In this week’s cannabis news round-up, data shows celebrity cannabis brands are outselling traditional brands in California; Maryland’s booming cannabis market is poised to reach billion-dollar status; Maine reports record-breaking adult-use cannabis sales in June; and Scotland pushes for drug decriminalization, but the British government rejected the proposal.
Data Shows Celebrity Cannabis Brands Outshine Traditional Brands
New data suggests that celebrity cannabis brands are making a big impact in the California market and outperforming traditional brands, according to insights from cannabis analytics provider Headset.
Popular celebrity cannabis brands, including Cann, Houseplant and Mirayo by Santana, experienced higher sales than their traditional counterparts in California during the first quarter of the year. The report also shows that not only are celebrity brands selling well, but they’re also offering their products at a lower price point compared to traditional cannabis brands. While traditional brands charge around $23.14 per item, celebrity cannabis brands can offer their products at a more affordable price.
During the first three months of 2023, Headset analyzed more than 20 celebrity cannabis brands alongside a representative sample of more than 1,300 traditional cannabis brands. The data revealed that while traditional brands averaged $26,591 in monthly sales, at least nine celebrity brands surpassed that figure, with five of them generating monthly revenues exceeding $100,000.
Investment firm Tress Capital was among the first to recognize the potential of celebrity cannabis brands, particularly those deeply ingrained in cannabis culture, who already had loyal fan bases and significant social media followings.
According to Tress Capital President David Hess, authenticity plays a crucial role in the success of celebrity cannabis brands. The company’s portfolio of celebrity cannabis brands includes Tyson 2.0 by former boxer Mike Tyson, ranked third in California with median monthly sales of $290,730; Highsman by former NFL superstar Ricky Williams, ranked ninth with $51,133 in monthly sales; and Tical by rapper and actor Method Man, ranked tenth with $50,565 in average monthly sales.
Maryland’s Booming Cannabis Market Poised to Reach Billion-Dollar Status
During the state’s initial week of retail cannabis sales, Maryland experienced a significant milestone, with combined medical and adult-use cannabis sales reaching $20.9 million. The sales were evenly split between adult-use and medical cannabis, with medical sales slightly outweighing the adult-use category.
The peak of sales occurred over the July 4 weekend, where total sales reached $10,429,736 on July 4 and $4,518,377 on July 5, according to data from the Maryland Cannabis Administration. Adult-use sales dominated the weekend, with $3,558,947 in sales compared to $959,430 in medical cannabis sales.
Maryland imposes a 9% tax on adult-use cannabis sales, with 35% of the proceeds directed towards a community investment and repair fund established under the legalization law. The fund aims to support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, Andrew Garrison, a representative of the Maryland Cannabis Administration, says.
Maryland is reportedly planning to issue licenses for social equity businesses in January to promote equitable participation and economic opportunities within the local cannabis industry.
Maine Reports Record-Breaking Adult-Use Cannabis Sales in June
Maine’s adult-use cannabis market reached an impressive $18.4 million in June, as revealed by data from the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP). This figure surpassed the previous record of $17.4 million set in the previous month, showcasing the continued growth and popularity of the industry.
Dispensaries across the state sold approximately 5,270 pounds of cannabis during June, reflecting the strong demand among consumers. Although cannabis was legalized in Maine by voter approval in 2016, retail sales didn’t commence until July 2022, making these recent sales achievements even more noteworthy.
According to OCP data, there were 322,169 transactions at adult-use dispensaries in June, with an average price-per-gram of flower at $7.69. Year-to-date adult-use sales have already totaled an impressive $97,408,138, with 1,671,054 transactions. If this trend continues, 2023 adult-use sales in Maine are expected to surpass the total sales of $158.9 million recorded last year.
Flower remains the most popular product category, accounting for approximately $11 million in sales during June. Concentrates followed closely behind, with sales reaching nearly $4.5 million, while infused products recorded sales of nearly $3 million. Plant sales made up the remaining portion of the market.
Throughout this year, Maine has maintained an average price per gram of flower at $7.90. The state has licensed a robust network of cannabis businesses, including 218 retail stores, 150 cultivators, 116 manufacturers and five testing laboratories, facilitating a diverse and thriving market.
However, recent findings from an OCP survey indicate that the rapid growth of the retail market has impacted Maine’s system of medical cannabis caregivers. More than 1,350 caregivers have left the program between the end of 2021 and the end of January 2023, highlighting the evolving landscape and potential challenges in the industry.
Scotland Pushes for Drug Decriminalization, But UK Government Rejects the Proposal
Scotland is making a bold move to decriminalize drugs to address its alarming overdose death rates, among the highest in Europe. However, the proposal has been swiftly rejected by the Conservative UK government in London, which maintains its firm stance on drug laws.
The Scottish government, led by the Scottish National Party, believes that removing criminal penalties for drug possession will enable the implementation of evidence-based harm reduction services, promoting safety. Scotland’s drug overdose death rate is three times higher than the rest of the UK, with nearly 1,100 drug-related deaths recorded last year alone.
Elena Whitham, the Scottish drugs minister, emphasized that the current drug laws have proven ineffective in curbing drug use and preventing harm. Citing the example of Portugal, which decriminalized drug possession over two decades ago, the Scottish government aims to improve lives by freeing individuals from the fear of seeking treatment and support. Furthermore, the Scottish government intends to explore the establishment of supervised drug consumption rooms and regulated drug supply as part of its reform efforts. Whitham warned that without significant changes, Scotland faces a worsening crisis fueled by synthetic opioids and street benzodiazepines.
Dabs of Data: Sales on 7/10
The cannabis concentrates market experienced a significant boost in sales both in the US and Canada on 7/10, reports Headset. In the US, sales saw a remarkable increase of 10.7% compared to a typical Monday, while in Canada, the increase was slightly lower at 7.3%.
Among the different product categories, concentrates and vape pens were the top performers in the US market, with sales increasing by 79.3% and 14.3%, respectively. These categories also had the highest average discounts, with concentrates at 34.3% and vape pens at 26.4%. In Canada, however, despite having the highest average discount, concentrates saw a modest sales lift of only 6.3%, ranking as the third lowest increase among all categories.