shoppers had already started making purchases as of early November– a 21 percent increase over figures from ten years ago. Despite the Covid crisis, consumers seem to feel confident in the efforts retailers are making to keep them Covid-free, with 70 percent saying they feel safe shopping in stores. One such safety measure includes stocking shelves with gift items earlier in the season and offering special deals to avoid overcrowding as the season progresses.

Deliveries Increase

Eaze, a cannabis delivery platform in California, posted new data showing that Green Wednesday 2019 saw a 90 percent increase in deliveries over a typical Wednesday and a 147% increase in deliveries over the previous year. Cannabis data and analytics provider Headset posted a comparison of Green Wednesday and Black Friday sales from 2019 on its blog, which showed record Green Wednesday sales, although savings lagged behind Black Friday bargains. The study attributes this to bigger discounts and lower average item prices on Black Friday.

Retailers hit hard and early with special deals and holiday gift packages to tempt those seeking to spread some cheer this holiday season and they’re not letting up as the week of Thanksgiving approaches. Beyond the standard pre-rolls, tinctures, and vape paraphernalia, companies like Her Highness, a lifestyle brand based in New York City, offer 25% off gift items like the Grindzilla Cannabis Grinder and the Lip Service Ashtray (shaped like, you guessed it, lips) while Indiana brand Cannabolish is promoting its products with a 30 percent Green Wednesday deal featuring its popular Odor Removing sprays and gels and candles to make sure cinnamon and pine are the only top notes in your holiday home. 

Caliva is also offering a variety of deals on products that will help you survive the season – whether that be teaching grandma how to get on zoom (again) or kickstarting your metabolism for the big Thanksgiving feast. On Green Wednesday (11/25) Caliva is offering up to 40% off select top brands: Caliva, DELI Nickels, Plus Gummies, KIVA, and more! On Black Friday the company said customers will receive an extra deal when they pay through Hypur, the first digital payment solution for cannabis transactions. The promotion will be available through Caliva delivery online and all Caliva / DELI retail stores.

Top Selling Products

Chart provided by Headset

According to LeafLink, a B2B e-commerce wholesale marketplace that connects retailers and brands, in 2019, sales through LeafLink increased by 5.45% during the two weeks leading up to Green Wednesday and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. What products were the most popular as retailers stocked up for the holiday weekend? Flower was the most popular product category at the time, making up 31.2% of the market share in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. However, Disposable Cartridges and Pre-Rolls experienced the biggest sales lifts, seeing a 29% increase and a 44% increase, respectively.

Here are the top 5 selling Pre-Rolls of 2020, according to LeafLink List:

  • Caviar Joint from Kaviar (CO)
  • Mini Fuzzies from Sublime, CA
  • Wedding Cake Pre-Rolls from Pacific Stone, CA
  • Relax & Chill Pre-Rolls from Exotic Blendz, OR
  • Bubble Joints from the Flower COllective, CO

So whether you go for some fancy swag, all-natural home care products, or perhaps a cozy fireside read like Bong Appetit (a weed cookbook from the editors of Munchies), there are ample ways to cross some friends and family off of your shopping list this year. If consumer behavior and favorable legislation continue on their current trajectory and retailers keep ably adapting to these uncertain times, Green Wednesday could give Black Friday and Cyber Monday some serious competition when the sales numbers come through for 2020.


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonNovember 2, 2020
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4min1490

With over 2 million cans sold, Cann THC-infused beverages are the fastest-selling in the category to date, with more than a few celebrities putting their endorsement and investment power behind these wildly popular products. Billed as “cannabis-infused social tonics”, Cann beverages are alcohol-free and microdosed with THC, offering better-for-you alternatives to alcohol and other intoxicants. These tonics are also free of artificial sweeteners, flavors, or sugar substitutes and contain only 35 calories per serving.

Cann sees their recruitment of celebrity investors as a way to serve the larger mission of normalizing cannabis consumption and breaking down stigmas within the industry. Cann’s celebrity investor line-up includes luminaries such as Gwyneth Paltrow, whose wellness and lifestyle brand goop has been monitoring the “sober curious” and “cannabis curious” movements for some time. Paltrow advocates for a more even playing field when it comes to alcohol and cannabis-infused beverage access, stating that “there’s no reason why alcohol should be so much easier purchase than Cann.”

Rebel Wilson, famous for her turn as “Fat Amy” in the Pitch Perfect franchise and Ruby Rose of Orange Is The New Black fame has also rallied behind Cann products. “Cann is perfect when you’re having a dinner party or a few friends over and you want to serve an adult drink that is also healthy and has natural ingredients,” enthuses Wilson, who has recently made headlines with her “Year of Health” weight loss makeover. “Call me ‘Fit Amy’” she recently captioned alongside a slimmed-down selfie on Instagram. Her sleeker photos often come with insights into how she is managing her weight loss through diet, exercise, and substituting bubble baths for nightly desserts. Her financial backing of the Cann brand would suggest that Cann beverages have become yet another healthy substitute in her “Year of Health” bag of tricks.

THC-infused beverages promise all of the buzz of alcoholic beverages with none of the buzzkill day-after hangovers, but the allure of a healthy high isn’t the only thing that drew actress/model/DJ/VJ Ruby Rose to invest. While she praises Cann’s products, packaging, and personnel, Rose highlights the fact that “this company is queer-founded and diverse” as an incentive to get involved. “They are building a team currently made up of 50%+ women and 33%+ people of color. So for me, it was an easy decision to invest.”

Paltrow, Wilson, and Rose along with Daren Criss, Baron Davis, Tove Lo, and more are what Cann co-founder Luke Anderson refers to as “taste-making celebrities who don’t have a ‘stoner’ identity attached to their personal brands”. Co-founder Jake Bullock adds “culturally-relevant” to the list of superlatives, and shares Anderson’s hope that their deep bench of star backers will “help us spread this message to a mass consumer base.”

 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonOctober 26, 2020
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4min1631

A recent report by analyst Bobby Burleson at Cannacord Genuity, an investment banking and financial services company, concluded that “the outlook for the legal US cannabis market is improving” both state and federal levels. Burleson cites polls that demonstrate strong support for ballot initiatives in states like Arizona and South Dakota, while governors of other states such as New York and Pennsylvania are making encouraging noises about rapid roll-outs for recreational programs. Burleson also references polling by aggregator FiveThirtyEight, which shows a 75% likelihood of a Democratic majority in the senate, boding well for cannabis legalization at the federal level. Recent statements by Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris about decriminalizing marijuana further improve the outlook.

It is not overly simplistic to equate a Democratic senate majority and executive office victory with a bright future for cannabis legalization, as historically Democrats have demonstrated more consistent support for legalization in greater numbers than Republicans. In fact, legalization has been one of the stand-out campaign issues polarizing Dems and Republicans over the last decade, though this gap seems to be shrinking as Republicans look to win battleground states like Pennsylvania. There, swing voters are in support of legalization and Governor Tom Wolf is calling on legislators to expedite legalization of recreational marijuana as one means of recovering from the economic hit of Covid-19.

A November 2019 Pew Research Study showed that two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization, with only 32% opposing. While proportions vary in terms of those who support legalization solely for medical use (32%) or medical and recreational use (59%), a survey conducted on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel in September 2019 revealed that only 8% of those surveyed prefer to keep marijuana illegal in all circumstances. This trend showed no signs of changing course as 2019 rolled into 2020. In the run-up to the election, fifty-eight percent of all likely voters (54% of whom identified as Republican) supported legalization for adults use (Data For Progress). In addition, 60% of Republicans polled in support of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) introduced to the senate by Kamala Harris, which would decriminalize marijuana and allow certain marijuana offenses to be expunged from an individual’s record.

As the clock ticks down to the final vote count, however long that may take, it appears that whether the executive branch and Congress go red or blue this election season, cannabis legalization is one campaign issue poised to benefit from growing bipartisan support and an impetus to be competitive in the cannabis market at the state level.

 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonOctober 7, 2020
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6min4790

To understand the unique distribution challenges of Oklahoma’s exploding cannabis market, one must first address the question that has preoccupied researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors ever since Oklahoma became second in the nation for dispensaries per capita, trailing only Oregon. That question being,  “Why Oklahoma?” According to a 2018 Verilife study, for every 100,000 Oklahomans there are approximately 15.6 dispensaries. Over 7,000 cannabis business licenses have been approved in Oklahoma, with per capita cannabis spending projected to reach $226.40 by 2025. 

The recent Marijuana Business Factbook projected that Oklahoma’s medical cannabis sales would hit $700 million-$860 million in 2020, more than double the $345 million brought in a year ago. The state looked like it could potentially place adult-use cannabis on the November ballot, but just a week ago Channel 6 in Oklahoma reported that the Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down a petition that could have put recreational marijuana on the ballot. “If the petition were to have gotten enough signatures, State Question 813 would have been on the ballot in 2022. The court said the wording of the petition was misleading, and people who signed the petition weren’t getting enough information to make an informed decision.”

Liberal Licensing

Oklahoma’s liberal approach to licensing (it only costs $2500 to get a license there, as opposed to most other states where it can cost millions) and a 4% tax rate have been major factors in the state’s booming cannabis economy. This, in addition to the fact that Oklahoma has registered a comparatively high (5.8) percentage of the population for medical marijuana patient cards relative to other states with no qualifying conditions necessary means that there should be plenty of buyers to keep all of those businesses profitable. But given the sprawling geography of Oklahoma and a large number of dispensaries, success hinges on an efficient distribution model in order to keep shelves stocked and customers happy.

One company, Colorado-based 1906, has partnered with Stash House, the #1 distributor in Oklahoma. To date, Stash House has placed 1906 products in over 150 dispensaries across the state. So that covers getting the product from  Point A to Point B, at least for 1906, which has logged record-breaking sales and reorders since entering the Oklahoma market, but distribution issues extend beyond product delivery. Issues related to packaging and liability, for example. A company that manufactures boxes used to sell marijuana may still be held liable under the law even though they may be removed from the actual sale of marijuana by a factor of two or more.  

Also, given the scale of the cannabis distribution network necessary to keep Oklahoma’s dispensaries supplied and the fact that partial legalization necessitates more oversight (and thus more bureaucratic red tape, etc.), there is an additional burden on suppliers, distributors, and businesses to comply with stringent regulations.  This additional scrutiny includes that from taxing agencies since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. This burden can impact the ability of companies to reinvest profits in refining and expanding their distribution models. 

Perhaps Oklahoma will take California’s lead, where state-licensed distributors take possession of goods before selling them to retailers. These distributors can represent multiple brands but must also test products for safety and pay state taxes on the goods. While there have been delays and sparsely stocked shelves as licensing and testing procedures are refined, this wholesale supply chain model is expected to inject new capital into the cannabis economy and encourage growth. Whatever route Oklahoma retailers and cannabis companies looking to get in on the action taken to address their distribution dilemmas, new capital and growth will certainly rank among the top priorities.

Other companies that have seized the opportunity to help simplify the supply chain include The MJSupply, OK Buds, and Argent Cannabis to name a few.


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 30, 2020
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5min27791

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by communication and behavioral difficulties from minor to extremely severe. There is no medical cure for autism and much remains mysterious about the condition. There is no blood test or similarly straightforward means of diagnosis, and can often be missed for years or even a lifetime by a physician.  Autism can express differently in every individual, with a broad range of symptoms and gradients of severity that can make treating symptoms even more challenging than gaining a diagnosis. Conventional treatments for symptoms of ASD, which include a variety of drugs to relieve seizures or behavioral and anxiety issues, often come with serious side effects of their own. While interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy and speech-language therapy can have a positive impact on outcomes for those with ASD, those with more severe conditions may require some form of medication. Yet again, the adverse side effects that come with these medications create an untenable Catch-22 for ASD patients and caregivers alike. Enter HOPE.

HOPE tinctures are the creation of Zelira Therapeutics and Erica Daniels, founder of Hope Grows for Autism, a nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of families affected by autism through research, education, and advocacy of natural treatments. Daniels is a proud partner of Zelira Therapeutics, which formed through a merger of Zelda and Ilera Therapeutics in 2019. As the mother of a child with severe autism, Daniels responded to years of traveling the country in an exhaustive but fruitless search for treatments for her son by forging her own path, using diet and medical cannabis to ensure a high quality of life for her son and family.

Through partnerships within the state of Louisiana, HOPE tinctures (which are specifically formulated with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mind) will be available exclusively through state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to all patients and families bearing a doctor’s prescription. The tinctures will be available in two formulations, “HOPE1”, which is a 1:1 THC: CBD tincture, and “HOPE2”, a 5:1 THC: CBD tincture. 

Louisiana ranks higher than the national average for the percentage of autism diagnoses per capita and recently passed legislation in the state allows all Louisiana patients and families to receive medical cannabis through a doctor’s prescription for any condition. This makes it a perfect staging ground for this new partnership between the HOPE line of medical cannabis tinctures, Lousiana’s Ilera Holistic Healthcare, and Southern University’s Agricultural Center, through which the tinctures are grown, cultivated, processed, and packaged. With the introduction of the specially formulated and research-based HOPE tinctures into medical marijuana dispensaries across Louisiana, Erica Daniels is excited to bring the benefits of cannabis to other constituents in the ASD community.

HOPE™ was formulated by Zelira Therapeutics a leading global therapeutic medical cannabis company with access to the world’s largest and fastest growing cannabis markets. The company’s focus is on developing branded cannabis products for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions including insomnia, autism and chronic non-cancer pain.

 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 23, 2020
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6min11230

The West Coast wildfires may finally be slackening a bit thanks to kinder winds, merciful rain, and the heroic efforts of firefighters from Canada to Mexico, but the fight is far from over for cannabis growers whose crops went up in smoke and cannabis companies who will be struggling to stay afloat due to the diminished supply. The one-two punch of Covid-19 and the historic fires that ravaged (and in some cases are still ravaging) huge swaths of the western states may prove to be more than some businesses can withstand despite some industry leaders stepping up to lend a hand.

High winds, hurricanes, and these record-smashing fires are painting an even grimmer picture for 2020-21, particularly for states such as Oregon, one of the country’s top hemp-producing regions. Prior to the onset of the fires, Oregon farms were anticipating bumper crops. However, data from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the National Interagency Fire Center, and Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management analyzed in a recent report by Hemp Benchmarks estimates that as of September 15, 17% of grow sites statewide were facing imminent danger from wildfires.  The latest report from Hemp Benchmarks said, “According to a September 11 update from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), 35% of the state’s 26,365 acres registered for outdoor hemp cultivation are located in the two aforementioned jurisdictions.” (Jackson and Josephine Counties, located in Oregon’s Southwestern Valleys)

Unfortunately, actual burning is not the only threat that the fires pose to the cannabis industry. Evacuations mean that plants cannot be tended, irrigated, and harvested and high winds can be just as deadly to plants as fire, as well as debris, not to mention the myriad risks to human safety. A reduction in lab availability and capacity will slow required testing turnaround while supply chain disruption in the face of increasing demand and the natural end of the cultivating season means fewer chances for growers to recoup their losses and replenish the shortfall.

But farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs need not face these challenges alone. San Diego-based Platinum Vape donated $5000 to the CalFire Benevolent Foundation, while Mondo, the brand known for its dissolving CBD powder, is giving away free jars of the stuff to firefighters, healthcare workers, and government workers. Henry’s Original in Mendocino, California is offering to store other grower’s licensed products as moving products to unlicensed areas, even in evacuation scenarios, is restricted. Given the fact that cannabis growers are ineligible for crop insurance and have far less access to bank loans, who better than the cannabis community itself to identify problems and extend solutions to help its own? With months of backbreaking recovery efforts and supply chain fluctuation ahead, one can only hope that this brand of intra-industry aid continues.

Wild weather is hardly a new threat to the agricultural sector, but the past year alone has seen a truly remarkable level of destruction wrought on crops and companies alike. A year ago in October, a catastrophic hailstorm and early freeze in Colorado caused 200,000 mature plants to be lost from one outdoor cannabis farm (Los Suenos) alone. A rogue derecho leveled 43% of Iowa’s crops in August, and Hurricane Laura walloped cannabis crops in Louisiana that same month. 

Hemp Benchmarks wrote that as of September 11, the following grow sites and cultivation areas were within fire perimeters or Level 2 or 3 evacuation zones.

Grow Sites within Fire Perimeters

  • 50 sites (1% of statewide total)
  • 103 acres (0.4%)
  • 99,976 square feet (1%)

Grow Sites within Level 3 Evacuation Zones (Leave Immediately)

  • 196 sites (4%)
  • 650 acres (2%)
  • 721,716 square feet (7%)

Grow Sites within Level 2 Evacuation Zones (Be Set – Prepare to Leave at a Moment’s Notice)

  • 576 sites (12%)
  • 2,097 acres (8%)
  • 1,142,955 square feet (12%)

 

 

 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonSeptember 18, 2020
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5min9980

Weed-related subscriptions have jumped by an eye-popping 550% on the subscription box service Cratejoy during the pandemic, and box companies like Hemp Crate Co., Cure Crate, and The Stoney Babe Box are at the forefront of this surging popularity. Cratejoy offers subscription boxes for any enthusiasm, need, or DIY endeavor (current picks include lesson planning boxes to make in-home schooling less onerous and multiple iterations of the “date night” theme). Covid-19 has been a major driver of the subscription box boom, allowing Cratejoy and the weed companies it features to cash in on cannabis in a big way.

Hemp Crate, Cure Crate, and The Stoney Babe Box profit from their great reviews, built-out listings, and artsy photos showcasing what to expect in each delivery. These companies are actively engaged with the Cratejoy platform when it comes to customer reviews and questions, but it takes more than photos and customer care to hit 550% growth, pandemic or no.

Hemp Crate Co., which bills itself as “the #1 CBD subscription service” and recently launched a low income, long-term disability and veteran assistance program, offers boxes on Cratejoy starting at $44.99 per month and has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. With high marks from shipping to price to curation, cannabis consumers seem to love their monthly, quarterly, or biannual deliveries from Hemp Crate. Founded in 2018 in response to a lack of transparency and education in the CBD industry, Hemp Crate Co. dedicated itself to providing quality organic products from reputable manufacturers, incorporating transparency and consumer education every step of the way.

Cure Crate, which offers a quiz for subscribers that helps them find the right CBD products for their needs, gets glowing reviews on Cratejoy for attention to customer education and a fine-tuned focus on customization. Cure Crate’s process takes aim at the erroneous assumption that one-size-fits all in terms of formulations, offering a personalized service to help those with a range of allergies, dosage tolerances, and a wide variety of conditions find the right combination of products for each delivery. Cure Crate also offers a discount program for those facing financial hardship and donates a portion of its proceeds to The Last Prisoner Project, an innovative approach to clemency and re-entry programs for cannabis offenders.

The Stoney Babe Box is also no slouch when it comes to sales or civic responsibility. The company maintains a focus on “feminine souls who admire hemp and love smoking”. Every box contains artisanal products selected to be “unique and feminine” from small, women-owned businesses. With plans starting as low as $30 per month and reviews that give Hemp Crate and Cure Crate a run for their money, The Stoney Babe Box offers hand-crafted smoking accessories as well as daily necessities like grinders and rolling papers.

With these three companies leading the pack of weed-related subscription boxes and no end in sight to pandemic-driven demand, the ascent of cannabis-inspired care packages is poised to continue its current trajectory. 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonAugust 26, 2020
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7min6530

With unionization becoming ever more common in the cannabis industry, Labor Day 2020 provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the state of cannabis labor unions in the U.S.  Across industries, labor unions organize members and offer access to group health insurance, provide legal compliance and other assistance, help negotiate annual raises and higher wages, and often provide discounts through partner businesses. The International United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW- working not just in the representation of businesses, but advocacy, coalition-building, and policy change), is regarded as the most powerful cannabis union in the country, initiating a Cannabis Workers Rising Campaign in 2010. As of March 2020, UFCW represented more than 10,000 workers in 14 states.

United Cannabis Workers, which “unionized as an independent workers union made up of small business owners, self-employed workers, and employees of small cannabis businesses”, eschews “old school union tactics” while holding a significant place in the cannabis union landscape. This landscape is differentiated from that of other industries in that it normalizes companies disclosing the fact that their employees are organizing. In cannabis, unionization is frequently seen as a way for a business to demonstrate legitimacy, however not all companies are supportive of unionizing efforts.

Michigan

In January of this year, controversy broke out over proposed labor union laws for cannabis businesses in Michigan, put forward by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency. The proposal included a requirement that cannabis companies enter into “labor peace agreements” with unions before being licensed to grow, sell, or distribute cannabis. This suggested rule was met with significant opposition by industry groups and businesses, many going so far as to claim the measure thinly disguised political favor and a protection racket. This June, Michigan’s pro-union “labor peace agreement” requirement was stripped out of the proposal after a deluge of negative feedback. Many who oppose labor union laws such as these claim a violation of The National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees private-sector employees the right to form labor unions and gives unionized employees the right to strike and bargain jointly for working conditions. Opponents see labor peace agreements as “a pretense to use industry licensing to impose forced union dues on workers in violation of federal labor law.”

Supporters argue that labor peace agreement requirements result in a more stable workforce for the cannabis industry. In New York and California (where cannabis labor unions are required) cannabis industry workers are commonly acknowledged as ripe for exploitation by unethical businesses and therefore in need of union protection, while companies in states such as Michigan and Massachusetts have pushed back against unionization efforts. New England Treatment Access, one of Massachusetts’ largest cannabis companies, has been on the receiving end of numerous complaints filed by UCFW alleging anti-union efforts and retaliation against workers.   In July, about 60 New England Treatment Access, (NETA) workers in Franklin, Mass., voted to join UFCW Local 1445. With so much at stake and so much still unresolved in the cannabis regulatory sphere, cannabis labor unions and industry companies will no doubt continue this dance of compromise and conflict for many Labor Days to come.

Also in July, the Cannabis Workers Union said that 40 workers from Mayflower Medicinals joined UFCW Local 1445 because they were concerned about insufficient wages, as well as an unclear and slow response to workplace safety issues by the company in relation to the current COVID-19 health crisis, and a lack of respect by management for the work that they do at the company’s grow facility. Mayflower Medicinals is owned by iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC:ITUHF).

“As the cannabis industry continues to grow in Massachusetts, UFCW Local 1445 is proud to support these good jobs and the responsible employers that empower their workers in this new part of our economy,” said UFCW Local 1445 President Fernando Lemus. “These workers at Mayflower/IAnthus are an important role in the company’s success and they deserve the protections and security of a union contract.”

Vireo Health Supports Unions

In January this year, Vireo Health International, Inc. (CNSX: VREO)(OTCQX: VREOF) announced that its workers at its wholly-owned subsidiary, MaryMed, LLC  voted overwhelmingly to ratify a Collective Bargaining Agreement and officially joined the ranks of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 (UFCW27).

The company said that the three-year agreement would be the first medical cannabis union contract ratified in the State of Maryland. The contract would cover employees working in Vireo’s 20,000 square-foot Hurlock, Maryland-based manufacturing facility, which supplies precisely formulated medical cannabis products to third-party dispensaries throughout the state.

“As a ‘people-first’ business, Vireo is deeply committed to our employees and we are proud to be a union employer in Maryland and beyond,” said Kyle Kingsley, M.D., CEO of Vireo Health. “Our workforce is key to our company’s success and we look forward to partnering with UFCW to support legislation, such as legalizing adult-use cannabis, that will help create thousands of new middle-class jobs across Maryland.”

 


Julie AitchesonJulie AitchesonAugust 5, 2020
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4min6800

Some holidays seem to roll around at just the right time, like my birthday when the last dregs of Christmas largesse are spent, Memorial Day when we need one last long weekend to get us through the school year before summer vacation, and now, National CBD Day on August 8th, just when the CBD market needs a boost from the deflating impacts of Covid-19. 

In a July 2020 report by The Brightfield Group, data analysts projected that CBD sales for 2020 will only be up 14% from 2019 rather than the 30% originally projected due to impacts of the Covid crisis. Store closures, spiking unemployment, and inaction by the FDA are all contributing to a sluggish market. The report also shows that nearly half of CBD consumers have moved their purchasing online due to coronavirus. CBD sales may be suffering due to the pandemic, but the surge in conditions triggered and exacerbated by the virus, such as anxiety (ranked the number one ailment of CBD users), depression (ranked second) and insomnia (ranked sixth) indicate that demand for CBD products will only increase as Covid-19 maintains its grip. 

Among the most popular products right now are edibles, with 33% of US consumers stating an increase in consumption when surveyed in June, with higher dosages reported among all products used. Vape products appear to be declining in popularity, however, due to negative media attention around inhalants and the increased likelihood that inhalant users will experience serious complications with Covid-19.  A surplus of hemp biomass is causing an overall price drop as well as hefty promotions and flash sales to incentivize consumers to sample the array of new products on the market, such as those with trendy ingredients like turmeric and ashwagandha as well as some lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG and CBN. Additionally, CBD companies are inundating the market with innovative products that go beyond the standard capsule and tincture delivery methods.

One example is VCC Brands’ Subtle Tea, a vegan, keto-friendly way to refresh the body and rejuvenate the mind with flavors like Jasmine Green Tea with Lychee and White Peach Tea with Cardamom. Another is TOCA Botanicals TOTO CBD Lubricant, to inspire pleasure and relaxation of a more intimate variety. Humans aren’t the only species feeling the shaky vibes of the 2020 rollercoaster, which is why Harvey’s All Naturals introduced their  Harvey’s All Naturals Elixir for Pets to address pet stress and anxiety as well as pain and inflammation.

2020 has been a rocky year for the economy, but with the FDA inching closer to a clearer, more consistent regulatory framework and the demand for products that can ease the tensions of one of the most dramatic periods in recent history ever rising, the CBD industry is poised for a major rebound. And with new products hitting the market just in time for National CBD Day (and beyond), there just might be a CBD product out there for everything the Covid Era still has in store.



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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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