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“This harvest represents an important milestone for our company as we continue to expand to meet patient demand for high-quality flower,” said Tropizen co-founder Marni Meistrell. “We are growing cannabis near the base of El Yunque tropical rainforest, following cultivation best practices as we conduct research and test new strains that thrive in this location.”
An additional 7,000 square feet of outdoor cultivation will be added before the end of the year, according to Meistrell. Tropizen recently expanded its cannabis flower production to 400% of original capacity, at an investment of over $1 million. The expansion project included the construction of the new outdoor cultivation space.
The new harvest is comprised of five of the company’s best performing strains. Tropizen rotates 50 primary strains with 5 secondary strains, including Brian Berry Cough, Ogiesel and Agent Orange, all exclusive to Tropizen in Puerto Rico. One of the company’s priorities going forward is the cropping of rare tropical cultivars as part of its ongoing research and development process.
Meistrell said the company is working on the introduction of a new packaging and grading system for its cannabis flower, incorporating a new pre-packaged midgrade flower product that will be more accessible to patients in terms of price, while offering the same effectiveness as the premium flower.
In ideal conditions, hemp is harvest before any frost hits the farm. The crop tends to be somewhat “frost-tolerant,” as the University of Vermont’s 2018 Hemp Cold Tolerance Trial lays out, but farmers should certainly watch out for related changes in moisture levels and even more unusual effects, like branches snapping under the weight of attendant snow.
We spoke with Derek Thomas, vice president of business development at Veritas Farms, a Pueblo, Colo.-based hemp operation, to get a sense of how his company monitors the twists and turns of weather patterns in late summer and early fall. In Pueblo, Veritas got away from the early frost with its 140 acres of hemp fairly unscathed.
But this wasn’t the first time a sudden temperature drop has affected the farm, and lessons abound for all farmers eager to adjust their pre-harvest protocol.
Eric Sandy: What was early September like for Veritas Farms? And what sort of weather monitoring system is in place for the company?
Derek Thomas: It’s such an important topic, especially for a fully vertically integrated brand, because ultimately our crop is our commodity. It's our lifeblood. So, we’re very cautious. We're very considerate and we're always monitoring. We have a number of SOPs implemented at the farm, which help us mitigate any severe weather concerns, both from a monitoring perspective and an action item standpoint. So, we knew that [this early frost] was coming, unfortunately, and we prepped the best we could and we took action immediately after.
And the damage was pretty negligible this year. We really kind of came out of it unscathed. Where we are, the temperature of the day before was a nice 80 degrees, and the snow really melted before the end of the day. So, the ground stayed nice and warm, and the roots of the plants stayed pretty warm. We were pretty fortunate, at least in our neck of the woods, that no real damage was done.
ES: What are some of the red flags or warning signs that farmers might want to watch out for when we're talking about those colder temperatures and snowy situations?
DT: You know, it's definitely going to depend where you're at in your growing cycle. When we're coming into late summer and early fall, that's obviously when a lot of plants are pretty far along in the process. You’re really monitoring humidity levels and ground temperature, but anything that trends toward freezing is when we start to monitor and engage— anything in the low 50s, in the 40s, that's when we're starting to pay attention. The closer we get to freezing, that's where more of our thresholds are triggered in terms of additional monitoring or even action items. So, it's really the temperature that we're monitoring the hardest.
Ethos is focused on serving mainstream consumers and further developing the health and wellness market to help individuals feel and live better through their experiences with cannabis. The transaction for the rights to manage and ultimately own the Maryland dispensaries had been pending final regulatory approval from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which is now complete. All existing locations will be rebranded from “Mission” to “Ethos.”
The transaction regarding the Maryland dispensaries comes following the raising of over $50 million in debt and equity completed by Ethos. To date, the company has raised approximately $90 million of capital predominantly from investors based in the Philadelphia area. Ethos has a strong focus on the strategic deployment of capital with prioritization of execution and the development of its platform in several core markets, including Maryland.
“The acquisition of the Mission dispensaries in Pennsylvania and the right to manage and ultimately acquire the dispensaries in Maryland represent a highly strategic step forward in the growth of Ethos in new markets. Developing a mainstream oriented, vertically integrated platform with a core focus on retail and the expansion of the health and wellness market through relationships with academic medical institutions like Thomas Jefferson University are at the core of our strategic objectives at Ethos. These transactions follow our pursuit of growth in other key target markets for our company,” said Teddy Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Ethos and the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Pharmacann.
The House and Senate agreed on a compromise proposal earlier this month that would create a legal cannabis market, and the House approved the legislative conference committee report last week in a 92-56 vote.
The Senate’s 23-6 vote to accept the report sends the final bill to Gov. Phil Scott for consideration, Seven Days reported.
Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) said the legislation is a good compromise that he hopes Scott will sign into law, according to the news outlet.
“I would be surprised if he didn’t, quite frankly,” Sears said. “In many cases, the conference committee kept his positions in mind.”
CHICAGO – September 22, 2020 — PRESS RELEASE — Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, has announced the approval and the location of its tenth Illinois dispensary in Naperville. The adult-use dispensary is located in one of the busiest shopping areas in Naperville, the third largest city in Illinois with approximately 150,000 residents.
“We have been consistent in choosing locations for our dispensaries in Illinois, focusing on high traffic areas in traditional retail enivronments. Sunnyside* Schaumburg, which is adjacent to Illinois’ busiest mall and our new Naperville dispensary, which shares a block with Costco, Walmart and Starbucks, are great examples of this strategy,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO and co-founder. “Our approach of meeting the consumer where they are and providing a normalized cannabis shopping experience is allowing our dispensaries in Illinois and all Sunnyside stores nationwide to outperform industry averages.”
Upon final approval from the State of Illinois for the Naperville location, Cresco will operate the maximum allowed ten dispensaries in Illinois. Cresco’s dispensaries are located in some of Illinois’ biggest cities, busiest shopping areas and most strategic locations to introduce new customers to normalized and professionalized cannabis and take an outsized share of the Illinois market. Total Illinois cannabis retail sales were $95 million in August, while total sales through the first eight months of 2020 were $600 million in the state.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced that cannabis dispensary applicants will get a second chance to qualify for the state’s licensing lottery following backlash over the licensing process, according to a CBS Chicago report.
Earlier this month, regulators announced that 21 social equity applicants would be included in a lottery to win the 75 dispensary licenses.
Shortly after the winning applicants were announced, a group of companies behind some of the unsuccessful bids filed a federal lawsuit, alleging political motivation behind the businesses chosen to advance in the process.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced plans to “review questions” raised about the licensing process before setting a date for the cannabis dispensary license lottery, which was initially scheduled for a to-be-determined date this month.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has announced that it has signed a contract with Metrc to implement a statewide seed-to-sale system to track cannabis plants and products in the state’s medical cannabis market.
“The seed-to-sale system will greatly expand our compliance capabilities and improve the effectiveness and speed of any future recall efforts,” OMMA Interim Director Dr. Kelly Williams said in a public statement. “It will also allow us to detect unusual patterns that may indicate product diversion.”
The system will track medical cannabis plants and products from a plant’s growth stage through the sale to patients, and is part of OMMA’s broader efforts to ensure accountability and safety in the state’s medical cannabis market, according to the announcement.
Metrc is a national company with a presence in 14 U.S. states, and offers integration features with many seed-to-sale software systems already in use by individual cannabis licensees. All Oklahoma licensees must now either integrate with Metrc or input their information into the new system.
Full implementation of the system is expected to take up to six months, according to OMMA’s announcement.
DENVER, Colo. - September 21, 2020 - PRESS RELEASE - The Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) today released the Average Market Rates (AMR) for retail marijuana effective Oct. 1, 2020 until Dec. 31, 2020.
Three of the seven AMR categories increased this quarter, specifically bud ($1,316), trim ($350) and seed ($8). Three of the seven AMR categories decreased this quarter, specifically bud allocated for extraction ($502), trim allocated for extraction ($175) and wet whole plant ($175). The immature plant rate ($9) stayed the same.
The AMR is the median market price of each category of unprocessed retail marijuana that is sold or transferred from retail marijuana cultivation facilities to retail marijuana product manufacturing facilities or retail marijuana stores. CDOR’s Office of Research and Analysis, in coordination with the Taxation Division and the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), calculates AMRs quarterly for use in levying the excise tax as required by Colorado statute.
The Oct. 1 AMR was calculated based on retail marijuana transactions from June 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2020 in MED’s marijuana inventory tracking system. AMR is an estimate of the typical prices of each category of unprocessed retail marijuana that is sold or transferred from marijuana grows to product manufacturers or stores.
Visit the Taxation Division’s website for more information, including the methodology of the AMR calculations and current and prior AMRs: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/tax/marijuana-AMR.
The latter group makes up the audience that Scott Sundvor and Libby Cooper, the founders of Space Coyote, are trying to reach with their extract-infused prerolls.
Space Coyote’s website doesn’t mince words: these products will get you “glazed.” “Gone are the days of tasteless prerolls and mediocre highs,” it reads.
“We both consider ourselves stoners,” Sundvor told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “Libby has really emphasized being proud of using that terminology and embracing that heritage culture in the market.”
But there’s also a science behind the stoniness—data to which Cooper paid attention in her last job at Eaze. The numbers showed customers’ purchasing behaviors reflected the value of “price-to-THC ratio,” she told CBT and CD. She also noticed that the preroll segment continues to grow, but these products are often made with trim or shake, and turn off some more experienced users.
“There was a disconnect between people who considered themselves connoisseurs, or stoners that really enjoyed strain-specific flavors, [and people] buying prerolls,” Cooper said. “Prerolls were for more of the canna-curious, the newer to the weed scene.”
The license, granted by the Ministry of Health, allows Puro to grow up to 90,000 low-THC cannabis plants, which will be exported internationally, the news outlet reported.
“It's essentially just a hemp crop,” Puro Director Sank Macfarlane told Radio New Zealand.
Puro has additional cultivation applications under review, according to the news outlet, including one for a recently completed indoor research facility in the Waihopai Valley.
The Vermont House approved a deal Sept. 17 on a bill to tax and regulate cannabis sales in the state, according to an AP News report.
The House and Senate agreed on a compromise proposal Sept. 15 to create a legal cannabis market, and the House approved the legislative conference committee report in a 92-56 vote, sending it to the Senate for a final vote, AP News reported.
Gov. Phil Scott said at a press conference Sept. 18 that lawmakers have addressed many of his concerns about a legal cannabis marketplace and have “come a long ways” in creating a bill to allow legal sales, VTDigger reported.
“They’ve come a long ways and we’ll see what happens,” Scott said at the press conference, although he did not say whether he plans veto the measure or sign it into law, according to the news outlet.
Scott has indicated in the past that he would support legislation to tax and regulate cannabis sales if the measure supported education and drug use prevention programs, included a requirement for municipalities to opt in to allowing sales within their jurisdictions, and allowed law enforcement to use saliva tests to screen drivers for impairment without a warrant, VTDigger reported.
This week, cannabis operators in Oregon and Washington continued to work to save their businesses and homes amid wildfires as the ongoing crisis stymies the industry. Elsewhere, the U.S. House postponed its floor vote on the MORE Act, scrapping plans for a vote sometime next week.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.Federal: Plaintiffs in the Washington v. Barr case, which seeks to declare the federal law that criminalizes marijuana unconstitutional, have received impressive support in the form of several amicus briefs from cannabis industry organizations, researchers and current federal lawmakers. Eight industry organizations and seven members of Congress all wrote in support of Marvin Washington’s appeal to the Supreme Court. Read moreWildfires on the west coast continue to threaten and destroy some cannabis businesses, forcing evacuations and causing growers to work to save their operations and homes as the ongoing crisis stymies the industry. This week, Cannabis Business Times checked in with Okanogan Gold and East Fork Cultivars to see how they were faring in the wake of the fires. Read moreIndustry stakeholders by and large support the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passing on a voice vote a modified version of the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019. While there is no scheduled vote on the bill in the full House as of now, the fact that the bill made it out of committee on a bipartisan vote signals a political tide change for cannabis research. Read moreThe cannabis industry has been awaiting a U.S. House vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation that would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, but the floor vote, which had been slated for the week of Sept. 21, has been indefinitely postponed by House Democratic leaders. The delay comes after some lawmakers indicated reluctance to take up the legislation before tackling a COVID-19 relief package, which they view as must-pass legislation. Read moreVermont: The Vermont House has voted to approve S. 234, legislation that would automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions involving the possession of two ounces or less. The measure, which the House advanced in a preliminary vote of 113-10, would also decriminalize the possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis. Read moreThe Vermont House and Senate reached a deal this week on legislation to legalize cannabis sales and create a legal marketplace in the state. The bill, S.54, would allow dispensaries to open May 1, 2022, and would impose a 14% excise tax and a 6% sales tax on cannabis sales. Read moreIllinois: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced plans this week to “review questions” raised about its licensing process before setting a date for its cannabis dispensary license lottery. Regulators announced Sept. 3 that 21 social equity applicants would be included in a lottery to win the 75 licenses, with the lottery to be held later this month, but the licensing process has drawn criticism from those denied access to the lottery. Read moreMissouri: Counsel for Missouri House Democrats have alleged in a new memo that the agency responsible for regulating the state’s medical cannabis industry obstructed an investigation into the program. The memo alleges conflicts of interest and other issues with a consultant the state hired to score medical cannabis license applications, and also claims that Gov. Mike Parson’s office was able to influence the state’s medical cannabis program, particularly with how applications were scored. Read moreOregon: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved permanent rules allowing licensed recreational marijuana retailers to continue curbside delivery transactions, and increased the marijuana flower purchase amount for OMMP cardholders and caregivers. The commission also approved ten marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements at its regular meeting. Read moreCalifornia: The state’s three cannabis licensing authorities—BCC, CDFA and CDPH—have announced the launch of a unified licensing search platform, the culmination of a collaboration between the California Department of Technology, the California Health and Human Services Agency Office of Innovation, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the licensing authorities. The unified license search tool allows the public to search for cannabis license information from all three licensing authorities by using one search tool. Read more
The cannabis industry has been awaiting a U.S. House vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation that would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, but the floor vote, which had been slated for the week of Sept. 21, has been indefinitely postponed by House Democratic leaders.
“This delay by the House does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters support ending the federal prohibition of cannabis, including majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a public statement. “This delay does not change the fact that 33 states and the District of Columbia regulate the production and distribution of medical cannabis in a manner that is inconsistent with federal policy, and that one out of four Americans now reside in jurisdictions where adult-use is legal under state law. This delay does not change the fact that voters in several states, including key electoral battleground states for both control of the Presidency and the Senate, will be passing similar state-level marijuana measures on Election Day.”
The delay comes after some lawmakers indicated reluctance to take up the legislation before tackling a COVID-19 relief package, which they view as must-pass legislation, according to The Hill.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) did not include the MORE Act on the floor schedule for the week, and it is unclear when the vote may be rescheduled.
Hoyer told The Hill that Democratic leaders are “committed” to scheduling a vote on the bill before the end of the year, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the primary sponsor of the MORE Act, said the vote may occur after the November elections.
Sales grew to about $5 million per week at the end of July and through mid-August, the news outlet reported, compared to weekly sales of $2 million to $3 million from January through March.
The state has seen $120.1 million in total medical cannabis sales to date in 2020, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business, compared to $56 million in total sales in 2019.
Jason Frame, director of the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis, said Sept. 17 that regulators plan to issue the licenses within the next week, the news outlet reported.
Thirty-nine applicants are vying for the 10 licenses, and once they are awarded, licensees will have six months to develop their operations, according to MetroNews.
Once the state issues its cultivation licenses, it will begin scoring dispensary applications, the news outlet reported.
The Office of Medical Cannabis continues to register physicians for the program, and 29 physicians have been registered to date, according to MetroNews.