The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

Medical dispensaries still thriving, despite pandemic

It can be difficult to find silver linings amidst this Coronavirus outbreak. Unemployment is at an all-time high, the stock market is plummeting, and reported confirmed cases only continue to rise.

But if you’re an advocate of cannabis legalization, there is at least one silver lining; the increased legitimacy of the cannabis industry and all of its key-players.

With medical dispensaries deemed ‘essential business’ in states like Illinois, California, and Colorado, the industry has received a substantial increase in advocacy, coming from both sides of the aisle. Similar to pharmacies and hospitals, legislatures have recognized the potential health benefits behind cannabis, vouching for their constituents who find relief from the plant.

And not only is this industry seeing more support, but it’s also experiencing a wave of surges in sales, even in developing markets like Arkansas.

Colorado dispensaries have reported as high of an 85% increase in medical sales, Illinois nearly broke a personal record with $36 million reported in total sales for March, and California dispensary agents continue to see an influx in customers served per day.

At a time when uncertainty plagues our ever-day lives, take solace in the fact that what millions of people have fought for isn’t going away anytime soon, progress continues.

Medical cannabis market officially launches in New Zealand

April 1st welcomed new beginnings for Kiwi’s and cannabis.

For the first time in the country’s history, the Ministry of Health is now accepting applications for cannabis cultivators and manufacturers.

Until yesterday, Sativex, a low-dosed THC spray, was the only approved medical-cannabis related product. But now, hopeful applicants can pursue cultivation licenses that will allow them to physically grow the plant, creating potential new products that are similar to oil, tablets, and creams.

For now, a handful of restrictions are still included in the market, including no edibles or vapes. But emerging political parties, like the Greens, are using broad legalization as a core of their future policies, hoping to one day mimic similar markets found in Canada and the US.

DEA announces evaluation of 37 research applications

In 2016, when legalization was spreading across the U.S., officials for the Drug Enforcement Administration claimed to be interested in opening up applications for medical research.

4 years later, they have finally followed through on that interest.

Monday morning, trough their official website, the DEA announced that “in the coming months” they will be reviewing a total of 37 American-based research applications, a majority of which come from either higher learning institutions or large privately held cannabis companies.

Currently, the only cannabis that can be legally grown for research purposes in the U.S. belongs to the University of Mississippi, where researchers have struggled to cultivate high-quality cannabis.

If even one application is approved, it would set a new precedent, and would provide future applicants with a working example of what a successful application looks like.

Cannabis cultures are quickly changing in the South

The southern region of the United States has long-been considered a major dissident of legalization. With generally conservative policies, and an affinity for upholding previously approved laws, the region was never considered to be a ‘hot-bed’ for progressive cannabis polices.

But looking at legislation approved in 2020, one may find that hard to believe.

Unlike last year, medical cannabis bills are no longer just being considered – they’re being approved in the South.

Just last week, Kentucky’s House, for the first time ever, approved of a medical cannabis bill. Before that, a key Senate committee in Alabama also approved of a MMJ-focused bill. South Carolina officials were in the middle of intense cannabis debates before COVID, and the state of Louisiana, and Arkansas unrolled their own (albeit limited) medical markets in early 2020.

There could be a handful of factors that have attributed to these changes; including new leadership, proven positive economic impacts, and shifting constituent demands. Whichever the factors are, it’s likely they will continue to influence and increase the spread of legalization within the Bible Belt.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.