News and updates on the wide world of weed

by DGO Staff

Uber Eats takes things green

Things are leveling up for Uber Eats customers — at least in Ontario, Canada, anyway.

As of late November, Uber Eats users in Ontario have a new option when ordering pick-up items, and unlike the other options on the menu, this one is green, green, green.

Yep, you guessed it. It’s weed! Uber Eats added weed!

Adding weed to the menu is a big step for the food ordering marketplace, which has traditionally limited the menu offerings to things like burgers and pizza. And, from what we can tell, it looks like it will be a pretty easy fix for Ontario residents (Ontarians? Ontario-ans? We don’t know.)

Here’s how it will work:

Right now, there is one retail partner on board — Canadian cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke — which has dozens of stores throughout Ontario. So while the options are limited to Tokyo Smoke for now, there should be multiple locations to choose from. And, multiple products, considering that Tokyo Smoke is a pretty gosh darn big chain of dispensaries, eh? (Get it, eh? Canadian? Sorry. We’re just jealous of this new development.)

Weed orders will be placed through the Uber Eats app — just like any other order would be — and will be fulfilled within an hour of order placement, which is pretty darn quick.

And, as you may have gathered, the only option for order fulfillment is pickup; there is no Uber Eats delivery of weed. Not right now, anyway. Meghan Casserly, Uber Eats‘ head of communications for delivery, confirmed to The Verge that there would be no delivery. So you’ll have to head out and pick it up at the location you choose. But that’s a small price to pay for the convenience of ordering, right?

Right.

So, this is great for Ontario, but what about the rest of Canada? Or the U.S.?

Reuters asked an Uber Eats spokesperson about the possibility of expanding the service into other
Canadian provinces, or the U.S., and were told that there “nothing more to share at this time.”

Given that response, it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan to expand the Uber Eats weed ordering to other markets yet.

But why is Uber Eats jumping on the weed ordering bandwagon right now? Especially in Canada?

The spokesperson told Reuters that the collaboration between Tokyo Smoke and Uber will help Canadian adults purchase legal cannabis safely. Black market sales of weed still account for over 40% of all non-medical cannabis sales in Canada — so the goal is to abate the thriving underground black market by offering easier ways to purchase weed.

But while this is the first time that Uber Eats is hopping on the weed bandwagon, there have been clear hints dropped that something is in the works over the last couple of years.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC last April the company will be considering cannabis delivery services when the legal coast is clear in the United States.

“When the road is clear for cannabis, when federal laws come into play, we’re absolutely going to take a look at it,” Khosrowshahi said.

So while the current menu is limited to weed pickup in Ontario, there’s a good chance it could expand at some point in the near future, even if Uber is refusing to address it right now.

Cultivation licensing is rolling out in NM

It’s official. Our neighboring state of New Mexico has issued its first recreational cannabis cultivation license to a grower.

Looks like Colorado may have some friendly recreational competition in the near future.
So, who was the lucky winner? The license went to Tony Martinez, the CEO of Mother’s Meds. Martinez announced in a statement last week that the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department had issued the company a license to operate as a cannabis cultivator on November 1 — marking a momentous occasion for both the state and for Martinez.

Martinez’s company will join 34 other cannabis producers — all of which were previously licensed by the
Department of Health to cultivate medical marijuana in the state.

And, while Martinez’s company may be the first to receive a recreational cultivation license, he already has competition. Many of the previously licensed cannabis producers are set to grow recreational cannabis under the new state laws.

A spokesperson for the state’s Cannabis Control Division confirmed that the license had been awarded pending a background check of the applicants.

“Mother’s Meds has been issued a cannabis producer’s license and that license will go into effect as soon as all background check requirements are met,” division spokesperson Heather Brewer said in a statement.
“The Cannabis Control Division is excited to start issuing licenses and looks forward to public announcements and celebrations of new businesses as the Division works to stand up a thriving adult-use cannabis industry in New Mexico.”

Martinez credited the “hard work, due diligence and adaptability” of the company’s staff and San Juan County’s “business friendly attitude” for the licensing win. The company “will continue to comply with all CCD rules and regulations,” according to a statement from Martinez.

Martinez also noted that the company will operate by contracting with cannabis industry professionals rather than hiring a slew of new employees.

“My least favorite part of business is placing a value on another person’s efforts and talents; this model allows people more control over their destiny and to work with us, not for us,” Martinez said. “I believe this will allow our community to attract and retain more talented professionals than our competitors.”

The CCD first began accepting applications for adult-use cannabis producers in August of 2021. As of late November, more than 1,500 potential applicants had initiated the process, and more than 1,000 applications were started for licenses to operate microbusinesses, which are limited to growing no more than 200 cannabis plants at a time.

Legal weed in Mexico?

It feels like Mexico has been tossing around the idea of legal recreational cannabis for years, and to be fair, it has. Some big moves have been made by our south of the border neighbor — and it looks like even more could be on the horizon.

The discussion about cannabis reform in Mexico has made headlines since 2015, when Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of four individuals who had cultivated their own cannabis for personal use.

And, while that ruling didn’t legalize cannabis in Mexico, the court made it clear that cannabis prohibition violated the human right of free expression of a person’s personality — which all but cleared the way for legalization in the nation.

But while the path has been clear, things haven’t exactly progressed as expected on the legalization front.

The pandemic threw a wrench into the works and made it extremely difficult for lawmakers to turn the
Supreme Court’s ruling into formal legalization in Mexico.
Things took a turn for the better earlier this year, though, when the Supreme Court struck down all of the remaining cannabis laws in Mexico, which effectively decriminalized recreational use.

As a result of the court’s action, the president of the Mexican Senate, Olga S nchez Cordero, now believes that recreational reform will be finally passed into law — and it’s expected to happen very quickly. In fact, it could be as early as this month.

In other words, by the time you read this, Mexico could have fully legal weed. Pretty awesome, right?
Wisconsin is cracking down

As the rest of the nation makes headway on cannabis legalization, it appears that poor old Wisconsin is headed in the opposite direction. And, it could get ugly for cannabis lovers in that state.

A recent bill proposed by a bipartisan pair of Wisconsin lawmakers could increase the fines for marijuana possession in some of the state’s most populous and diverse cities.

The legislation seeks to “set fines statewide to no less than $100 for possessing 14 grams or less of marijuana and no more than $250,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, which would require “many communities like Green Bay to lower minimum fines for the misdemeanor.”

That could carry significant implications for communities such as Milwaukee, which is, by far, the largest city in Wisconsin. But while Milwaukee is the most diverse, it’s also one of the most lenient cities in the state when it comes to weed, with fines for marijuana possession of 28 grams or less that are currently just $1.
The proposed bill “would increase fines for having 14 grams or less to $100 but allow county officials to keep fines $1 for convictions for more than 14 grams,” the Journal Sentinel reported.

“Under current law, a person convicted of possessing marijuana may face up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in prison on the first offense,” the newspaper said. “On subsequent offenses, the crime becomes a felony.”

As you may have guessed, recreational pot use remains illegal in Wisconsin, despite the fact that it neighbors two other legal states. There have been numerous proposed variations of legalization bills, but all of them have gone up in smoke, leaving Wisconsin to lag behind the rest of the nation.

And, if this new legislation is passed, it will be even further behind, despite the fact that there are clearly proponents of legal cannabis in the state.

Surprise, surprise: Americans love weed

So, chances are good that you will not be surprised to hear that a new survey from Gallup shows that a record high number of Americans think pot should be legal. We could have told them that.

According to the survey results, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States — or 68% — support the legalization of marijuana.

These survey results are an exact match to Gallup’s poll from 2020, which found that 68% of American adults support legalizing marijuana.

The 2020 poll showed that “more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.,” according to Gallup.

And, just like last year’s poll, the latest survey found “solid majorities of U.S. adults in all major subgroups by gender, age, income and education support legalizing marijuana.”

“Substantive differences are seen, however, by political party and religion,” Gallup noted. “While most
Democrats (83%) and political independents (71%) support legalization, Republicans are nearly evenly split on the question (50% in favor; 49% opposed). Weekly and semiregular attendees of religious services are split on the issue as well, while those who attend infrequently or never are broadly supportive of legalizing marijuana.”

These poll findings are hardly a surprise, given that there has been a huge and ongoing push for legalization nationwide over the last decade. The success of legal states like Colorado and California have also helped to shape attitudes toward marijuana reform (not to pat ourselves on the back or anything).

More than a dozen states have now moved to legalize recreational pot use for adults. And, in 2020, voters in four states — New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota — passed ballot measures that legalized marijuana for recreational use.

And, Coloradans also love their bud. Literally.

Guess who loves their cannabis flower? Yep, you guessed it. It’s Colorado.

New Frontier Data recently reviewed Colorado sales data and found that despite the wide variety of products in Colorado, cannabis flower still reigns supreme.
Using data from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, the company found that between 2014 and 2020, Colorado’s cannabis flower sales have increased exponentially.

Per the data, New Frontier found that the state of Colorado sold 148,000 pounds in 2014 — and then gradually increased sales to 584,000 pounds by 2020. That, our friends, is a compound annual growth rate of 26%.

And, there are some other interesting takeaways, too.

Per the data, Colorado sold 201 million joints in 2014. By 2020, the state sold approximately 795 million joints. What that means is that throughout the seven years of legal cannabis in Colorado, the state has sold over 3.4 billion joints.

“That flower sales continue to increase at such a pace seven years since the market launched suggests that smoking flower will remain a durable preference for the foreseeable future,”

New Frontier Data Chief Knowledge Officer and author John Kagia wrote in his analysis. “However, the dominance of flower belies the seismic changes happening to consumer behavior and highlights the imperative for producers and brands to understand the tides of evolving consumer preferences.” But while the state of Colorado overall shows strong growth in flower sales, the individual breakdown of who prefers what isn’t nearly as cut and dry. New Frontier Data’s 2021 Cannabis Consumer Evolution report notes that 57% of consumers use both flower and non-flower products, with only 19% reporting that they won’t choose flower over other options.

And, about 70% of younger consumers — defined in the range of 18-34 — were more likely to consume both flower and non-flower products. That’s about two times higher than older consumers — defined as those over 55 years of age — who clocked in at 35%.

However, the older group was twice more likely than the younger crowd to only consume flower, at 40% and 15% respectively.

Women were also less likely to choose flower in comparison to men. Medical cannabis patients also reported not using flower when treating their ailments, due to the increased risk of smoking on their health.

Black market sales also have a direct impact on the popularity of flower in the state.

New Frontier Data found that 33% of consumers who live in illegal markets are more likely to smoke flower exclusively, while just 22% of those who live in regulated markets choose flower.

On the other hand, about 27% of consumers who purchase their cannabis products from dispensaries or delivery services were more likely to buy non-cannabis flower products. About 13% said they would purchase from “informal sources.”

Availability also presents a thriving legal impact, according to the data.

“That dynamic reflects the regulated market’s power in introducing consumers to new, alternative product forms: not only is the legal market far more effective in innovating new product forms than is the illicit market, but the retail experience by which consumers can speak with knowledgeable budtenders regarding their needs and preferences is hastening the adoption of value-added products in regulated markets,” Kagia wrote.

Interestingly, while cannabis flower may be the most prominent form of consumption right now, New Frontier
Data predicts that it will slowly become less popular.

“The fragmentation of the product landscape is quickly reshaping the flower- dominant segment of the market; based on current trends, consumers who use flower exclusively are likely to become increasingly dominated by Older, male and less frequent users.”

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