Upstate New York city welcomes cannabis businesses
While many municipalities throughout Ney York are considering opting-out of the state’s recreational marijuana market or zoning cultivators out of their jurisdiction, the city of Jamestown is doing exactly the opposite and inviting cannabis cultivators to set up shop.
Located along the Pennsylvania border, south of Buffalo, Jamestown, with a population of around 30,000, is a former industrial city located between multiple interstates. And because the city generates its own power and provides water, it has one of the lowest costs for utilities in the state — all of which makes it the perfect place for new cannabis businesses to locate, according to Mayor Eddie Sundquist.
“We’re happy to blaze a trail,” Sundquist told Marijuana Venture. “We want to encourage those commercial cannabis operations to look at the city. A former manufacturing city, we have large areas that would be perfect for hydroponic growth operations, for cultivations, for labs, all of those types of areas, with a really low cost of living, low cost of electric, low cost of water — all the makings of a really great opportunity for commercial operations.”
Study shows teen marijuana use stable over past decade despite legalization
A new study shows that despite more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use among adults, there has been no measurable change in teen use since 2019.
According to data published by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 22% of students in grades 9–12 reported using marijuana at least one time during the previous 30 days. The numbers include about 8% of students who reported using marijuana one or two times during the previous 30 days, 10% who reported using marijuana three to 39 times during the previous 30 days, and 4% who reported using marijuana 40 or more times during the previous 30 days.
But according to the report, there has been no measurable change in overall use since 2009, when 21% reported using marijuana at least 1 time during the previous 30 days. There was also no measurable difference in reported marijuana use between these years for male students (22% in 2019) though the percentage of female students who reported using marijuana at least one time during the previous 30 days was higher in 2019 (21%) than in 2009 (18%).
The data also shows that in 2019, white, Black and Hispanic students all consumed cannabis at similar rates during this time period, but that self-reported use was higher among LBGT students and Native Americans.
The data is consistent with findings from states that have legalized, such as Colorado, where the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey showed that state’s marijuana use among teens to come in below the national average each year since legalization.
“These data reaffirm that youth marijuana use has remained stable despite the liberalization of adult use laws,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a press release. “These findings make it clear that cannabis access can be legally regulated for adults in a manner that is safe, effective, and that does not inadvertently impact young people’s habits.”
Sundquist said Jamestown, like many cities in Upstate New York and throughout the Rust Belt, was once a major manufacturing center, known for furniture that “your grandparents probably bought.” But as manufacturing jobs shifted to other locations, the blue-collar city has been forced to look elsewhere for economic development. Sundquist said he and his “scrappy development office” have been shifting from a reactive model to a proactive one, which means seeking out possible new industries and encouraging them to locate in the city.
“Cannabis is one of those markets we believe could have a huge impact in the city and on New York State,” he said.
A survey earlier this year found that 61% of state residents favor their local government’s ability to “opt-out” and ban cannabis companies from locating in their city. And while Western New York is traditionally a more conservative region, Sundquist called Jamestown a “progressive bastion.” He said the announcement that Jamestown would welcome cannabis businesses garnered a positive response from residents and businesses alike.
Several cities in legal markets across the country have enjoyed economic boons by welcoming cannabis industry operators with open arms.
In California, Desert Hot Springs filed for bankruptcy in 2001, then teetered on the brink of insolvency for more than a decade before 2014, when it became the first Southern California city to legalize large-scale medical marijuana grows.
Today, the city’s thriving cannabis industry is its No. 1 source of tax revenue, bringing in more than $4 million in revenue in 2020, while employing nearly 10% of the city’s 29,000 residents.
High Life Farms is a cannabis cultivator and product manufacturer with facilities in Desert Hot Springs and Chesaning, Michigan, another town that has benefited from allowing marijuana businesses.
The company employs 80 people in Desert Hot Springs and 200 in Chesaning, which has a population of just over 2,000.
“There are not a lot of jobs around here that are worthwhile for younger people in these areas,” High Life Farms co-founder Vinnie Celani says. “So it’s huge for us to provide jobs that are fun and long-Lasting for these hardworking communities. This idea wouldn’t be possible without the support from our communities around us.”
Although New York’s cannabis market is projected to bring in more than $2.3 billion in annual sales by 2026, according to analytics firm BDSA, Sundquist said many parts of the state are trying to prevent these businesses from coming to town, making Jamestown an even more attractive option.
“We’re taking the opposite approach,” he said. “We’re saying ‘No, take a look at us. We’re here to support you.’”
— Brian Beckley
Nevada requires OSHA training for cannabis workers
Nevada’s cannabis industry workers will need to take up to 30 hours of occupational safety and health training, required by a new bill that was signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on May 25.
The new law mandates supervisors at cannabis businesses to complete a 30-hour OSHA course reviewing general industry safety and health hazard recognition and prevention within a year of their hire date. Cannabis employees in non-supervisory roles will have to complete a similar 10-hour OSHA course.
If an employee was hired before July 1, they will have to complete their respective OSHA courses by July 1, 2022.
Employers will be required to cover the costs of training and the state’s Division of Industrial Relations will establish to track providers of the courses.
The new law will also allow businesses the right to suspend or terminate any employee who refuses to comply with the new OSHA training requisite. Businesses that do not adhere to the new training requirements will be fined up to $500 for a first-time offense, up to $1,000 for a second offense and for each subsequent violation businesses could be fined anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000.
NFL to provide grants for cannabinoid research
The pain management committee of the NFL and the NFL Players Association announced in June that they will provide $1 million in funding for pain management research, which includes looking at the efficacy of cannabinoids as a potential treatment.
The new funding is indicative of the NFL’s evolving stance on cannabis and its use by players, including those who have advocated that it is superior to traditional prescription medications for treating pain.
The NFL has long held an anti-marijuana stance and has suspended several players over the years for testing positive for cannabis use. The NFL stopped suspending players in March 2020, after a new collective bargaining agreement changed its drug testing policy.
League officials are specifically interested in documenting the safety and efficacy of cannabis and CBD as a potential alternative to opioids.
Co-chair for the NFL’s pain management committee, Dr. Kevin Hill, said in an NFL.com report that there is just not enough supporting the use of medical cannabis and that the committee has received mixed testimonials from players about using cannabis to treat pain. In addition to that, the committee is concerned about indications of potential risks associated with cannabis use that may lead to liver toxicity and interactions with other medications.
“There is a need for better information, better science,” Hill said. “When we talk about having elite athletes use CBD to treat pain, we want to make sure it’s, No. 1 safe, and No. 2 efficacious. I don’t think we’re at that point yet.”
The league will award up to five grants for the research by November.
Nevada to allow consumption lounges beginning this fall
Beginning October 1, Tourists visiting Las Vegas will finally have somewhere to legally consume cannabis, thanks to a new law passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on June 4.
The bill provides the initial framework for two different consumption lounge licenses. One license will allow an existing cannabis retailer to open a lounge in a space that is adjacent to its dispensary. The other license will allow an independent business to open a consumption lounge where they can sell single-use cannabis products.
However, existing cannabis retailers will be permitted to only open one consumption lounge, regardless of how many licensed stores they have operating.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board will start taking applications for consumption lounge licenses July 1. The CCB is reserving several of the licenses for its social equity program.
The owners of Planet 13, a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Nevada, already had a substantial amount of space inside its 112,000-square-foot flagship store in Las Vegas reserved for its consumption lounge. The company announced it would begin building out its lounge as soon as possible.
“We are thrilled that after the long wait, Nevada will finally be home to consumption lounges,” Planet 13 co-CEO Bob Groesbeck said in a press release. “We’ve long believed that tourists needed a safe, legal, and enjoyable place to consume cannabis and have been planning for a consumption lounge at the SuperStore since the bill was originally proposed two years ago.”
Details as to how the lounges will operate and if they will be allowed to sell other items or serve alcohol have yet to be finalized. According to reports, the law is designed to allow for creative applications, like cannabis-friendly yoga studios, comedy clubs and high-end restaurants that infuse dishes with THC.