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Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Licensed To Grow Half A Million Plants

Michigan’s cannabis industry is about to grow exponentially.

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Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Licensed To Grow Half A Million Plants

Cannabis cultivators in Michigan have amassed the licenses necessary to grow more than half a million plants, leading to a surge in legal marijuana sales even as prices drop in the state.

As of July 13, medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis cultivators were licensed to grow 511,500 plants, according to media reports of data released by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency. That’s an increase of 20% from June 1, when licenses to grow 426,000 cannabis plants were active in the state.

The number of licensed plants does not include plants less than eight inches tall, meaning that the total number of cannabis plants actually being grown by regulated operations in Michigan is substantially higher. The figure includes licenses for small cultivation facilities growing as many as 500 plants and large operations that have combined several licenses, allowing them to grow tens of thousands of plants at a time.

“We have growers where they just have one or two (licenses) and they’re sort of a small business but they’re fully vertically integrated and just grow for themselves,” MRA  Director Andrew Briso said in June.

“And then we have growers that have multiple licenses,” he added. “I would say more than five, whose essential focus is to be a market supplier across the board and establish brands that they provide to every store.”

Pounds And Pounds Of Pot

Kevin Kuethe, the director of cultivation for Evart, Michigan-based Lume Cannabis, said that how much cannabis can be produced with one license depends on how the plants are grown.

“We can grow a pretty hefty amount of plants—about 16,000 is what we’re licensed for — and we do use most of that licensing,” he said. “Depending on your cultivation style, one plant can mean a quarter of a pound of finished product or once plant can mean … 10 pounds of finished product. It just depends.”

At Lume, plants are harvested when they are four to six feet tall. The company expects to produce more than 10,000 pounds of cannabis for the retail market this year.

“Our cultivation style in this commercial setting, we tend to run higher volume of plants and vegetate them for a shorter period of time just because in my professional experience it’s been the best return for quality and yield per square foot that we can get,” said Kuethe, who has operated commercial cultivation facilities in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.

The increase in cannabis cultivation in Michigan has led to a decrease in prices, which spiked in December after legal sales of recreational marijuana began in the state. Briso expects prices to continue to fall in the near future as the industry continues to expand.

“I think (prices) will continue to drop just in the short term because we do see increases in production on the adult-use side,” he said.

“Where it settles long term, I couldn’t really say what is going to be the price two years from now (or) five years from now when supply is adequate,” Briso added. “What we need to be cautious about and be wary of is what happened in Oregon … where the scale shifted and there was oversupply, because then the price kind of bottoms out.”

Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in December, sales of legal pot in Michigan have seen substantial growth. Weekly sales of medical marijuana have nearly doubled, while weekly sales of adult-use cannabis have jumped more than 800%. Economists from Michigan State University projected in a report released in March that sales of adult-use cannabis alone would surpass $3 billion per year within several years.

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Strain of the Week: Orange Cookies

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January is known for a few things. First, New Year’s resolutions (that tend to fade in interest after about 30 days), second is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and of course, third is the annual return of Girl Scout Cookies. Having been in the cookie business since the 1920s, the Girl Scouts have consistently built up a cookie empire to help break countless Americans from their lofty goals of eating healthy and losing weight. This year, the organization unveiled a new cookie, called “Toast-Yay!” that offers a crunchy cinnamon flavor inspired by arguably the best breakfast foods—French Toast. While the hype for cookies is ever present, the year-long obsession with cookies-related strains is hard to beat.

There are numerous strains that are made famous through sporting the “Cookies” name, such as Orange Cookies. Not only identifiable as a flavor that the Girl Scouts organization doesn’t embrace (they offer some lemon flavors instead), but this strain also offers a beautifully light orange blossom scent as well. The large, dense buds that made up our sample of Orange Cookies was bright green, and nearly oozed trichomes by the look of the white sheen that covered its surface. As a result, it’s sticky in every sense of the word.

Upon inhalation, the smoke is smooth and pleasant, and brings on an interesting cerebral buzz that settles into full blown euphoria as it spreads throughout the body. While your muscles are soothed and relaxed of nearly all tension, your body is calm and relaxed—but that doesn’t mean that you will be completely sedated or disoriented. Orange Cookies not only has a unique flavor profile, but it also helps in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression for some consumers. It’s the perfect way to sit inside and count the days until a warm spring day arrives.

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Legal Cannabis Linked to Increase in Junk Food Sales

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A look at the consumption habits of Americans has revealed that high-calorie food sales tend to increase in places where cannabis is legal.

Published in the journal Economics & Human Biology, a Georgia State University study examined the link between food sales of high-calorie and high-sugar snacks and in places where cannabis was legalized. Headed up by economist Alberto Chong and Michele Baggio, the study showed that junk food sales increased by 6.3 percent in sales when cannabis was legal in the region.

“You think marijuana does no harm—that’s pretty much the consensus today,” Chong told The Academic Times regarding the recently published study and the implications behind it. “But there are unintended consequences, and one of them is the fact that you really get very hungry and you start eating crap.”

The study looked at three states with legal cannabis, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. It compared cannabis data to the Nielsen Retail Scanner Data in those states before and after cannabis was legalized, looking for sales of junk food in drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. It noticed a marked increase across the board following legalization.

The research was originally published in a paper in 2019, and recently released in a journal. Specific spikes in sales they tracked include chip sales increasing by 5.3 percent, cookie sales by 4.1 percent, and ice cream by 3.1 percent.

Those involved in the research product hope that these trends will be taken into consideration for future legalization ventures. Previous studies by Chong and Baggio looked at how cannabis increases sexual activity and raises the birth rate. Additionally, they tracked a decrease in alcohol sales due to cannabis legalization.

Statistical information about how cannabis impacts things like sexual activity, alcohol use and cannabis use are important to crafting the best policies for regulation as cannabis moves forward.

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Europe Cannabis Testing Market Expected to Reach $770 Million By 2027

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The European cannabis testing market is expected to grow to a little over $770 million USD from $431.58 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2027.

A new report, “Europe Cannabis Testing Market to 2025 – Regional Analysis and Forecasts by Type ; Services ; End User and Country,” outlined the growth of the industry to 2025. The growth of the market can be attributed to the European government funding cannabis research for doctors as well as the increasing demand for researching cannabis quality. The report mentions non-medical uses of cannabis and problems with CBD oil products are likely to have a negative impact on the growing market.

The European cannabis testing market is split into three segments: testing laboratories, drug manufacturers and research institutes. In 2019, the testing laboratories held the largest share of the market and is expected to continue growing due to testing performed in the reference labs for various diseases.

In February 2019, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) passed a joint resolution supporting medical cannabis. The resolution allows doctors to use their best judgment in prescribing cannabis-based medicines, and calls on MEPs to address barriers that prevent cannabis research. The aim is to clearly distinguish between what is considered medical-use cannabis and what is considered non-medical.

Currently, there are no countries in the European Union that allow smoking cannabis or home-growing for medical purposes. The World Health Organization has previously recommended that CBD should not be classified as a controlled substance. The European Union has already approved a CBD-based medicine that helps treat severe seizures.

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