Marijuana Dispensary Openings Decline in Opioid Abuse - Michael King

Study: Marijuana Dispensaries Associated With Declining Rates Of Painkiller Abuse

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Athens, GA: Cannabis dispensaries are associated with reduced levels of opioid-related treatment admissions and overall drug mortality, according to a study published online on

A University of Georgia economics professor assessed the relationship between the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries and drug treatment admissions.

Marijuana Dispensary openings are associated with “a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment over the first two-years of dispensary operations,” the study reported. This correlation was strongest among non-Hispanic white males in their thirties.

Marijuana Dispensary openings also resulted in fewer drug-related mortalities per 100,000 people.

The author concludes, “[T]he unintended beneficial effects of allowing for marijuana dispensary operations should be considered by policymakers as they aim to curtail narcotic abuse and limit the impact of the opioid epidemic.”

The paper’s findings are similar to prior studies reporting that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “The effect of medical marijuana dispensaries on adverse opioid outcomes,” appears online.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way - Michael King

Why the Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way

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Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. To some, this bill may look like another liberal attempt to push for widespread legalization of marijuana across the country. But for those of us who work in this industry and understand the complexities and inequities of current marijuana policies, the bill is a bold step forward in transforming the industry as we know it.

I recommend that anyone who questions why marijuana should no longer be illegal under federal law, take the time to watch Sen. Booker’s three-minute video explaining his legislation. It will shine a light on how marijuana policies have negatively impacted targeted communities, specifically low-income communities of color. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to undo some of the damage that Booker aptly describes as, “the unjust application of the law and economic bias.” For example, the bill would expunge convictions for those with marijuana use and/or possession charges at the federal level which, in turn, will allow for greater access to education and economic opportunities.

As CEO of a company which works in the legal marijuana industry, it is a priority for me that this industry gives everyone a fair and equal playing field. On a daily basis, I meet and speak with entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in becoming a part of the marijuana industry because of its huge growth potential and opportunity.

However, with opportunity come risks, and in this industry we take financial, legal and professional risks. That said, there is a large segment of the population that is not at the table for these types of discussions because they were previously targeted during the war on drugs and now cannot fully participate in the state legal boom of this business.

For them, the risks are still too high under marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to change this by taking steps to fix the system so that marijuana is not just legal, but that the industry as a whole can move forward in a direction that we can be proud of.

Additionally, this legislation is important because it would also address a number of challenges marijuana businesses face such as lack of access to ordinary banking services. It would also move towards regulating the marijuana market as a whole and by regulating legal access, it would discourage and replace illicit drug activity.

I applaud Booker for introducing thoughtful legislation that would legalize the industry in the “right” way and that truly has the ability to move the ball forward on some of the historically negative aspects of this industry. Now is the time for the federal government to acknowledge that marijuana should be legal and removed from the list of controlled substances.

A recent CBS News poll showed that 71 percent of Americans oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and use in states that have legalized it, and 61 percent of Americans want marijuana legal across the country. Additionally, in the first six months of this new Congress, over a dozen bi-partisan bills have been introduced aimed at moving marijuana policies and regulations forward. Like Booker’s legislation, these bills acknowledge that updated marijuana laws and policies will bring a plethora of economic and social benefits to our country through increased job opportunities and tax revenues.

Congress must acknowledge the position of the majority of the American public and respond accordingly. I call on lawmakers to support the Marijuana Justice Act and will be doing my part to raise this bill as a priority in the technology, transportation, policy and marijuana business communities eaze is a part of.

Jim Patterson is the CEO of eaze, a cannabis technology that connects people to doctors and dispensaries for on-demand consultations and deliveries.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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“Active” Mormons Support Medical Marijuana - Michael King

Majority of Utah’s “Active” Mormons Support Medical Marijuana

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Apparently, Jon Huntsman Sr. is not alone in his devout beliefs or his support of medical marijuana. According to a new poll, a majority of Utah’s “active” members of the Mormon church are joining Huntsman in his support of the medicinal herb.

Organized by and tallied by Dan Jones & Associates, the survey was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2017, and queried 608 registered voters.

The results from the poll showed 63 percent of Utah’s “active” members of the Mormon church support medical marijuana.

Even a majority of voters who consider themselves “very conservative” support the legalization of medical marijuana in Utah.

Historically resistant to all things cannabis, leaders of the Mormon faith have systematically fought any attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Utah over the past several years. On course for a philosophical showdown in 2018, the church has opposed an initiative to legalize medical marijuana that is now gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

Utah Medical Marijuana Support by the Numbers

*Utah Republican Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 61-35%
*Utah Democrats Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 93-7%
*Utah Independents Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 87-13%
*“Very Active” Mormons Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 63%
*“Somewhat Active” Mormons Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 80-20%
*“Very Conservative” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 51-42%
*“Somewhat Conservative” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 71-25%
*“Moderates” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 84-14%
*“Somewhat Liberal” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 92-8%
*“Very Liberal” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 97-2%

Rejecting the overtly “cautious approach” advised by Utah’s Mormon leaders, the overwhelming majority of Utahns support the 2018 marijuana initiative.

As summarized by the Utah Patients Coalition, the 2018 initiative would create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries similar to pharmacies but dedicated to the distribution of marijuana’s medicinal cannabinoids in a smokeless form. If passed, the petition would maintain prohibitions against home cultivation (until 2021), and prohibit any public smoking or driving under the influence of medical marijuana. After Jan. 1, 2021, Utah’s patients living more than 100 miles from a dispensary would be allowed to cultivate cannabis, provided certain conditions are met.

In the below YouTube video, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a devout Mormon, introduced new legislation that seeks to improve and streamline the process for conducting scientific research on marijuana.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission - Michael King

Marijuana Legalization Advocates Seek Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission Members Who Voted Against Question 4

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Advocates are also calling on Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) chairman to request sufficient funding from governor and Legislature

BOSTON — The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the group behind the marijuana legalization measure passed by voters last November, said today that the newly appointed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) members who opposed Question 4 should make clear that their personal positions will not impact their board responsibilities or cause further delays in implementing the law.

The group also called for the CCC Chairman, Steven Hoffman, to request that the governor and the Legislature provide adequate funding to get the legal sales system up and running on the current schedule.

“A strong majority of Massachusetts voters passed Question 4 last November. Since then, we’ve seen a six-month delay, a deeply flawed legislative rewrite process, blown deadlines, and now a five-person regulatory board stacked with four legalization opponents. These developments in no way instill confidence that the implementation of legal marijuana sales will be any better than the state’s dreadful medical marijuana rollout,” said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for MPP and former communications director for the Yes on 4 Campaign.

Borghesani called for the four anti-legalization commissioners to publicly commit to adhering to the current timeline for implementation, which would allow retail sales to adults to begin on July 1, 2018.

“We want assurances, and we think the voters deserve assurances. There is too much at stake to simply sit back and hope for the best. We want to see solid commitments to advancing the will of the voters,” Borghesani said.

Matthew Schweich, Director of State Campaigns for MPP and former campaign director for the Yes on 4 Campaign, called upon CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman to request from the governor and the Legislature the level of funding necessary to implement the law without any further delays.

“Supporters of legalization, which include a majority of Massachusetts voters, have cause for concern. By a significant margin, the individuals responsible for implementing this public policy opposed its creation less than a year ago. If the Cannabis Control Commission is truly committed to upholding the will of the people without any further delays, then Chairman Hoffman will publicly request the funding necessary to allow legal sales of marijuana to begin on July 1, 2018,” said Schweich.

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg earlier this year proposed a first-year CCC budget of $10 million. However, the current budget includes just $1.2 million for the CCC.

“The legalization policy will soon be generating millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Commonwealth, but that can only happen if the Legislature provides the funds to establish the program and regulations, and that will only happen if the Cannabis Control Commission is committed to meeting its deadlines,” Schweich said.

Massachusetts’ track record on medical marijuana — with only 12 dispensaries open five years after voters approved the medical measure — justifies concerns about the adult-use rollout, Borghesani added.

“We heard time and time again that state officials wanted to ‘get this right,’ which is precisely what they said about medical marijuana. We need to be assured that this rollout is not going to be a repeat of the medical marijuana debacle,” said Borghesani.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Colorado Cannabis Legalization Increased Property Values - Michael King

Colorado Cannabis Legalization Increased Denver’s Property Values, Study Finds

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It’s no secret that the advent of Colorado cannabis legalization increased demand for industrial real estate, but how has it affected housing prices?

According to a new study, “Contact High: The External Effects of Retail Marijuana Establishments on House Prices,” the property values for houses within .1 miles of a retail cannabis dispensary in Denver have increased by more than 8% since recreational cannabis sales began in 2014.

By using publicly available data from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s list of retail licenses and the City of Denver’s property information, researchers at the Wisconsin School of Business were able to study how property values were affected by retail conversions, i.e., medical cannabis dispensaries converting to recreational cannabis sales.

“The presence of retail marijuana establishments clearly had a short-term positive impact on nearby properties in Denver,” said Moussa Diop, Wisconsin School of Business assistant professor of real estate & urban land economics and co-author of the study.

For those houses within .1 miles of a retail conversion, the average increase in property value was $27,000 for a single-family home.

According to Diop, “This suggests that in addition to the sales and business taxes generated from the retail marijuana industry, municipalities may experience an increase in property taxes. It’s an important piece of the puzzle as more and more voters and policy-makers look for evidence about the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana, as the issue is taken up by state legislatures across the country.”

It’s important to note that the study also compared property values of houses within .1 miles of a retail conversion to houses within .1 miles of a medical cannabis dispensary that hasn’t converted to recreational sales.

“Those properties located near a retail conversion do experience a larger price increase – relative to those near a non-converter – after conversion. This provides evidence that it is the actual conversion to retail that is increasing neighboring property values,” researchers explained in the study.

As this study highlights, Colorado cannabis legalization may make the case for medical-only states to reexamine the potential secondary benefits of legalizing a recreational market.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Incoming Harvest Season in the Emerald Triangle - Michael King

Incoming Harvest Season in the Emerald Triangle

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This article marks our continued chronicles of the Emerald Triangle through the lens veteran residents and growers Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya. For more on the history of the marijuana mecca, revisit their last article here.

As the shadows grow long and the breeze has that cool refreshing hint of autumn, all the farmers around the Emerald Triangle in Northern California begin to think one thing: “harvest.” It’s time to get out the tubs, trim trays, scissors, black-out cloth, or your other favorite accoutrements for the season. It’s kind of like getting out the ornaments to trim the tree really, just for the festival of Cannabis instead of Christmas.

The other clue that harvest is coming is at the grocery store. About ten years ago, the tiny Mendocino County town of Laytonville — with a population of roughly 1,300 people, though it easily doubles at harvest time with the influx of “trimmigrants” — won an award from the giant Reynolds corporation for selling more of their “Oven Bags” than anywhere in the country. Also known as “turkey bags,” these clear plastic bags are the best at sealing in the strong odors of cannabis. Hence, they have been used for years by all the farmers and middlemen in the biz.

As harvest approaches, there are more shelves in shops selling turkey bags, scissors, and gloves than there are back-to-school items. Building supply stores are stocked with tubs of every size, dehumidifiers and fans, as well as the ubiquitous scissors and latex-like gloves for trimming. You’ll find those items at pretty much every store in Mendocino, from the gas station to the liquor store. Chances are they’re right next to the lighters.

Incoming Harvest Season in the Emerald Triangle - Michael King

For decades, small pot farmers tucked away in the Emerald Triangle had a fairly routine schedule. Every farm pretty much had a solid crew of close family and friends to help cut the crop, bring it in, dry it, and trim the flowers. When it was a good year, they may have brought in auxiliary trimmers from around the world.

In popular trimmer destinations such as Garberville, Willits, or Laytonville, farmers would jump in their trusty pick-up trucks, drive to town and meet up with some young folks from just about anywhere you can imagine. Tibet, Japan, Europe, Central America, South Africa, Israel — we’ve met them all. They’d hop in the truck and be driven out some dusty dirt road, in the old days as often or not blindfolded. Cannabis is a magnet, but it also has its secrets and its quotient of paranoia.

Every day the colas or branches on the cannabis plants get bigger and heavier. The little hairs on the flowers are still greenish/white, but will soon turn a burnt sienna, signaling their ripeness and their vulnerability. Back in the old days, harvest was a time of palpable fear. A whole year’s work and investment could be lost to mold or mildew, or to marijuana rustlers cutting tops or whole plants in the middle of the night, or by the Task Force dropping in on cables dangling from helicopters before using your own chainsaw to ruin your crops.

Now, late September and early October, is the time for the conscientious farmer of the Emerald Triangle to keep a close eye on the girls in the garden as their flowers ripen. Insects and pathogens are always a threat. Growers need an eagle eye or maybe “Mold-dar” to detect the first hint of mold or mildew on a plant. Wilted brown leaves should be removed so the they don’t hold moisture. Branches need to be propped up, as they grow heavy with luscious buds. The farmer’s work never stops. It’s a tense time. It ain’t over ’til the buds are bucked and in the bag.

Meanwhile, at home on the farm, everyone is hustling to prepare their spaces for drying and curing. The first thing many of us do is to check the Farmer’s Almanac, which has been pretty right-on lately. This year some rainy periods are predicted, including possible heavy showers, so dehumidifiers are essential. Last year, the surprise rain that broke the previous four years of drought left many people literally high and not dry, so “de-hues” have been a popular item in stores this year and last.

Incoming Harvest Season in the Emerald Triangle - Michael King

The next big question comes as the trichomes sparkle and change from clear to amber. Every farmer must make the decision of when to cut. Are the girls ready? When are they perfectly ripe? There is only a three-to-four day window. Everyone has their own way of deciding, from using magnifying scopes to psychic kinesiology.

Again, every farm has their own style of harvesting, drying, and processing its cannabis. Some change their style every year, as new ideas spread across the county through word of mouth suggestions. There always seems to be a new way to do it, to add it one’s tried-and true-technique just to see what happens. Some farmers are loyal to their ways, and rarely veer from their classic process. Still, others recognize that it all depends on the flowers themselves: the plants will tell you how they want to be treated.

On top of the stress of properly harvesting your cannabis, the weight of all the rules and regulations is beginning to become real with legalization looming. Commercially permitted buildings will be required for all processing, drying, and processing, including handicap bathrooms. Hairnets and sterilized rooms and equipment are a necessity already. It is very clear that the new rules for cannabis cultivation and processing exceed any other sort of agricultural crop in California. Considering we were all basically outlaws just a few years ago, this new regimen is overwhelming.

Hence, this harvest season is unique for the farmers of the Emerald Triangle. While the normal gloves and scissors and trim trays are being gathered, so are the permits and licenses, lawyers and accountants to cover our butts and our buds. Farmers who are in the process of applying now for their permits must be aware of all the new hoops and how to jump through them. Just knowing how to grow great cannabis is not enough any longer.

For more on Nikki and Swami’s intrepid storytelling and grand insight into all things cannabis, visit their website here.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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New Jersey’s Cannabis Industry Is Growing - Michael King

New Jersey’s Cannabis Industry Is Growing: Where Does It Grow from Here?

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On September 14, 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Assembly Bill No. 457, expanding the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (NJCUMMA) by adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the discrete list of statutorily defined illnesses qualifying for treatment with medicinal marijuana.

In addition, as of July 5, 2016, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) began accepting petitions requesting approval of additional medical conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana treatment. To date, at least 45 separate petitions have been submitted to the DOH for consideration for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, neuropathic pain and arthritis, among many others.

Assuming that New Jersey follows the lead of other states and eventually expands the qualifying illness categories, this could dramatically increase the number of qualified applicants for medicinal marijuana registration, on top of the already likely substantial increase due to the approval of PTSD. This is a necessary step forward in the state because New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program services a far lower proportion of the population than many other states which have already approved medicinal marijuana.

With over 9,000 patients within the state already registered to obtain medical marijuana, and more and more registering every year, it is abundantly clear that the current five (soon to be six) Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) will be insufficient to meet the growing demand. Although statistics for 2016 are not currently available, in 2015 alone the five currently active ATCs—two of which did not commence operations until near the end of 2015—serviced 6,675 customers, processed 34,449 transaction and produced over 1,229 pounds of medicinal marijuana.

With approximately 3,000 more medical marijuana patient ID cards issued through September 2016, it is clear that demand for medicinal marijuana could soon outstrip the current ATC’s output.

The concern over insufficient ATCs is exacerbated by the high cost of medicinal marijuana in New Jersey compared to many other states. Fortunately, the cost of medicinal marijuana recently has decreased as a result of new competition from two new ATC facilities. Reasonably, the decision to issue additional licenses to promote competition will further reduce the cost of medical marijuana, benefitting those low-income individuals in need of appropriate medical treatment (to date, nearly half of all medical marijuana program participants qualify for low-income registration).

Rigorous Application Process

The DOH was authorized to accept applications for a minimum of six ATCs, with two each to operate in north, central and south New Jersey. Notably, the first six permits for ATCs were awarded to non-profit entities, with permits following the first six to be issued to non-profit or for-profit entities.

Soon after passage, the DOH quickly determined that only six ATCs, the statutory minimum, would initially be authorized pending an examination into the operations of the initial six ATCs. The NJCUMMA permits ATCs to operate as both cultivation facilities and dispensaries under one permit. Moreover, upon the presentation of further proofs and completed applications, ATCs may also house manufacturing facilities for products such as syrups and lozenges.

However, with all this in mind, it does not appear that any new ATC facilities will be approved imminently, at least until all six initial ATCs are up and running.

Applications for permitting are a two-step process. First, those seeking an ATC permit must submit an application seeking authority to apply for a permit to operate. Upon the granting of the application, the prospective ATC must then complete the application for actual permitting. Notably, applications for authority to apply for a permit only may be submitted following solicitation from the DOH for such applications.

Although the DOH is not currently soliciting applications for authority to apply for a permits, those seeking to open ATCs under the inevitable next wave of applications would do well to position themselves now to have a compelling permitting application in order to increase their chances under what is sure to be a competitive and selective application process.

To date, the Department of Health has identified the following criteria which would be evaluated in any initial application:

  • Mandatory organization information, which should include all corporate formation documents, articles of incorporation, charter, bylaws, certificates of good standing and any and all other governing documentation, such as operating agreements;
  • Documented involvement of a New Jersey acute general hospital in the ATC’s organization;
  • Demonstrated ability to meet the “overall health needs” of qualifying patients;
  • Demonstrated ability to protect the safety of the public;
  • Community support and participation; and
  • Ability to provide appropriate research data.

Considering the criteria which will be examined by the DOH, it is critical that prospective applicants enter the process with (i) a well-established corporate structure populated by individuals capable of passing a criminal background check with fingerprinting, (ii) the appropriate medical partnerships, (iii) a detailed business plan which adequately addresses all phases of production from cultivation to dispensing, with an emphasis on establishing appropriate security procedures meeting DOH guidelines and (iv) representations that the municipality where the operations are located will be amendable to housing an ATC facility.

It is also critical for all prospective applicants to ensure they possess the necessary capital reserves, keeping in mind that the fee for ATC permit authority applications alone is $20,000 ($18,000 of which is only payable if the application is granted), with the expectation that an appropriate build out in advance of commencing operations will be a capital intensive endeavor.

Once an ATC’s initial application for authority to apply for a permit is approved, the applicant will then need to undergo the rigorous permitting process, which investigates the financial and personal backgrounds of principals associated with the ATC. Although the DOH is tasked with regulating the medical marijuana industry, the DOH has partnered with the Department of Law and Public Safety (DLPS) to conduct the necessary criminal and financial background checks—including providing “legal expertise” regarding the principals’ backgrounds and the proposed ATC business structures.

In order to navigate the current permitting procedures in place in New Jersey, applicants for ATCs must provide a bevy of information to the DOH, including:

  • All corporate formation documents;
  • Criminal background check for all “applicants” which include any owner, director, officer or employee of the ATC;
  • Fingerprinting for all applicants;
  • The name, addresses and dates of birth for all employees, principal officers, directors, owners and board members of the ATC;
  • A list of all persons or business entities who either (1) have direct or indirect authority over the management or policies of the ATC or (2) have five percent or greater ownership interest in the ATC, whether direct or indirect, and whether that interest is in the profits, land or building of the ATC and the identity of any principals of a business entity with such an interest;
  • A list of all creditors with a security or ownership interest in the premises;
  • The by-laws of the ATC and a list of the members of the ATC’s medical advisory board;
  • Evidence of compliance with inspection and auditing for the ATC;
  • The physical address of the proposed ATC;
  • Written verification of approval from the appropriate governing body of the municipality where the ATC will be located; and
  • Evidence of compliance with all municipal zoning laws and associated regulations.

If a successful applicant is able to meet the above criteria to the satisfaction of the DOH, then they will receive the final permit allowing for operations to commence within the state.

All ATCs are required to keep and maintain an “operations manual” detailing with specificity the procedures for all facets of the business including cultivation, dispensing, record keeping and employee policies and safety procedures, in addition to other applicable requirements of the DOH. Moreover, the successful applicant will then need to conform their ready to operate business to achieve compliance with a slew of regulations detailing the specific ways in which medical marijuana can be cultivated and dispensed by the ATC.

Additionally, once an ATC is in operation, it is subject to extremely strict monitoring procedures by the DOH, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining written documentation of each delivery of marijuana to registered patients, including the date and the amount dispensed;
  • Ensuring adequate 24 hour security for the facility;
  • Providing security for all delivery methods to qualifying patients;
  • Meeting all reporting requirements for the DOH, including furnishing the statistical information concerning: (i) number of registered qualified patients and registered primary caregivers, (ii) the qualifying condition for each patient, (iii) patient demographic data, (iv) program costs (v) and a summary of patient surveys and evaluation of services;
  • Maintaining detailed administrative records covering a variety of facets of the operation;
  • Reporting certain enumerated events to the DOH immediately upon their occurrence;
  • Conducting adequate employee training; and
  • Maintaining specific employee records.

The DOH monitoring procedures are an ongoing and collaborative process permitting the DOH to conduct on-site inspections of ATCs, monitor the ATC locations remotely in real-time via video link and remotely access the ATC inventory management systems. All in all, these provisions mean that New Jersey’s medical marijuana system is an exceptionally highly regulated industry requiring careful and sustained compliance procedures to ensure qualification and continued operations under New Jersey law.

As is apparent, any applicant seeking to enter the cannabis space in New Jersey should be well-prepared to demonstrate to the Department of Health that, not only can they meet all of the permitting criteria, but that their eventual functioning ATC has a plan in place for strict compliance with the exacting operational standards for ATCs. Of course, competent legal counsel will be necessary in order to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Legal and Medical Cannabis Investment on the Rise - Michael King

Legal and Medical Cannabis Market Investments on the Rise

Article originally published by Markets Insider

According to a report by New Frontier Data, medical cannabis sales are forecast to grow to $5.3 billion in 2017, or accounting for 67% of total cannabis sales. By 2025, medical sales in currently legal states are forecast to grow to $13.2 billion and will account for 55% of all sales. Comparatively, adult-use sales in 2017 are forecast to reach $2.6 billion, or rising to $10.9 billion by 2025. This puts emphasis on the state of California, which offers the perfect example of why it is so important to understand trends in consumer behavior. The state’s legal industry is forecast to grow from $2.8 billion in 2017, to $5.6 billion in 2020. AmeriCann Inc. (OTC: ACAN), Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRBP), Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC: AXIM).

New Frontier also commented on the growth in cannabis investing over the past two years, including how the investment community has responded to the 2016 general elections. Cannabis stocks have seen significant growth in recent years, with the Viridian Cannabis Stock Index growing 236.1% in 2016 alone.

“Cannabis stocks significantly outperformed major indexes in 2016, fueled by speculative investment based on anticipated expansion of new legal markets.

In the run up to the election, stocks increased by 207.8% and continued to rise, even with an uncertain future under the new administration. While recent comments by the Trump administration did have an initial dampening effect on the market, we have seen continued growth relative to Q4 2016 whereby cannabis stocks are still outperforming other sectors,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data.

AmeriCann Inc. (OTCQX: ACAN) an Agricultural-Technology company that is developing the next generation of sustainable, state-of-the-art medical cannabis cultivation properties, announced earlier today that it has secured an equity investment commitment of $10,000,000 from Mountain States Capital, LLC (“MSC”).

The majority of the investment from MSC will be utilized to develop the first phase of AmeriCann’s flagship project, the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center (“MMCC”.) This state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and processing development project is 47 miles from Boston in the midst of the rapidly growing Massachusetts medical cannabis market.

Mountain States Capital released a statement that, “AmeriCann is well positioned to benefit from the recent implementation of the landmark adult-use cannabis program in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth, and the country, needs the sophisticated, technologically advanced facilities that AmeriCann is delivering.”

The MMCC project is approved for 1 million square feet, which will be developed in phases and is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced cultivation facilities in the nation.

Massachusetts is one of the most dynamic developing cannabis markets in the United States,” stated AmeriCann CEO Tim Keogh. “Our MMCC project will become a center of excellence for quality, consistency and efficiency and play an important role in helping to provide the cannabis infrastructure the Commonwealth requires.”

The project’s first phase will consist of a 30,000 square foot greenhouse, laboratory and research center. AmeriCann has agreements with Coastal Compassion, Inc., one of a limited number of licensed operators in the Massachusetts cannabis market. Coastal Compassion, Inc. will lease 100% of the first phase of MMCC upon completion. In addition to funding the initial 30,000 square foot facility, the balance of the equity is expected to be utilized to prepare for projects in other regulated markets.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Cannabis Entrepreneurs Offer Advice On Where To Jump In - Michael King

Cannabis Entrepreneurs Offer Advice On Where To Jump In

Article Originally Published by Forbes

“It’s a boom town,” says entrepreneur Richard Huang, describing the legal cannabis industry, “but it’s not a gold rush, where just any fool can strike it big.” As co-founder of the vaporizer company Cloudious9, Huang has picked out his niche, putting time and effort behind the vaping trend.  He is one of the plethora of professional financiers, scientists, retailers, inventors and entrepreneurs jumping into legal cannabis, which last year surpassed sales of $6B .

The success stories are alluring. Two retired ladies created food-safe cannabis containers and sold millions right away. A couple of guys at the glass show ordered some cool pipes to sell online and ended up creating Dankstop, the largest online head shop.

Cannabis entrepreneurs continue to find a variety of new opportunities in the evolving industry, and one of the fastest-growing is marijuana-infused edibles.

Bethany Gomez, Director of Research for the cannabis-focused market research firm, Brightfield Group, estimates that edibles sales will reach nearly $1.6 billion in 2017 and as markets mature, they will increase as a percentage of the total market, “reaching more than 25% of total sales in several states.” Offerings in the sector have moved far beyond the stereotypical “pot brownie” to infused beverages, candies, tinctures, and cooking ingredients.

Customer consumption patterns have not yet stabilized according to Gomez and “the brand landscape remains highly fragmented,” in edibles she said, leaving significant room for newcomers to succeed. “Infused products offer some of the greatest opportunities for entrepreneurship in the cannabis market,” she said, despite the growing number of products in this space.

An important public health benefit of legal cannabis is that it is tested for potency, pesticides and other chemical aspects. Accurate product testing offers an enormous opportunity for small businesses because dispensaries and patients want safe consistent products says Will Waldrop, CEO of Signal Bay, Inc., a medical cannabis consulting service. “As demand for cannabis grows, so will product manufacturers’ need for accredited lab testing services,” he said.

For those who prefer a marijuana-adjacent business (which avoids the rules and regulations that come with “touching the plant,”) Lauren Seigel, Marketing Manager of BloomBoss, a designer of high-efficiency LED grow room lighting and accessories advises cannabis entrepreneurs to target home cannabis growers. Building a home grow “requires an initial investment of anywhere from $800-2500 in equipment,” she said, and each new legislative session and state legalization brings in new customers. “The opportunity adds up fast,” she said.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Female Executives in the Cannabis Industry - Michael King

The Cannabis Industry is a Magnet for Female Executives

Article Originally Published by High Times

Move over, lads, women want a piece of the green action—and they’re taking it.

According to a survey of 632 cannabis executives and professionals, female executives are in leadership positions in 63 percent of potency and safety testing labs and in nearly half of companies that make and sell edibles and other products. And this is just a start.

How does this compare with the gender ratio in other industries? Let us count the ways:

In tech startups, only nine percent are led by women; women fill 22 percent of senior management positions in mid-size U.S. companies; and only 5.4 percent of CEO jobs at Fortune 1000 companies, according to a 2015 Pew Research report.

So, why are female executives shattering the glass ceiling in the cannabis industry?

For starters, women’s ability to multitask and their tendency to be flexible come in handy in an industry where the rules and regulations are constantly changing, from state-to-state and from one election cycle to another.

Long before states began legalizing medical and recreational weed, studies suggested that men were more likely than women to consume cannabis. A study published by Columbia University confirmed that this is still true.

However, that and other studies have also shown women’s willingness to openly discuss marijuana has had a major impact on legalization.

Once marijuana’s medicinal powers for children began to gain international attention, women stepped up to the plate and demanded MMJ when they saw a need.

Kyndra Miller, a founding member of NORML’s Women’s Alliance, compared pot legalization to the 1920s when women banded together to end alcohol prohibition.

Neither alcohol, nor weed legalization, could be done without the full support of women, who make up slightly more than 50 percent of the voting population.

And now, with a new industry still in the making, women are taking the opportunity to break old traditions and work out the gender roles before their male counterparts pick up bad habits.

So far, women fill 36 percent of executive positions in U.S. cannabis companies that grow, test, sell and market pot products in this booming business, which is among the fastest growing in the country.

“It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level,” said Becca Foster, an independent consultant with Healthy Headie.

“It’s not often that entire industries are born,” said Crystal Huish, an accountant and business consultant in the weed industry. “It’s an opportunity to break old traditions.”

And an opportunity for women to create more equitable rules.

Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, notes that the industry is still new enough to not yet be influenced by insider, male-dominated networks.

“In long-established industries, you have generations of business that has been dominated by men, and that creates structures of advancement that are dominated by men,” West said in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor.

However, there’s still a ways to go.

In other areas of the cannabis industry, particularly cultivation and investment, women leaders are still in the minority. Despite data on female executives, some say there is still a glass ceiling.

“I don’t want to give the country a fallacy that there’s not a glass ceiling in the industry because there is,” said Greta Carter, an investor in 10 companies in Nevada and California that grow, process and sell cannabis.

She explained that women’s involvement in leadership positions tend to be in ancillary businesses, such as growing, packaging, marketing, advertising, design, law and accounting—rather than wholesale cultivation, which requires heavy capital investment and more risk tolerance.

Nevertheless, female involvement in ancillary businesses and testing labs is major progress—with the added benefit that these areas are the most profitable sectors in the industry. So, women are definitely well positioned.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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