Law Makes Washington First State To Run Government Organic-Certification Program For Cannabis

Producers can now legally certify their cannabis as organic. Reuters reports that Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into Washington state law on Tuesday.

The law institutes the first U.S. organic certification program for cannabis. This measure comes as constituents have called for pesticide-free weed in the state.

Republican Senator Ann Rivers sponsored the bill that aims to allow sales of certified organic cannabis in roughly 18 months.

The Washington Agriculture Department will oversee the certification process. The system will be akin to what is performed to certify organic food products in the U.S.

Although the organic classification is owned and regulated by the federal government’s U.S. Department of Agriculture, this program will be the first organic certification program administered by a state government. Before this new law, cannabis providers could only be able to seek organic certification for their product through private organizations, like Clean Green Certified.

Modeled on national and international sustainability, organic and biodynamic program standards, the Clean Green program requires on-site inspections and third-party lab testing.

Clean Green ensures that organically certified cannabis is handled like certified organic food. The cannabis is tested to ensure it is free of toxic substances.

It also ensures its certified providers employ environmentally-friendly methods to grow their cannabis.

Program requirements include having a legal source of water, having runoff protection barriers to reduce harmful nitrogen-rich nutrient runoff into neighboring streams and creeks, and using natural pesticide control methods.

Washington’s Department of Agriculture is calling on the public for ideas on how it should set the rules for the certification program. The agency is also thinking of what to call cannabis that meets its standards, as it can not use the term “organic.”

People can email their ideas to organic@agr.wa.gov

Reuters quoted Senator Rivers explicitly expressing the state legislative body’s satisfaction with the increasing amount of government revenue collected from cannabis sales. Washington state will receive $768 million in tax revenues this year from pot sales. The state has received $401 million in cannabis excise taxes in 2017 so far. It collected $256 million in 2016; $129 million in 2015; and $16 million in 2014.

Senator Rivers also said that state lawmakers are motivated to vote for a bill that packages all measures that apply to cannabis use and trade. Representatives voted 56 to 44 percent to legalize recreational cannabis sales in 2012.

The new law lifted prohibitions on several cannabis-involved activities:

It is now legal to share cannabis with another person under the new law. The 2012 law prohibited the sharing of cannabis regardless of the quantity.

Patients who take medical cannabis can legally buy cannabis plants and seeds.

The new law also opens up the opportunity for researchers to investigate a way in which hemp can be grown in an industrial setting. It is currently illegal to grow hemp with industrial applications.

The law also mandates that the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board investigate the convenience of growing pot in homes.

Businesses are now prohibited from using cartoons and cannabis plants on billboards marketing cannabis.

The Hottest Cannabis Investment in 2017

With all the progress that cannabis legislation has made, investors are looking into profiting from a piece of the cannabis pie. Dispensaries are opening and currently operating in states that have legalized cannabis use in some form. Cannabis use for medical or recreational purposes is legal in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

Here are a few companies in which many investors are sinking their monetary teeth.

Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ:INSY) had its cannabis-based drug, Syndros, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has not scheduled Syndros under the Controlled Substances Act yet, nonetheless. Insys stock took a 30 percent dip in March.

Insys had to file for an extension to submit earning results to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow its board of directors’ audit committee to perform an extensive internal review. The company has stated that its earnings numbers (net revenue and pre-tax income) are only off by $5 million.

As the company states that this is a small issue that can quickly be corrected, Insys remains a promising company in which to invest.

Cannabis distributor, Medical Marijuana Inc. (NASDAQOTH:MJNA), is also subject to dips and spikes based on how likely the Trump administration will enforce federal laws against cannabis use.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has explicitly stated his distaste for cannabis use. Mr. Sessions told a crowd of law enforcement officials that it was just as dangerous as heroin. However, President Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, has reaffirmed the White House’s support for medical use of cannabis, just as Republican presidential candidate Trump supported it throughout the campaign trail.

Thus for the four years of Trump’s administration, this stock could be headed for lots of volatility. However, as more people are using cannabis, studies substantiate its medical effectiveness, and more states introduce bills to legalize cannabis, MJNA, one of the biggest cannabis distributors in the country is a great long-term buy.

As peer-reviewed studies find the cannabis’s effectiveness in treating depression, pain, and other ailments, GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) finds itself in a promising spot. GWPH will not be as susceptible to erratic market moves each time White House representatives make remarks on cannabis enforcement. It solely develops a product for medicinal purposes; however, its plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), Epidiolex, is still awaiting FDA approval. It is very likely that Epidiolex is approved based on recent research findings asserting its effectiveness.

Our best recommendation in this environment is Insys. Experts predict Insys will sell $200 million of Syndros each year. Doctors regularly prescribe dronabinol to treat anorexia for AIDS patients, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Syndros, dronabinol in liquid form, is a lot easier to ingest, so it’s very likely that patients will use more of the drug.

As long as Insys’ internal audit does not reveal anything too serious the stock is set to recoup its losses expeditiously. Investors should buy the stock now as it dropped after the SEC granted the extension. The scheduling of the drug by the DEA is widely expected to work for the stock.

How dispensaries are selling cannabis through virtual reality

As people become more accepting of the retail of legal marijuana, there is now less of a stigma walking into a dispensary. However, there are still too many people who are not walking into dispensaries, perhaps because they do not want to be ‘spotted.’ If they do walk in, they do not spend time sampling what is on offer. A new system employing virtual reality technology looks to change this.

A leading Washington cannabis branding agency (OMD Agency) lets consumers use a virtual reality system to explore a cannabis dispensary. Just pop on your headset, and you will be able to browse through the virtual marijuana dispensary to your heart’s content.

Customers can peruse the products occupying shelf space in the virtual dispensary. When people put on their headset, they can wander around the dispensary. Here, they will be able to go through the virtual buds on offer. They will be able to inspect them and choose which strain is going to be right for you. You can then ‘chill’ from the comfort of your sofa or location, virtually sampling your selection. If you like what you have selected, you can call the dispensary to place an order for it. It is one of the easiest ways to shop.

Programs like this look to shake up the way in which retailers sell marijuana. It will allow people to take the time to select what they want. There is no pressure of heading into a dispensary. You can just put on the headset whenever you have some free time, any time of the day, and see what is available. This access allows people to do their research. If programs like this take off, it is likely that we may start to see ‘better’ strains introduced to stores, perhaps to stand out from the crowd. You may even start to see the price of marijuana fall as suddenly many retailers are competing for shelf space in a virtual store.

Essentially, the stigma of purchasing marijuana from a store is going to be taken away. If you put on the headset, you do not have to worry about anybody noticing that you are buying marijuana. We are positive that a system like this could have an impact on people who may not have purchased marijuana before. The simplicity of buying a little bud may encourage them to do so. These programs could potentially result in the marijuana industry earning many more millions of dollars for the state’s coffers.

Cannabis on virtual reality is not the only way in which you will be able to inspect your marijuana before you buy it. Since tours of cannabis growers are against regulations in Washington state, many companies have set up virtual reality tours of their dispensaries. Through these tours, you will be able to carefully inspect the processes that the growers have in place. This channel will allow you to select the strain you wish to consume. Essentially, it is a brilliant research tool.

Washington state will fight efforts by the federal government to crack down on legal cannabis

In mid-February, White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration would bring a fight to states where the sale and use of recreational marijuana are legal. Washington state is having none of it, with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson saying that he will defend the laws of his state.

The new administration’s focus on cracking down on legal marijuana supply is a stark contrast to the Obama administration. In the past, President Barack Obama stated that he would not bring a fight to any states that had legal marijuana markets, providing they kept them tightly regulated.

Obama agreed that recreational marijuana should be legal providing the states stuck to the laws laid out by the U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. His memo indicated that it should be fine, providing marijuana was not sold to minors and steps were taken to ensure that the money from the sale of recreational marijuana was not filtered back into criminal gangs. Washington State has extreme vetting procedures in place to ensure that the latter does not happen.

The current administration’s focus on the crackdown on marijuana sales is a far cry from the platform on which President Trump campaigned. While on the campaign trail, he stated that he was okay with the use of medical marijuana. He went on to claim that the recreational sale of marijuana should be something left in the hands of the state and the federal government should play no role in it.

Earlier on in February, both the Washington Attorney General and Governor submitted a letter to U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions highlighting why Washington state should continue to have a regulated marijuana industry.

Their arguments are that the regulated industry is likely to earn the state an additional $272 million in taxes this year. The fact the police are no longer needing to ‘crack down’ on marijuana dealers, and smokers also help to free up the time of the police officers operating across the state. This allows police officers to focus on more pressing crimes.

Ferguson argues that a return to ‘full’ prohibition in the state would not stop marijuana being consumed. Instead, it is likely that the illegal consumption of marijuana will result in even more problems. The state does not have enough resources at its disposal to deal with this.
Washington State introduced the legalized possession of marijuana and selling it in November 2012. 56% of voters believed that this would be the best course of action. Since then, the state, along with other states that introduced legal marijuana consumption, has always been in a state of ‘worry’ as to whether the federal government would snatch the law away from them.
The sale and use of marijuana are still against federal law. As long as the law remains on the books, the states are going to be dealing with threats like this. It is unlikely that the Trump administration will make marijuana legal on a federal level.

What Booming Cannabis Sales Figures Tell Us

Sales figures suggest that the cannabis industry is growing faster than the internet. The number of people that use cannabis each day keeps growing. Cannabis sales amounted to $6.7 billion in 2016; 30% more when compared to 2015. The biggest contributor is the legalization of cannabis in various states and provinces. According to some estimates, cannabis revenue is expected to reach $20 billion dollars by 2021 in North America.

Some Analogies Will Help Put Things In Perspective

Dot.com and cable TV are perhaps the only businesses and industries which have grown so fast in the recent few years. Cable TV growth has been growing at a rate of 19% year over year. The internet is growing at a scorching pace of 29% year over year.

The New Government May Have A Role To Play

The Trump administration is quite upbeat and positive about the use of cannabis for medical purposes. However, Trump and his administration may not be for the plant’s unbridled recreational use. Lawmakers are strongly reviewing the medical benefits of cannabis use. Therefore, it is very likely that cannabis use in some form will be legalized in every U.S. state.

The Year 2016 Has Been Good

The year 2016 has been excellent for the cannabis market. Seven states legalized the use of marijuana on Election Day in some form. California legalized recreational cannabis use passing Proposition 64.

Investments Are Flowing In Quite Aggressively

Investors are buying up cannabis stock due to the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the plant’s derived products. New technologies are launched every day promising to ramp up production volume.

These sale figures are just a tip of the iceberg. The development of alternative ingestion methods will further stimulate growth. Today users consume cannabis in the form of sprays, weed-laced topical medicines, edibles, and other methods.

Cannabis Testing Market To Be Worth $1.4 Million by 2021

Cannabis Lab Testing

The Cannabis Testing Market is set to be worth 1,416.3 million USD by 2021 from $822.0 Million USD in the year 2016, according to recent estimates. Markets & Markets, a global research firm based in India, published the report on the basis of a Global Forecast made by Product & Software (GC, LG, Column, Accessories, Standards, Spectroscopy (Atomic, MS)), Service (Heavy Metal, Potency, Genetic Testing, Pesticides) and End User (Research, Pharmaceutical, Lab) Companies. Additionally, this market will grow to a CAGR of 11.5% during the forecast period of 2016-2021. Moreover, early buyers can expect to earn a 10 percent customization based on the report.

Understanding The Cannabis Testing Market:

This market is primarily categorized based on region, product & software, end user and service. On the basis of product & software, this market is divided into consumables, software and analytical instruments. The segment of consumables will grow with a maximum compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at the time of the forecast period because of repetitive usage and recurring requirements.

In 2016, North America accounted for the biggest share in the global cannabis testing market. Europe had the second biggest share. These same regions will ensure the highest CAGR’s at the time of the forecast period. North America is the main region for the growth of this market because of the growing number of laboratories for testing cannabis, the increasing awareness in relation to medical cannabis, the presence of outstanding players in North America, as well as the rise in funding for the cannabis industry.

Prominent players for testing cannabis software ad products include Shimadzu Corporation of Japan, Agilent Technologies, Inc. of the US, PerkinElmer, Inc. of the US, AB SCIEX LLC of the US, Millipore Sigma of the US, Restek Corporation of the US, Waters Corporation of the US, LabLynx, Inc. of the US, and Accelerated Technology Laboratories, Inc. of the US. The outstanding players for service of cannabis testing include CannaSafe Analytics of the US, Steep Hill Labs, Inc. of the US, SC Laboratories of the US, Digipath Labs, Inc. of the US, and PharmaLabs, LLC of the US.

Target Audiences Include:

Laboratories for cannabis testing

Cannabis associations

Cannabis LIMS/software vendors

Manufacturers of analytical instruments

Academic universities and institutes

Venture capitalists

Consulting and research firm

Estimation for Expansion:

This estimate is inclusive of the computer software and equipment cost that will be used for testing cannabis – highly priced gas and liquid chromatography machines – along with the expense for hiring trained and skilled workers who will administer the investigations and interpret the results. This could be one area where the growth might be inhibited as research analysts believe that there aren’t many skilled professionals to perform lab testing of cannabis.

Finally:

While this report happens to be one among the 60,000 market reports that Markets & Markets publishes every year, it will surely create havoc in the cannabis testing market. It can also be safely assumed that sooner and not later, there will be an increase in the demand for reliable and accurate cannabis testing to get access to clean cannabis, which will be likely be followed by revelations of several contamination scandals.