A couple more weeks, and just like that, 2022 will be in the rearview mirror. It has been a roller coaster year for the cannabis industry and the nation. As the world slows down a bit for the holidays, we would like to reflect on some of the positive moments that took place in the cannabis space. Maryland and Missouri legalized adult-use cannabis, President Joe Biden pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple cannabis possession, and Charlotte’s Web signed a deal to be the official CBD for Major League Baseball. Let’s take a step back and look at some of the better moments in the industry this past year in our 2022 cannabis industry year in review.
Maryland & Missouri Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis
Voters in the Old Line State approved the 20th adult-use cannabis market. Maryland is predicted to generate up to $600 million in its first year. The state embraced cannabis legalization with nearly two-thirds of voters approving the measure. By year four, the state is projected to generate up to $1 billion. Missouri also gave adult-use cannabis the green light by 6 percentage points. It was close, but cannabis came out on top. First-year adult-use cannabis sales for Missouri could reach up to $500 million, and fourth-year sales predictions are around $900 million. Dispensary retail sales for Maryland will likely begin in 2024 or 2025. On the other hand, recreational marijuana should be available in Missouri in February 2023.
President Joe Biden Cannabis Pardons
President Biden pardoned thousands of people who were convicted under federal law for simple cannabis possession. Many have called it a small step in the right direction that was long overdue. There are over 6,500 people convicted for simple cannabis possession from 1992 to 2021; however, no one is currently incarcerated in federal prison for simple possession. President Biden also announced that his administration will review whether cannabis should remain a Schedule 1 drug. After the announcement, there was speculation that this could lower taxes for cannabis businesses and scientific research involving the popular plant. Are President Biden’s acts initiating the process of federal cannabis legalization? To be continued.
MLB and CBD Brand Form Exclusive Partnership
Major League Baseball (MLB) signed with Charlotte’s Web Holdings—one of the premier hemp-derived CBD brands in the nation. The brand will become the “Official CBD of MLB.” Charlotte’s Web will create a new line of sport cannabis products featuring the MLB logo. Also, MLB will get a rights feed, revenue shares, and a portion of shares in the company. The deal also includes exclusive category rights, covering the 2022 postseason and an additional three years. The historic partnership has been applauded by the cannabis community, as MLB is the first professional sports league to partner with a cannabis brand. Not to mention, MLB started allowing baseball teams to sell sponsorships to cannabis companies marketing CBD products that are in line with specific criteria.
Uber Eats Partners with Leafly for Cannabis Deliveries
Through a partnership with Leafly, Uber Eats started to deliver cannabis products from licensed retailers in Toronto. This is the first time in history that cannabis delivery is available on a major third-party delivery platform in the world, according to Uber Eats. The partnership’s goal is to help cannabis retailers provide a convenient, safe option for individuals in Toronto to buy legal cannabis via home delivery, helping combat the illegal market and reduce incidents of impaired driving. Deliveries will only be carried out by CannSell-certified staff. Here are the first three retailers on the app: Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis, and Shivaa’s Rose.
First Cannabis Executive Featured on Forbes Cover
Forbes features exceptional trailblazers on their magazines, including Spotify CEO and Daniel Ek and John and Patrick Collison, co-founders of Stripe. For the first time ever since the magazine launched in 1917, a cannabis leader was featured on the Forbes cover. Cookies co-founder and CEO Berner (Gilbert Anthony Milam Jr.) graced the cover for the August/September 2022 issue. Berner has been in the legal cannabis industry for two decades, dedicating most of his life to the cannabis cause. In the issue, Berner discusses how the federal government continues to fumble opportunities to legalize cannabis and “lift a $72 billion economy out of the shadows.”
New York Cannabis Bill
Many states have undertaken some form of equitable measures, including California, New Jersey, Michigan, and Vermont. However, results have varied, and none have made the impact they wanted. However, New York’s cannabis bill could get it right. The measures include addressing some of the pains caused by the war on drugs, including the enactment of automatic expungement for many cannabis offenders. Those convicted of possessing a pound or less of cannabis are eligible. To address the lack of diversity in the industry, the first 100 retail licenses will go to individuals most affected by the war on drugs. Additionally, New York announced plans for a $200M social equity fund to support licensees. Many believe New York will lead the growth of the cannabis industry in the tri-state area.
California Protects Employees from Off-Duty Cannabis Use
The California legislature passed a bill that prohibits employers from disciplining employees for using cannabis during their off-work hours. The law will be in full effect in January 2024. Additionally, the bill will prevent employers from discriminating against candidates or workers who fail a drug test that detects non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, urine, blood, and other bodily fluids. Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island also have laws in place to protect employees who use cannabis outside of work hours. The hope is that more states will implement this kind of protection as the acceptance of cannabis continues to evolve.
President Biden Signs Cannabis Research Bill
President Biden made history by signing a cannabis research bill into law—the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act. By doing so, he enacted the first standalone federal cannabis reform legislation in the history of the United States. The law will give the U.S. attorney general 60 days to approve an application or request additional information from the marijuana research applicant. Also, it creates a better way for researchers to make larger cannabis requests. The years of negotiation have led to the bill finally being passed, which will help in the critical research needed for the nation to learn more about the cannabis plant and its medical benefits.
Other Highlights of the Cannabis Industry in 2022
- Dr. Riley Kirk, PhD and Dr. Miyabe Shields, PhD are using TikTok and Instagram to help people understand cannabis pharmacology
- Cannabis consumption has risen from 32% in Spring 2018 to 47% in Fall 2021, according to BDSA
- A 30,000 square-foot museum—The House of Cannabis—is planned to open in New York City as a learning environment for cannabis fans and business owners
- Green Thumb Industries and Circle K will team up to sell cannabis at a limited number of Circle K locations in 2023
- 44,000 low-level cannabis possession convictions are set to be cleared in Connecticut
So much has happened in the cannabis industry for 2022. Despite the challenges and obstacles, there have been some wins as well. As we go into rest and relaxation mode for the holidays, let us not forget about all the positive moments in cannabis.