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California lawmakers moved Wednesday to create a state-backed bank to handle the billions of dollars flowing from the newly legal recreational marijuana market.

The world’s largest legal recreational marijuana economy, created under a law that took effect this year, is projected to grow to $7 billion.

The bill approved by a bipartisan 29-6 state Senate vote is designed to help pot entrepreneurs who usually deal in cash because most banks won’t accept money from a product that remains illegal under federal law. 

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Don Thompson ~ Associated Press ~

Detroit will be home for several thousand marijuana enthusiasts and entrepreneurs this weekend when CannaCon hits the Motor City.

“Michigan has some up and coming laws that are being changed,” said Joe Kennedy, sales manager for the convention, which will be held on Friday and Saturday at Cobo Center. “So we have two days of seminars with top people in the industry.”

The marijuana market in Michigan is poised to explode. The state is expected to start issuing licenses for medical marijuana businesses next month. And Michigan voters could see a proposal to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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Kathleen Gray ~ Detroit Free Press ~

Like any business, the cannabis industry has a unique set of risks and exposures to account for.

Nearly 22 years ago, California voters enacted a ballot measure legalizing the medical use of cannabis.

Today, cannabis is now legal in 47 states (adult-use, cannabinoid only, hemp, and medicinal).

For years, California has been depicted laxly when it comes to marijuana. But when it comes to marijuana and the insurance coverage needed to protect citizens and businesses, it is anything but.

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The medical marijuana dispensary that opened inside a former T-shirt factory in Bellmawr three years ago has moved into a modern new space across the street and is now the largest retail purveyor of cannabis on the East Coast.

The 6,150 square-foot Curaleaf dispensary opened this month in an industrial park in Camden County, about 10 miles south of Philadelphia.

The new facility is designed to handle 1,000 patients a day, said Jordan Isenstadt, a spokesman for Pallia-Tech, the company that owns Curaleaf.

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Jan Hefler ~ Philly.com ~ 

Nevada is skating past its first-year goals for recreational marijuana revenue.

The state has collected $48.97 million in total marijuana tax revenues since sales began.

Adult-use cannabis sales topped $41 million in March, the most successful month since legal sales began in July last year, according to a report Wednesday from the Nevada Department of Taxation. 

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Jenny Kane ~ Reno Gazette Journal ~

Jobs are growing in the cannabis sector and the so are the businesses offering them.

125,000-160,000 people work full-time in the legal marijuana industry according to Chris Walsh, industry analyst and Editorial Vice President of MJBizDaily.

That includes growers, processors, sellers and those that service and supply those companies.

There are more marijuana sector employees than librarians or kindergarten teachers in the United States Walsh said.

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A collective of Canadian organizations will present an open letter to the provincial and federal justice ministers  to sound the alarm on regulations that would stifle the country’s craft cannabis industry.

“The timing is good right now because it’s right in the middle of the B.C. Legislative process. We think there is still time to make these changes and make it possible for the B.C. cannabis sector to survive,” says Michael Davis, spokesperson for the Ethical Cannabis Producers Association.

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Piper Courtenay ~ Straight.com via 420Intel.com ~ 

 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Scott Stern says the perception of marijuana in our culture is changing, and the mainstream opportunities are too hard to pass up.

With Massachusetts preparing to open the recreational marijuana marketplace in just a few months, MIT's Sloane School of Management is turning over a new leaf.

The business of pot is now part of Professor Scott Stern’s graduate classroom.

He says the perception of marijuana in our culture is changing, and the mainstream opportunities are too hard to pass up. 

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Aurora Cannabis Inc will buy rival MedReleaf Corp for C$3.2 billion ($2.51 billion) in the biggest deal yet to unify major Canadian pot growers, as the country moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The deal announced Monday is the latest in a wave of mergers in the industry as marijuana producers — emboldened by pot legalizations in Europe and a number of U.S. states — seek to cut costs and gain scale.

Canada’s relaxed regulations, a mature industry and free-flowing capital have offered firms a unique opportunity to advance research without the legal and political risks that bog down growers in the United States and elsewhere.

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John Benny and Nichola Saminather ~ Reuters.com ~ 

Retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States are expected to hit $8 billion-$10 billion this year – a nearly 50% increase from 2017 – and rise as high as $22 billion by 2022.

That’s according to exclusive projections from the 2018 edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook released Wednesday at the start of MJBizConNEXT in New Orleans.

The anticipated explosive industry growth is a backdrop for MJBizConNEXT, which is hosted by Marijuana Business Daily. The industry conference is expected to draw 3,000 marijuana professionals and 280-plus exhibitors from around the globe.

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Eli McVey, John Schroyer and Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier ~ MJBizDaily.com ~

Canada’s rapidly growing cannabis industry now dominates the global trade in legal marijuana, says a report from a Washington, D. C., data analytics firm.

The companies that are frantically building growing facilities to supply Canadians with marijuana are also in a unique position to sell their products and expertise around the world, says the report from New Frontier Data.

The independent research firm’s report provides a snapshot of Canada’s cannabis industry.

Canadian cannabis companies are exporting their products to countries on multiple continents, the report notes.

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The largest growth is in states that legalized in 2016 and have had time to build up to the latest hiring sprees, but there are a few budding markets, too.

In the next 10 years, cannabis is estimated to be a $57 billion industry.

While there are currently only a quarter of a million Americans who hold part- or full-time jobs in the cannabis sector, employment opportunities will grow as the market continues to expand.

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Sara Gullickson ~ Leafly.com ~ 

Marijuana testing — a fixture at large American employers for at least 30 years — excludes too many potential workers, experts say, at a time when filling jobs is more challenging than it’s been in nearly two decades.

FPI Management, a property company in California, wants to hire dozens of people. Factories from New Hampshire to Michigan need workers. Hotels in Las Vegas are desperate to fill jobs.

Those employers and many others are quietly taking what once would have been a radical step: They’re dropping marijuana from the drug tests they require of prospective employees.

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Christopher Rugaber  ~ Associated Press ~

Dispensaries are selling more low THC products and strains than ever before.

As weed is legalized and becomes more mainstream, cannabis products seem to be getting “weaker” rather than stronger.

This trend toward microdosing and low-THC products is, in part, to appeal to a wider audience of new and inexperienced users.

But, it’s also helping veteran stoners stay medicated and productive.

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California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent a letter last week to the state’s insurers urging them to offer insurance products for the legal cannabis industry.

In the letter, Jones indicated that he would “not object to proposed rates for the industry that have a rational basis.”

“The mission of the California Department of Insurance is ‘Insurance Protection for All Californians,’" he said. 

"We work with the insurance industry to promote a healthy insurance market that offers insurance products to meet the ever-changing needs of Californians and California businesses."

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The state is looking for ways to help medical marijuana businesses that are having trouble finding a bank or a credit union.

Rick Johnson chairs the state medical marijuana licensing board.

He says most financial institutions won’t work with marijuana-related businesses because the drug remains illegal at the federal level.

He says that means the businesses don’t have checking accounts and can’t easily handle electronic transfers.

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The U.S. legal cannabis industry is on track to hit $25 billion by 2025, according to the latest forecast from cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data.

The research and data firm on Friday released revised industry sales projections, predicting that the $8.3 billion U.S. medical and recreational marijuana industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.7 percent, to an estimated $25 billion by 2025.

That $25 billion should be split equally between medical and recreational cannabis, New Frontier officials said.

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Alicia Wallace ~ TheCannabist.co ~ 

Israel’s Together has agreed to sell 5 tonnes of cannabis oil to an unnamed Canadian company that will potentially bring revenue of hundreds of millions of shekels.

The Canadian company will buy from Together subsidiary Globus Pharma 50 tonnes of dried inflorescences of cannabis each year, which is equivalent to five tonnes of medical cannabis oil.

The two companies will also collaborate in the field of research and development and promoting technologies in the medical cannabis sector. They have estimated sales will amount to $3.17 to $4.7 per gram of inflorescence.

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Steven Scheer ~ Reuters via 420Intel.com ~