Good morning. We’re winding down the year here at Cultivated Media.
A reminder that we’ll be off from Friday through the New Year – picking up again on January 8th. And big things are ahead, so stay tuned.
A 5-minute ready from JB and JR
Alabama industry takes an historic (but delayed) step
Driving the news: Alabama's Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) has taken a big step in their medical cannabis industry by granting additional licenses in various categories, marking an important moment in the deep south's evolving stance on cannabis.
What’s happening: This marks the third and potentially final round of licensing in Alabama – and follows some fits and starts and delays and additional licensing rounds.
The AMCC awarded licenses across several categories, including integrated facilities, cultivators, processors, dispensaries, secure transport, and a state testing laboratory.
What’s next: Licensees face pre-issuance site inspections and must submit their license fees within a two-week deadline. Denied applicants have a similar timeframe to request reconsideration.
Why it matters: Traditionally conservative states, like Alabama and Mississippi, are shifting their support and consideration of cannabis. It signals a diminishing of the once-contentious nature of cannabis politics in the deep south and other more “Red” states.
The tide is turning. Roll tide!
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
Colorado’s ballot measure on cannabis and guns
What’s happening: The home of the Rocky Mountain high now faces a novel intersection of cannabis policy and gun rights.
"Guns for Everyone," an aptly-named pro-gun rights group, is spearheading an initiative to align the rights of cannabis consumers with those of alcohol consumers in terms of concealed carry permits.
What the measure would do: Guns for Everyone aims to place a question on the ballot that would amend state laws, conflicting with federal regulations on controlled substances and gun permits.
Edgar Antillon, co-founder of Guns for Everyone, frames the initiative as a matter of equal rights, questioning why cannabis consumers can't defend themselves like alcohol users. Fair question. Marijuana Moment has the full story.
What’s next: The proposal will undergo a Legislative Council Staff (LCS) review for clarity and viability. Success requires overcoming several hurdles, including a signature campaign to gather nearly 125,000 signatories.
As Colorado continues to be at the forefront of cannabis legalization, this ballot measure exemplifies the evolving dialogue around cannabis rights and its implications for broader societal norms.
Canadian cannabis insolvencies continue
Driving the news: In 2023, the Canadian cannabis industry continued to face insolvency challenges, as evidenced by several significant insolvency filings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), including notable companies like Fire & Flower and Aleafia Health.
These insolvencies highlight broader industry struggles such as low prices, high taxes, and difficulties in accessing new funding – not to mention the strict regulatory environment on the federal level.
Why it matters: Canada was/is a guinea pig for federal legalization. The entire nation went legal for adult-use in 2018, and the chips – as they say – are falling where they may.
In 2022, cannabis companies applying for bankruptcies accounted for a full third of all bankruptcies in Canada. This year, cannabis companies accounted for just 12 percent of all bankruptcies - so there is some silver-lining in this news from MJ Biz Daily.
What’s next: The Canadian cannabis experiment should be viewed as a large-market example of where things could go wrong – or right – during a cannabis legalization effort.
Burdensome regulations and slow roll-outs open up market gaps for the legacy market that become harder and harder to close. That, coupled with the inevitable price compression can be challenging for even the best operators.