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Canada’s Medical Cannabis Report Card: Spring 2015

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Click to view the full 30 page report on Canada's Medical Cannabis for Spring 2015.

Canada's Medical Cannabis Report Card: Spring 2015

Canada’s Medical Cannabis Report Card: Spring 2015

Just over a year ago, we released an infographic that introduced the new MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) introduced in Canada as well as the case for medical cannabis.

With the first full year of MMPR now behind us, we wanted to take a look at how the medical cannabis industry has matured. For two weeks of April, we talked to every practicing LP (Licensed Producer) in Canada to get a sense of the current landscape of the medical cannabis market.

Click to view the full 30 page report on Canada's Medical Cannabis for Spring 2015.

We wanted to see how the market has changed as well as the type of experience that prospective patients could expect. Then, our team put this information together with some industry context. In the infographic and report, we include a timeline highlighting the last year of events affecting the medical marijuana space in Canada, and also a section focusing on the cultural shift towards acceptance of cannabis.

Methodology

The purpose of this report is to serve as a snapshot of what a potential patient may experience while contacting and researching different LPs.

This report is meant to be representative of the time of the two weeks of research (mid-April) and not today. Things change fast and it is possible that producers have come out with new strains (or run out of strains) since that time period.

Further, we measured things like social media, phone, and email response times with only a small sample size. These are not statistically significant measures, but are again indicative of what our experience was in trying to reach producers with questions.

Lastly, it is also worth noting that at the end of April, we reached out to every LP with the opportunity to correct information that we had collected. Most producers wrote us back and provided some corrections or affirmation that the information was correct, but a few did not respond.

Conclusions

TRADEOFFS

The market is still in its early stages, and companies are executing different strategies to win over patients. Right now, there are brands ranging from low to high end in terms of pricing and quality. There are also a variety of preparation strategies, including but not limited to: selling only whole buds, pre-milling the product, machine-trimming, or irradiating the product. In the future, as the market matures, it will be clearer which of these strategies work best for patients and which are better suited for smaller niches.

Moving forward, it will also be interesting to watch if all LPs move towards creating a similar selection of products with comparable benefits, or if they all specialize in specific areas based on patient demand.

STRAIN AVAILABILITY

The single biggest trend we noticed was a lack of consistent strain availability. While the LPs have made big progress since last autumn, there is still a wide variability in what is available at any given time.

Supply hiccups are expected in a new industry, but we did get the impression that it does impact patients significantly. We hope that as medical cannabis in Canada matures, that patients will be able to rely on consistent supply for the medicine that works best for them.

TRANSPARENCY

Our last note is on transparency. We found several LPs very reluctant to give out information on their company or their medicine. This is a concern for patients that are interested in knowing more about what they are buying.

A possible cause of this could also be that some representatives for each company may not yet have enough industry experience to know answers to questions like whether their product is irradiated, or if their flowers are trimmed by machines or by hand.

The good news is that companies seem to be rapidly maturing in their approach to knowledge and customer service. We had done some preliminary calls and research in the autumn of 2014, and many less-established LPs were much more reluctant to give us information at that time. Further, some representatives were not knowledgeable about product traits and were unprofessional with their phone and email responses.

While we still received some of these types of responses in our most recent rounds, we saw a noticeable decrease as company representatives acted more professional, courteous, and with genuine knowledge of their product and the industry. Companies also responded much faster to us in April than they did in 2014, which means that they are improving from a customer service standpoint.

Edits: We updated this on June 4, 2015 at 12:58pm, updating the total amount of listed LPs by Health Canada to 19.

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Agriculture

The Most Valuable Agricultural Commodity in Each State

Which agricultural commodity is the most important to each state’s economy? This infographic breaks it all down, based on data from the USDA.

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The Most Valuable Agricultural Commodity in Each State

The United States has an incredible amount of geographic diversity.

From the fertile farmland of the Great Plains to the volcanic islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, each state has been dealt a unique geographical hand.

Each geographical setting can be the source of economic opportunities, such as tourism or the development of natural resources. It also partially dictates what kind of agricultural choices are available for farmers and local economies.

A Higher Level Look

Today’s infographic comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it color codes each state based on the most valuable agricultural commodity it produces, based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

At a big picture level, how does the country break down?

Most Valuable Agricultural CommodityNumber of States
Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas16
Poultry and eggs9
Cattle and calves7
Milk from cows7
Nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod4
Fruit, tree nuts, and berries3
Vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes2
Aquaculture1
Other crops and hay1

Broadly speaking, the category of “Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas” is the most valuable agricultural commodity in 16 states, while aquaculture was the most important in only one state, which is Alaska.

It’s interesting that there are niches that end up deriving massive amounts of value in only a few states. For example, the category of “Fruit, tree nuts, and berries” is the biggest in just three states, but California makes $17.6 billion from it every year – more than the size of the entire agricultural sector of some states.

State by State Data

Finally, here’s a look at the data for each state in a sortable table:

RankStateAgricultural CommodityValue
#1CaliforniaFruit, tree nuts, and berries$17,638,972,000
#2IowaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$17,146,679,000
#3IllinoisGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$13,589,230,000
#4TexasCattle and calves$13,013,127,000
#5MinnesotaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$12,304,415,000
#6NebraskaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$10,698,861,000
#7KansasCattle and calves$10,153,087,000
#8North DakotaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$8,813,348,000
#9IndianaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$7,217,854,000
#10OhioGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$5,834,600,000
#11South DakotaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$5,809,792,000
#12WisconsinMilk from cows$4,952,039,000
#13North CarolinaPoultry and eggs$4,837,026,000
#14GeorgiaPoultry and eggs$4,773,837,000
#15ColoradoCattle and calves$4,321,308,000
#16ArkansasGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$4,214,355,000
#17MissouriGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$3,922,873,000
#18AlabamaPoultry and eggs$3,624,852,000
#19MichiganGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$3,613,250,000
#20OklahomaCattle and calves$3,402,919,000
#21WashingtonFruit, tree nuts, and berries$2,931,370,000
#22MississippiPoultry and eggs$2,744,048,000
#23New YorkMilk from cows$2,417,398,000
#24IdahoMilk from cows$2,333,364,000
#25PennsylvaniaMilk from cows$1,966,892,000
#26FloridaFruit, tree nuts, and berries$1,847,805,000
#27LouisianaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$1,832,208,000
#28MontanaGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$1,787,162,000
#29KentuckyGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$1,656,983,000
#30South CarolinaPoultry and eggs$1,476,817,000
#31TennesseeGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$1,301,303,000
#32New MexicoMilk from cows$1,251,065,000
#33VirginiaPoultry and eggs$1,161,564,000
#34WyomingCattle and calves$1,101,195,000
#35MarylandPoultry and eggs$922,999,000
#36OregonCattle and calves$894,485,000
#37DelawarePoultry and eggs$811,301,000
#38ArizonaVegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes$764,062,000
#39VermontMilk from cows$504,884,000
#40New JerseyNursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod$405,247,000
#41West VirginiaPoultry and eggs$401,439,000
#42UtahCattle and calves$364,214,000
#43NevadaOther crops and hay$280,554,000
#44ConnecticutNursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod$252,923,000
#45MaineVegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes$207,254,000
#46HawaiiGrains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas$152,930,000
#47MassachusettsNursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod$144,188,000
#48New HampshireMilk from cows$54,798,000
#49Rhode IslandNursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod$32,831,000
#50AlaskaAquaculture$29,774,000

As the legal cannabis industry continues to take off, it’ll be interesting to see if the USDA incorporates that crop into its rankings in future years.

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Agriculture

Balancing the Environmental Costs of Cannabis

Legal cannabis cultivation emits as much CO2 as 92,660 cars annually. Growing cannabis sustainably can reduce this massive environmental footprint.

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Balancing the Environmental Costs of Cannabis

Economic development comes with a massive environmental cost.

Since 1980, heavy industrial activity has caused the doubling of CO2 emissions. As scientists warn of the lasting negative impacts this will have on the planet, nearly every industry is committing to sustainable practices to try to counteract this effect.

Today’s infographic comes from The Green Organic Dutchman, and it demonstrates that while the business of cannabis isn’t always eco-friendly, there are several tried-and-tested ways to reduce its massive footprint.

A HEFTY PRICE TO PAY

Energy is the second-highest cost driver in cannabis cultivation after labor.

There are two main culprits – lighting and HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Combined, they make up a whopping 89% of energy use in cannabis cultivation operations.

Last year, legal cannabis cultivation was responsible for consuming 1.1 million MWh of electricity, and producing 472,000 tons of CO2 emissions. That’s enough to power 92,500 homes, and produce the same emissions as 92,660 cars per year. As legal cannabis production scales, this will only escalate.

Much of this data can be attributed to how the plant is grown.

Growing methodPower consumption (kWh/g)Carbon intensity (lbs CO2e/g)
Indoor1.271.24
Greenhouse0.940.72
Outdoor0.070.05

Indoor cultivation is roughly 18 times more energy-intensive than outdoor cultivation, and produces 25 times the carbon emissions. On the other hand, outdoor production produces lower overall yield per square foot. Since it’s difficult to control the environment, impurities can also end up in the final product.

That’s why many companies opt for a hybrid approach instead – balancing the benefits of precise control, with the use of natural light to lower production costs.

A GAME PLAN FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Many licensed producers are adopting a suite of strategies to relieve this environmental footprint.

  • Renewable energy
    Diversifying the energy sources for cannabis cultivation can reduce carbon emissions. Solar and wind are top choices among cultivators.
  • LED lighting
    LED light bulbs are more than 60% more efficient than other types. They also produce barely any heat, lowering ventilation requirements.
  • Water efficiency
    A single cannabis plant can use up to 23 liters of water per day. Water can be recycled and re-used through innovative techniques such as reverse osmosis.
  • Packaging
    The plastic packaging often associated with cannabis products is a considerable contributor of waste. There are several alternatives, such as paper, glass, and tin. Each of these have their own benefits and drawbacks, depending on what they are used for.

Maximizing energy-efficiency has a domino effect not only on the planet, but on reduced operating costs. These savings can then be passed on to the buyer, which could prove to be a strong competitive advantage as the cannabis industry matures.

Stay tuned for part 6 of this series, where we’ll delve into the scientific evidence for medical cannabis compounds.

The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to KnowAnatomy of a Cannabis PlantA Quality Cannabis ProductThe Rise of OrganicA Sustainable Cannabis ProductThe Science Behind the $13 Billion Medical Cannabis IndustryComing soonComing soon

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