In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Japan’s lower house passes a bill for cannabis-derived medicines; Wisconsin bill seeks cannabis decriminalization; Green Wednesday 2023 data shows a downward trend; and Stündenglass introduces a game-changing heating device.
Japan’s Lower House Passes Bill for Cannabis-Derived Medicines
Japan’s Lower House has greenlit a bill to legalize medical products derived from cannabis; however, it maintains a strict ban on other forms of the plant. The bill, which involves amendments to existing laws, now heads to the Upper House for potential approval, with changes likely to take effect by next year’s end.
The bill paves the way for the clinical use of GW Pharma’s Epidiolex, a medication containing cannabidiol, a crucial cannabis component approved for treating severe epilepsy in the US and Europe. Clinical trials of the product are already underway in Japan.
Introduced by the health ministry, the bill also addresses a loophole in the 1948 Cannabis Control Law, which currently bans cannabis possession, trade and cultivation but lacks reference to its use. Proposed revisions categorize cannabis as a banned substance under the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law, potentially leading to a seven-year prison sentence for offenders.
During the Lower House’s session, lawmakers from all parties except the Japanese Communist Party and Reiwa Shinsengumi voted in favor of the bill.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno hopes the bill will offer relief to patients with intractable epilepsy through access to cannabis-derived medicines while also aiding in the crackdown on illicit cannabis use and possession.
Despite Japan’s centuries-old tradition of hemp farming, the cannabis control law refrained from addressing cannabis use directly, aiming to protect hemp farmers from inadvertent criminal prosecution.
Wisconsin Bill Seeks Cannabis Decriminalization
A bipartisan bill introduced in Wisconsin aims to decriminalize possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis. However, despite expected support from Gov. Tony Evers, its prospects in the Republican-controlled legislature seem bleak.
The bill’s authors, Representatives Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers), Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (D-Milwaukee) and Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), argue that minor cannabis possession shouldn’t result in severe penalties. They point out that several states, including North Dakota, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Nebraska, have already removed jail time for small cannabis amounts, urging Wisconsin to follow suit.
Under the proposed bill, penalties for possessing up to 14 grams would shift from a misdemeanor with up to $1,000 in fines and six months of jail time to a $100 fine. The bill also seeks to eliminate felony charges for repeat offenders, particularly those with prior possession charges involving 28 grams or less.
The legislation would mandate local governments to impose fines on cannabis possession, ranging from $100 to $250, which could lead to increased penalties in some areas, such as Madison and Rock County.
While the bill’s future in the legislature is uncertain, it reflects a changing perspective on cannabis in Wisconsin, where Republicans are concurrently working on a medical cannabis proposal for severe conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Green Wednesday 2023 Data Shows Downward Trend
Despite the claims of Green Wednesday being the “second biggest sales holiday,” recent data analysis from Treez suggests that it may be waning. The industry is experiencing a year-over-year trend of declining sales and diminishing profits on Green Wednesday.
In 2023, retailers continued their trend of increasing discounts, with average discounts now reaching up to 30% off—a significant 5% rise from the previous year. Surprisingly, despite these heightened discount offerings, there was a decline in foot traffic, with an average of 12 fewer customers entering dispensary doors compared to the prior year.
While Green Wednesday saw a noteworthy increase in the average order value by $8.65, the overall week of Thanksgiving showed a more modest uptick of $2.16 from $61.75 in a standard week to $63.91 during Thanksgiving week. Additionally, retailers experienced a decrease in average margins, typically at 47% in a regular week, dropping to 37.5% during Thanksgiving week.
“We encourage intentional discounting as a strategy, meaning that retailers should take the playbook from traditional supermarkets and discount products that aren’t moving or products that are close to expiring, instead of discounting products that are already popular and likely to sell,” says Elling Hofland, Director of Product Management with Treez. “Stop discounting so much! The benefits aren’t as far-reaching as the industry once thought.”
Stündenglass Introduces Modül™: A Game-Changing Heating Device
Just in time for the holidays, Stündenglass presents Modül™, a revolutionary heating technology that eliminates the need for torches or lighters. Now available in-store and online, Modül offers a dynamic power source for Stündenglass or Kompact™ gravity infusers.
Modül boasts a 2.4” high-resolution color display, customizable temperature and session settings, all controlled by a single dial. Intelligent detection technology adjusts heat settings based on the tank in use. A 6,000mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery delivers up to 80 watts of power, heating tanks up to 842℉/450℃ in just 15 seconds.