I now buy legal cannabis by the ton. I negotiate the price of dried, ground marijuana as if it were just another commodity…because it is. Cannabis is simply an amazing agricultural commodity and precious raw material input– dropped into a not-so-complicated equation, designed to produce profit.
Just two years ago I was paying some $2,000 a pound for world class marijuana. Now that price has fallen by two thirds and I pay roughly $600 a pound. This is great news for our purchasing department, but not so much for our wholesale prices. Alas, this was inevitable, it’s simple economics. It makes market expansion all the more critical. If you are not growing, you’re dying, or soon will be. More money in the market invites more competition, which motivates us to innovate, scale and ultimately find efficiencies in our processes.. or be chewed up by the competition.
At Organa Brands, I oversee an entire house of brands that makes everything from cannabis vaporizers to THC tablets, edibles and dabs, and even energy drinks. I expect that before long, our CBD products — many of which have no THC — will be stocked on shelves at convenience stores, gas stations, Costco and Walmart.
Fortunately, that’s where my experience lies. Before entering the world of cannabis, I had spent years as a printer salesman, selling millions of dollars of commercial printers to clients throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The commercial printing business is cutthroat, as any office manager with a decent sized copy machine will attest. The hardware is sold for the narrowest of margins, or even below cost, while the emphasis is put on the consumable commodity, which is the ink.
Seem familiar? If not, what kind of cellphone do you have? You likely got the phone on the cheap or even free, as long as you signed up for the lengthy service contract. Guess where the money is made?
There are purists who shun the idea that if (when) marijuana goes mainstream, it is a disaster. They believe it’s a cave-in to big capital, big corporations, to profiteers and all things sacred of this undoubtedly magical plant. I couldn’t disagree more. If we are to unlock and share the medicinal and wellness properties of cannabis, why not champion the professional distribution of our favorite plant? Why not embrace enterprise resource planning software platforms, hi-tech manufacturing techniques, tighter inventory controls, agricultural efficiencies and crisp profit-and-loss statements?
The best homage we can make to this amazing plant is to produce the finest cannabis oil possible, to place it in attractive, finely-tuned packaging, that is both alluring to adult consumers and childproof, and offer it to consumers nationwide. The greatest contribution I can give to this industry and this amazing plant is to make sure it finds its way into as many lives as possible. We can scale our businesses larger, scrutinize costs and expenses, pour over financial reports and become the solid start-up that transforms into a legacy company that withstands the ups and down of the business world.
I believe we should celebrate national cannabis brands because we are able to incorporate up-and-coming products and place their innovative oils, edibles and medicines into our nationwide distribution network that reaches some 1,200 dispensaries in 10 states (and counting). We should support and encourage each other to become a tribe of companies, a community of cannabis enthusiasts that collectively have the market power of “Big Cannabis”. While that name scares many, it simply means that our industry has “made it.” It means we are here to stay, that we withstood the test of time and government prohibition. We have found a permanent home in the world economy.
When people criticize what they fear is the “homogenization” of marijuana, I can only laugh. Is there any better way to celebrate diversity of brands and up-and-coming entrepreneurial know-how than to offer a launch pad to those superior cannabis products? A launch pad that guarantees their product can be sold from Boston to Berlin, from San Francisco to Sydney?
It has been this same process of consolidation, which is a natural evolution in any maturing industry, that led the O.penVAPE team to look beyond vape pens and incorporate a whole new range of products, and a whole new range of possibilities. That’s why earlier this year we rebranded as Organa Brands — literally a house of brands.
For years, the company where I work was known for its O.penVAPE pens. We sold some 6 million of our cartridges and earned a strong customer following and loyalty with budtenders nationwide. Was that the result of some fortuitous “lucky break” or the natural result of dozens, then hundreds of employees working weekends, staying late and attempting to find a route to success in the highly competitive cannabis industry? I’ll let you answer that one, because I already know.
Our downtown Denver corporate office looks more like a tech startup in Silicon Valley than a mega cannabis conglomerate. We have trendy coffees that self-brew on demand, organic snacks and the requisite office pets and ping pong table. But don’t let the laid back atmosphere or tunes playing on the Sonos fool you. Our office is stocked with brilliant minds ready to go toe-to-toe with Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol and Big Pharma. We relish the opportunity to measure up against other, more mature industries. To do that we must first pass through the inevitable commoditization of our products, work with the compression of profit margins and weather the oncoming storm of consolidation.
I don’t make any medical or health claims about cannabis, but I know that a deep feeling of wellness and peace accompanies the cannabis products we produce. Every day, I receive letters of thanks. If this deep wellspring of consumer support leads to the nation’s first national chain of dispensaries, or million-acre cultivation facility, or a multinational consumer products cannabis company, I say we should all celebrate.
Solidarity for abandoned cannabis patients.
The well-known physician and chairman of the Cannabis Association as a medicine (ACM) Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen has made a moving decision. Although certain positive aspects could be felt in parts through the enacted cannabis-as-medicine law, there would be enough problems in the entire treatment area, which now led to a drastic measure. During the ACM Annual General Meeting in Frankfurt on May 12, 2017, the medical doctor, who has been advocating medical medicine for many years, declares his decision not to eat any food for the next one to two weeks as a result of solidarity with the many cannabis patients left alone.
Doctor Franjo Grotenhermen joins the hunger strike.
The drug policy speakers of the parties were informed before Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen of the warnings – an honorary man.
Leafly.de is a medical cannabis information resource and knowledge portal
BERLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leafly, the world’s cannabis information resource, has arrived in Germany with the launch of www.Leafly.de, a German-language medical cannabis information resource and knowledge portal. The new German-language version of Leafly capitalizes on the expertise Leafly has cultivated over the past seven years as the world’s most visited cannabis website. As one of Leafly’s most prominent international ventures to date, Leafly.de formalizes Leafly’s commitment to providing reliable, accessible information about cannabis to people in Germany and around the world.
Leafly’s arrival in Germany was celebrated this week at a launch event in Berlin. Medical cannabis patients and representatives from the media joined Leafly’s editorial team to participate in a lively exchange on the topic of medical cannabis. Leafly’s inaugural German-language editorial team includes a range of healthcare experts, including science journalists, researchers, and a doctor. The launch of Leafly.de follows Leafly’s appearance at Berlin’s annual Hanfparade last year. Hanfparade is the largest pro-cannabis and hemp event in Germany that has taken place every year since 1997.
Leafly is the world’s leading cannabis website and mobile application, generating more than 12 million unique visits per month and more than 60 million page views. Approximately 70 percent of Leafly’s traffic comes from the United States and 30 percent originates from international destinations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. With the launch of Leafly.de, Leafly is now available in English, Spanish, French, and German.
Leafly.de initially will focus on several subject areas of immediate concern to medical cannabis patients and their healthcare providers. Visitors to the site can learn more about Germany’s recent medical cannabis reforms, how those changes affect them, and how they can become medical cannabis patients. News and analysis regarding medical cannabis laws and the supply of licensed cannabis-derived medicines will also be covered. In addition, Leafly.de will serve as a guide for doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals to learn more about the medical use of cannabis for conditions such as chronic pain.
Leafly.de taps into Leafly’s global coverage of cannabis science, medicine, and patient trends. Visitors will find the latest scientific research, patient surveys, and breaking news. The site also features a comprehensive cannabis dictionary featuring information from the anatomy of the cannabis plant to breaking policy news in Germany. The depth of Leafly’s expertise is why millions of people around the world visit Leafly every month for cannabis news and information.
Visit http://www.Leafly.de for more information.
As the world’s largest cannabis information resource, Leafly’s mission is to help patients and consumers make informed choices about cannabis and to empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at http://www.leafly.com or download the five-star rated Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
Original press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170512005681/en/Leafly-Launches-German-Language-Edition
This report, prepared by the foreign law specialists and analysts of the Law Library of Congress, provides a review of laws adopted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, and Uruguay with regard to decriminalization of narcotics, and touches specifically on cannabis and legalization.
Individual country surveys included in the study demonstrate varied approaches to the problem of prosecuting drug use, possession, manufacturing, purchase, and sale. The country surveys demonstrate some diversity and common threads among these jurisdictions as to defining narcotics, distinguishing between “hard” and “soft” drugs, establishing special regulations concerning cannabis, refusing to prosecute personal use and/or possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use, giving law enforcement authorities the discretion not to prosecute minors and first-time offenders, applying alternative forms of punishment, and providing treatment opportunities.
Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Did you know that coffee shops are actually prohibited from selling drugs to you under Dutch law, and that nonresidents are not even supposed to enter the coffee shops? But wait, before you freak out and cancel your plans, know that Amsterdam tolerates the sale of certain “soft drugs” to foreigners looking to try what Amsterdam is best-known for. Local mayors have the authority to close such shops for not adhering to local rules, but they typically do not step in to assign punishments.
Dutch coffee shops rely on income from tourists, which in turn contributes to local economies, so officials do not typically enforce the residency requirement.
If you get caught by police in Germany, don’t even try to argue soft drug versus hard drug. Law enforcement doesn’t recognize the difference. The distinction between hard and soft drugs can only be considered at sentencing.
You should know that there is no national decriminalization policy, and cannabis use is technically considered illegal across the county. However, three jurisdictions (Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Northern Territory) have decriminalized minor cannabis offenses, especially possession of the plant.
The use of narcotics in Costa Rica, including personal use, is prohibited by law; but no penalty for such violation is found on the books. Police, prosecutors, and the courts have discretion to drop charges if it is a minor, first-time offense, or the accused is willing to enter a treatment program.
Although possession of illegal drugs is generally a crime under Mexican law, possession of less than 5 grams is not criminally punishable. However, if you are caught, a rule enacted in 2009 requires that you must be referred to an addiction treatment program.
“The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” the Lower House said in a statement on its website.
Mexico’s Lower House of Congress passed a bill on Friday, April 28, to legalize the use of cannabis for medical and scientific needs. The measure passed in a general floor vote 371-7-11, and now classifies delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as “therapeutic.”
The bill is now on President Enrique Pena Nieto’s desk, who is expected to sign it.
For now, it appears that the only country where it is completely legal to produce and use cannabis is Uruguay, although consuming cannabis in a public place is prohibited.
Adopted in 2013, Uruguay’s Law to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis brought radical change to the country’s approach to cannabis production and use. The law allows legal access to cannabis in four ways: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Health, home-grown marijuana, membership clubs, and sales to adults in drugstores. Although registration of consumers and cannabis clubs has been completed, implementation of sales in pharmacies is still underway.
These and many other interesting facts can be found in a recently published Law Library of Congress report on decriminalization of narcotics. Some diversity and common threads are demonstrated among the 16 countries included in the free report, such as defining narcotics, distinguishing between hard and soft drugs, establishing special regulations concerning cannabis, and discussion of the parameters of law enforcement and forms of punishment for personal use and/or possession.
You can access the full report here.
German researchers are hoping to get government backing for a new study that would see the recruitment of 25,000 recreational marijuana smokers.
The Research Initiative on Cannabis Consumption are seeking government approval to analyse the cannabis users in order to understand the effects of the drug after several years of use.
Their application is aimed at conducting a “Scientific Study on Cannabis Sequences for Mentally Healthy Adult Consumers” they say.
Germany legalised marijuana for medicinal purposes earlier in 2017 with new powers given to doctors to prescribe the drug to seriously ill patients at their discretion.
This, researchers say, paves the way for a new study analysing the longer-term effects of the drug.
Cannabis for recreational use is still illegal, but that hasn’t stopped 2,000 people already signing up for the study, say the researchers.
The group announced plans to begin the study in November 2016 saying it wanted to analyse the mental effects on those addicted to the drug.
“In Germany several million people regularly get high on cannabis,” wrote lawyer and chief executive of the project Marko Dörre in a statement released after the plans were submitted.
“It is time that science becomes more engaged with recreational use.”
As part of the study, those selected would be permitted to pick up 30 grams of pharmaceutical cannabis, usually reserved for medical patients, on a monthly basis.
Researchers are prohibiting anyone under 18, first-time marijuana smokers, as well as candidates with high-risk of addiction or psychiatric problems, from taking part in the study.
Before the new act on the Amendment of Narcotics Regulations passed earlier this year, only around 1,000 people with serious medical conditions were permitted to use cannabis.
“With the law implemented in March changing controlled substance regulations, the German parliament took on a new risk assessment of cannabis,” said Dörre.
“The new assessment will also benefit science.”
The BfArM declined to comment to Tagesspiegel as to whether it had in fact received the application or the chances of it being approved.
The German government finally passed its legalization framework for medical cannabis consumption in March 2017. The country’s market is expected to record modest growth with its high 82 million population and a policy that allows prescriptions to be paid through health insurance plans, thus potentially encouraging patients to explore medical cannabis health benefits.
Local marijuana producers with vast experience in mass growing of high quality product and hungry to capture the lucrative €12 – €15 a gram (roughly C$17 – C$21.75 per gram) German medical cannabis market, have been taking positions in growing their international business portfolios.
Some of the top local growers have already established footprints in Germany, but which among the local players is likely to gain significant traction in the new market?
Canopy Growth Corp
The local market leader, Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) has already made a significant investment in Germany. The company acquired MedCann GmbH Pharma & Nutraceuticals (MedCann) back in November 2016. MedCann, a distributor, has successfully placed Canopy’s Tweed branded cannabis strains into German pharmacies.
The German distribution model strictly confines cannabis sales to the pharmacy distribution model and no direct sales shall be allowed. Since all sales shall take the wholesale distribution channel, Canopy is already at a first mover advantage in this market.
Canopy has indicated that it is interested in producing cannabis locally in Germany with the expansion of the local program. With Germany expecting to launch a domestic cannabis cultivation initiative by 2019, Canopy is likely to try broadening its expansion program in the country.
Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) has recently announced an international expansion program that is currently focused on the United States market, and has committed $25 million to an investment in Florida. Its not yet clear whether it intends to make serious investments in the new German market, but it has been eyeing this market for some time.
Although it had not yet made any formal engagements in Germany by January 2017, the CEO Vic Neufeld, in an interview with the Midas Letter openly stated that Germany has been very much on Aphria’s radar, and the company once engaged in dialogue with two different organisations pertaining the German market.
However, Aphria has been very cautious in their Canada and U.S. expansion programs so far. It seems the company has a slow-but-sure approach to doing business as its Canadian operations have shown, so I do not expect an overly vigorous and aggressive German expansion program from them.
Aurora Cannabis Inc.
One of the fastest growing and most aggressive marijuana producers, Aurora Cannabis Inc.(TSXV:ACB), has recently announced a $75 million convertible debenture offering which is likely to close on April 26, 2017, with a clear intent of using the funds to “aggressively pursue international expansion opportunities,” says CEO Terry Booth.
The company believes the $185 million cash position gives them the strongest cash balance “in the global cannabis sector,” and Aurora wants to play a leading role “in multiple emerging global cannabis markets.”
Its most likely Aurora may attempt a German expansion route. Given the company’s growth style, it goes big on ventures and seeks aggressive expansion. These traits have seen it emerging to become a serious top contender in the Canadian marijuana space in a very short time.
Most noteworthy, Aurora is already listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany and raising expansion funds locally may be relatively easier.
Its not yet clear who among these top marijuana companies may become a serious investor in Germany, but Canopy already commands a serious lead.
There are other serious Canadian contenders to the German market, like the soon-to-be-listed Maricann Group Inc, which is already trying to acquire an 800,000 square foot facility and likely seeking a cultivation license in Germany, and CanniMed Therapeutics and the Cronos Group who already have distribution relationships in the European country.
However, there will be competition from Netherlands entities too, but the market may not be that big enough to support massive investment as yet. Canadian growers who manage to capture the infant German market may be rewarded though, as they will gain first mover advantages into the opening European market.
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