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Articles

Michigan Voters Approve Recreational Marijuana

Becomes the 1st midwestern state to join the green rush

This has been a long time coming for a state that passed medical marijuana laws in 2008.

Proposal 1, which outlines the legalization of an adult use market in the state, passed on November 6th.

Michigan is now the 10th state to approve recreational marijuana and joins the ranks of Washington D.C., Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, California, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Let's take a look at what exactly this proposal says for the people of Michigan.

Proposal 1:

- Any person over the age of 21 may possess marijuana. If the amount is greater than 2.5 ounces (but less than the 10 ounce maximum), it must be kept in a locked container.

- Individuals may grow up to 12 plants for personal use. However, this grow operation must not be visible from public property to the naked eye. Operations must have locks and access to the public must be restricted.

- individuals may give away up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, as long as no money is exchanged and they do not advertise it in public.

- Ban on consuming marijuana in public places or smoking in areas that are prohibited by the property owner

- You can be fired from your job for marijuana consumption and municipalities still have the authority to ban possession and sales entirely within their jurisdiction.

- Marijuana facilities must not be within 1000 yards of a pre existing school.

- One person may not operate more than 5 facilities before the year 2023.

One very important fact to remember if you are considering entering the marijuana industry in Michigan....

Only Michigan residents who already operate a medical marijuana facility will be considered for a retail license within the first 24 months of the passing of this act.

While it seems there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out, legal marijuana has hit Michigan, the question is who will be next?

Articles

Pax Labs Raises $20 Million

Who would have thought a college experiment by two Stanford students would lead to a $15 billion vaporizer business?

San Francisco based startup, Pax Labs Inc., has raised $20 million in a special round of funding, and rumor has it their valuation has ballooned to over $15 billion.

In an effort to keep themselves lean on VC money, existing shareholders were asked to come up with the funds, and Pax was able to avoid giving away a large stake of equity. According to CEO Bharat Vasan "This is a deliberately small round, to avoid becoming overly dependent on venture capital."

In 2007, a small company named Ploom Inc. was formed by James Monsees and Adam Bowen. The goal was to make a sleek, and technologically advanced loose leaf vaporizer. At the time, it was described as for tobacco use only, even though it was clearly made for cannabis in its flower form (clearly a lot has changed in the last 11 years). The Pax was finally released and has been revised twice since then.

Pax 3

In 2016, the Pax 3 was released. On that same day, their newest device, called the Pax Era was released and Ploom Inc. became Pax Labs. The Era was designed specifically for use with cannabis concentrates. This device is almost an exact replica of the Juul, another massively popular nicotine vaporizer, also developed by Monsees and Bowen.

Pax labs has got a winner with the Era, which is used with pre filled pods that are available in dispensaries in select states out west. Users are able to control the vaporizer wirelessly through an app on any mobile phone. The app allows you to connect to the Era and set it a specific temperature. You can also monitor the battery life and change the LED lights to different colors when the device is in use.

Pax does not sell any marijuana or cannabis oil, but sells the empty pods to companies that fill them with their own oils.

Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based medication approved by the FDA, is now available by prescription nationwide

Many more are in the pipeline

The drug can be prescribed by doctors to treat both Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Both of which are types of epileptic syndromes that begin in very young children. Before a child's first birthday in the case of Dravet Syndrome and between ages 3 and 5.

GW Pharmaceuticals who create the drug got approval from the FDA back in June. The press release itself made clear the drug itself is derived from CBD and does not contain any THC. Which means the fact that it took this long to have a drug derived from CBD, which is not what causes one to get 'high', shows how much distance the United States still has to go. Of course, many products are currently on the market that have CBD in them. In fact, wandering around Brooklyn one can find many shops offering to add CBD to coffee.


Right off of the L TrainWilliamsburg, Brooklyn

Of course, one of the strangest parts of drug enforcement is that Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Which as a reminder is as bad as drugs can be classified. It was only in September that the DEA was able to classify it as a Schedule 5 substance (or V as they tend to write it).

A bill currently before Congress, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which is part of the larger farming bill being considered. It would do many things, including allowing Hemp farmer to access certain water rights, but mainly it would remove low THC cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. This would make the production of any CBD product way easier, since your CBD source would no longer be technically as dangerous in the eyes of the federal government as Cocaine or Heroine. It has a solid chance of success, largely in part, because two of the most powerful members of the Senate are both from Kentucky, which is prime real estate to grow Hemp in. It may also make the number of products with CBD in it multiply further as the price falls.

This may be needed even for those currently considering getting the prescription for this drug. The list price for a years supply of the drug is a whopping $32,500/year. Although the company is confident that is will be covered by most insurance policies that is no guarantee. Also, although the drug is able to be advertised for around these epileptic conditions, the drug can be prescribed for any off label use. This is the practice where once a drug is judged as safe by the FDA, doctors can try prescribing it for other conditions. The drug company just can't go around advertising for anything else, either on TV or when their drug reps go and visit doctors offices.

Whether this is a first step in a series of drugs, based on THC being approved, is still anyone's guess. However, with the medical properties of Cannabis well known, it will only be a matter of time until a drug company seeks to monetize the rest of the plant.

Articles

Constellation Brands Considers Liquidating Wine Portfolio

New York based beverage giant, Constellation Brands, made headlines again this week, when it reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to help with the sale of its U.S. wine portfolio.

Worth an estimated $40 billion, Constellation Brands hopes to raise $3 billion, in an effort to support its shift from wine and spirits, to craft beer and cannabis.

According to the report, while wine sales are still the majority of its business, Constellation is looking to sell off its less popular assets, some of which are Clos Du Bois, Arbor Mist, and Cooks. The higher end wines like Robert Mondavi are not being included in the deal.

In recent years, wine sales have slumped in the U.S., signaling a shift in preference by the younger generation. It is also clear that craft beer and cannabis are here to stay (Constellation Brands Invests Heavily in Cannabis Industry).

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Constellation brands made the following statement:

"While we don't comment on rumors/speculation, what I can say is consistent with what we said on our earnings call on Oct. 4. We continue to focus on driving growth organically, and through acquisition and innovation at the higher end of our wine and spirits portfolio, which has consistently grown 3-4 times the U.S. market rate.

We are also considering a variety of potential actions to optimize value at the low end of our portfolio, so we can direct our growth efforts and investment dollars more fully towards our focus brands."

Constellation Brands began as a small wine producer in New York in 1945, but found massive success after it acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Corona and Modelo from AB InBev in 2013. Imported beers have soared in popularity in recent years, which has bolstered the brands sales, as domestic beer and wine lose significant market share every quarter.

After its $3.8 billion dollar investment in Canopy Growth (38% stake), and now this divesting of its wine portfolio, it is clear that the family owned business intends on moving into the nascent marijuana industry at full speed.