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Marijuana weekly review: DOJ seizes California cannabis, hemp-derived CBD overtakes the market

Rampant use of toxic pesticides by illegal growers is causing major ecological damage in each of California's 18 federal forests. A Justice Department-led group of local and state law enforcement officials reported seizing 638,370 cannabis plants in 95 sites covering more than 7900 acres over a one year period.

"Much of the marijuana here that's being grown in the federal public lands is going to New York City, Atlanta, Chicago — all over the United States," officials said. Despite legalization, the state is growing nearly eight times more product than can be legally consumed "irrespective of what California is doing — there is no shortage of supply."

New Frontier Data releases outlook on CBD

New Frontier released a CBD report in an August 29 webinar in which they predicted continued stress on the marijuana-derived CBD market from the cheaper (and less regulated) hemp-derived CBD. CBD sales are projected to hit more than $1 billion in 2020. Analyst Jon Kagia suggested the sales number could be even higher with new global demand.

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The study predicted strong growth for CBD delivery options from vaping, topicals, capsules and pills, and an overall increase in sales of CBD isolates. Of total channels, Hemp Business Journal publisher Sean Murphy said 60 percent of current shoppers come from online (dropping to 41 percent by 2022), smoke shops own 21 percent of  the market (falling to 9 percent by 2022), and natural foods and specialty markets account for 14 of CBD sales (but are likely to double to 28 percent of the market by 2022).

The report for 2017 estimates there were over 25,500 acres of hemp grown across 19 states; 70 percent for CBD, 20 percent for seed, and 10 percent for fiber.

Canadian liquor industry expert discusses the marriage of cannabis and booze

Canadian liquor industry expert Steven Poirer said he believes other alcohol giants — and perhaps even Pepsi and Coca-Cola — are continuing to research potential entry into the legal cannabis market, especially through Canada. During an interview at Bloomberg BNN, Poirer told the interviewer that he thinks the liquor industry expects considerable replacement action as cannabis legalization expands.

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Having worked as an executive at Moosehead Breweries and at Constellation Brands (which two weeks ago invested $4 billion into Canada's Canopy Growth), Poirer came out of retirement to join the board of cannabis startup, Biome Grow.

Marijuana weekly review, state-by-state

In Colorado, movement on social consumption clubs inched ahead a fraction with the approval of Denver's second licensee, Vape & Play, set for a possible late October opening in Denver's South Broadway area. Meanwhile, a group of Oregon activists has announced their plan to push for social consumption laws to be passed in local jurisdictions, or through a coordinated effort aimed at next year's legislative session. In the city of Las Vegas, officials wrapped up public and industry input on a new ordinance which would allow non-dispensary-owned consumption clubs to open by year's end.


On August 27 voters in Arizona and Florida chose candidates for governor likely to be on opposite ends of the cannabis reform question. Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis described the expansion of medical marijuana in Florida. However, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum was on the other side with strong calls for decriminalization. And instead of voting for Arizona's anti-pot incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey, voters will have the chance to vote for a pro-marijuana candidate in educator Dr. David Garcia.

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"We have moved many of the cannabis supporters into election viability, while many strong anti-MJ politicians are fading away," noted Arizona NORML head Mike Weisser. While Arizona has the second-highest total of medical marijuana cardholders (more than 184,000), it remains a felony to possess even small amounts of pot in the state. Weisser expects a legalization vote in 2020.


The US territory of Northern Mariana Islands' legislature passed HB-20-178 to legalize adult-use cannabis and medical marijuana access, with the bill now on the desk of Gov. Ralph Guerrero Torres. For home-growers, legal limits of six mature or 12 immature plants (with twice that number for medical home grows) will be allowed.

The business of hemp

According to an infographic from Popular CBD Brands $802 million worth of hemp products were sold in the US last year, with cultivation currently allowed in 19 states. For a full overview of the hemp industry in America, check out the infographic below:

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