Illinois Cannabis Market Is Booming

Illinois Cannabis Sales Rise
Illinois Cannabis Sales Rise

Illinois only recently started selling cannabis legally at dispensaries, but the state is already breaking records. Cannabis operators are raking in money as more and more people purchase marijuana for both recreational use and medical use. The booming cannabis market in Illinois bodes well for legalization efforts in other states as lawmakers can see the positive effects that cannabis legalization has on the Illinois economy.

Illinois Dispensaries Sell Millions of Cannabis Products

The cannabis industry is doing extremely well in Illinois, where cannabis was legalized for recreational use in June 2019. The law went into effect on January 1, 2020, which is when adult-use dispensaries opened across the state. Since that time, Illinois retail cannabis sales have steadily increased each month. In June, the most recent month for which sales data is available, Illinois cannabis shops sold $47.6 million worth of marijuana products. This number set a new monthly record, topping the previous high of $44 million just one month earlier.

There are nearly 60 dispensaries currently licensed to operate in Illinois. These state-licensed dispensaries sell recreational marijuana and medical marijuana. Since marijuana was first legalized at the beginning of 2020, Illinois dispensaries have sold more than $250 million in cannabis and cannabis-related products. According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDOR), Illinois retail marijuana stores have made nearly one million individual sales of marijuana and marijuana products, with each purchase averaging around $48.

Increase in Illinois State Tax Revenues from Legal Marijuana Sales

The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for Illinois tax revenues due to early shutdown orders for most retail businesses, as well as the reluctance of many state residents to venture outside and enter retail stores even after the shutdown orders were lifted. But the same is not true of tax revenues from the legal sale of cannabis in Illinois. In fact, the cannabis industry is one of the few industries that has managed to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. While overall sales tax revenues in Illinois are currently down by more than $181 million when compared to the 2019 fiscal year, marijuana sales tax revenues continue to rise each month.

Although sales tax numbers for the month of June have not yet been released by the Illinois Department of Revenue, sales of cannabis have generated tens of millions of dollars in revenues for the state already in 2020. Government data shows that Illinois collected $52.7 million in sales tax from the legal sale of cannabis during the first five (5) months of 2020. Remarkably, this is almost double the amount that state lawmakers projected before cannabis use became legal in Illinois. Moreover, these figures are expected to rise even higher in the future as the cannabis industry becomes more accepted in the mainstream and better understood as a fundamental part of the U.S. economy.

How Cannabis Sales Tax Works in Illinois

Cannabis sales tax laws in Illinois work differently than similar sales tax laws on other types of retail products and goods. Illinois imposes different tax rates on cannabis based on the potency of the cannabis: 10% at the lowest end of marijuana potency and 25% at the highest end of potency.

The revenues generated from taxes on cannabis sales in Illinois are used to fund different government programs and agencies:

  • General fund: 35%
  • Community development revitalization program: 25%
  • Substance abuse and mental health programs: 20%
  • Legislative bill backlog: 10%
  • Law enforcement agencies: 8%
  • Public education and analysis of marijuana legalization: 2%

Any additional revenues generated from sales tax on legal cannabis in Illinois are used for the state’s general revenue fund.

Illinois Cities and Towns Benefit from Legal Cannabis Sales

Although dispensaries first started operating in Illinois on January 1 of this year, local municipalities such as towns, cities, and counties did not begin adding their own taxes until July. When this happened, the purchase price of cannabis products increased slightly: early estimates put the increased prices at somewhere between 3% and 3.75%. While customers now have to pay a little more for recreational and medical cannabis purchased at retail cannabis stores, Illinois municipalities will benefit greatly from the additional tax revenues generated by cannabis sales.

One aspect of legal marijuana sales that doesn’t always get the attention it warrants is the extent to which recreational cannabis helps to infuse local economies with much-needed cash through sales to out-of-state consumers. Sales data shows that roughly 25% of all adult-use recreational marijuana sales at Illinois dispensaries comes from buyers who travel across state lines.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Many investors are looking into cannabis real estate investing, which has provided strong returns as retail cannabis sales surge across the U.S. Scythian Real Estate is a cannabis real estate fund that specializes in retail properties. Scythian has partnered with some of the largest cannabis operators in the country, including Curaleaf and The Green Solution. For more information, email Scythian Real Estate today.


Colorado Weed Sales Setting Records

Colorado Weed Sales
Colorado Weed Sales

It’s been one record month after another for recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado so far in 2020. According to data collected by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, retail cannabis shops collected nearly $160 million from consumers during the month of June – a new record high for the state. If these trends continue as many expect, the future looks bright for cannabis operators doing business in Colorado.

All-Time High for Colorado Recreational Marijuana Sales in June 2020

In June 2020, consumers of recreational marijuana in Colorado legally purchased $158,102,628 from adult-use cannabis dispensaries. This figure represents a new all-time record for cannabis sales in the state. In fact, this is the first time since Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational use that retail cannabis sales have exceeded $150 million in a single month. The previous high for recreational cannabis sales was $149,186,615, a number that was reached in May 2020. Moreover, sales of marijuana products in June 2020 saw a massive year-over-year increase from June 2019, when recreational marijuana sales totaled approximately $122.4 million.

How Has COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Colorado Cannabis Sales?

Most retail businesses operating in Colorado have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic. Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have had the reverse effect on marijuana businesses in Colorado: legal cannabis sales are setting industry records with each passing month. This is likely a result of dispensaries being allowed to remain open as “essential businesses” while many other types of retail stores were forced to temporarily shut down.

The surge in spending on cannabis in Colorado can also be attributed to the coronavirus in another way: as people found themselves forced to stay indoors for weeks and even months, many sought out relief in the form of recreational marijuana. This continued a trend among Colorado marijuana consumers, with the percentage of Colorado adults who reported consuming cannabis nearly doubling since 2017. Additional reasons for the steady rise in cannabis sales in Colorado likely include expanded availability as more dispensaries open in new local markets, a wider variety of cannabis products being made available to consumers, and years of campaigning by pro-legalization groups finally paying off as more people begin to accept cannabis use the same way they accept alcohol consumption.

Medical Marijuana Sales in Colorado Remain Strong

It wasn’t all good news for Colorado marijuana sales: medical marijuana sales declined slightly in June, according to Marijuana Enforcement Division data. Medical dispensaries reported selling just under $41 million in medical cannabis products, which represented a slight decline from the $43 million sold the previous month. Despite this minor dip in the medical marijuana market, however, combined sales of recreational cannabis and medical cannabis still set a new record for total volume in one month with nearly $200 million.

Current projections indicate that overall cannabis sales in Colorado this year should also set a new annual record. Colorado dispensaries generated roughly $1.75 billion in cannabis sales in 2019, with just over $800 million in sales during the first six months of 2019. So far in 2020, Colorado dispensaries have sold nearly $980 million in cannabis products. Cannabis industry observers expect that total sales of marijuana in Colorado this year could approach $2 billion.

Additional Tax Revenues from Cannabis Sales in Colorado

One of the positive consequences of increased cannabis sales in Colorado is that the state has been generating additional tax revenues. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state collected more than $33 million in taxes and fees on sales of recreational and medical cannabis in June 2020. Additionally, the projected data indicates that Colorado generated more than $36 million in cannabis sales tax revenues in July 2020. Over the first half of 2020, Colorado has collected $203 million in cannabis taxes. (To put that number in perspective, consider that the state collected approximately $300 million in cannabis revenues during the entirety of 2019.)

Contact Scythian for Information on Cannabis Real Estate

Scythian Real Estate is the trusted real estate partner of several major cannabis companies operating in some of the most exciting cannabis markets in the U.S. The Scythian Real Estate Fund includes dozens of retail cannabis properties valued at $40 million.

To learn more about cannabis real estate, send an email to Scythian.


Curaleaf-Grassroots Merger Completed

Curaleaf-Grassroots Merger
Curaleaf-Grassroots Merger

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. recently announced the completion of a long-in-the-works merger between Curaleaf and Grassroots Cannabis, two of the largest cannabis companies in the United States. With Curaleaf now acquiring Grassroots, many cannabis industry observers are wondering what kind of effect this will have on the retail cannabis market in states like Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more.

Curaleaf and Grassroots Cannabis Join Forces to Create World’s Largest Cannabis Company

Curaleaf made the acquisition with the expectation of being able to leverage its dominant consumer brands, which include Curaleaf and Select, and innovative cultivation processes to greatly expand the company’s national presence. Prior to the merger, Curaleaf was already the largest vertically integrated cannabis operator in the U.S. Similarly, Grassroots Cannabis was already the largest private vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator in the U.S. Together, these two cannabis behemoths expect to do big business in the years ahead – particularly as more and more states across the country look to legalize marijuana for both medical use and recreational use.

The acquisition of Grassroots makes Curaleaf the largest cannabis company in the entire world in terms of revenue. As a result of the deal, Curaleaf now has more than 135 cannabis dispensary licenses and 88 operational dispensaries in 23 states. (Prior to the merger, Curaleaf operated dispensaries in 18 states.) In addition to retail marijuana dispensaries, Curaleaf-Grassroots has assets that include 30 cannabis processing facilities and 22 marijuana cultivation sites. The size and scale of the company’s portfolio, as well as the company’s focus on states where cannabis is already legal for recreational use and/or medical use, means that Curaleaf has access to more than 192 million potential customers.

“This highly complementary combination brings together two companies with a shared vision for enhancing patients’ and customers’ lives with high-quality cannabis wellness and lifestyle products.”

-Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf

Curaleaf Looks to Expand into New Cannabis Markets

In a press release issued by Curaleaf upon completion of the merger, Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi stated that the company hopes to further solidify its leadership position in the United States retail cannabis industry by expanding into “new vertically integrated markets in the Midwest.” To that end, the presence of established dispensaries in Illinois should provide Curaleaf-Grassroots with a good opportunity to make inroads in the burgeoning cannabis market. As part of the merger, Curaleaf also acquired marijuana cultivation and processing sites in Illinois.

In addition to securing cannabis real estate properties in Illinois, Curaleaf also acquired properties in a number of other states that represent some of the fastest-growing cannabis markets in the nation: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Grassroots Executive Joins Curaleaf Board of Directors

As part of the deal, Grassroots Cannabis co-founder and CEO Mitchell Kahn has been appointed to the Curaleaf Board of Directors. The move, which is effective immediately, expands the Curaleaf board from five (5) members to six (6) members. Kahn co-founded Grassroots in 2014 and has decades of experience as a senior executive with expertise in the commercial real estate field.

Kahn commented on the merger in a press release and noted that the Grassroots executive team has done an exemplary job of building “an impressive portfolio at an unprecedented pace, with facilities in highly competitive markets.” Kahn added that the Curaleaf-Grassroots team looks forward to integrating talent and resources “to build a great consumer product company – one that is dedicated to producing and delivering high-quality, safe, and effective cannabis products” to customers all across the country in states where adult-use cannabis is legal.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate for Information on Sale-Leaseback Deals

Scythian Real Estate is a trusted real estate partner of Curaleaf-Grassroots dispensaries located in North Dakota and Pennsylvania. If you are a cannabis operator looking to expand into new markets, you should email Scythian for information.


What Are the Most Popular Ways to Consume Cannabis?

Rolling Joint
Rolling Joint

It used to be true that cannabis users had limited options when it came to consuming marijuana because state and federal laws made it illegal to do so. The times have changed, however, and now recreational cannabis use is legal in around a dozen states and territories, while medical cannabis use is legal in more than 30 states. As more and more states allow cannabis operators to sell marijuana at dispensaries, the number of marijuana-related products and accessories has greatly expanded. So, too, has the number of ways that a person can consume cannabis.

Variety of Cannabis Products Sold at Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

Not only are there more geographical areas in which cannabis use is legal, but there are also more cannabis companies and a wider range of cannabis products available to marijuana retail store customers. Since marijuana now comes readily available in a variety of different forms, this means that cannabis users have several different options for consuming marijuana: they can inhale it, eat it, drink it, or even apply it as a cream to their skin. Of course, the specific options available to consumers in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or another state may vary, depending on the applicable state laws.

There are some of the most popular cannabis products that can be used to consume cannabis:

  • Flower: The most widely used cannabis product has long been the traditional cannabis flower, which can be smoked with bongs and bowls that are available at most dispensaries. Billions of dollars of flower products are sold each year in the U.S., owing largely to the fact that this is the most common form of medical marijuana.
  • Vape Cartridges: Vape concentrate cartridges are pre-filled with cannabis oil and then loaded into “vape pens” for use. The pre-filled vape cartridges can be found at many marijuana retail stores and are typically disposable after use, as opposed to more cost-effective refillable cartridges that can be reused multiple times.
  • Pre-Rolled Joints: Another way to inhale marijuana flower is through a joint, which many users have been rolling themselves for years. Cannabis companies have made inroads in this segment of the market by selling consumer-ready pre-rolled joints in a variety of strains, flavors, and levels of potency.
  • Gummies: The most popular edible for consuming marijuana is gummy candies. Users often enjoy the chewiness of gummies, as well as the flavor contrasts offered by sweet and sour candies infused with cannabis. Several cannabis companies specialize in gummies that contain cannabis oil.
  • Chocolate Bars: Another edible that generates significant sales at legal cannabis dispensaries is chocolate bars, which can satisfy the user’s sweet tooth while also allowing for easy consumption of cannabis. In addition to chocolate bars, other popular forms of marijuana edibles include chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and taffy.
  • Dropper: Cannabis droppers allow an individual to easily consume marijuana by dosing a liquid cannabis concentrate directly from a glass bottle into the user’s mouth. The liquid concentrate, also known as a “cannabis tincture,” comes in different flavors. The ease of use, variety of available flavor options, and ability to control and customize doses have led to a surge in popularity for dropper use in states where recreational marijuana is legal.
  • Topical Products: Many cannabis consumers use cannabis-infused creams, gels, lotions, balms, lubricants, oils, and ointments to treat certain ailments. These cannabis topicals can be easily applied to the skin and provide the user with relief from moderate to severe pain, soreness, and inflammation.
  • Wax: An alternative to shatter cannabis is wax cannabis, which is a highly potent type of hash oil concentrate with the consistency of sticky wax (or ear wax). Although weed wax might not be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it does provide users with a strong high and up to 90% THC content.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Cannabis operators looking to expand into new states may find that the preferences of customers in these markets can vary. A proven cannabis real estate fund like Scythian Real Estate can assist cannabis companies with their operations as they look to open additional dispensaries. Scythian is a trusted real estate partner of major U.S. cannabis companies like The Green Solution and Grassroots Cannabis.

For more information, email Scythian Real Estate today.


Cannabis Expected to Boost U.S. Economy in Future

Cannabis & US Economy
Cannabis & US Economy

Many cannabis industry observers believe that marijuana businesses could provide a boost to the U.S. economy of more than $130 billion annually by 2024. This figure includes both projected sales by dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal and the additional economic impact of retail marijuana businesses in those states.

Cannabis Industry Generates Billions of Dollars for Local Cities and States

Despite the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy, the retail cannabis industry is thriving as more people than ever are purchasing recreational marijuana and medical marijuana from dispensaries across the country. It is estimated that legal cannabis sales will total more than $50 billion in 2020. Last year, U.S. dispensaries made roughly $46 billion in sales. By 2024, the total sales of cannabis in the United States could be as much as $130 billion – representing a 181% increase from just five (5) years earlier.

The reach of the United States cannabis industry is not limited to just the revenues generated by businesses that sell legal cannabis. The cannabis industry also has a significant impact on the entire U.S. economy by injecting money into local cities and states. In fact, the actual economic value of every $1 spent at marijuana dispensaries is calculated to be $2.50. This means that the overall contribution of the cannabis industry to the economy can be felt in other industries as well, whether it is through:

  • Tourism in recreational marijuana states where visitors may want the thrill of purchasing a previously illicit substance.
  • Real estate and construction activity to build and renovate cultivation sites, manufacturing facilities, and retail dispensaries.
  • Taxes on legal cannabis sales, which can provide state and local governments with hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for important public works programs.

Retail Marijuana Sales Remain Strong During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a great deal of uncertainty among cannabis industry insiders because no one really knew how the public might react to business shutdown orders and local stay-at-home orders. But it appears that many legal weed businesses are doing better than ever. One possible reason for the continued success of retail cannabis dispensaries during the coronavirus crisis is the special exception that was made for these types of businesses: cities and states across the country declared that medical and recreational marijuana stores were “essential businesses” and, as such, could remain open despite shutdown orders for most other retail establishments.

Another reason that marijuana businesses have been able to withstand the financial devastation felt by other industries during the pandemic is that the fundamentals of the cannabis industry are quite strong: demand for marijuana remains high, new dispensaries are generating more jobs for marijuana cultivators and retail workers, and capital has been made available to cannabis operators through sale-leaseback transactions. These fundamentals also bode well for the future of the industry because they mean that any short-term downturn in retail sales could potentially be offset by anticipated long-term gains for cannabis operators and investors.

Contact Scythian to Learn About Cannabis Real Estate Opportunities

The cannabis industry figures to be an important part of the U.S. economy in the years ahead. This provides cannabis operators and cannabis investors with a real opportunity to make money. Scythian Real Estate Fund is a Denver-based company with an expanding portfolio of nationwide cannabis real estate assets valued at approximately $40 million, as well as an acquisition pipeline of additional assets in numerous states.

For more information about cannabis real estate, email Scythian today.


Medical Cannabis Sales Surge in Arkansas

Arkansas Medical Marijuana
Arkansas Medical Marijuana

Since Arkansas made it legal for cannabis to be purchased for medical use in May 2019, total sales of medical marijuana at dispensaries in the state have exceeded $100 million. The data comes from a report issued by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Interested observers of the cannabis real estate market are paying careful attention to what happens in Arkansas because the results could dictate whether the state eventually legalizes cannabis for recreational use.

Medical Marijuana Licenses Issued to Arkansas Cannabis Operators

Arkansas first made it legal for patients to buy medical cannabis in November 2016, when voters supported a state constitutional amendment. Approximately 53 percent of Arkansas voters supported that law, which allows up to 40 dispensaries to receive licenses to sell medical marijuana in the state.

Licenses to operate a dispensary are issued by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which is governed by the Department and Finance and Administration. The commission has been tasked with both administering the licenses and regulating the cannabis operators to whom licenses are issued.

As of August 2020, Arkansas has issued a total of 33 licenses for cannabis operators to run medical marijuana dispensaries within state borders. Most of the dispensaries are already operational, with 26 retail marijuana stores now selling medical cannabis after new stores recently opened in Arkadelphia, Heber Springs, Monticello, and West Memphis, AR.

Arkansas Medical Cannabis Program Sees Rise in Retail Sales

Arkansas has more than 68,000 registered patients in the state’s medical cannabis program. According to state records released by the Arkansas Department of Health, those patients have purchased nearly 17,500 pounds of marijuana in the past year.

The dispensary that accounted for the highest number of sales during a recent two-week period listed in state records is the ReLeaf Center in Bentonville, Arkansas. The medical marijuana store reported selling nearly 200 pounds of cannabis to patients over two weeks. Since the ReLeaf Center first opened in August 2019, the dispensary has sold almost 2,000 pounds of medical cannabis.

The Arkansas Tax Procedure Act does not allow the state to release revenue totals for dispensaries, so public records of sales for each retail marijuana store are calculated in terms of the weight of pot sold. In terms of the total amount of revenue generated by medical cannabis sales in Arkansas, the numbers appear to be rising. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees the Arkansas Revenue Office, reported that state residents are now spending more than $500,000 per day on medical marijuana.

Contact Scythian Real Estate to Learn About Expanding Cannabis Operations in New States

The surge in medical cannabis sales in Arkansas mirrors the booming cannabis market in other states like Colorado, Illinois, and New York. As more and more states legalize cannabis for medical and/or recreational use, it is likely that savvy investors will look to capitalize.

Scythian Real Estate specializes in cannabis real estate. Scythian partners with sophisticated cannabis companies in sale-leaseback deals and manages a growing cannabis real estate portfolio. For additional information, email Scythian now.


Colorado Cannabis Sales Hit Record High

Colorado Cannabis Sales
Colorado Cannabis Sales

Retail cannabis sales in Colorado are at an all-time high. Data from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division indicates that almost $200 million worth of cannabis products were legally sold within state borders during the month of May. This is obviously good news for cannabis operators with retail dispensaries in Colorado.

Sales of Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use at All-Time High in Colorado

Colorado legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2014, and now the state has hit a new monthly record for marijuana sales. State records show that Colorado retail marijuana dispensaries sold $192,175,937 worth of cannabis and cannabis-related products in May 2020, which is the most recent month for which data is available. This represents a month-over-month increase of 29% from April 2020 and a year-over-year increase of 32% from May 2019.

The massive amount of money being raked in by dispensaries in Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, and elsewhere in Colorado includes both recreational and medical marijuana shops. The numbers indicate that recreational marijuana accounted for just over $149 million in sales in May, while medical marijuana accounted for almost $43 million in sales in May.

During the first five (5) months of 2020, dispensaries sold more than $779 million worth of cannabis products. This has been a huge boon to the state by generating more than $167 million in taxes and fees, which has always been one of the main arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana at the federal and state level.

Why Are Colorado Cannabis Dispensaries Making So Much Money in 2020?

One possible reason for the major uptick in marijuana sales is the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in Colorado dispensaries being declared “essential businesses” while many other Colorado retail stores were being ordered to shut down. Additionally, many people have used marijuana as an outlet for stress and relief from anxiety caused by COVID-19.

Another possible factor in the recent rise in cannabis sales could be a substantial price drop in marijuana. Marijuana products such as flowers and cannabis buds have seen their average price decline by almost 10% since the beginning of the year, making the items more affordable to the typical consumer. As a result, the Colorado marijuana market has seen significant growth in 2020 with seemingly no end in sight.

Contact Scythian to Learn About Cannabis Real Estate Opportunities

It has become apparent that 2020 is likely to be the highest-grossing year on record for Colorado marijuana dispensaries, with cannabis sales in the first half of the year far outpacing sales in 2019. This bodes well for Colorado cannabis operators, as well as anyone who has invested in cannabis real estate in this thriving market.

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that partners with sophisticated, well-capitalized cannabis companies on assets primarily intended for retail use. To learn more, email Scythian Real Estate.


Colorado to Pardon Marijuana Convictions

Marijuana Pardons in Colorado
Marijuana Pardons in Colorado

It may soon be possible for individuals previously convicted of marijuana possession in Colorado to have the convictions expunged from their criminal records. The Colorado General Assembly recently added an amendment to House Bill 1424 that would allow Governor Jared Polis to mass-pardon all marijuana convictions for possession of two (2) ounces or less of cannabis. The amendment passed just before the Colorado state legislature ended its last session of 2020. The move could have positive implications for cannabis retail operators in the state.

Colorado Legislature Approves Cannabis License Social Equity Program

House Bill 1424, which had bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans, is a broad measure intended to create new opportunities for people of color in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Although cannabis has been legalized in Colorado for medical and recreational use, many industry observers have complained that there are still many social inequities for minorities when it comes to the state’s retail cannabis industry. The end result has been that there simply are not enough minority owners who are able to make inroads in the industry and obtain licenses to operate a dispensary. The recent legislation aims to fix that problem by creating incentives for certain individuals to own a regulated marijuana business in Colorado.

The new law applies to anyone who meets one of the following criteria:

  1. Lived in a lower-income economic opportunity zone or high-crime area for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2020.
  2. Was previously arrested, convicted, or subject to civil asset forfeiture related to marijuana when possession of pot was still illegal in Colorado.
  3. Had an annual household income that would place their family in the low-income category.

Eligible residents who want to get involved in the legal cannabis industry would receive incentives from the Colorado Department of Revenue or the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The exact nature of these incentives has not yet been determined by government officials.

Mass-Pardoning of Individuals with Past Marijuana Possession Convictions in Colorado

Anyone with a prior conviction for marijuana possession will be eligible for immediate, automatic pardon by the governor. This means that there will be no need for an individual to file an application or seek approval from a local district attorney or judge. Additionally, although Governor Polis will be able to consult with others before issuing pardons, he is not required to follow anyone else’s advice. Once individuals convicted of cannabis possession have been pardoned, they will then be eligible to get the record of the conviction expunged.

The implications of the mass-pardon provision could be significant, particularly for individuals who were previously convicted of marijuana possession in Colorado but who now live in another state. In these other states where marijuana may still be illegal, a conviction for pot possession can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to seek employment, public housing, or government assistance.

History of HB 20-1424 and Expungement of Past Marijuana Convictions in Colorado

State legislators have been trying for some time to pass a law that would clear marijuana convictions from criminal records. Jonathan Singer, a Democratic Rep. from Longmont, proposed a similar bill earlier this year. That bill would have automatically cleared all past marijuana possession convictions, but legislative delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant that there was simply not enough time to garner enough votes in support of the bill. Shortly before the legislative session came to an end, Rep. Singer decided to try once again by tacking on an amendment to the cannabis social equity bill. Singer justified the inclusion of the amendment by connecting cannabis business licensing and “people who are still paying for their crimes that are now legal and constitutional.” Moreover, said Singer, those costs are being borne disproportionately by communities of color in Colorado.

Some state legislators objected to the expungement amendment on the grounds that it was more of a “criminal justice” concern and not sufficiently connected to the marijuana business licensing bill. Ultimately, however, HB 20-1424 passed with bipartisan support.

Next Steps for Applicants to Colorado’s Marijuana Social Equity License Program

Now that HB 20-1424 has been passed by the Colorado state legislature, it will head to Governor Polis’ desk. If Polis signs the bill, it will become the law in Colorado and grant him the authority to expunge prior convictions for misdemeanor pot possession. It is expected that Polis will choose to sign the bill. A spokesperson for Polis stated that the governor is “happy that a meaningful, bipartisan bill addressing marijuana equity passed the legislature.”

Applicants to the state’s new social equity license program will be able to start submitting their applications at the beginning of 2021. The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division is expected to finalize the rules for eligibility soon so that there are no delays for applicants.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today

Scythian Real Estate is a trusted partner of cannabis operators who are looking to raise funds and expand their retail operations into new states. Scythian already works with The Green Solution and Grassroots (recently acquired by Curaleaf) in states like Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

If you are a cannabis operator, you can contact Scythian by sending an email today.


710 Day Shows Popularity of Cannabis Concentrates

710 Day
710 Day

The recent “710 Day” in the United States highlighted the rising popularity of cannabis concentrates in cities where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use. Each year on July 10, cannabis consumers flock to dispensaries in states where recreational marijuana is legal and purchase concentrated extracts and oils. This year was no exception, with reports indicating that business was booming at retail marijuana stores in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and throughout the United States.

What Is 710 Day?

The most famous and celebrated cannabis holiday is 420 Day, which falls on April 20th each year. A close second, however, is 710 Day on July 10th. This is the recognized holiday for cannabis oil products, called 710 Day because “710” looks like “OIL” when reversed and turned upside-down. Each year on July 10th, cannabis enthusiasts celebrate by smoking cannabis concentrate and extract products such as shatter weed, crumble weed, and hash oil wax. These cannabis concentrates tend to be popular among consumers because they offer a more potent high than traditional marijuana products.

Cannabis Concentrates & Oils Rising in Popularity in Colorado

Among all cannabis product categories, cannabis concentrates are one of the most coveted by recreational pot users. This is particularly true in Colorado, where demand is so high that dispensaries can’t seem to keep cannabis concentrate products on the shelves for very long.

Cannabis concentrates are part of the fastest-growing product segment in the cannabis industry. According to the most recent annual report released by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, more than 40,000 pounds of cannabis concentrate products were sold in both the medical use and recreational use markets in Colorado in 2019. This represented a 128% rise from 2016, when just over 17,600 pounds of concentrate products were sold in Colorado. To put these numbers in perspective, consider that cannabis flower products saw just a 4.4% increase in sales during the same time period.

Of course, it is worth noting that cannabis flower is still the most sought-after product among both recreational and medical marijuana users: more than 350,000 pounds of flower products are sold annually in Colorado, or around nine (9) times as much as cannabis concentrates.

High Demand for Cannabis Concentrates in Both U.S. and Canada

Although sales of cannabis concentrates are not quite so strong in a newer market like Massachusetts, where recreational marijuana was legalized at the end of 2016, sales have still risen sharply. Data shows that retail sales of cannabis concentrates in Massachusetts increased by roughly 17% from June 2019 to June 2020.

The demand for cannabis concentrates is also strong north of the border in Canada. Health Canada is the department that oversees the country’s national health policy, and data from Health Canada shows that retail sales of concentrated extracts of marijuana increased by 154% in a period of just six (6) months. By contrast, sales of marijuana flowers on the recreational cannabis market in Canada actually decreased during that same time period.

Cannabis Companies Focusing on Marijuana Concentrates Market

The increased demand for marijuana concentrates has certainly been noticed by cannabis companies, especially those companies that are looking to expand operations into Colorado, California, Michigan, and other states where recreational marijuana is legal. Curaleaf, the largest multi-state cannabis operator in the country, recently acquired Select, a dominant wholesaler that provides cannabis products to more than 900 retailers throughout the U.S. Part of the reasoning behind the acquisition was that Curaleaf wanted to build a national cannabis concentrate brand, as well as to gain direct access to an experienced marijuana concentrate manufacturer for future research & development.

After the deal was completed, Select president and co-founder Cameron Forni issued a statement noting that there has been “an evolution [among cannabis consumers] in appreciation for hardware and oil quality.” One of the brand’s most popular cannabis concentrate products is Select Elite Live, which combines THC oil and high-terpene extract (HTE). Products like these tend to generate even more interest on 710 Day, when cannabis concentrate sales typically see a huge bump as consumers look for alternatives to more traditional marijuana flowers at dispensaries. Additionally, observed Forni, the people who are most excited about cannabis concentrates tend to come from “a small subset of super-enthusiasts.”

Curaleaf’s acquisition of Select in February 2020 was the first major deal made by the cannabis retailer, but it certainly was not the last. In July 2020, Curaleaf completed another major transaction by finalizing its merger with Grassroots Cannabis.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Investing Today

Scythian Real Estate is the real estate partner of several large cannabis companies that operate across the United States. The Scythian Real Estate Fund specializes in sale-leasebacks with sophisticated cannabis operators and includes nearly two dozen retail cannabis properties valued at approximately $40 million. To learn more, email Scythian today.


Grassroots Cannabis and Curaleaf Merger Almost Complete

Curaleaf-Grassroots Merger
Grassroots Cannabis

Grassroots Cannabis, which recently entered into multiple sale-leaseback deals with Scythian Real Estate, is nearing the finish line of its merger with Curaleaf. The merger between Grassroots and Curaleaf is expected to create a major force in the U.S. cannabis industry.

Grassroots Cannabis Thrives in Retail Marijuana Space

Grassroots Cannabis is one of the largest multi-state cannabis operators in the country, with a focus on marijuana growing, cultivation, and retail. The story of Grassroots begins with Mitch Kahn, its CEO and co-founder. Kahn started the marijuana growing and processing company after spending decades in the real estate industry and recognizing just how promising the cannabis space could be for investors. Other important members of the Grassroots Cannabis team today include Matt Darin (Chief Operating Officer), Steve Weisman (Chief Strategy Officer), Perrine Knight (Chief Administrative Officer), and Talley Wettlaufer (Head of Retail).

When Kahn founded Grassroots Cannabis, the marijuana company was funded primarily by friends and family. Over the years, Grassroots has expanded and continued to raise funds through other investors and in a variety of deals. While Kahn is set to remain with the company as a board member after the Curaleaf merger is officially complete, he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations.

Integration of Grassroots and Curaleaf to Create Dominant Retail Cannabis Company

Now that the Grassroots-Curaleaf merger has been approved at the federal level, the two companies are in the process of receiving final approvals from state and local governments. In anticipation of getting state approval, Grassroots and Curaleaf are preparing to scale their integrated businesses and carve out a dominant spot in the retail cannabis industry.

Business has remained steady for Grassroots Cannabis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states declared marijuana dispensaries “essential businesses” that can remain open for order pick up, including all the states in which Grassroots operates. This has allowed the company to continue building its data infrastructure, utilizing automation, and strengthening operations in exciting markets like Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

Grassroots Cannabis and Scythian Real Estate Close Sale-Leaseback Deals in North Dakota and Pennsylvania

Even before the expected merger, Grassroots Cannabis already has a strong presence in several important U.S. markets such as Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Grassroots recently bolstered its presence in North Dakota and Pennsylvania with two sale-leaseback transactions with Colorado-based Scythian Real Estate.

In June 2020, Grassroots sold two North Dakota dispensaries to Scythian and subsequently entered into a lease agreement with Scythian for continued operation of the dispensaries under the store name Herbology. More recently, Scythian acquired a medical marijuana dispensary located at 109 Main Street in Bradford, PA and then leased the property back to Grassroots. The total size of all three properties acquired by Scythian is approximately 13,000 square feet.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

These kinds of sale-leaseback deals are common in the retail cannabis industry and allow businesses like Grassroots Cannabis to expand their retail operations without diluting capital. Scythian Real Estate Fund LLC works with cannabis operators throughout the United States.

If you are a cannabis operator looking for a trusted real estate partner, email Scythian today.