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Cannabis News Briefs for January 29, 2019

January 29, 2019

•Non-profit, non-partisan thinktank The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has released a report analyzing cannabis sales data and tax revenue in states permitting recreational sales. Overall, state and local cannabis excise taxes in the U.S. surpassed $1 billion last year, up 57% from 2017, gaining a boost from the start of legal sales in California and rapid growth across Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. “In states allowing taxable sales of recreational cannabis,” the report noted, “annual cannabis excise tax revenues ($1.04 billion) already rival total excise tax revenues collected from all forms of alcohol ($1.16 billion) including beer, wine, and liquor.”

•The Last Store on Main Street Coalition, a trade association encompassing thousands of wine and spirits retailers in New York state, is lobbying lawmakers in Albany to allow them to sell recreational marijuana if it becomes legal in the state. The Coalition, a registered lobbying group based in Albany, formed about 10 years ago when state lawmakers were considering authorization of wine sales in grocery stores, and helped defeat that proposal. Market Watch has the full story on the Coalition’s campaign for cannabis sales in liquor stores.

•San Jose, California-based cannabis company Caliva raised $75 million in its first round of fundraising with outside investors. Football great Joe Montana invested through his venture fund, as did former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, who will join Caliva’s board. In stark contrast to the three-tier system, Caliva operates a cultivation facility, retail store, and delivery service in San Jose and also distributes its branded lines of flower, pre-rolled joints, and vape fluid to other retailers throughout the state. The company plans to use their new funds to expand distribution further and to add new products, including beverages.

•San Diego-based High Style Brewing Co.’s Coastal Haze, a non-alcoholic THC-infused beer, has launched in California. Coastal Haze is currently available in dispensaries in San Diego and Orange County with plans to establish a presence in most major California cities within the next few months. The de-alcoholized, 10mg-THC beverage retails at $12 a 12-ounce bottle, but the brewery is also exploring the launch of a six-pack format, vice president of sales and marketing Jared Threw told SND. A less potent 5mg THC/5mg CBD hybrid is also in the works.

•Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has proposed recreational marijuana in the state. Raimondo’s move is prompted less out of enthusiasm for the benefits than to minimize health and safety concerns due to products crossing into the state from Massachusetts and soon New York. Her plan would create one of the strictest programs in the nation, outlawing home growing and high potency products like dabs and shatter. Edibles would be allowed to have no more than 5mg of THC. Regulators imagine 30 to 40 stores eventually, whose products would be taxed at 17% and would generate $14.3 million in gross revenue by the end of fiscal 2020, they estimate.

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