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Cannabis Briefs for January 5, 2021

January 5, 2021

•Illinois cannabis sales set yet another record in December, capping the first year of legal sales and astounding growth. December’s total broke $86 million, up more than $11 million from November and more than double last January’s debut of $39.2 million, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The number of items sold also advanced by more than 300,000 units to nearly 1.9 million. All told, Illinois sold approximately 14.5 million recreational cannabis products in 2020, totaling just over $669 million. Illinois residents purchased $496.4 million worth and out-of-state visitors spent $172.6 million. The market is expected to continue to accelerate in 2021 as its 80 operational dispensaries are joined by 30 more already approved and an additional 75 that will be licensed in an upcoming lottery.

•New Jersey’s legislation establishing its legal market has hit a snag. Governor Phil Murphy has delayed signing the two bills in question until the legislature passes a so-called cleanup bill clarifying certain terminology and the procedure for dealing with minors caught with cannabis. The second point would establish a $250 fine for someone under 21 caught with less than an ounce and a $500 fine for more than an ounce but less than six; police could not make arrests in these cases but only issue tickets. The delay now carries additional urgency, as the constitutional amendment legalizing cannabis took effect automatically on January 1 in contradiction to the laws on the books.

•Canopy Rivers, the former investment arm of Canopy Growth before their recent split, has sold its stake in Italian operator Canapar. Canopy Rivers held a 49% common equity interest which it has sold to RAMM Pharma Corp. for $9 million, $7 million of which was paid in cash and the other $2 million of which is contingent on certain operational milestones. Canopy Rivers’ investment was made in the summer of 2018 but regulatory and market challenges have delayed Canapar’s timeline for commercialization.

•The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission approved new regulations that most notably allow for stand-alone cannabis delivery businesses. The Commission created the new Delivery Operator license type, which will allow business-owners to order wholesale cannabis products to a delivery warehouse rather than a storefront, “white label” products they deliver with branding for their business, and sell cannabis accessories and branded goods. The new guidelines also relax a number of provisions surrounding medical cannabis use and the care doctors can provide, including allowing certain out-of-state residents to register as a patient in Massachusetts.

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