I wasn't sure what to get 'Murica for its birthday, so I made it a cannabis news wrap up. I hope it fits.
NBA: Players may now use cannabis, invest in CBD brands
A new seven-year contract signed this past weekend by the National Basketball Players Association and the National Basketball Association is resulting in some welcome changes.
Players who partake can let out a sigh of relief with their last hit, as cannabis has been removed from the list of "prohibited substances" the NBA tests for, with some caveats.
Players are expected to enjoy solely in their off-court time, so don't look for courtside bong hits during a timeout or between questions at a press conference. (Which is a pay-per-view event waiting to happen.) Players may also now invest in CBD and cannabis brands and promote and endorse CBD products, so long as the product is not owned by a company which also produces cannabis.
With 85% of NBA players using cannabis already, and the NBA having temporarily suspended testing for cannabis over the past three seasons, your favorite player is most likely already blazing. But for those who have not explored using cannabis due to the formal policy, it opens new access to pain, inflammation and stress relief. (Snoop weighed in on that last spring.)
New York: Illegal weed sellers are now targeted
In June 2022, New York Mayor Eric Adamas announced that in light of the state's recent legalization of Adult Use cannabis, he wasn't in favor of, "cracking down on anyone caught dealing marijuana out of stores or on the street" until legal dispensaries were operating.
In February of this year, he asked the governor for help in taking action against cannabis sellers, who getting busted with intent to sell, could result in a laughably low $125 fine. He cited sales to children, which is never a good thing.
Although 165 dispensary licenses had been issued by April 2023, only eight were open and operational statewide. Those engaging in unlicensed sales are in for a campaign of enforcement from authorities.
In early June, New York launched a multi-agency task force that's going after a staggering 1,500 + businesses selling cannabis illicitly. That includes store fronts, bodegas and "weed trucks" that serve as mobile dispensaries.
Offenders now face daily fines of up to $10,000, doubling to $20,000 daily if engaged in "the most egregious" conduct, as well as the padlocking of their properties.
But with the initial raid resulting in just seven businesses fined, their fellow sack slingers may not yet be considering retirement. But consumers beware: The lower prices mean no one is testing anything for contaminants or potency. A 2022 study found 40% of samples from unlicensed sellers contained E. Coli, Lead and Salmonella, as well as an item with twice the amount of listed THC.
California: Challenges continue for Golden State
Oregon's southern neighbor is working through its own regulated cannabis market issues, providing some surprising numbers for what remains the world's largest market for cannabis. Oregon is 13th, with Michigan coming in second place.
Last year, reported legal cannabis sales were almost $5.9 billion, a reduction of nearly 8% from the previous year. But it's misleading to think that translates into widespread profits across the state. A 2022 study revealed that only 37% of cannabis operators considered themselves profitable, and in California that number dropped to 26%.
Like Oregon, oversupply remains a problem, resulting in plunging prices, profits and tax revenues. Between January 2022 and April of this year, California saw a reduction of 23% of its legal growing canopy (19 million square feet), as well as 1,766 cultivation licenses. That reduction still leaves a whopping 6,827 active cultivation licenses.
Legal access remains another matter. Although legalized recreationally in 2016, 61% of California cities and counties do not allow recreational cannabis sales. (Along with a reduction in taxes and jobs, residents are, I assure you, still accessing from a neighboring city or their "guy.") A slim majority of those polled were good with cannabis businesses operating in communities, but changes to those laws seem slow to manifest.