Spotlight on Colorado's Cannabis Market

2022-06-18 17:47:54 By : Mr. shuxiang chen

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The following content is sponsored by Tenacious Labs.

In 2014, Colorado made history by being the first state to have the sale of legal recreational cannabis take place. Once considered unchartered territory, the state has since established itself as a mature and prospering legal market.

And as various governments explore the possibilities around cannabis legalization, policymakers likely consider Colorado’s journey as one to potentially emulate in order to reach some of the same longer-term outcomes that have materialized.

The following sponsored graphic from Tenacious Labs provides a spotlight analysis of the Colorado cannabis market, and looks at defining trends and key developments that have occurred during the last eight years.

From a fiscal perspective, cannabis legalization has been a hit for the state of Colorado. Since it started in 2014, Colorado has generated over $2 billion in tax and fee revenue from the legal cannabis space.

Here’s a look at the growing tax revenues, which started from a modest $46 million and have surged nearly 10x.

Moreover, cannabis sales are still increasing. The year 2021 was a record year which generated $2.2 billion in revenue.

Given the rise in debts most governments have incurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, new sources of revenue and taxation, and rising ones at that, are attractive and may act as a key driver for legalization initiatives in other regions.

There are multiple converging factors that suggest cannabis legalization may result in a long list of benefits. Like sales and taxes, the employment sector has seen robust growth and shows more and more signs of picking up speed.

In Colorado, the industry boasts over 40,000 jobs that contribute to the local economy, including ones like “budtender”, which were almost nonexistent a number of years ago.

Likewise, the number of cannabis jobs across the country has grown from 122,000 in 2017 to 428,000 in 2022. In fact, in the U.S. there are now more jobs in cannabis than there are bank tellers, insurance agents, and hairstylists.

But the growth isn’t expected to stop quite yet. By 2025, some estimates say there will be 1.5 million jobs in cannabis, as legalization momentum continues to surge. In other words, the cannabis industry can represent 1% of the roughly 150 million people employed in America.

Fueling the growing figures around the cannabis industry is the high level of innovation in this space. Given the versatility of the cannabis plant, the modern industry now offers greater diversity and variety in products. And this can come in the form of consumption methods ranging from inhalation like vaping and smoking, to edible beverages and baked goods.

Here’s how market share for these products fared in 2020:

However, innovation in products is not stopping.

In 2020, an additional 7,000 new products hit dispensary shelves compared to the year prior. With new products emerging every day, it’s highly possible the future of cannabis can expand its total addressable market by attracting new consumers who may not resonate with the offerings of today.

Where do the millions in annual cannabis tax revenue go? Since legalization, Colorado has produced a track record of positive and impactful initiatives they’ve funded through cannabis dollars.

In addition, the state breaks down these revenues and shows how funds are allocated.

By far the largest portion of these funds go to the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund. Which supports an assortment of construction projects and law enforcement programs throughout the state.

Next, is the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund, which receives almost a quarter of the total tax dollars. This fund helps provide much needed capital to schools when upgrading their facilities.

Altogether, taxation from cannabis is making positive impacts across numerous avenues. For instance, in recent years, $3 million went towards opioid intervention, $16 million for affordable housing, and $20 million for early literacy programs. As cannabis sales grow, funds from taxes should follow suit, which only fuel greater and more frequent community programs and state initiatives.

In just under a decade, Colorado has demonstrated the ability to implement cannabis regulations that benefit stakeholders and society more broadly.

As tax revenues, employment, innovation in products, and communities all continue to flourish, many states and countries alike might seek to emulate these results and will look at the Colorado story for guidance.

In the next part of The Legal Landscape Series, we’ll dive into a legal vs illegal overview of cannabis markets.

Plant-Based Products: The Journey from Bean to Burger

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Plant-based products are expected to take a bite out of the world’s protein market. How do they go from bean to burger?

As plant-based products become more and more popular, their demand continues to skyrocket.

As a result, alternatives like meatless meat are expected to take a bite out of the conventional protein market in the coming years. In fact, the global plant-based market value is expected to grow 5.5x to reach a projected $162 billion by 2030.

So how do these plant-based alternatives end up on people’s plates? This infographic from the Very Good Food Company (VGFC) traces the supply chain to discover how a plant-based product, such as a vegetable burger, goes from farm to fork.

Many meatless patties are made of ingredients ranging from: nuts, mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, grains, vegetables, beans, or legumes.

According to a survey of over 27,000 global consumers, 88% prioritize buying from companies with ethical sourcing strategies. Moreover, these trends are much more pronounced in younger consumers (aged 18-24), compared to older generations (aged 65+).

After inspection at the manufacturing plant, the ingredients are washed and thoroughly cleaned. This ensures that no dirt or bacteria is left on the raw, often organic products.

From there, the grains are cooked until softened, and strained. Meanwhile, the vegetables are chopped into uniform pieces, either by machine or by hand.

Once that’s done, pre-measured amounts of the grains and vegetables are mixed thoroughly in an industrial mixing bowl to achieve the right ratio.

The mixture is loaded into an automatic patty-making machine—which presses the vegetable burgers into round discs.

The newly formed plant-based patties are loaded onto baking trays, and cooked in an industrial-size oven. From here, they enter a freezing chamber (below 32°F/0°C).

This causes the patties to freeze within 30 minutes, causing ice crystals to form in them. When the meatless patties are cooked, the ice crystals melt, keeping them juicy.

The patties are vacuum packaged and sealed in plastic by serving size, and accompanied with pre-printed cardboard sleeves.

Vacuum sealing helps keep the patties fresher by increasing their shelf life and improving food safety. For many customers, whether or not a plant-based product has sustainable packaging will have a significant impact on their purchases:

As more and more veggie burgers get shipped to stores around the world, companies are looking for more sustainable ways to package patties and to reduce the need for single-use plastics.

Not only are plant-based burgers cruelty-free, they also have a better environmental footprint compared to animal meat:

The Very Good Food Company is a global brand which prides itself on finding innovative ways to make the healthiest food possible. Because VGFC’s founders come from a restaurant background, the company naturally prioritizes organic, high-quality ingredients, with minimal processing throughout the supply chain.

Click here to learn more how this helps the Very Good Food Company boost the wholesome nature of its plant-based products, without compromising on taste.

What are anti-satellite weapons, and how do they affect outer space?

At any given moment, there are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth for commercial, civil, strategic, and military reasons.

Due to the importance of certain satellites for national security, countries have developed anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons that can be used to incapacitate or destroy satellites in orbit.

While some ASAT weapons use non-destructive means like cyberattacks or lasers to impair satellites, the destructive types often rely on high-speed physical collision to shatter satellites, creating negative repercussions for the space environment.

The above infographic from Secure World Foundation explains how destructive ASAT testing is hindering outer space and adding to the increasing space debris in Earth’s orbits.

When destructive ASAT weapons collide with satellites, they can create thousands to millions of pieces of debris that can orbit the Earth for decades at extremely high speeds.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the destruction of a single 10-ton satellite can generate:

The debris from destructive ASAT testing adds to the 8,800 metric tons of space debris that’s already floating around in space. Since space debris can travel at speeds up to 29,000km/h (roughly 8km/s), even millimeter-sized fragments are massive threats to other objects in orbit.

In fact, the International Space Station (ISS) has conducted 29 debris avoidance maneuvers since 1999, which involve rerouting to avoid potential collisions with debris pieces.

Historically, just four countries—Russia (formerly the USSR), China, the U.S., and India—have successfully used destructive ASAT weapons of two types:

Since 1968, these four countries have successfully conducted 15 destructive ASAT tests, creating thousands of pieces of tracked debris that spread across vast distances.

*The spread of debris refers to the two altitudes at which debris pieces from the test were closest to and farthest from the Earth’s surface, known as perigee and apogee, respectively.

Between 1961 and 1982, the USSR launched a series of satellites for various missions, including the testing of its co-orbital ASAT weapons under the Istrebitel Sputnikov (meaning “destroyer of satellites”) program. As of 2022—40 to 50 years after these tests—some of their tracked debris is still orbiting the Earth.

China’s destruction of the FengYun 1C weather satellite in 2007 was by far the most-destructive ASAT test in terms of debris creation. The collision generated over 3,400 pieces of tracked debris, and was the first successful direct-ascent ASAT test since 1985.

In November 2021, Russia made the headlines for a destructive direct-ascent test responsible for around 1,400 new pieces of tracked debris, along with hundreds of thousands of smaller fragments. The consequences of the test prompted calls for a global ban on destructive ASAT testing.

It’s also important to note that debris fragments from these tests are not only orbiting the Earth but also spreading far from the altitude where these tests occurred. For example, some fragments from China’s 2007 test reached more than 3,000km beyond the Earth’s surface.

The debris from deliberate satellite destruction is dangerous and uncontrollable, threatening other satellites and spacecraft. As more satellites and human spacecraft enter outer space, preventing further debris creation is critical to protecting the long-term sustainability of space activities.

Following Russia’s recent test, the U.S. was the first nation to commit not to conduct destructive ASAT tests, urging other nations to follow suit.

“These tests, to be sure, are reckless as they are irresponsible.”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris

>> Secure World Foundation promotes cooperative solutions for space sustainability and the peaceful uses of outer space.

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