Cannabis sales increase across US and Canada as lockdown continues. The population rushes to stockpile cannabis to prepare itself for the long period of self-isolation, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between the time period of March 16 and March 22, key US markets, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, experienced a 50 percent rise in sales of recreational cannabis, and a 41 percent rise in medical cannabis sales, from the same period last year, figures attained from cannabis point of sale and info system Flowhub exhibit.
With the death toll rising to 600 in both countries, several US states and Canadian provinces are issuing stay at home orders, limiting business operations, and closing down borders, in an attempt to actively work to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Although many businesses have been shut down due to the orders of a lockdown, legalized cannabis dispensaries are allowed to continue their businesses despite the current crisis, and have been listed as “essential services” alongside hospitals and other health facilities, even in jurisdictions with the tightest lockdown protocols,
During the intensifying threat of the COVID-19 and increasing sales of cannabis across North America, Bank of America analyst Chris Carey commented that investors could be provided with a defensive move in a market downturn, by the cannabis sector. Carey further talked about the acceleration of cannabis purchases in North America, regardless of region.
Carey pointed out Aphria specifically, boosting its rating to a “buy”. According to the BNN Bloomberg, Carey had reportedly explained how the Ontario-based grower could be expected to see it’s market share in Canada increase.
Aphria and Tilray stocks rose during the same time period. Last week, Aphria’s shares had been reported to move from a low of US$1.97 (C$2.88) to hit US$2.72 (C$3.89), between the time period of March 18th to March 20th. Closing at US$2.51 (C$3.58) last week, they gained slightly more yesterday at US$2.54 (C$3.72) to end the day.
Meanwhile during March 19 to March 20, Tilry shares had risen twice as much, from a low US$2.56 to a high of US$5.03. Yesterday, the stock closed at US$3.85.
According to the OCS Director of Communications Daffyd Roderick, Canada’s most populated province, Ontario, the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store’s (OCS) website experienced escalating online sales in the last two weeks. Last weekend, orders were reported to be more than twice as high compared to two weeks ago.
On Sunday, Nova Scotia was reported to be the latest province to announce a COVID-19 emergency. The province’s liquor commission, that is responsible for the control of sales of cannabis in Nova Scotia, reported a spike of 76 percent in cannabis sales last week.
Sales were also booming in cannabis related beverage companies. One such case was reported by Jamie Pearson, CEO of California-based Bhang Inc, who makes and deals with cannabis-infused beverages, chocolates, and other products. Hence, Pearson is expecting boosted revenue and profits this quarter.
Pearson further claimed the most popular products to be edibles such as gummies, brownies, and chocolates, because of easier storage and accessibility even with precautions such as having gloves on.
Stuart Titus, CEO of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc informed Reuters that the reason behind the boost of Canadian sales was the fear of months of supply disruptions. However, caution is recommended by Titus and others, as they believe that the long-awaited reversal of fortune could potentially be nothing more than a short-lived relief.
Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of cannabis consulting firm Siva Enterprises, explained that even during a global crisis like the spread of the global pandemic, the cannabis industry seems to be recession-proof. Bulbulyan further added that the rise in customer demand is not expected to last very long during a time like this.
lllinois: Largest Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Opens in South Beloit
Illinois is one of the states where the use of recreational marijuana is legal. People of Illinois can have up to 5 plants at home for medical use. They can also have commercially licensed plants for recreational use as well.
This Monday, Illinois saw the opening of its largest recreational marijuana dispensary. The dispensary is located at about 5000 feet from a proposed casino. It is the wonderful location of the dispensary that could improve a lot of sales prospects and also bring new ones. However, it is also only a 1000 feet south of the Wisconsin border, a state where cannabis consumption is illegal.
What it means to the state
According to the city’s mayor, the development prospects that come with the store are to write home about. Moreover, the sales tax revenue from the dispensary will be like icing on a cake.
Visible from heavily used Interstate 90, the Sunnyside South Beloit dispensary (7,208-square-foot) is located at 7000 First Ranger Road. Mayor Ted Rehl is very optimistic about the prospects that come with the dispensary. He’s called this dispensary ‘a gift to South Beloit’ at 12 various levels.
Mayor Rehl’s humble estimate is that the dispensary would generate sales tax revenues of about $100,000 per year, for at least the first 7 years. Then depending on the situation, if recreational marijuana is still a no-go for Wisconsin, the revenue could climb up to $700,000 a year.
The dispensary employs 35 full-time workers and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. While smokable flower cannabis is the dispensary’s number one product, edibles and vaporizers get their due share of popularity too.
The main reason why the dispensary is so important is its demographics. With Wisconsin not so far away and a casino to be made, the dispensary promises to be a major attraction for people, pouring in from all over Illinois and Wisconsin. Mayor Rehl says that a lot of restaurants have already approached him regarding opening their businesses in the acreage. This not only opens up new doors of income to the state, it also promises to be a prime business hub.
Marijuana and its recreational use
The recreational use of marijuana in Illinois has been legal since the 1st of January. However, medical use was approved way back in 2015. Since then, more than 131,000 residents have acquired medical marijuana cards.
When recreational use of marijuana became legal in the state, the Rockford store was stormed by people from all over Illinois. People waited for hours in lines to get legal recreational marijuana.
However, over time the sales process became more and more fluid. With the opening of the new dispensary in South Beloit, one can go in and make a purchase in just about 5 minutes.
In May 2020, Illinois made $44 million through the sale of recreational pot alone. This not only marked record sales but also generated a lot of revenue for the state in the form of sales tax.
However, cannabis has been a taboo topic until recent times. Now, cannabis has numerous medical uses. In fact, cannabis has been found effective in treating some COVID-19 patients. Moreover, cannabis also helps in pain-relieving as well. Some studies have also revealed that smoking marijuana boosts memory as well.
With the opening of the Sunnyside marijuana dispensary, it looks like things will start to get even better for the state of Illinois as it attracts more and more investment.
Industrial Cannabis: Uzbek-French Company to Launch Cultivation Project
The cannabis market is ever-growing despite facing many hurdles including the stigma attached to it. With countries worldwide currently battling with the deadly coronavirus, the cannabis industry has undergone its share of struggles. This included the delay of multiple decisions and plans for the expansion of cannabis businesses. However, Uzbekistan took a step towards the case of industrial cannabis.
Dunyo News Agency has reported that ABM ORGANICS LLC, an Uzbek-French business, has planned the launch of its cultivation project with cannabis. They have planned to launch this project in the Khorezm region.
The company has planned to focus on the technical hemp, in the cannabis cultivation project that they are planning to launch. The technical hemp is a kind derived from the plant species, Cannabis sativa.
The agreement held 2 authorities
- Marafon Finlex – The Uzbek company
- Opal & Co – The French company
The two distinct companies signed the agreement for the organization of this company. Following this agreement, they became stockholders, on July 12.
Moreover, the signing ceremony which consisted of the respective documents of the organization was held in Paris, France. The new company is now on the hunt for further growth points in the current economy.
Furthermore, the Uzbekistan government had declared previously, the growth of cannabis for industrial purposes. However, in the declaration, they included the addition of specific drug content in cannabis.
The drug content was up to 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol. This specific substance can be addictive, which is why the Uzbekistan government set a specific ration, in their previous declaration.
Industrial cannabis in the green economy
Researchers believe for cannabis to potentially be a major part of the green economy in the upcoming years, with the inclusion of France. The cannabis plant has its own benefits and requires almost 5 times less hydration in comparison to cotton. Moreover, studies acknowledge cannabis as a wasteless material.
The growth and cultivation of such plants can be a state monopoly in Uzbekistan. Many of the types of cannabis are currently used in paper, pharmaceutical, light, and several other industries.
COVID-19 in Uzbekistan
Recently, the government announced its plans for the reopening of many businesses during the mid of the previous month. The businesses included cafes and restaurants, kindergartens, and clothing retailers. Moreover, the government announced the resumption of bus routes in a few provinces. These provinces had a lesser risk of the coronavirus, with the least active cases.
Moreover, the government divided the nation into color-coded zones
The government labeled these 3 regions as such on the basis of the rate of the active COVID-19 cases. However, even these regions entertained the resumption of soccer games and domestic tourism. Nevertheless, the declaration allowed no spectators to be present during soccer games. The government also resumed domestic flights and train transportation.
The Uzbekistan government had started to ease its lockdown restrictions to a large extent last month. This allowed many businesses to resume their operations as well. A month later, they took a step towards the cultivation of industrial cannabis, to expand the present cannabis industry.
While this is still an initial stage and much is yet to be done, it is a big step towards the eventual launch. The government has dealt with the coronavirus situation and lockdown very effectively.
The global lockdown has effectively caused an economic shutdown worldwide and Uzbekistan is no exception. However, many reporters also consider this launch to be a potential attempt to regain the lost economy. If so, many news agencies are waiting for the next step of this project and what it could mean for the cannabis industry in Uzbekistan.
Long Term Use of Cannabis Could Affect Your Social Behavior, Here’s Why
While there’s no denying the fact that cannabis has tons of medical benefits, extended exposure to it could have serious social behavioral repercussions.
In a nutshell, long term use of cannabis affects the ability of astrocytes to manufacture food for neurons from glucose. This reduced food production compromises on the neural function, which appears to have adverse effects on the person’s behavior.
The way long term cannabis use alters behavior appears to have a direct link with the cannabinoid function. While it is mostly observation and researchers know of no concrete mechanism yet, cannabis consumption could lead to reduced social interactions and withdrawal.
A deeper understanding of the cannabinoid receptors could prove fruitful in determining the relationship between cannabis and social behavior.
The role of cannabinoids
The role cannabinoids play is much more important than ever since some of these receptors are also present on the mitochondrial membrane. ‘Mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell’, is a statement almost everyone is well familiar with. If something were to happen to the mitochondria inside the cells, it could very well reflect on the person’s behavior.
Mitochondria metabolize glucose into lactate, which neurons use as food. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is THC. A better understanding of the relationship between the two could open doors to new possibilities.
Observations in mice reveal that if astrocytes are exposed to THC for an extended period of time, the cannabinoid receptors present in them start a chain of reactions that in turn lead to glucose metabolism dysfunction.
Therefore, there’s less available ‘food’ for astrocytes. This is like operating some heavy machinery with dry cells from a TV remote. Observations made suggest that this lack of ‘food’ has a direct impact on the subject’s behavior.
Moreover, in extreme cases, exposure to THC hampered social interactions for up to 24 hours.
While uncontrolled use of cannabis could be dangerous, controlled use with appropriate observations could very well be used to deal with some behavioral problems more easily and effectively.
The debate over therapeutic cannabis is yet again a hot topic. A better understanding of cannabis’ effects on the human body could help in finding the optimal solution.
However, for now, a simple rule to keep in mind, excess of everything is bad.
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