In The News – 2022

January 5, 2022

JANUARY

January 3

Rick Thompson, executive director of NORML of Michigan predicts more movement at local levels to open up communities for cannabis businesses.Five Takeaways About Illinois Cannabis Dispensaries From BioTrack Data

“Out of 1,700 municipalities in Michigan, less than 140 have said yes to either medical or adult-use cannabis businesses,” Thompson pointed out. “Now, the business interests will line up to influence cities and townships to open their streets to the cannabis industry. Money talks, and big cannabis businesses have the money to make things happen and a powerful need to open new retail stores. Also, expect to see an increase in lawsuits against those cities, whenever big money is denied a license.” 

Port Huron and Ypsilanti are already wrestling with court cases over their local licensing processes.

As more legal cannabis is produced in Michigan, cannabis company values will drop, Thompson also predicts.

“Michigan tripled the number of cannabis plants under cultivation in the regulated market in approximately seven months during 2021. The number of new retail stores coming online is not keeping pace with the influx of greenhouse and indoor cannabis, creating a market that’s obviously trending toward an oversupply problem.”

Mergers and acquisitions will be big in 2022, he predicts. 

Skymint just bought 3Fifteen; that brings them up to 27 retail outlets in the state. Neither Gage nor Cookies has expanded as quickly as industry observers predicted, but that can change in 2022. Multi-state operators like to buy chains of cannabis retail outlets, not just a single store,” said Thompson, a prediction not far from what CEOs of AYR Wellness and PharmaCann told Grown In last year.

January 6

2022 resolution: Stop caring so much about THC content in your weed

https://www.lansingcitypulse.com/stories/2022-resolution-stop-caring-so-much-about-thc-content-in-your-weed,19439

So, how do you pick the best weed? Rick Thompson, the executive director of NORML of Michigan, described the decision of how to choose the right strain as a “sensory experience.”

“You have to smell it and see it prior to purchase in order for you to accurately gauge the amount of terpene content the cannabis has. THC doesn’t make cannabis smell good. The ensemble chemicals do,” he said. “If the cannabis you’re considering for purchase looks identical to four other cannabis samples, all of which carry no recognizable scent, find out which manufacturer crafted that cannabis and never buy from that company ever. The nose knows.”

Thompson suggests that customers do some research on various cannabis terpenes to determine which of them carry their desired effects — whether that be to produce a cerebral, energetic and uplifting kick in the morning or a sleepier, pain-relieving body buzz at night.

Roy Liskey, an owner of Local Roots Cannabis Co. in Laingsburg, said he constantly tries to steer his customers away toward finding a dominant terpene in any given strain that works for them. Still, a lot of his customers tend to avoid strains that test below 20%. And they’re missing out.

“If the terpene information is unavailable, you may have to go old school,” he said. “Inspect the smell jar, and if the buds are visibly coated with trichomes and it smells pungent, it’s probably great cannabis. Decide which terpenes are your favorite, or maybe more importantly, which terpenes don’t agree with your body. Everyone’s endocannabinoid systems are different.”

Thompson added: “Unfortunately, many regulated cannabis companies prepackage their cannabis and there is no opportunity for you to use your senses. At that point, one must rely on the company’s reputation and the recommendation of your friends to determine what to buy.”

January 12

“A test result is a lie,” says Rick Thompson, executive director of Michigan NORML. “When someone says it’s tested, it’s a lie. It’s a misleading statement. Just because it passed testing at one point in its life cycle, doesn’t mean it still would pass testing later.”

Ultimately, Thompson says, testing is just a cover for big cannabis companies who are trying to scare consumers away from the underground market.

“Part of the problem for the regulated market is they paid so much for capital and infrastructure and C-suite executives from other industries, they can’t make their stuff competitive,” charges Thompson, who says the underground market will never go away. Regulators and legal cannabis companies should just get used to that idea.

“Coexist. That’s the important phrase here.”

January 13

A series of product recalls and warnings in the cannabis sector last year and other instances created a level of liability that was not originally foreseen when regulations were laid out, Rick Thompson, executive director of Michigan NORML says. 

“In one instance joints were rolled using human saliva then offered for sale,” Thompson told Grown In. “Beyond the yuck factor, during a pandemic this creates a level of liability not originally foreseen when our regulations were laid down. It may be true that companies purchased a minimal liability policy, and that was seen by the MRA as inadequate to satisfy the litigious lusts of our lawsuit-crazed legal community. Legal action in other states has exposed many different ways in which product liability can disrupt companies. This seems to be a case of watch, learn, and adapt on the part of state regulators.”

January 13

Corporatization, power struggles and a historic recall: Michigan marijuana’s 2021 growing pains

https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2022/01/corporatization-power-struggles-and-a-historic-recall-michigan-marijuanas-2021-growing-pains.html

Rick Thompson, a legalization pioneer and the president of the state chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said consolidation within the marijuana industry nationally has been taking place for several years. He’s not a fan and worries that it creates vulnerability with less competition.

“But here in Michigan, it’s just now started to take place,” Thompson said. That’s because Michigan, unlike other states, has an uncapped license system. Each community creates its own licensing allotment and structure. Thompson said big corporations prefer the stability in states, like Illinois, where there are fixed numbers of licenses regulated at the state level.

Thomson, the director of NORML in Michigan, points to the recent massive recall that touched nearly every retail location in Michigan, as an example of why corporate consolidation within the industry is troubling.