Alibi V.29 No.7 • Feb 13-19, 2020

Baked Goods

Show Us the Green

Reports say legalization brings profitability

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The legalization of recreational cannabis would prove profitable to businesses and communities—especially in counties that border states where the drug is still banned.

As Senate Bill 115, the “Cannabis Regulation Act,” moves through the Legislature, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration is estimating that a recreational cannabis industry would bring 11,000 new jobs to the state in five years. The governor called recreational cannabis “the next frontier of New Mexico's economic expansion.”

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the New Mexico Economic Development Department recently presented a fiscal impact analysis that projected 155 new dispensaries will open in Bernalillo County alone following legalization.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Iowa reportedly found that businesses are more profitable in states that have legalized recreational cannabis. The unpublished study was reviewed and reported by Marijuana Moment at the end of January. The researchers analyzed 9,810 corporations between 1991 and 2017. “Firms headquartered in marijuana-legalizing states receive higher market valuations, earn higher abnormal stock returns, improve employee productivity, and increase innovation,” the authors said.

While an influx of cannabis tourists could explain some of the capital gains, what seems particularly interesting is the authors' claim that legalizing either medical or recreational cannabis allows corporations to “become more productive and hire more productive human capital from out of state after the passage of the law.” In other words: Relaxed cannabis laws attract fresh and innovative talent who are willing to move away from states with more restrictive laws.

This makes a lot of sense, considering a study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, titled “Inspired by Mary Jane? Mechanisms Underlying Enhanced Creativity in Cannabis Users,” that found that cannabis users reported enhanced creativity and demonstrated superior convergent thinking while sober compared to non-users. Cannabis users also exhibited more openness to new experiences and extroversion.

So hiring cannabis users is probably a good idea for corporations looking to expand their horizons. And if the Iowa scientists are right, then the economic gains associated with cannabis hires are measurable. The unpublished study given to Marijuana Moment reportedly found that after medical marijuana is legalized in a given state, corporations there saw an average increase of $166 million to their market-value. And the stock value of companies in those states reportedly increased by 4.56 percent.

Chew on that as SB 115 rolls through the Legislature.

New Canna Compound Discovered

Scientists say they've discovered a new cannabinoid in marijuana that is 30 times more potent than THC.

Researchers from a lab in Italy recently published a paper in the journal Nature, Scientific Reports that said they'd isolated two new phytocannabinoids named tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and cannabidiphorol (CBDP).

The new compound THCP is said to be far more powerful than THC, but it's unclear if it's psychoactive yet. It reportedly bonded to human cannabinoid receptors in a lab at a level 33 times stronger than that of THC.

Dr. Cinzia Citti, lead author of the research and post-doctoral fellow in life sciences at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, told CNN: “This means that these compounds have higher affinity for the receptors in the human body.”

According to the paper, the alkyl side chain in most of the previously discovered cannabinoids is only five atoms long, but the one found in THCP is seven atoms long. The authors say this is the first time a cannabinoid with that many atoms in its alkyl side chain has been discovered, and that means it should be more potent than any we know about.

The researchers say these discoveries could lead to more specialized cannabis extracts in the future.

Bill Could Protect Native Patients

A New Mexico state senator is trying to pass a bill that would protect native patients living on tribal land from federal prosecution.

According to NM Political Report, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Benny Shendo explained to reporters why the bill is so important. “When [patients are] off the reservation they’re legal, but as soon as they get on the reservation—federal trust land—it’s illegal because the federal government still has that as a federal violation.”

Under Senate Bill 271, “Tribe and Pueblo Medical Marijuana Agreements,” the New Mexico Department of Health would be authorized to enter into intergovernmental agreements with tribes and pueblos regarding implementation and compliance with the state's medical cannabis laws.

“We had a meeting with the feds and they felt that having some agreement with the state would be really helpful,” Shendo said. He believes these agreements will shield patients living on tribal land from prosecution—or at least lower the chances.

Last week, Gov. Lujan Grisham issued an executive message, authorizing the Senate to consider the bill.

NM's Medical Canna Sales Boomed in 2019

The state's Medical Cannabis Program really raked in the cash last year. According to a press release published in Cannabis Business Times, the combined patient cannabis sales in New Mexico totaled $129 million in 2019—an increase of $23 million or 22 percent over reported patient sales in 2018.

According to the report, the state's top five licensed producers in sales were Ultra Health, R. Greenleaf, Verdes, Pecos Valley and Sacred Garden (in that order). The overall average producer revenue in 2019 was $3.8 million, and the median was $2.8 million. Of the state's 34 licensed producers, 18 fell below the industry average.

A total of 9,960,605 grams (21,939 pounds) of medical cannabis was reportedly sold last year, an increase of 34 percent from 2018. The average price of dry flower per gram was $10.40. The median price was $10.02 per gram.

The sales are bound to rise again this time around, since 2020 will be the first full year that producers will be able to grow more than 450 plants each since 2015. That will likely mean lower prices for patients, too. It will also be the first full year that the program has allowed nonresidents to participate.

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