I do not wake up every day trying to be the cannabis industry curmudgeon. I want to say it looks good, there is good news ahead, the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train coming in the other direction, but alas, it seems that as hard as the cannabis industry tries to find a silver lining, the truth behind the title is really just more bad news. You may remember our write up of the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami where the best idea we heard over 3 days was to get a license and sell legal cocaine in Canada.
This past week was no different. Cannabis stocks jumped when, for the umpteenth time, news of the SAFE Banking Act being re-introduced by a bi-partisan group in Congress broke on Marijuana Moment. Even pro-cannabis Republican Nancy Mace was promised a fair and open discussion on the subject by House Speaker Jim Jordan when the time comes. Sorry, Nancy, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, or in this case, 14 times, shame on me.
What happened last week in reality? Republicans blocked a motion to take up a bill that would look at how medical marijuana can help veterans with PTSD. If there is one group you can say the Republicans empathize with and support on almost all bills and fronts, it is the military. Forget SAFE Banking and Democratic pushes to legalize cannabis, Senate Republicans won’t even hear debate on a bill that could help veterans with PTSD get some relief and sleep at night by puffing on a joint.
Republicans don’t even want to hear how veterans that have night terrors and wake up in cold sweats might be able to have relief with some elements of the cannabis plant. Does anyone think SAFE Banking, which legally puts cannabis sales money from recreational and medical sales into US federal banks has a chance?
The second positive head fake headline last week was that market research group BDSA sees “plenty of bright spots” and “lots to be excited about” in 2023 for the marijuana industry”. COO Liz Strahura sat down with John Schroyer of Green Market Report at MJ Unpacked in New York City for an interview.
Bright spots? Really?
From John’s summary, Liz sees 1. Cannabis roller coaster does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon 2. 13% decline in mature markets last year, but Missouri and Illinois are growing. Anyone in the industry want to talk about Missouri right now? How about the Illicit market across the Midwest being fueled by the fields of southern Illinois? 3. She predicts 14% sales increase this year with the addition of new states coming online. If I do the math, over 24 months of 2022 and 2023, we are looking at being flat (-13% and +14%) and that is WITH new states starting with their first sales and all the hoopla that comes with that. So, if we don’t add any new states and markets the sales forecast would still be negative is how that math works out. 4. Liz also says we will see a light contraction in 2023 but growth could start in 2024. Not sure how that sentence jives with her early statements but I digress. 5. We will see a leveling out of price declines but there will be continued major competition from the illicit markets.
If that interview counts as “bright spots” and “plenty to be excited about”, then call me crazy.
We won’t see a true bottom to price declines until we have Federal legalization and interstate commerce. Then a true market bottom will be established as oversupplied markets can ship excess inventory to lower supplied markets (crushing their prices), and we all get to know what an indoor ounce costs, an Emerald Triangle ounce costs, and an outdoor ounce cost shipped right to the consumers front door.
As Cannabis.net covered the election, the moment for true marijuana reform was when Joe Biden was elected president, Harris, his VP, co-sponsored a marijuana legalization bill, Georgia flipped Democratic giving the Democrats a small window where they had a majority in the House, a tie in the Senate, and VP Harris being the tie-breaking vote.
Even when the Gods lined up the Democratic opening, cannabis reform could not be pushed through.
As Cannabis.net has always said and confirmed with those in Congress, cannabis will be legal in America when Mitch McConnell says so, and by the way, he has thrown the SAFE Banking Act out of the Senate before and will do it again.
Unfortunately, that is the sad state of cannabis reform in America.
WHEN WILL WEED BE LEGAL, READ ON...