Massachusetts Marijuana Retailers Surpass $1 Billion In Gross Sales

Milestone reached nearly two years after adult-use sales started in Massachusetts; progress continues to achieve industry goals

MASSACHUSETTS: Adult-use Marijuana Retailers in Massachusetts have now tallied more than $1 billion in gross sales, according to information reported in the state’s mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system, the Cannabis Control Commission announced Tuesday.

At close of business on Friday, October 30, aggregate data recorded in Metrc by 80 Marijuana Retailers operating statewide reached $1,000,521,905, coming nearly two years after the first two adult-use stores on the East Coast opened their doors November 20, 2018.

“This sales milestone represents licensees’ ability to successfully support a safe, accessible, and effective adult-use industry, and I am pleased the resulting tax benefits will have a significant impact on communities throughout the Commonwealth,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “These numbers also speak to Commission licensing and enforcement staff working around the clock to make sure these businesses and their products comply with all of our regulations, especially the health and safety provisions. Each year, as this marketplace matures, the public will continue to see progress on state mandates and Commission objectives, including our commitment to equity, and the steps we have taken in 2020 are evidence of that.”

Source: Cannabis Control Commission’s Open Data Platform

Over the first year of adult-use sales, from November 2018 to November 2019, 33 Marijuana Retailers generated $393.7 million in gross sales, before licensees ultimately tallied $444.9 million for the full calendar year of 2019.

Since January 1, 2020, Marijuana Establishments have already surpassed those figures, generating $539 million in gross sales despite two months of closures as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts. During the pandemic, the Commission has implemented numerous protocols, including social distancing requirements, sanitation measures, and curbside service at licensed locations throughout the state that put first the health and safety of employees, patients, and consumers, while also supporting Marijuana Establishments’ ongoing operations. Read more at MassCannabisControl.com/COVID19.

Licensing, Agents, and Equity

Since Massachusetts’ first two Marijuana Retailers opened in 2018, 82 more have received notices from the Commission to commence operations statewide and are in the process of opening. Another 201 Marijuana Retailers with provisional or final license approval are completing the Commission’s inspection and compliance procedures towards that end.

In total, the Commission has licensed 688 Marijuana Establishments, including Cultivators, Product Manufacturers, Independent Testing Laboratories, Microbusinesses, and more. Currently, 40 Cultivators are open for business, with the capacity to grow up to a maximum of 1.26 million square feet of canopy in the Commonwealth.

The Commission is also in the process of finalizing changes to its adult-use regulations that will support home delivery of marijuana and marijuana products, after launching the initial license applications for adult-use Delivery-Only operators in May. To further the agency’s mission of ensuring industry participation by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition, the evolving Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types will be exclusively available to certified Economic Empowerment Applicants (EEAs) and Social Equity Program (SEP) Participants for a minimum of three years. So far, the Commission has issued two Delivery-Only—or Marijuana Courier—licenses to such applicants and pre-certified 47 more who are interested in offering delivery services in Massachusetts.

To date, two EEA licensees, two SEP licensees, and five Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) – or state-certified minority-, woman-, or veteran-owned companies – have opened. Additionally, the Commission has issued provisional licenses to 14 more EEAs, 21 more SEP Participants, and 87 DBEs that represent they have attended the state’s Supplier Diversity Office class and received expedited review from the Commission. Another four provisional licenses have gone to applicants who maintain both EEA status and participate in SEP, while seven more provisional licenses have gone to SEP Participants who are also DBE certified.

As of October, across all categories of licenses, the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts consists of nearly 10,300 active Marijuana Establishment Agent registrations, up from 6,700 in November 2019. Of those, approximately 33 percent identify as female and 66 percent identify as male, while 74.2 percent of registered and proposed agents identify as White, 6.7 percent identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, and 5.9 percent identify as Black or African American.

This spring, the Commission’s first cohort of 143 SEP Participants received technical assistance and training across four teaching tracks. For the second cohort, 285 applicants qualified and now have access to technical assistance and training that started in July and continues through this winter. Participants who are approved for the program based on three criteria receive automatic program benefits, such as expedited application review by the Commission’s licensing team, certain fee waivers, and exclusive access to license types such as the Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses.

Public Health, Safety, and Research

Throughout 2020, the Commission has continued to lead on initiatives that prioritize the public health and safety of Massachusetts residents and increase patient and consumer awareness. As part of its multimillion-dollar campaign, More About Marijuana, which has traditionally focused on responsible use and preventing youth access, the Commission has incorporated new educational materials about the dangers of home manufacturingCOVID-19 safety tips for cannabis consumers, and the risks of vaping, in response to statutory requirements and recent health emergencies.

The Commission issued three industrywide emergency orders over the past year in response to reported occurrences of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the Commonwealth and across the nation. Staff also surveyed licensees to understand the ingredients and sources of additives used in licensed products, published multiple sets of testing results pertaining to regulated vapes—effectively clearing their use of Vitamin E acetate—and issued new packaging, labeling, and testing requirements, including the testing of finished vaping products to protect consumers against hazardous additives and contaminants. This summer, the Commission’s Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products provided several options for licensees to address previously quarantined products manufactured prior to December 12, 2019:

  • Voluntarily disposing of vaporizer products;
  • Releasing vaporizer products from quarantine for sale if first retested or remediated; or
  • Repurposing quarantined vaporizer products into other marijuana products after reclaiming marijuana oil from the quarantined product.

The Commission continues to develop a product database that will enable law enforcement, state and local officials, such as school administrators, and parents, to determine whether products that may be illegally diverted into the hands of youth and/or the public came from a licensed source or the illicit market.

Finally, the Commission released five comprehensive research reports in the past year which focus on youth usagepreliminary industry assessmentthe impact of legalizationthe state of the data, and the effectiveness of the Commission’s public awareness campaign. Work is underway to conduct a baseline assessment of impacts to the healthcare system, adult-use cannabis behaviors, the utility in using public safety data to assess social equity provisions, legal and illicit market cannabis use behaviors, cannabis-related disciplinary actions in schools, as well as continuing the primary collected surveys included in the Marijuana Baseline Health Study.

Additional information about the Commission’s sales, licensing, and equity data is available by visiting MassCannabisControl.Com, by contacting the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.Com), or following the agency on Facebook and Twitter.

Is Cannabis A Cure For Coronavirus?

MJNews Network Exclusive Report

By Lorelei Caudill

Are we potentially growing our own cure for this global pandemic?

Is the United States the most well-equipped country to potentially conduct one of the most extensive case studies in our world’s history?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at why the answer may be a yes.

In these times of uncertainty, globally, we are starting to look at science and data to help guide critical decisions to determine our new social norm needs. Cannabis is under the microscope on a global level since the beginning of this pandemic.

We are leaning on technology, data, and statistics on how and when to reopen our states and communities. We look to science to help us learn more about how the virus is spread. Some of the world’s best doctors have now taught us “How to wash our hands.” It seems a little crazy, right?

When we think of COVID19 and Cannabis, we need to do the same and lean scientific data from successful cannabis studies in the past (which is quite a bit, despite what many think) and watch the continuing studies with COVID19 scientists are conducting today on a global level.

Initially, some may say, “Nope, I consume cannabis, and I tested positive” (to be honest in my current COVID Survey has only been one person since I published on March 21st).

See the source image

Disregarding Cannabis as a potential to help with this global pandemic, is like saying you wash your hands, and you still contracted COVID19.

Realistically everyone’s next questions would be based on scientific data:

  1. What did you wash your hands with?
  2. How long did you wash your hands?
  3. How often did you wash your hands?

We need to think the same way and apply theory and scientific data to Cannabis:

  1. What cannabis product did you consume?
  2. How frequently did you consume Cannabis?
  3. What form factor of Cannabis do you consume? (inhaled, edibles, tinctures, etc.)

Cannabis plants are not all created equally. The plant contains more than 110 possible cannabinoids and over 120 terpenes, all of which work differently in the human body. To add yet another layer of complexity, research has found certain cannabinoids work differently with other cannabinoids/terpenes. This variable is called the entourage effect.

According to Strain Genie :

In addition to how Cannabis interacts with our human endocannabinoid system, there are other scientific data points to consider, our individual DNA. Research Scientist Nicco Reggente Ph.D., co-founder of Strain Genie, takes cannabis science to a whole new level by providing insight and data required to understand how we can use human DNA to further analyze how an individual metabolizes Cannabis, including the infamous intoxicating compound THC.

Strain Genie analyzes over 450 genetic biomarkers to recommend the best consumption methods and ratios per consumer. With this type of data and information, we can be less fearful of Cannabis as a potential aid in COVID19, knowing we will not have to walk around high or heavily sedated to prevent contraction and spread. It may even help you wash your hands a little longer!

Strain Genie uses DNA biomarkers to align cannabinoids and terpenes within the cannabis plant the help tame or mitigate much of the “high” with Cannabis by providing a custom THC: CBD ratio along with additional terpenes to pair when looking to combat things like cannabis-induced anxiety in individuals that may also be genetically predisposed to having depression, PTSD, or OCD.

Let’s Put Actual COVID19 Under A Microscope With Cannabis:

Next, let’s apply this potential:

As you can see, the public-facing laboratory test for each harvest in our legal markets holds valuable data.  This is the type of data we can use to help propel us forward when thinking about Cannabis and the potential with COVID19. Cannabis consumers may request their products laboratory test upon purchase.

Could this lead to one of the most extensive human case studies in cannabis history?

Slight curveball, not every state-level legal growing operation, is required to provide a terpene content and potency profile. Currently, California, Michigan, Connecticut, and our nation’s capital District of Columbia are the only places that require a terpene profile on top of the cannabinoid profile per harvest; this makes them prime candidates to further research!

In closing, I believe we are much closer than ever to have the ability to quickly link cannabis COVID19 when looking for ways to prevent the spread, and potential treatments. We may find Cannabis as a temporary relief until a vaccine is created. This would allow us to open up more safely and to mitigate much of the risk. The world’s scientists, cultivators, and our states rigorous regulations and testing requirements that have progressed us forward while leaving a valuable data trail in a moment when time is not the most kind.

Caveats – AS ALWAYS PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN BEFORE PURCHASING OR CONSUMING CANNABIS BASED PRODUCTS

  • Smoking cannabis is unfavorable, regardless.
  • Consuming cannabis may pose a risk to pregnant women.
  • Products with THC are not recommended for consumers with some cancer types where tumors are present.
  • Be aware Cannabis is known to have interactions with other medications.

About Lorelei Caudill – Cannabis Science 101 – www.cannabisque.org

I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a granddaughter. My family and I have personal experience with the medicinal value of Cannabis.

Over the past few years, I have dedicated much of my spare time to understand the science behind the “how” and “why” Cannabis works with the human body. Why do some consumers benefit from the medicinal value of Cannabis while others do not? Why would one product have little to no results, while others not only relieve symptoms but help with the root condition?

My goal with Cannabisque is to provide an unbiased platform of educational content created directly from highly regulated studies to educate Cannabis curious consumers globally as we learn more about this miracle plant the promise scientists are documenting in research today.