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Highly Profitable Marijuana By-Products Are Becoming Increasingly Popular
 
A dataset that covers about one-fourth of legal marijuana sales in Washington State shows that highly profitable marijuana by-products are becoming popular. They are likely to become more so as pot shops encourage customers to buy products that bring in more money.
 
Marijuana flowers, the traditional marijuana buds, comprise 49% of sales but are the least profitable. Other by-products are edibles (marijuana-infused foods at 13% of sales), marijuana-infused carbonated beverages, and non-traditional items like Live Resin, a concentrate made from fresh, frozen marijuana flowers rather than buds that have been dried and cured.
 
The growth of these new products exceeds 20% a month.
 
To understand how all these sales translate into revenue for dispensaries, the dataset was analyzed for 13 Washington dispensaries that had more than one year of data available.
 
The chart above shows data for products sold in these 13 shops. Pre-roll refers to marijuana joints that customers can buy like cigarettes, rather than having to roll their own.
 
Vapor pens enable users to inhale marijuana concentrates containing high levels of THC, the marijuana component that creates the high. Some concentrates have THC levels as high as 80% to 90%.
 
Read “What Are the Most Popular Marijuana Products” here.
 
Colorado Youth Marijuana Use is Not Flat
 
A few weeks ago, the press reported on the release of the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which most media outlets (Washington Post, Denver Post, Fox News) said showed no increase in past-month marijuana use among youth since the first time the state gave the survey in 2013. Time and Scientific American actually reported the survey showed a decline in use.
 
A closer look, however, shows several problems with the survey. Compared to its predecessor, which randomly selected 40,000 students and had a 58% response rate, the 2015 survey recruited only 17,000 students and had only a 46% response rate. This rate was too low to reflect marijuana use among anyone other than the young people who actually took the survey.
 
The Centers for Disease Control conducts the Youth Risk Behavior Survey every two years in high schools in states that choose to participate. (Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon do not.) The threshold the CDC sets for a valid survey is a minimum response rate of 60%; the YRBS response rate is 88%.
 
Had reporters read Colorado’s new survey, they would have found great increases among juniors and seniors in some regions of the state, generally those where commercial marijuana is plentiful. Some 70% of the state’s cities, towns, and counties have banned legal pot—medical and recreational—within their borders. The 2000 plus pot shops in the state are concentrated in the remaining 30% of the state; about half of those are in Denver.
 
While results from the 2015 survey cannot be compared to results from the earlier one, a finding that 21% of Colorado’s high school students—one in five—used marijuana in the past month last year is where the focus should be.
 
Read “Misrepresenting Colorado Marijuana Use” here. Read “Colorado Youth Marijuana Use IS on the Rise” here.
 
Opponents Collect Signatures for a
Colorado Ballot Initiative to Cap THC at 16%
 
Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way for the Healthy Colorado Coalition to start collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would cap the amount of THC in any recreational marijuana product at 16%. The measure also would require health warning labels on all recreational marijuana sold in the state.
 
The state’s marijuana industry had tried to block the group’s action but lost that effort when the Supreme court ruled the group could continue.
 
Healthy Colorado is led by former Speaker of the House, Frank McNulty, who tried to pass a similar measure in the legislature. Although there was support for the bill, it did not pass because Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use, is embedded in the state’s constitution. The only way to change it is with another ballot initiative.
 
This week marijuana growers, distributors, and sellers formed their own group, the Colorado Health Research Council, to fight the initiative. They maintain that a 16% cap on THC will put 80% of the state’s marijuana industry out of business. The average potency of Colorado pot products is already higher than that—17.2% for flowers and 62.1% for extracts.
 
Read “Marijuana Skeptics Take Aim at Potency in Colorado” here. Read “Amid Effort to Limit Pot Potency, Industry Strikes Back with Well-Funded Campaign” here.
 
Legal Pot in Oregon: One Year Later
 
Oregon passed the one-year anniversary of legal pot this week. Although the state won’t open its official recreational market place until later this year, effects of legalization are being felt already. The state allows people to buy recreational pot in medical pot dispensaries until it can open the recreational market.
 
Nonetheless: 
  • Between July 1 and December 31 last year, 50 drivers were found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, compared to 19 the same period the year before. Some 99 drivers had the drug in their system at the time of being stopped, compared to 44 the year before.
  • The number of marijuana-related calls to Oregon poison control centers are also increasing, from 112 in 2013, to 158 in 2014, to 86 in the first three months of 2015.
  • More than 100 cities and counties in eastern Oregon have opted out of allowing marijuana businesses within their borders.
Read “Legal Pot in Oregon: One Year Later” here.
 
Above--Pueblo mother leads fight to rid her community of unwanted marijuana industry. Below--A map shows where customers came from to buy marijuana at one Pueblo pot shop.
 
Is Pot Losing Its Buzz in Colorado? 

A backlash is growing in a state where marijuana has quickly become a $1 billion legal business, according to this informative article in Fortune.
  • Doctors report a spike in ER visits.
  • New cartel-related operations are escalating.
  • Marijuana shops are cropping up near homes and schools.
  • Less affluent communities are struggling with the unintended consequences of a marijuana industry being concentrated in their communities. 
Read and see “Is Pot Losing Its Buzz in Colorado” here.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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