The Economic Impact of Cannabis Tourism

A major development in the cannabis industry has been tourism. Particularly with more than half of the states in the US decriminalizing medical marijuana, many states have begun to capitalize on the public’s interest in the substance. In an article on Forbes, Nick Kovacevich goes into depth about the growing industry and how it will continue to develop in the coming years.

The preliminary example that Kovacevich uses comes from San Francisco. He begins to talk about an experience called the Gonja Goddess Getaway, which is a wellness retreat for women who already love cannabis, and those that simply want a safe space to try it for the first time. The retreat consists of yoga, educational classes, spa treatments, and of course unlimited cannabis. The retreat allows its visitors to try it in many different forms, including smoothies, creams, and even vapes. According to the co-founder, Deidra Bagdasarian,

“Cannabis attracts everyone, from lawyers to truckers,” – Deidra Bagdasarian, Co-Founder of Ganja Goddess Getaway, 2018

Ganja Goddess
A photo from the Ganja Goddess Getaway hosted in San Francisco

Bagdasarian has enjoyed the luxuries of this form of tourism, as she also created Bliss Edibles which is one of the premier cannabis companies in the United States. Her business has expanded so much that she plans to expand across the entire country and overseas in 2019. Her success, however, is not uncommon in this industry. In the Forbes article, it is said that Cannabis Tourism is growing at an incredibly fats rate and attracts thousand of people, which in turn produces millions of dollars in revenue. Kovacevich noted that in Colorado alone, this form of tourism has grown 51% since 2014, according to the states department of revenue. He went further to note that,

“The Colorado DOR said the state attracted some 6.5 million cannabis tourists in 2016, the most recent figures available. It estimates that number will have grown by at least 6% in 2017 and will match or exceed that figure this year. The report said those 6.5 million tourists logged nearly 18 million cannabis-use days in 2016, a clear demonstration of how the state racked up more than $5.2 billion in marijuana sales since it legalized cannabis in January 2014.” – Nick Kovacevich,  Forbes Contributor, 2018

Let me just emphasize these numbers again. Since 2014, just four years ago, the cannabis industry alone in Colorado has contributed $5.2 BILLION to the states economy! Colorado is the prime example because it was the catalyst for the rest of the country to follow suit. Kovacevich also notes the impact California has been monumental as well. Not only are “Wine and Weed” tours are becoming more popular, but so are “Puff and Paint” events. These states have found innovative ways to infuse cannabis use with traditional tourism, allowing for a better experience for tourists. He notes that,

“One tour company plays on the mystique of cannabis, offering tours “behind the curtain” of the legal marijuana industry in six states, along with some sampling along the way.” – Nick Kovacevich,  Forbes Contributor, 2018

Though Cannabis Tourism has produced a great deal of revenue, like the rest of the cannabis industry, it also has a banking problem. Since cannabis use is still considered illegal at the federal level, most banks refuse to do business with companies in the industry. With some states having it legalized and others refusing to do so, the legal uncertainty makes it hard for banks, and destination marketers to promote cannabis tourism. States are beginning to wake up to the potential, but there is a lot of work to be done.

According to Marijuana Business Factbook, the economic impact of legal marijuana will increase 223% from 2017 to 2022. Using the Great Experiment as an example, also called Colorado, we can assume that the more touristy the area of a certain state, the higher the cost of marijuana, which in turn generates higher sales tax revenue. In 2017, cannabis sales were higher than alcohol sales in Aspen for the first time in history. Even small towns near the border with states where cannabis use is not legalized have seen significantly higher per capita sales than interior areas of the state. This indicates that the out-of-state market of potential customers on a day-trip can be just as potent.

Even in Nevada, where cannabis use is outlawed on the Vegas Strip, people are finding a way to cash in on the industry. After marijuana revenue exceeded expectations by 25% in 2017, Nevada policy makers began to consider smoking parlors and pot lounges to draw more tourist. Kovacevich added that,

“In November [2018], a sort of cannabis theme park will open in Las Vegas, featuring laser graffiti walls, giant flying orbs, and light and water shows. And that’s before guests get to the dispensary.” – Nick Kovacevich, Forbes Contributor, 2018

In the coming years it is inevitable for us to see more cities loosen their restrictions on cannabis tourism, due to the fact that so much revenue is involved. It will be interesting to see how cities adapt around the development of the cannabis industry, and try to incorporate it into their tourism pitch. Comment which cities you would like to visit for your first Cannabis Tourism experience!

Article: The Next Big Thing In Cannabis: Tourism

CBD Treatment For Your Dog or Cat?

While it is apparent that the use of cannabis can be beneficial for the health of humans, an untapped market in the development of CBD as a product is its efficiency with animals as well. When it comes to cannabis, there is very little research on its impact on dogs and cats. Many pet-owners often treat their animals like family members, and will do all they can to make sure that their pet is as healthy as possible. When a pet gets sick and conventional healing options don’t work, many pet-owners have began to look at alternatives, particularly natural healing. Though there are not many trusted individuals who can provide professional consulting on cannabinoid therapies for pets, it is clear to many in the veterinary field that cannabis can be of great use.

The reason that I even began to research more in depth about this topic is because of a conversation I had with my professor. She told our Social Media and Internet Marketing class that her dog often gets anxious and afraid during bad storms. In order to calm the dog down, she utilizes cannabis to assist her animal with sleep. Funny enough, my roommates and I just got a dog of our own, and as hyper as he is, we will most likely use cannabis as a method to calm him down sometimes as well.

In an interview with Project CBD, Gary Richter, an integrative medicine veterinarian based in Oakland, CA, I was able to understand many of the benefits of cannabis use for pets. According to Project CBD, any animal with a backbone has an endocannabinoid system, meaning pets can process cannabis similar to humans in the right dosage amount. Dr. Richter states that,

“Animals can benefit from medical cannabis for many of the same reasons it helps people – for pain, seizure control, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety-related issues. We’ve also seen positive results with cancer” – Gary Richter, Holistic Veterinarian, 2017

Though there are similar results in humans and pets alike, Richter notes that the reason for the lack of research is because cannabis is still federally illegal, therefore it cannot be funded. Richter believes that once there is a legal pathway, the research will happen because there is too much money involved. He would like to see more research on the effect of cannabis on gastrointestinal issues, pain, and inflammation for animals. Many veterinary patients have seen “dramatic” effects with cannabis as a use for these specific ailments.

When asked about the difference between the endocannabinoid systems in pets versus humans, Richter states that n the big picture they are very similar.

“One striking difference is there appears to be a greater concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the dog’s brain than there are in most other animals. This is significant because it makes dogs more susceptible to THC overdose, potentially giving them a certain amount of neurologic impairment in the short-term. This phenomenon is known as static ataxia.” – Gary Richter, Holistic Veterinarian, 2017

Otherwise, Ritchter notes that when cannabis medicine is used efficiently, their endocannabinoid system will act in the same way it would for a human. Cannabis toxicity is nonfatal and does not cause long-term effects for animals, however, Richter has heard of a few cases where pets did not survive after digging into their owners stash. When used responsibly, the goal of medical cannabis for animals is never to get them “stoned”,rather alleviate their pain in the short term.

In the interview, Richter and Sarah Russo of Project CBD, the pair spoke about a variety if issues with the legalization of cannabis for animals. Richter was asked about the ratio of THC to CBD that is effective, preferred administration methods, and most importantly, education. When asked about how knowledgeable veterinarians are about cannabis thereaprutics, Richter states,

“This is a big problem—the lack of education. The California Veterinary Medical Board is very much against the use of medical cannabis for pets. They don’t want veterinarians speaking with pet owners about it at all, except to say that it is bad and not to use it.” – Gary Richter, Holistic Veterinarian, 2017

This is surprising due to the fact that California has already legalized medical marijuana, and is very proactive in monetizing cannabis as well. While the research is lacking still in the use for animals, it is clear that in the right dosage, animals can enjoy cannabis as well. Once legalized at the federal level, it should be no surprise that research into medical cannabis use for animals will be researched at much greater lengths.

Article : Claws and Effect: Cannabis Medicine For Pets

Legal Marijuana As An Alternative To Opioids

Continuing with the focus of the impact that legal marijuana has on Colorado, The Hemp Chronicles will now switch the focus to it’s impact on the health front. In our last post we discussed the financial and economic implications that legal cannabis has had on Colorado, but not the public health.

From a study from the Washington Post, it is apparent that marijuana legalization in Colorado helped facilitate a reverse of opiate related deaths. In the research published by the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has helped to save lives even. The authors are quick to emphasize that the results are preliminary since the study took place in 2017, just three years after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014. From the study, the authors reported that,

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years”M. Livingston, T. Barnett, C. Delcher, and A. Wagenaar, American Journal of Public Health

Many prior reports have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid related deaths, the report from the American Journal of Public Health is the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths. Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post notes that marijuana is often highly effective at treating similar chronic pain that opiates are often prescribed for. Ingraham notes that from the standpoint of public health, this current trend is positive, as marijuana carries almost no risk of fatal overdose opposed to opioid use. He notes that,

“Overall, after controlling for both medical marijuana and the prescription-drug-monitoring change, the study found that after Colorado implemented its recreational marijuana law, opioid deaths fell by 6.5 percent in the following two years.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Graph version 2The authors are careful to note that policymakers would want to continue to monitor these numbers in coming years to see if the trend continues. And while they are positive that cannabis use can be a sustainable alternative to opioids and other prescribed drugs, they are quick to emphasize that legal marijuana can increase fatalities in other areas. Other areas can include fatalities related to driving under the influence of marijuana, yet the figures have not proved there to be any significant relation. Regardless the study supports the concept that,

“… increasing marijuana availability could help reduce the toll of America’s opiate epidemic, which claims tens of thousands of lives each year.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Article: Legal Marijuana Is Saving Lives In Colorado, Study Finds

The Great Experiment

While many states have legalized marijuana as of 2018, well at least medical marijuana use in most cases, Colorado was the first of its kind. The legalization of marijuana use in the state of Colorado is considered one of America’s greatest experiment to date. Though no one knew exactly what was to come from marijuana legalization, it is clear that the state has seen numerous benefits. In 2014 Colorado became the first state where marijuana, often referred to as “pot”, was made recreational. Voting numbers for the so called “Great Experiment” were unprecedented, and natives of the state have seen vast changes since its implementation. The so called “experiment” has been very beneficial for Colorado.

As of 2018, just four years after the legalization of cannabis, Colorado continues to be characterized by record low unemployment rates. As of March of 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado has an unemployment rate of just 3%, while the national average is at 3.9%. In 2017, only three years after it’s legalization, Colorado reached a record-low unemployment rate at 2.6% in May. Multiple factors contribute to Colorado’s low level of unemployment, including the state’s business-friendly policies.

Colorado Chart
The chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the historical high and low unemployment rates for Colorado

According to Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s very low business tax rate is one of the lowest in the country at 4.6%. Carey Wedler from the Word On Tree, another blog based on the business of cannabis, noted that Colorado’s approach to business taxes has helped create over 60,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, however it is undeniable that the cannabis industry has played a vital role in the states development. Wedler states that in 2016 alone,

“Cannabis generated $1.3 billion in profit, which yielded nearly $200 million in tax revenue that the state is using for various programs, including education, substance abuse and cannabis awareness programs for youth, and even the Attorney General’s office.” – Carey Wedler, Word on Tree, 2017

With over a billion dollars worth of business in one industry, it is inevitable that jobs would follow. In 2015 alone, just a year after the implementation of recreational cannabis, the industry created 18,000 full time jobs. The Washington Post reported that,

“These indirect impacts of marijuana legalization came from increased demand on local goods and services: growers rent warehouse space and purchase sophisticating lighting and irrigation equipment, for instance. Marijuana retailers similarly rely on other companies, like contractors, lawyers and book-keeping services, to conduct their own businesses.”

marijuana-legal-pot-sales-620The trend has not slowed down, as the industry continues to increase on jobs and revenue. In 2016, CBS posted a report that according to the Marijuana Business Daily, Colorado has more than 27,000 occupational licenses, which was up from the nearly 16,000 licenses that were held at the end of 2014. In order to compare the impact of the economy that the legalization of cannabis has versus clean energy, we can look at the number of jobs that were created. In the article on Word of Tree posted by Carey Wedler, clean energy jobs outnumber the amount of cannabis jobs by more than 35,000, the actual speed of job creation is faster with marijuana. According to the Denver Business Journal, the clean energy sector created 1,583 new jobs in 2014. In opposition, the Marijuana Business Daily reported that,

“….  In May of 2014 that less than six months after legalization, the cannabis industry had already generated between 1,000 and 2,000 new jobs — roughly the same number of jobs as clean energy created in the course of the whole year.”

These numbers really speak for themselves and have major implications for the rest of the country. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I have already seen some of these implications manifest themselves first-hand. Business Insider noted that the state of California, which legalized marijuana in November of 2016, could see major economic benefits. In the state capital region alone, there can be an increase of 20,000 potential jobs if it becomes a hub for the industry. Even though it has proven to be an economic bonus for Colorado and states that have followed suit, many remain reluctant to admit it’s impact. Even Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado initially opposed legalization, yet changed his mind once he saw positive results. He believes it is too soon to know what the downsides are of legalized marijuana, but he now remains optimistic. He even notes that the state has not seen a big spike in teenage consumption, or any consumption; it is now just through a regulated process.

Related Links:

Word on Tree : First State to Legalize Weed Has Lowest Unemployment Rate in the Country

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Eight States at Historically Low Unemployment Rates in March 2018

CBS News: Measuring Colorado’s “Great Experiment” With Marijuana

What’s The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Although both of my former blog posts were centered around the use of marijuana, please do not be confused. Hemp and marijuana are in the same family, but both plants are valuable for different reasons. Both Hemp and marijuana are apart of the cannabis family, but are cultivated and applied completely different to everyday life.

Hemp is used in a variety of applications that marijuana could not physically be used for at all. In their physical makeup, hemp and marijuana are completely different. As you can see in the picture below, hemp plants are aligned on the left side and marijuana, its much more popular cousin, is aligned on the right side. Hemp stalks can grow up to four meters tall organically, and do not need pesticides to grow. Hemp leaves are much thinner and less densely placed than leaves of a marijuana plant.

Chemically, hemp and marijuana differ in their capacity for THC. Hemp is categorized by a low THC level, less than 0.3%, while marijuana is categorized by high THC levels, ranging anywhere from between 5% to 35%. Hemp compensates for its lack of THC with a higher amount of CBD, the non-intoxicating compound with more medical applications.  Due to its lack of high THC level, hemp is not a psychoactive plant, opposed to marijuana. In terms of cultivation, hemp requires minimal care and can adapt to grow in the majority of climates. On the other hand, marijuana must be grown in carefully controlled atmospheres. Naturally, there are only a few specific climates that have the capacity to produce marijuana. This explains why in the photo the hemp plants are photographed in a natural environment, while marijuana cultivation is taking place in a warehouse. hemp-vs-marijuana-featured-photo-v3

The reason why hemp is so interesting is because it has the potential to be help provide sustainable energy. It has already been used in tests to power automobiles, providing an alternative fuel to harsh fossil fuel emissions. Hemp has also been used in body care, clothing, construction, food production, plastic, and much more. The plant has been grown for centuries and production of it has soared over the past year.

According to Jeremy Berke of the Business Insider, the impact of the legalization of cannabis across various states has lead to great industrial excitement. From 2016 to 2017, the number of acres licensed for hemp cultivation increased 140 and the number of producers DOUBLED over the same time. Following projections, the hemp market in the United States alone is prime to hit $1.65 billion in 2021. In March of this year, Senator Mitch McConnell introduced a bill to legalize industrial hemp. I am positive, that in a few years, all cannabis use will be legal due to its economic implications. In America, if it makes money, it makes complete sense. If i had a recommendation, I would suggest you to get in the industry now before it gets dominated by large corporations.

23 Proven Health Benefits Of Marijuana

Along with Washington D.C, 29 states around the country have legalized medical marijuana. According to an article by the Business Insider, the American public is in large support of medical marijuana use. The author of the article states that:

“At least 84% of the public believes the drug should be legal for medical uses, and recreational pot usage is less controversial than ever, with at least 61% of Americans in support.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists that there are viable medical uses for cannabis, though some of its advocates often overstate its power. Though there are about 400 or more chemical compounds in marijuana, scientists mainly focus on the two active ones that are believed to have medical implications. According to Loria, the two are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The two min components act in different ways though; CBD seems to impact the brain without a high, while its counterpart, THC, has pain relieving properties but is largely responsible for the high. From Loria’s research, I will provide the 23 health benefits:

  1. The best-supported medicinal use of marijuana is as a treatment for chronic pain.
  2. There is strong evidence that medical cannabis can help with muscle spasms.
  3. The actual smoking of marijuana has not been proven to harm lung capacity (unless used in combination with tobacco) and may in fact improve it.

    “Researchers looking for risk factors of heart disease tested the lung function of 5,115 young adults over the course of 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity. It’s possible that the increased lung capacity may be due to taking a deep breath while inhaling the drug and not from a therapeutic chemical in the drug.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  4. It may be of use in treating glaucoma, or it can be possible to derive a drug from marijuana for this specific use. 51f92144ecad04532d00000e-750-563
  5. It can help control epileptic seizures.
  6. It decreases the symptoms of severe seizure disorder known as Dravet’s Syndrome. The article provided an interesting anecdote about this specific use as well:

    “During the research for his documentary “Weed,” Sanjay Gupta interviewed the Figi family, who treated their 5-year-old daughter using a medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC. The Figi family’s daughter, Charlotte, has Dravet Syndrome, which causes seizures and severe developmental delays. According to the film, the drug decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just one every seven days. Forty other children in the state were using the same strain of marijuana to treat their seizures when the film was made — and it seemed to be working.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  7. A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading, at least in cell cultures.
  8. It can decrease anxiety in low doses.
  9. THC can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is of particular relevance to me, due to the fact that I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s earlier this year. There is no cure to Alzheimer’s, but if I would have known about some of marijuana’s healing ability for it, it definitely would have been explored as an option.

    The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques kill brain cells and are associated with Alzheimer’s. A synthetic mixture of CBD and THC seems to preserve memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study suggested that a THC-bases prescription drug called dronabinol was able to reduce behavioral disturbances in dementia patients.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  10. Marijuana eases the pain of multiple sclerosis.
  11. It seems to lessen the side effects from treating Hepatitis C and increase treatment effectiveness.

    “… A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy. Only 29% of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessen the treatment’s side effects.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  12. It has been proven to help with inflammatory bowel diseases.
  13. It relieves arthritis discomfort for many.
  14. Marijuana users tend to be less obese and have a better response to eating sugar.
  15. Though it isn’t a medical or health benefit, marijuana could spur creativity.

    “Contrary to stoner stereotypes, marijuana usage has actually been shown to have some positive mental effects, particularly in terms of increasing creativity, at least in some contexts. Even though people’s short-term memories tend to function worse when they’re high, they actually get better at tests requiring them to come up with new ideas.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  16. Cannabis soothes tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease.
  17. Marijuana can help veterans suffering from PTSD.
  18. Studies on animals suggest that marijuana can protect the brain after a stroke.
  19. Particularly related to sports, marijuana can protect the brain from concussions and trauma.533c206f69bedd2a3a0a1aab-750-493
  20. Though this one can’t necessarily be proven, marijuana use can help eliminate nightmares.
  21. Cannabis reduces some of the pain and nausea from chemotherapy and stimulates appetite.
  22. Marijuana can help people who are suffering from alcoholism, which has proven to damage the liver and cause aggressive behaviors.

    “Research published in the Harm Reduction Journal found that some people use marijuana as a less harmful substitute for alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illegal drugs. Some of the most common reasons patients make that substitution are that marijuana has less negative side effects and is less likely to cause withdrawal problems.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  23. Medical marijuana legalization seems to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

Article: 23 Health Benefits of Marijuana

The Use Of Marijuana In Sports

In order to eliminate the negative stigma that accompanies the use of cannabis, one of the first steps involved is recognition. Cannabis use has been widely recognized by many scientists as an alternative to traditional medications, and has been recognized by many prominent entrepreneurs as a viable business option; however, this is not the recognition I’m speaking of.

To fight the stereotypes that go hand-in-hand with cannabis use, people need to recognize that many of their favorite athletes, entertainers, and businessman are using cannabis to their advantage and not a handicap. The following article from Bleacher Report is a testimonial from many former NFL and NBA athletes that will attest to the fact that marijuana helped them to succeed. According to one NBA athlete, Matt Barnes, in all of his best games, he was medicated. In an interview with the Rich Eisen Show, Barnes said:

“It relaxed me, it was something that allowed me to sleep easier, it was something that took pain away — because I’m not really big on alcohol or pain killers. And it was something that just put me in a different area where I was able to relax and be at peace for a small part of my day.” – Matt Barnes, former NBA Forward, 2018

1e046786220416ba330287e046b4a6b7_crop_exactWhile the NBA is more receptive of the use of cannabis, the NFL currently has a much more strict policy for its players. NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, even admitted to Bleacher Report that the league is, “interested in better understanding the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana”. The NFL is on the other side of the spectrum though, and has offered to work with it’s Players Association, but remains hesitant to provide support. Roger Goodell has been consistent in his message when he stated that:

“[Marijuana] does have [an] addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long term. All of those things have to be considered. And it’s not as simple as someone just wants to feel better after a game.” – Roger Goodell, Current NFL Commissioner of 12 seasons, 2017

While it may be true that cannabis use can be addictive, it is also clear that if used responsibly it can have numerous benefits for athletes. According to newly retired tight end Martellus Bennett, about 89% of NFL players use cannabis as an alternative for prescriptive medicine. If many of your favorite athletes continue to make highlight play after highlight play while using cannabis, can it really be a negative entity? It sure makes you tune in on a weekly basis.

Article: NBA’s Matt Barnes Discusses His Marijuana Use