Cannabis Re-Cap 2018|The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
2018 was a CRAZY year in general. We saw Amazon become the most valuable company in the world, ever. Donnie Two Times, aka President Agent Orange, filled the swamp to the brim and continued to push a completely off base agenda that included (now) the most extended U.S. Government shutdown in history. But don’t worry we are gonna do it twice as “Bigley” in 2019! The Crypto bubble burst and some bright-eyed optimists, myself included, got a dose of reality when the short sellers and big-money funds of the world proved that decentralization has a long way to go and big money usually wins. Alexander Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to his first Stanley Cup! Then presided to go on an all summer bender nearly drinking himself to death in the process. A personal highlight was watching Elon Musk smoke a blunt on The Joe Rogan Experience (sound familiar..?) proving that the Legal Cannabis movement is has made its way to the mainstream. In that same voice, props to Canada for getting out ahead of our budding industry and giving the people what they want, kinda. In 2018 Legalization of Marijuana was the one bipartisan issue that pretty much all Americans could agree is a good idea. So, what went well for Cannabis and what didn’t? Let’s take a look back at 2018 to see what was Good and what was Bad for Pot in America.
Let’s Start with the good. There was a lot to chose from in 2018, here is what we saw as the biggest positives for Cannabis that went down in 2018, in no particular order.
The Farm Bill Introduces legal Hemp Production and Cultivation
I never thought I would EVER agree with Mitch McConnell on anything, with all his Party above the People politics and overall ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards Democracy. (I am not saying he is alone here, this happens on both sides of the aisle, but that is a different discussion.) But the Farm Bill? Can we get an AMEN to legal Hemp production in the U.S.? AMEN! It is a well-known fact that our founding fathers used Hemp as an industrial cash crop and we are finally following suit. They were using it for everything from paper to rope and beyond. From all the way on top at Forbes Magazine, there was an article published in December titled, “How Hemp And The Farm Bill May Change Life As You Know It.” Pretty much puts into perspective the potential impact of Hemp in America. One thing that we have heard murmurings of is that we could start to see hemp-based packaging for edibles and other Cannabis products, moving away from the plastic that we see pretty much everywhere these days. Wouldn’t that be cool! Hooray Earth, we only got one.
Utah Becomes Medically Legal
Ok, so this is a shock! For anyone that has made a trip to Utah from, well, anywhere you see the impact of the CLS/Mormon influence right away. Good luck getting a real cocktail, full strength beer on tap, or a double anything. Coffee, it’s even a bit tough to get your hands on a good cup of Joe. I guess they take the whole, “my body is a temple,” thing pretty seriously. But I digress, as that is not the point here. So in a State that identifies as ~60% Mormon, it was incredible to see Prop 2 pass with a majority. All be it a small majority, 53% YES to 47% NO. But this goes to show the strength of the legalization movement, and it is a significant step in the direction for federal legalization of Cannabis. I mean, if the Mormons and Utah can figure it out I am sure the rest of the country and get their act together.
OOOHHH CANNN-NA-DAAAA! Ends a 95 year Prohibition on Cannabis
The great white north became one of the first countries in the modern world to throw speculation and assumption out the window and legalize Cannabis the nation over. Wow, just wow. Only four short years after Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational use of Cannabis, Canadian voters saw the benefit for community and country and passed the passed the Federal Cannabis Act. In the same way that Colorado and Washington have served as a petri dish for the social experiment that is legal Cannabis, so too will Canada take on that roll on a National scale. Only time will tell what the pros and cons will be and how state and local governments can address the specific and very diverse issues that will arise from going cold turkey and sparking a blunt in public, legally! This will undoubtedly put pressure on lawmakers here stateside to consider the options for federal legalization and recreational use on Cannabis in the good ole U.S. of A.
Video Cred: www.nytimes.com
Objective View – Cannabis Users Become More Sophisticated
We recently attended a conference hosted by Canopy Boulder, an incubator for start-ups in the Cannabis Industry, which saw the likes of Nancy Whiteman (CEO of Wanna Brands), Ryan Brown (CEO of Native Roots) and Graham Carlson of CW Hemp talk about their experiences and where they see the industry heading. One exciting point is that they all agreed that cannabis users here in Colorado are becoming more sophisticated in their tastes and wants. A more sophisticated user base is something that we talk about all the time at The Mary Jane Experience. No longer are people looking to get as high as they possibly can. I can remember when weed was first legalized, and we would walk into a dispensary and ask for the “the most we can buy of the strongest shit you got!” After that euphoria of legalization wore off and we woke up from a 2-year weed nap, we didn’t want to get as high as possible anymore. We wanted to get high but remain functional in our day-to-day. Ah, growing up… So, I’ll throw a prediction in here for 2019 and beyond. I think that we will see more small-dose or “micro-dose” products out there that have an effect closer to a glass of wine before dinner as opposed to a kief covered bong rip into the next dimension. With this change in consumer demand, I think we will also see less of the classic “Stoner” culture of the ’70s, 80s, and 90s and yup just like everything else, the hipsters are gonna get their artsy, curled mustache little hands on pot as well. Hopefully making it more approachable to a larger public. I’m just going to hit a CBD joint, sip a cocktail full of low dose THC tincture and see what goes down. :: Sinks into the couch… ah! ::
And now, the Bad! Where did it go wrong for weed in 2018? Let’s take a look at a few of the things that we saw happening the country over in 2018.
Local Government, yeeesh.
So, with more states legalizing Cannabis and moving to a recreational model from a medical one, what we saw as the common denominator that hindered the growth of the industry the most was undoubtedly the pressure put on the local and regional governments. Almost over night, these assemblies were tasked with handing out licenses and adopting a pro-cannabis policy that allows for commonalities from region to region, county to county, etc… Yes, Canada legalized cannabis the country over. However, it is now up to each territory to develop its specific strategy for weed roll out. “Aurora CEO Terry Booth reportedly said Ontario and British Columbia failed in rolling out their retail operations, and the only provinces that did well were Alberta and ‘perhaps’ Saskatchewan.” – (marketwatch.com, Nov. 28th. ’18) This is a similar story to the State of weed in California. The prediction to see a bustling even booming economy in recreational cannabis was stopped short by local governments taking their sweet time to debate a fitting rollout for their little slice of paradise. We can’t fault these local and regional governments too much for taking their time with this one. One day, all your local police are busting kids for a dime bag, the next day they can have 5+ planets growing in the backyard. Change takes time, and we are sure to see some of this rectified in 2019, but that is not to say that this issue might take a few years to sort itself out.
Cannabis Stocks – Oh brother! What a ride!
So, if you aren’t a day-trader and you haven’t spent some time tracking what happened in 2018 with various stock offerings in the Cannabis world, this might seem a bit abstract. Bare with me here. Every cannabis stock that is publicly traded right now appears to be WAY overvalued. To say that cannabis stocks are a bubble is a drastic understatement. Let’s look at an example (see image below). Tilray. If you are in tune to canna-business, you are aware of this doozy right here. The Canadian owned company opened its IPO at around $17 in July 2018. By August it was at $25, pretty great start, 68% in the green, not bad.
Photo Cred: marketrealist.com
Then Canada legalized pot and BOOM! The stock shot up above $200 a share. I saw figures showing 828% up from July. I think at one point on September 19th it trading as high as $220+. Then as quickly as it rose, slap, by December the stock was trading close to $65 a share. Down 338% from its high. Yeah, people lost their shirts, I am sure of that! I know a couple of them. This rollercoaster of price was caused, in part, due to the reasons mentioned above, local government and supply issues. The supply chain took a hit, and so did the stock. It’s now holding at above $70 a share. Still what seems a bit high considering the major supply chain issues seen in late 2018 and the new unforeseen ones that will come up in 2019. Either way, if I were a short seller looking to buy a new yacht, I would be all over canna-business stocks in the new year.
Being in the Black Market in Legal States – Police Crack Down
This one comes as really no surprise, to me at least. 2017 and 2018 saw a rise in municipal and local police agencies stepping its effort to bust illegal grow operations and trade even in states that are legal recreational Cannabis use. In Colorado specifically, police and sheriffs do not point to Amendment 64 as the cause for an increase in illegal activity, but rather to Amendment 20 which legalized medical use in 2000. In that amendment, it made it legal for people to grow up to 99 plants privately as “care givers.” A significant loophole according to law enforcement that allowed for an uptick in illegal cannabis trade is smaller less populated areas of the state where dispensaries are sparse and licensing is still being hashed out. Even though the number of cannabis-related offenses has been going down since 2014, as well as adolescent use of marijuana the state over, police forces have been ramping up the effort to combat illegal activity. Good for the overall, bad for those that still don’t want to play ball.
Sorry nerds, 2018 was the year that saw the most significant strides for legal cannabis. With that, pretty much all the real nerds I know smoke a shit ton of weed, so sorry yuppies? Ah shit, they smoke a bunch too. How else are you going to deal with two kids, one on the way and the whole white picket fence, two garage world? Well, eat it jocks! Wait, yeah, they smoke a bunch of weed too, and if they aren’t burning it, they are eating it. Well, you religious zealots get on the weed train. Ahhh, shucks, I smoked weed with a Rabbi this year. OK, it was a lousy year for Jeff Sessions, he had a bad year. What with threatening all the crackdown on legal weed only to lose his job for not playing ball to a psycho. That’s a rough go. But honestly, 2018 had to be a pretty rough go for anyone that has been touting the whole “We don’t want legal dope,” rhetoric that we have seen over the last 90+ years. There has been so much discovered about the Cannabis planet and still so much that we don’t know that it seems to be alienating at this point, even if you are a non-user, to be on the side of those that chose to demonize weed in 2018. 2019 is only going to get harder for this group of nay-sayers to hold their ground. But as they say, change takes time.
Photo Cred: brokeassstuart.com
I must say 2018 was one hell of a year for Cannabis and the industry. A wiser woman than I once said, “We are in the first half of the first inning of Cannabis,” and the best we can do is continue to ask questions and get the best out of this crazy, interesting, loving and ever-changing industry and culture that we all find so beautiful and intriguing. Good luck out there with your journey, and feel free to comment and add to ours when and where ever you see fit. Alright, now puff, puff pass!