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Cannabis Briefs for February 1, 2022

February 1, 2022

•Recreational cannabis sales in Massachusetts has surpassed the $2.5 billion mark, according to data from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. That figure includes all adult-use cannabis sales since they began in November 2018. The majority of those sales have come in the last year as the market has matured and retail access has spread, with $1.4 billion worth of sales occurring since January 1, 2021. Put another way, recreational cannabis sales have not fallen below $100 million per month since last March and now routinely surpass $120 million a month. December sales rivaled the all-time high of July’s $127.4 million, while January 2022 appeared to be on track for sales of around $116 million (only data for the first half of the month is currently available). Medical marijuana sales in Massachusetts amounted to an additional $327.3 million in the last year.

•First year recreational cannabis sales in Arizona topped half a billion dollars following its quick rollout in early 2021. Arizona voters approved adult-use sales on their 2020 ballots, which the state enacted with unrivaled speed by quickly extending recreational license approval to its numerous extant medical retailers. Following $7.3 million in its truncated January period, sales rose to $51.6 million in March 2021 and held steady there for the rest of the year. October saw sales rise to $59.5 million, followed by $60.3 million in November. Medical sales consistently eclipsed recreational sales in Arizona, totaling $703.8 million last year.

•The public policy division of Amazon endorsed legislation from Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace that would federally legalize cannabis. Mace filed the States Reform Act in November, which would end federal prohibition, impose a 3% federal excise tax (compared to a 10% tax under plans championed by Democrats), and otherwise leave legalization decisions to the states. The bill is backed by Americans for Prosperity, the political action committee led by Charles Koch. “Like so many in this country, we believe it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and Amazon is committed to helping lead the effort,” the company tweeted.

•Napa Valley, California-based House of Saka has formed an exclusive partnership with Carbidex Michigan to expand to Michigan. House of Saka produces alcohol-free cannabis wine sourced from Napa Valley grapes. Carbidex holds assets that can provide full service manufacturing, bottling, and distribution. House of Saka will first bring its Saka Spark Mimosa to Carbidex’s retail locations, called The Botanical Co., this spring. Made with sparkling Chardonnay blended with live resin, it will debut in 187-ml. single-serve Champagne bottles.

•Vancouver, British Columbia-based Trait Biosciences announced that CEO Peter McDonough is retiring. McDonough joined the company’s board of directors in 2018 and was appointed CEO shortly thereafter. Prior to joining Trait, he served as North American president and chief marketing and innovation officer at Diageo. McDonough will continue to serve on Trait’s advisory board as a retained consultant following his retirement. No replacement has been announced. Trait also announced that Hanny Kanafani will be promoted to the newly created roles of president and COO.

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