Hear Both Sides of Debate Scheduled as Part of Upcoming Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that 1) edibles and children, 2) pesticides, and 3) capping the size of the cannabis industry are three current hot-button issues. Which is reason enough for the upcoming Marijuana Business Conference & Expo to set aside a session for six industry insiders to bring what they know to a ‘great debates’ session at the conference.
Cannabis Edibles and Children. Edibles come in different weights, sizes and doses. Some of them have names such as ‘Kif-Kat,’ ‘Munchy Way,’ and ‘Baby Jane’ to look like the everyday snacks many adults and children enjoy. A study recently published in Clinical Pediatrics (and published in Science Daily) found that the rate of marijuana exposure among children five years old and younger increased nearly 16 percent per year after legalization; even states where cannabis is not legalized saw an increase of 63 percent in the rate of marijuana exposure among young children during this same time period.
According to Henry Spiller, D.ABAT, a co-author of the study, “The high percentage of ingestions may be related to the popularity of marijuana brownies, cookies and other foods. Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive.” The published article goes on to report that the overall number of reported marijuana exposure cases regarding young children (1,969) reported to Poison Control Centers in the U.S. is a relatively small number of total cases.
States where cannabis is legal are dealing with how to regulate edibles. In Colorado, edibles make up about 45% of the legal cannabis market. Last year the state passed new packaging, labeling, and potency restrictions specific to edibles. In addition to a recommended dose of 10 milligrams, the regulations require more explicit warnings and thorough information on labels and more child-resistant restrictions. The State’s Marijuana Enforcement Division has also provided incentives for companies to produce 10mg products by putting great burdens on manufacturers of products between 10mg and 100mg.
Is this approach enough to ensure cannabis-infused edibles don’t end up in the hands of children? Is this strictly a dosage and packaging regulation issue? Or, should edibles that might appeal to children even be allowed?
On Tuesday, May 10, Patrick Devlin, the Vice President of Db3 Corp, and Steph Sherer, Founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, will debate this serious topic as part of the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo session called “The Great Debates: Views on Hot-Button Issues.”
Pesticides and Cannabis: Cannabis cultivation and production has never been closely regulated in the United States. Cannabis plants thrive in warm, humid conditions, but so can mold, mildew, fungus and bugs. By definition pesticides are “substances used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals.” While pesticides have improved the quality and quantity of cannabis plants and reduced the amount of time needed to manually remove pests and weeds, concern over pesticide use is gaining more attention from patients, advocates and state governments.
In response to concerns, the number of testing labs continues to grow in states where cannabis is legal and testing of pesticides, microorganisms and potency are either required or recommended. While testing can ensure some peace of mind to end-consumers, testing can be difficult and expensive.
For any other industry, the federal government would determine what pesticides can or cannot be used on which plants. However, because cannabis is still a Schedule I substance under federal law, there is little existing research or federal level guidance related to pesticide use on cannabis. That means the responsibility regarding pesticides falls to each state’s department of agriculture. States are doing their best to put regulations in place to protect the public. Most recently, cannabis regulators in Colorado issued its 15th and 16th cannabis pesticide recalls and fines have been levied by Washington State against two major cannabis producers for using illegal pesticides.
So should pesticides never be used in cannabis cultivation? Or, does it make sense to use pesticides in commercial growing? Are there pesticides that are safe to use on cannabis plants? Who should regulate cannabis pesticides?
On Tuesday, May 10, Dale Sky Jones, the Executive Chancellor of Oaksterdam University, and Wanda James, the CEO of Simply Pure Colorado, will debate pros and cons of cannabis pesticides as part of the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo session called “The Great Debates: Views on Hot-Button Issues.”
Capping Cannabis Industry Size: The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today. In fact, legal marijuana sales jumped 17% in 2015 and are estimated to grow by 25% this year to reach $6.7 billion in total U.S. sales, according to a Fortune magazine article. Plus, an ArcView Market Research report predicts the legal cannabis market will grow to $21.8 billion in total annual sales by 2020. That’s incredibly fast growth considering the first adult-use dispensaries opened in Colorado just two years ago.
While this news is cause for great optimism for the cannabis industry, some communities where cannabis is legal want to cap the number of marijuana businesses are allowed in their community. Very recently, the Denver City Council approved a bill to ban new marijuana shops and grows to effectively keep the market size locked in the city. Applications of those wanting to establish a new cannabis business within city limits will only be reviewed when the number of existing operations drops below the current cap, and even then the distribution of businesses could dictate where a new business could operate.
Each side of this debate sees it differently. Caps may provide governments time to determine what responsible market growth is but if you’re a cannabis business, such a move could feel like an attack on business and a burgeoning new economy. After all, caps are not put on salons, pharmacies or other businesses and a free market will determine what businesses succeed.
Then there’s the use of merit-based criteria to determine what cannabis businesses are approved. Such applications commonly include high fees too. While this may ensure the state or municipality attracts and chooses businesses that will be successful, it eliminates opportunities for new entrepreneurs.
Does the cannabis industry need caps on the number of businesses allowed in a market? Is there the threat of over saturating a market with cannabis businesses? What cap number makes sense and does capping the size of the cannabis market ensure appropriate distribution of marijuana operations? Is merit-based criteria necessary to find successful cannabis business owners?
On Tuesday, May 10, Steve White, the CEO of Harvest, Inc., and Ean Seeb, the Co-Founder and Owner of Denver Relief Consulting, will debate how communities attract, choose and control cannabis businesses in a market area as part of the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo session called “The Great Debates: Views on Hot-Button Issues.”
Marijuana Business Conference & Expo Just a Week Away
Please plan to attend. The conference is being held in Orlando, Florida, May 9 – 11 at the Gaylord Palms. The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo is hosted by the Marijuana Business Daily and attracts 3,000+ industry executives, experts and major investors and is one of the most respected conferences available for cannabis industry professionals, entrepreneurs and vendors.