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Maryland Surpasses $10 Million in Cannabis Sales During Opening Weekend for Recreational Market, NY Secures Investor for $200 Million Start-Up Fund for Social Equity Cannabis Entrepreneurs, and Cannabis Operators Face Safety Dilemma Regarding Irradiation of Plants

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Maryland Surpasses $10 Million in Cannabis Sales During Opening Weekend for Recreational Market

According to data from the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA), the holiday weekend saw over $10 million in legal cannabis sales across the state. Recreational sales began on Saturday, and retail dispensaries sold over $3,558,947 in legal marijuana. Medical marijuana sales totals for the same day were $959,430. For the entire weekend (Friday through Sunday), Marylanders purchased $10,429,736 in combined medical and adult-use cannabis products. By contrast, the 4th of July weekend in 2022 saw $3,985,527 in medical cannabis sales. Leading up to the launch of recreational sales, 95 of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries were approved for dual licensing to serve adult-use consumers. In addition, the MCA said it has approved 42 growers and manufacturers to supply the growing demand of the newly legal recreational market. 

NY Secures Investor for $200 Million Start-Up Fund for Social Equity Cannabis Entrepreneurs

Under New York’s law that legalized retail cannabis in 2021, the state vowed to provide $200 million in funding to assist social equity marijuana licensees in opening their dispensary locations. The state would provide $50 million in capital toward the fund but needed to secure $150 million from private investors. The state has struggled to find investors to fulfill its promise. But, the state’s Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a publicly traded investment firm from Illinois, Chicago Atlantic Admin, has agreed to contribute “up to $150 million” of the necessary capital. Chicago Atlantic Admin has helped fund cannabis-based businesses across the U.S. 

Cannabis Operators Face Safety Dilemma Regarding Irradiation of Plants

Many cannabis growers are facing a quandary when it comes to ensuring their marijuana passes inspection for safe levels of microbial contaminants. There is still a great deal of confusion among cultivators and regulators alike concerning what microbes are “bad” and what acceptable levels look like. Aspergillus is a microbe of particular concern as it can cause severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, lead to death. If a plant does not pass inspection, it needs to undergo irradiation. The industry standard for this process involves blasting the plant with radioactive gamma rays. Other methods for killing microbial contaminants include x-ray radiation and electron beam radiation. The preferred method for many U.S. cannabis growers is x-ray radiation. The process has been around for some time, and numerous other food products sold across the U.S. undergo irradiation. But, many growers are concerned about the stigma associated with the process and don’t want consumers to know their cannabis has been nuked. Many growers are using terms like “electronically pasteurized” in the hopes of getting around the negative association of irradiation.