New York Gov. Cuomo says it's 'not likely' recreational marijuana will be legalized in New York's budget this year as the coronavirus outbreak is the focus in Albany
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it's "not likely" that adult-use marijuana legalization will be included in New York's 2020 budget. In January, Cuomo said recreational marijuana legalization would be one of his key initiatives. The coronavirus response — and New York City being the emerging epicenter of the global pandemic — has led to a change in legislative priorities. The state budget is due by midnight. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that legalizing recreational marijuana likely won't be included in the state's budget, dealing a blow to the cannabis industry companies that have invested a significant amount of time, money, and resources preparing for the rush of the state's millions of adult consumers into the legalized market. Cuomo was asked by a reporter on Tuesday about marijuana legalization — one of the key initiatives he laid out in his budget address on January 21 — in his daily press briefing on the state's coronavirus response. "It's not likely," Cuomo said. "Too much, too little time." The New York state budget is due on April 1. The state legislature must approve the package before midnight. In normal times, the state budget is seen by lawmakers as a way to eschew the traditional, intensive process that bills must go through to become law by forcing key issues into the budget. Last week, Cuomo said he was still intent on legalizing marijuana through the budget, but those priorities have shifted as confirmed cases of coronavirus and deaths mount in New York state. New York City has emerged as the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic in recent days, with one person dying as a result of the virus approximately every six minutes. New York exceeded 75,000 cases on Tuesday, with 1,550 deaths — up from 1,218 on Monday, Cuomo said.
New York state Democrats had tried to put adult-use cannabis legalization in last year's budget, but negotiations broke down shortly before the deadline over how the tax revenue from marijuana sales would be spent. Many in the cannabis industry were hopeful New York would pass legalization this year. Legalizing adult-use cannabis would provide a rare positive tailwind for an industry that has seen a wave of layoffs and executive turnover, and had the market caps of some of its most visible companies slashed by over 90% in recent months. Justin Flagg, the spokesperson for Sen. Liz Krueger, who, along with Rep. Crystal Peoples-Stokes, is one of the key voices on marijuana legalization in the New York state assembly, told Cannabis Wire the "plan B remains the same." "If it can't get done in the budget in the middle of a public health crisis that is also a fiscal crisis, there is no reason the legislature can't negotiate and pass a nation-leading legalization model when the immediate crisis is over," Flagg said. Cannabis is legal for adults over the age of 21 in 11 states, and a total of 33 states have some form of medical cannabis access on the books. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 3 dietitians debunk 18 weight loss myths, from cutting carbs to fad diets
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Mexican lawmakers have until Dec. 15 to update federal law to regulate recreational pot under orders...Mexican lawmakers have until Dec. 15 to update federal law to regulate recreational pot under orders from the Supreme Court — which two years ago struck down a marijuana ban as unconstitutional.
Cannabis tourism could pick up as US citizens travel more domestically — here's how entrepreneurs can capitalize on the trend
Cannabis tourism, where customers seek out experiences and travel centered around marijuana, is an emerging industry...Cannabis tourism, where customers seek out experiences and travel centered around marijuana, is an emerging industry that experts believe will only continue to grow post-pandemic. Colorado saw spikes in dispensary sales after March and April, outperforming past year's figures and proving that cannabis businesses can survive even the toughest economic environments. Entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the trend should focus on market awareness and proper protocol. Michael Cohen, founder and president of The Pass, which operates out of The Berkshires, sees potential in places where cannabis is less thought off, such as outside Colorado and California. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Cannabis tourism, or travel and experiences influenced by the legalization and use of marijuana, is a market full of promise that now finds itself in a space rife with change due to COVID-19. Yet several experts in the field believe that it will continue to show promise going forward. Particular early adopters of cannabis reform laws have already seen the benefits of a tourism market. Colorado, which passed adult-use laws in 2012, considered legal cannabis a significant part of its tourism market by 2015. That year, a report commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office found that marijuana laws influenced nearly half of potential travelers to the state, although a revised version of the survey corrected the figure to 23% of visitors. A 2020 survey by MMGY Travel Intelligence and Enlightn Strategies of 1,5001 respondents interested in cannabis travel found interests in a range of activities, from visiting a dispensary to consuming various products. Additional experiences mentioned include CBD spa treatments, infused dining, cannabis bus parties, and guided tours. The survey went on to forecast that those interested in marijuana-related vacation activities make up 29% of all leisure travelers, with Americans comprising 18% of that pool. Alex Levine, chief development officer of Colorado's Green Dragon dispensary brand, reported that Colorado's tourism market continued growing over the years. Levine said company activity across its 15 locations in the state revealed that most cannabis tourism activity occurred in the Denver area with its guided tours, consumption buses, "bud and breakfasts," and other events. "Although there are a lot of tourists in Colorado's mountain towns, those travelers are typically not on cannabis-forward tours," Levine said, adding that many tourists still do purchase cannabis while on their trips outside of Denver. Tourism outside of Colorado is growing as well. Victor Pinho, CEO of California's Emerald Farm Tours, told Business Insider that the six months before the coronavirus pandemic saw the tour company experiencing its most substantial growth since its 2018 launch. "We were witnessing 200% growth month over month in the last six months of full operations," Pinho said. Post-COVID-19 forecasts and developments already underway While cannabis proved to be an essential industry that can weather the effects of the virus to a certain degree, its travel sector was not one to do so. "I think the real question here is when will the circumstances around COVID-19 be such that people feel comfortable returning to shared travel experiences at all," Pinho said. The tour operator believes that creating new and unique experiences that minimize COVID-19 risk are essential for tourism businesses. "Most aspiring entrepreneurs in this sector will want to craft unique tour experiences with farms and manufacturers that want to expose their products to the market," he said. While operators ponder steps to contend in the current market, dispensaries reported steady growth in several states, notably Colorado. In March and April, the state saw declines that were countered with the following three months outperforming past year's figures. The results were against the expectations of companies like Green Dragon. "Our retail sales in June reached an all-time high, with multiple stores up by more than 40% from the previous June," Levine said, crediting the state's essential status of cannabis as a prime factor. Levine added that the sales figures revealed a market in local tourism. "People want to travel to nearby areas where they can drive to versus going on a plane," he said. Travel and sales in mountain towns like Breckenridge and Telluride are performing well, according to Levine. "I predict that domestic travel will continue to be an important opportunity for the cannabis tourism sector in the coming months," he said. Tips for aspiring cannabis tourism operators The sector faces a slew of hurdles. That said, operators like Pinho and Levine see promise in their areas, as do others in markets where cannabis tourism has not yet gained a footing. Michael Cohen, founder and president of the vertically-integrated brand The Pass, operates out of The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Cohen said that cannabis-centric tourism hadn't reached his market. The lack of activity comes despite dispensaries serving out-of-state buyers from nearby New York and Connecticut. That said, the operator sees the sector taking shape in time. "The complementary value propositions of cannabis and The Berkshires are a beautiful and unique marriage of nature and culture," Cohen said. The growth of additional tourism markets could hinge on market awareness, with the MMGY/Enlightn survey revealing that over half of its 1,500 respondents cited only Colorado and California as legal cannabis markets. Currently, 11 states have passed adult-use laws. Besides market awareness, operators stress that any venture must be up to code. Pinho highlighted insurance and liability protection as musts for an owner, as is a trusted legal expert in drafting release forms and customer contracts. Others, like Levine, believe that operators should look beyond the novelty factor. "Cannabis tourism is definitely temporary because as more states legalize cannabis, fewer people will visit another state just to get access to legal cannabis," he said. "It's important that future entrepreneurs offer an experience that goes beyond cannabis." Levine added. "Places like Colorado will always have cannabis tourism because Colorado itself will always be a draw for tourism in general."SEE ALSO: Psychedelics will see a boom much like cannabis. Here's how entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the curve. READ MORE: The sweet spot for cannabis business opportunities is somewhere between medical and recreational — experts explain how to find it Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why you don't see brilliantly blue fireworks
Welcome to Cultivated, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals,...Welcome to Cultivated, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week. If you want a discount to BI Prime to read our stories, sign up here! Happy Friday everyone, It's been quite a busy week here as I got my feet under me, returning back to my "normal" beat. I'm proud of the work Yeji and I did — along with guidance from my editor Zach — on our deep dive into Eaze's scaled-back ambitions from 2017 to now. The startup's ups and downs over the past three years provide insight into the wild ride that cannabis startups, investors, and employees have been on since US states began legalizing the drug. The other big piece of news this week was Canopy Growth's dismal earnings. The Constellation Brands-backed company lost $1.3 billion this quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic hurt retail sales in Canada and the US. Analysts reacted mostly negatively to the news following the earnings call today, with some questioning the new leadership team's ability to steer the ship. "More worrying for us were comments around the need to 'understand what consumers want'. Probably the worst thing to hear from a market share leader," Jefferies analysts wrote in a note. That being said, Canopy Growth is still the largest cannabis company. And with a deep-pocketed alcohol giant backing the company — along with a new(ish) CEO, David Klein — it's probably not time to count them out yet. I'll be speaking to Klein later this afternoon as well. -Jeremy Here's what we wrote about: An inside look at Eaze's latest pitch deck reveals vastly scaled back ambitions from the once-soaring cannabis startup Internal documents and interviews reveal Eaze's vastly scaled-back ambitions. In 2017, Eaze — then a cannabis delivery service — projected that it would sell $1 billion worth of marijuana on the platform and aggressively expand to new states. In 2020, under the guidance of a new executive team and after a round of layoffs, Eaze has pared back that expectation to $190 million in sales. We took a deep dive into the company's financial projections from 2017 to the present and published its full 2020 pitch deck. Cannabis startup Caliva laid off 20 employees including a top retail exec as headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic upend the industry Cannabis startup Caliva laid off 20 employees from its corporate office on March 30, the company confirmed. The cuts mostly affected employees in the retail management division and included Elizabeth Cooksey, a senior exec who was brought in to drive Caliva's retail strategy in 2019. Executive moves Red Light Holland, a CSE-listed psychedelics company that is planning to produce and sell branded "magic truffles" in the Netherlands, has appointed comedian Russell Peters as its Chief Creative Officer. Former Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton is the company's advisory chair. Deals, deals, deals CSE-listed TerrAscend closed a $37 million private placement on Friday. The deal was upsized from $30 million, and investors include Jason Karp, the founder of Tourbillon Capital Partners and CEO of HumanCo. TerrAscend reported earnings on Thursday with $34.8 million in net sales in Q1 2020. What we're reading Lavish parties, greedy pols and panic rooms: How the 'Apple of Pot' collapsed (Politico) A hidden origin story of the CBD craze (New York Times) Get ready for pharmaceutical grade magic mushroom pills (Vice) Cannabis binge in quarantine lifts hope for federal legalization (Bloomberg) Justice Department blocks 'essential' marijuana workers from bankruptcy protection (Wall Street Journal) Not so green on the other side: How a Russian tycoon's $165 Million U.S. cannabis bet went up in smoke (Radio Free Europe)Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly