An Update On The Cannabis Industry

Grind for March 4th, 2019

“Try to keep your soul young and quivering right up to old age.”

– George Sand

Side Effects

The Headline

Blacks and Latinos hesitate to join marijuana industry

The Grind

As marijuana becomes legal in more parts of the country, employers are finding a significant lack of participation from demographics who say they were unfairly targeted by police during the war on drugs.

Studies suggest blacks and Latinos are at least four times as likely to be arrested for weed and other drugs than whites. For them, the idea of interacting with the government is more intimidating than a back alley drug deal.

“They’re scared of the government, man,” says cannabis activist Sieh Samura. “This is still a new thing. And there’s taxes. There’s the government. There’s all kinds of things, you know.”

The Details

When Massachusetts legalized weed in December 2016, lawmakers wrote up the nation’s first Social Equity Program in order to give minorities a leg up in the industry.

In the city of Somerville, a full 50% of recreational marijuana licenses are earmarked for black and Latino applicants.

“We want to make sure that everyone has a real authentic opportunity to participate in that economy in the future,” says Somerville’s Mayor, Joe Curtatone. “If not, we start to lose the fabric and soul of our community.”

In Milford, cannabis company Sira Naturals is hosting a 12-week workshop designed to help people of color get into the industry – especially those with experience.

“We see our program…as sort of offering a hand to those who’ve been operating – and have skill and passion and dedication to cannabis products – in the illicit marketplace, to come to the regulated side, to get on the books and help facilitate the start of their businesses,” says Sira Naturals CEO Mike Dundas.

The company plans to open a recreational shop in Somerville with the help of entrepreneurs who attended the workshop.

Feeling Buzzed

The Headline

ISWR report suggests cannabis legalization could harm alcohol industry

The Grind

A new report from the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) company and BDS Analytics warns the alcohol industry to expect serious competition from legal cannabis.

According to the report, roughly 40% of adults consume cannabis in states where it is legal. Of that group, 37% also enjoy alcohol. Of those who enjoy both drugs (AKA “dualists”), 45% are Millennials.

Other interesting stats from the report:

— In states where cannabis is legal, alcohol remains twice as popular

— Cannabis users are less likely to drink alcohol than regular drinkers are to use cannabis

— When they do consume alcohol, cannabis users are most likely to drink craft beer and least likely to drink wine

— 44% of dualists believe marijuana should be sold in liquor stores

The Implication

Marijuana legalization is happening fast. Ten US states currently allow recreational use and 34 allow medical use. Last year, Canada voted to legalize the drug nationwide.

“Though not yet mainstream, cannabis adoption is certainly growing in states where it’s legal and does pose a risk to the beverage alcohol industry in the future,” explains IWSR president Brandy Rand. “It’s important that alcohol brands pay attention to their consumers, recognizing that some occasions may results in a decrease in alcohol consumption in place of, or alongside, legal cannabis.”

The recognition of consumer preferences amid the increasing popularity of cannabis should be considered a “critical” priority for the alcohol industry, notes the report.

Occasions in which consumers will likely choose weed over alcohol include: when they are feeling creative, when they need motivation, and when they are seeking health benefits.

Did you know… Bob Hope and Billy Joel were both once boxers.