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Feds to Start Tracking State Cannabis Tax Revenues
The U.S. Census Bureau wants to start tracking state marijuana tax revenues as they do alcohol and tobacco taxes.
“Tax collection data are used to measure economic activity for the Nation as a whole, as well as for comparison among the various states,” a notice published in the Federal Register on Friday says. “We plan to add the collection of cannabis and sports betting sales taxes.”
Estimates of marijuana revenue from the legal states with operating programs are about $10 billion annually and growing.
Policy and industry analysts interviewed by Marijuana Moment believe the inclusion of marijuana tax revenues in federal data collection portends advances in federal marijuana policymaking for the incoming Congress.
With the coronavirus pandemic blowing holes in state budgets, marijuana tax revenue has been a talking point for several governors in their annual State of the State addresses.
Michigan Just Misses the $1 Billion 2020 Marijuana Sales Mark
Retailers in the State of Michigan sold $984.6 million in cannabis products to the medical and adult markets in 2020, just missing the $1 billion mark recently hit by Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington.
New Cannabis Ventures reports that the revenue was split almost equally, with medical marijuana accounting for $474 million and adult-use marijuana generating $510.7 million.
The state of Colorado recently announces surpassing $2 billion in sales for the first time in 2020. Sales in California have been as high as $3 billion in 2017 but have declined slightly during the bungled rollout of recreational marijuana in the state.
Michigan’s adult-use market had flower and trim sales that represented 55% of the market. Concentrates and vape combined for 25%, while edibles were 19% of the market. Flower and trim represented a lower proportion of medical sales, at 46%. Concentrate and vapes were more prevalent in medical purchases, at 39%, and edibles made up just 15%.
Mixed Martial Arts’ UFC Ends Most Marijuana Disqualifications
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, has declared that retroactive to January 1, tests of their mixed-martial artists that turn up positive for marijuana metabolites will no longer earn the athlete a suspension.
The US Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, the drug-testing partner of the UFC, said via news release that a fighter’s positive marijuana test would only be sanctioned if it could be shown it was used for “performance-enhancing purposes.”
Such a standard would require the USADA to demonstrate that the fighter was actually impaired by active THC, not its metabolites that are found on a urine screen.
UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky told ESPN, “It would probably require visual signs if the athlete shows up at an event stumbling, smelling like marijuana, eyes bloodshot, things like that.”
Washington D.C. Activists Offer “Joints For Jabs”
As clinics begin distributing the coronavirus vaccine in the nation’s capital, the Washington activist group DCMJ has begun a campaign to give away free marijuana to adults who’ve received vaccinations.
The campaign, dubbed “Joints for Jabs,” will announce the locations and times for the giveaways once the vaccination times and places are announced by local health officials.
“We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis,” said Nikolas Schiller, the group’s co-founder, told Forbes. “DCMJ believes that cannabis should be consumed safely and responsibly, and the pandemic has made this incredibly difficult for many adults to share their homegrown cannabis. When enough adults are inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, it will be time to celebrate – not just the end of the pandemic, but the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States.”
Feds to Test the Cannabis Testing Labs
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, is sending samples of marijuana and hemp to state testing labs across the country to verify the accuracy of their results, according to Marijuana Moment.
With the legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, labs in criminal prohibition states need to be able to accurately distinguish legal hemp’s concentrations of less than 0.3% THC from illegal marijuana’s higher concentrations.
While this move isn’t aimed at legal marijuana states, the results of these studies should provide guidance to the best practices to accurately determine THC concentrations. Legal states have been beset by controversies over “lab shopping,” where sellers of marijuana seek unscrupulous labs that will provide the highest THC ratings for their products in an effort to boost sales.