2020 Archives - Green Market Report

Cynthia SalarizadehCynthia SalarizadehSeptember 16, 2020
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6min4130

National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) 2020, the third annual week of awareness across the U.S. that offers expungement and other forms of legal relief to some of the 77 million Americans with criminal records will take place September 19-26, 2020

Adapting to address COVID-19 health and safety concerns, N.E.W. 2020 will continue its vital work through a mix of online and in-person clinics, workshops, and events – featuring crucial supportive services including pop-up food pantries and voter registration at select locations.

N.E.W. 2020 clinics will cover all 5 regions of the U.S., representing states including California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington. Besides record clearing services, legal advice, and education, N.E.W. 2020 will continue its mission to restore individuals and communities through wraparound services focused on key areas of relief exposed by the ongoing pandemic, including reparative justice, voting rights, housing, and food insecurity.   N.E.W. 2020 is made possible by Canopy Growth Corporation, local sponsors, partner organizations, and a tireless community of grassroots organizers working directly with disenfranchised communities.

“Our year-round work never stops, and we are determined to use this week to inspire communities to take action, clear records, and restore the rights of some of the 77 million justice-impacted people in the U.S.,” says LaTorie Marshall, the founder of National Expungement Week.

N.E.W. is a permanent assistance network for marginalized communities nationwide, which has helped over 1,000 people start to clear or seal convictions on their records. More than 3,000 people have also received related social services offered at N.E.W. clinics and events, including employment resources, voter registration, and health screenings. Since its launch in 2018, the grassroots network has generated a public benefit of over $10,000,000.  

N.E.W. 2020 is powered by people of color, supported in full solidarity by Cage-Free Repair, and brought to communities through a dedicated group of community organizers and activists.  The collective advocates for uniform legal relief laws and automatic expungement policies nationwide and raises awareness for the 44,000 legal and socioeconomic barriers that exist for the disenfranchised.  Though not cannabis-specific, mitigating the impact of the War on Drugs is a key focus, as it works to put marginalized communities directly in touch with valuable services and resources.  N.E.W. has also created an online toolkit to further their expungement efforts year-round.

N.E.W.’s partnership with Code For America continues in a number of forms in 2020.  Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking (September 12, 2020) will focus on the social safety net, and those efforts will be amplified by the wraparound services offered at N.E.W. events one week later. In time for one of the most consequential election cycles of a generation, N.E.W. 2020’s push for voter registration also coincides with National Voter Registration Day, which takes place on September 22, 2020. 

For more information on N.E.W. 2020, including a full list of locations and events,  please visit www.nationalexpungementweek.org

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJune 9, 2020
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5min19491

Legal cannabis sales continue to grow despite the strength of the illegal market. The new State of Legal Cannabis Markets report from The Arcview Group highlights the strengths of the industry going into 2020, while also acknowledging the challenges ahead.

Arcview partnered with analytics firm BDSA and is forecasting that worldwide spending on legal cannabis will grow 38% to $20.4 billion in 2020. Despite this, the lions share of purchases occur in the illegal markets. The report estimates that in 2019 $214 billion was spent in the illicit channels, while $14.8 billion was spent in the legal market.

This had been one of the biggest arguments for legalizing marijuana. Activists promised that if cannabis was legalized, then the illicit market would crumble because consumers would want to support legal businesses and enjoy the tested products with lots of variety. Instead, states that have enjoyed legal adult-use cannabis for at least five years continue to see 30-50% of sales occur in the illegal market. It would seem that this would not support more legalization, but it could have the opposite effect.

The report suggests that high taxation resulting in higher prices for product in the legal stores is the biggest hurdle. It said, “Local regulators could lower tax rates and/or relax regulations in pursuit of a quicker reduction in illicit-market sales, driving more legal spending and ultimately more tax revenue.”

This will be harder than it sounds. Oklahoma opted for a typical sales tax of 4%, while Washington is at an eye-popping 39%. California attempted to keep cannabis taxes from increasing, but it was blocked. It seems the state is pleased with the money it gets despite the effect it is having on pushing customers to cheaper options.

COVID’s Silver Lining

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly affected the industry for the first half of 2020, but the lingering effects will still be felt throughout the rest of the year. Cannabis was deemed an essential service in many states, but that didn’t mean all companies thrived under that designation. The report suggests that a recession starting this year could have short-term impacts that could be dire for some cannabis companies. Still, there could be a silver lining.

“State tax shortfalls due to recession could prompt more legislatures to proceed with cannabis legalization sooner rather than later,” read the report. It has the support of the population. BDSA’s fourth-quarter Consumer Insights study determined 29% of Americans already consumer cannabis. States that legalized cannabis also experienced an increase in cannabis consumers. In other words, passing new legislation would be popular and in turn increase, the tax revenue as more consumers come into the industry.

New Legalization

The flip side to COVID and new legislation is that with quarantines in place, it’s hard to push through new legal states even though it’s a big election year. 2016 was a big year for new states, but 2020 looks to be less so. Only three states have initiatives on the November ballot. Mississippi for medical use, New Jersey for adult use, and South Dakota for both. With limited federal aid, Governor Cuomo is considering cannabis legalization as a key strategy to generate crucial revenue streams for NYC and the entire state.

New Jersey had tried to pass legislation in 2019, but couldn’t get the three-fifths majority needed from legislators. Now the state is letting voters decide and it is expected to pass. That means sales could begin in 2022 or sooner. The report forecasts that New Jersey could jump from $107 million in 2019 spending to $1.3 billion by 2025.

The issue of federal illegality still looms over the industry. All the legislation that looked promising has stalled. While some thought President Trump might make a legalization move to garner support as his popularity declines amongst his base, he has not signaled any such effort. The Democratic nominee Joe Biden has taken a moderate approach and according to the latest CNN poll, looks to be leading Trump. However, COVID and racial injustice issues look to be the hot button issues, pushing legalization to the back burner


Video StaffVideo StaffDecember 30, 2019

1min7120

Cannabis industry experts like Al Harrington from Viola and Ed Keating with CannaBiz Media believe there will be more consolidation within the cannabis industry in 2020. Sadly, some expect to hear of more failures as many entered the space thinking it would be easier that it is. Thank you for watching the Green Market Report! Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with all out videos.



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