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Four States Report Record-Breaking Marijuana Sales In July

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July was an especially productive and profitable month for the marijuana industry, with retailers making record-breaking sales in at least four states.

This is continuing a trend that’s been observed in numerous states as cannabis markets have come online and matured. And it’s all the more impressive considering how the industry has thrived even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In Illinois, Maine and Michigan, sales on adult-use marijuana products reached new highs in July. The same goes for Missouri’s medical cannabis market.

Here’s a breakdown of the record month of marijuana sales in July: 

Illinois

The Prairie State saw nearly $128 million in recreational cannabis purchases last month—more than double the total monthly sales from a year ago.

People bought 2,802,124 individual cannabis products in July, which represents another monthly record.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that in-state residents bought $85 million in marijuana, or 69 percent, while out-of-state visitors accounted for $42 million in sales.

July marks the fifth consecutive month that sales in Illinois’s adult-use market have topped $100 million. If the trend continues, the state is on track to see more than $1 billion in adult-use marijuana sales in 2021.

That would mean a significant increase revenue for the state. Illinois sold about $670 million in cannabis last year and took in $205.4 million in tax revenue.

Illinois took in more tax dollars from marijuana than alcohol for the first time last quarter, officials reported in May. From January to March, Illinois generated about $86,537,000 in adult-use marijuana tax revenue, compared to $72,281,000 from liquor sales.

Maine

Adult-use marijuana sales reached $9.4 million in July—a 45 percent increase from the prior month’s record.

Cannabis business owners on the ground credit the Fourth of July holiday and tourism for the spike, The Portland Press Herald reported.

The retail market for recreational cannabis launched in October of last year, and it’s steadily grown in popularity. July marks the first time that adult-use sales rivaled those of the state’s older medical marijuana market.

And of course, these rising sales are contributing to tax revenue for the state. The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy reported $943,500 in cannabis sales tax revenue for July.

Michigan

Michigan marijuana sales broke another record last month with more than $171 million in cannabis transactions, according to data from a state regulatory body that was released last week.

There were $128 million in adult-use sales and $43 million in medical cannabis purchases in July.

The prior month saw $107 million recreation marijuana sales and $42 million for medical cannabis.

For July, the total sales translates into $23 million in tax revenue, some of which will go to infrastructure projects, public education and individual jurisdictions.

Last week, state officials also awarded $20 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund a pair of research projects meant to investigate the therapeutic potential of cannabis for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Most of last month’s recreational sales went to flower cannabis products ($63.5 million), followed by vape cartridges ($26.3 million) and edibles ($18.5 million).

Missouri

For the first time, Missouri medical cannabis sales exceeded $20 million in July.

Analysts say the record-breaking figures is largely attributable to a combination of new dispensaries opening and growing patient enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program.

With July’s $21 million in cannabis sales, that raises the total medical marijuana purchases in the state to about $91 million for 2021.

Meanwhile, a group of Missouri marijuana activists recently filed four separate initiatives to put marijuana reform on the state’s 2022 ballot, a move that comes as other advocacy groups are preparing separate efforts to collect signatures for cannabis ballot petitions of their own.

Still other activists are focusing on getting the legislature to pass a resolution to place the question of legalization before voters next year.

These record-breaking sales reports have become a common theme across legal states amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent scientific analysis of sales data in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State found that marijuana purchases “have increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous two years.”

“Findings show a general increase in cannabis sales following stay-at-home orders issued in AK, CO, OR, and WA in late March 2020,” the report, published earlier this month in the International Journal of Drug Policy, says. “In all four states, those increases were greater than the percent increases observed in the preceding two years.”

Throughout the pandemic, many states allowed cannabis retailers to remain open—with governors and regulators in several markets declaring marijuana businesses to be essential services—and some jurisdictions issued emergency rules allowing curbside pickup, delivery services or other more relaxed policies in order to facilitate social distancing.

An exception to the booming sales trend is Colorado, however, where purchases fell again in June, the most recent month for which data is available.

Ohio Activists Submit Revised Marijuana Legalization Petition For 2022 Ballot After State Rejected Earlier Version

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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Amazon Reaffirms Support For Marijuana Legalization And Says Former Workers Punished Over Cannabis Are Eligible For Employment

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Amazon is reaffirming its support for federal marijuana legalization, and it disclosed on Tuesday that its earlier decision to end drug testing for cannabis will also be retroactive, meaning former workers and applicants who were punished for testing positive for THC will have their employment eligibility restored.

The company’s move to end marijuana drug testing for many positions in June was widely celebrated by reform advocates and industry stakeholders. But at the time, Amazon only talked about ending the policy going forward.

In a new blog post, Beth Galetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of human resources, clarified that it has also “reinstated the employment eligibility for former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.”

The reason for the move away from marijuana testing is multifaceted, Amazon said. The growing state-level legalization movement has made it “difficult to implement an equitable, consistent, and national pre-employment marijuana testing program,” data shows that drug testing “disproportionately impacts people of color and acts as a barrier to employment” and ending the requirement will widen the company’s applicant pool.

That said, unlike in its June announcement, Amazon’s new update places an emphasis on ending “pre-employment” drug testing for cannabis. It used broader language before, announcing that it will “no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program.”

Amazon also reiterated that it would like to see Congress pass legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition. It cited the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) as examples of bills that it supports.

For the latter legislation—which is being sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)—Amazon participated in a public comment period and submitted feedback that it shared with lawmakers in the new blog post.

“We believe the time has come for reform of the nation’s cannabis policy and we are committed to helping lead the effort,” the company said in a letter to the senators. “As your bill would achieve similar objectives, we are pleased to endorse the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act as currently drafted.”

Amazon said it specifically supports key provisions to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge prior cannabis convictions and use some marijuana tax revenue for community reinvestment.

Curiously, the letter also says “we have refrained from commenting on areas where we do not have a particular view, including regulation, permitting, taxation, and interstate commerce.”

It’s that last point that raises some eyebrows, as it stands to reason that any policy on interstate cannabis commerce would be of interest to a business that delivers products across the U.S. and presumably has the infrastructure to expand its delivery services into the marijuana industry when prohibition ends.

“We are proud to largely end pre-employment testing of marijuana as a condition of employment. And we are enthused by the notable momentum in the country toward recognizing that today’s status quo is unfair and untenable,” Amazon concluded. “We are eager to work with you to secure passage of this legislation.”

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Arizona Marijuana Tax Revenue Exceeds $20 Million In August, State Reports

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Arizona collected more than $20 million in medical and adult-use marijuana tax revenue in August, data released by the state this week shows.

Medical cannabis taxes were slightly higher at $6,388,816 last month, compared to $4,542,166 collected from the recreational market, according to the Department of Revenue. The state also took in an additional $9,515,016 from the marijuana excise tax.

However, these figures are preliminary and may change, as some businesses could need additional time to send in data.

July’s cannabis tax revenue was slightly higher compared to August, with the state taking in about $400,000 more in the prior month.

While medical cannabis taxes are still outpacing those from the adult-use market, that gap has been generally been narrowing in the months since recreational sales first launched in January. That’s a trend that’s been observed across numerous states after adult-use marijuana is legalized.

However, Arizona’s medical marijuana market is well-established, and some industry experts don’t necessarily expect recreational sales to overtake the medical program for some time.

Overall cannabis tax revenue from January through August totaled $115,701,426, according to the data the Department of Revenue is reporting so far.

Other states are also seeing a windfall in marijuana tax dollars as more markets mature and sales continue to increase.

For example, Maine recreational marijuana sales broke another record in August, exceeding $10 million for the first time since the adult-use market launched in October 2020.

Adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois exceeded $120 million in August, state officials recently reported. It’s the second highest sales record since the state’s recreational market launched last year and the sixth month in a row that sales surpassed $100 million.

Massachusetts marijuana sales have topped $2 billion since the state’s adult-use market launched in late 2018, the Cannabis Control Commission reported last week.

California collected about $817 million in adult-use marijuana tax revenue during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, state officials estimated last month. That’s 55 percent more cannabis earnings for state coffers than was generated in the prior fiscal year.

A recent scientific analysis of sales data in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State found that marijuana purchases “have increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous two years.”

In July alone, at least three states saw record-breaking sales for recreational cannabis. The same goes for Missouri’s medical marijuana program.

Michigan marijuana sales broke another record in July with more than $171 million in cannabis transactions, according to data from the state’s regulatory body. There were $128 million in adult-use sales and $43 million in medical cannabis purchases.

Throughout the pandemic, many states allowed cannabis retailers to remain open—with governors and regulators in several markets declaring marijuana businesses to be essential services—and some jurisdictions issued emergency rules allowing curbside pickup, delivery services or other more relaxed policies in order to facilitate social distancing.

California Smokable Hemp Bill Heads To Governor, While Measure On Cannabis Use In Hospitals Advances

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Maine Marijuana Sales Broke Another Record In August, Exceeding $10 Million For First Time

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Maine recreational marijuana sales broke another record in August, exceeding $10 million for the first time since the adult-use market launched in October 2020.

The state’s Office of Marijuana Policy reported that the state’s 53 adult-use cannabis shops brought in about $10.2 million in marijuana purchases last month. And that translates into about $1 million in tax revenue for the state, which has a population of just 1.3 million.

By comparison, Maine cannabis sales for recreational consumers amounted to just $1.1 million during the first month of retail sales less than a year ago. That record has been broken each subsequent month.

While August proved to be a record-breaking month for marijuana purchases—with 133,969 sales transactions—it’s only slightly higher compared to July, when the state saw about $9.4 million in adult-use purchases. Those figures don’e include medical cannabis sales, which are tracked separately.

Via Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.

According to the Portland Press Herald, regulators have credited summer tourism for the sales spike.

But in general, states across the U.S. have seen similar trends over recent years. And marijuana sales records have been consistently broken over the past year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois exceeded $120 million in August, state officials recently reported. It’s the second highest sales record since the state’s recreational market launched last year and the sixth month in a row that sales surpassed $100 million.

Arizona brought in about $21 million in medical and adult-use marijuana tax revenue in July, state officials recently reported on a new webpage that enables people to more easily track how the industry is evolving.

California collected about $817 million in adult-use marijuana tax revenue during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, state officials estimated last month. That’s 55 percent more cannabis earnings for state coffers than was generated in the prior fiscal year.

A recent scientific analysis of sales data in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State found that marijuana purchases “have increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous two years.”

In July alone, at least three states saw record-breaking sales for recreational cannabis. The same goes for Missouri’s medical marijuana program.

Michigan marijuana sales broke another record in July with more than $171 million in cannabis transactions, according to data from the state’s regulatory body. There were $128 million in adult-use sales and $43 million in medical cannabis purchases.

Throughout the pandemic, many states allowed cannabis retailers to remain open—with governors and regulators in several markets declaring marijuana businesses to be essential services—and some jurisdictions issued emergency rules allowing curbside pickup, delivery services or other more relaxed policies in order to facilitate social distancing.

Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Lead To Increased Youth Use, American Medical Association Study Finds

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