Are You Keeping with The Times?

New marijuana users are trying the drug for the first time and as more states like New York see the health benefits of a smokeless delivery method versus a traditional smoking method, businesses and corporations are beginning to perfect methods that do not involve directly inhaling a smoldering plant. For starters, the market for marijuana edibles is exploding, particularly in those states that have legalized cannabis for medical/recreational use.  In Colorado for example, Cannabis purchases by out-of-state visitors account for an estimated 44% of all retail sales in the Denver area and about 90% in mountain resorts, according to a recent market study commissioned by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Colorado’s largest maker of infused products, Dixie Elixirs, recently moved to a new industrial building in Montbello with four times as much space as its former facility in Stapleton. Another major firm, Medically Correct, is moving from a 1,200sqft kitchen in the Platte Valley to a nearby building with 8,000 square feet. This also includes production facilities for its “Incredibles-branded” chocolate bars as well as space, to grow its own marijuana.

“We’re bursting at the seams,” said Medically Correct co-owner Bob Eschino. “Now we think we’ve already outgrown this (new space) before we’ve even started. There are other products we want to do but can’t come out with because we can’t even keep up with demand for chocolate.”

As edibles allow marijuana users to “ease into the drug”, the vaporizer and e-liquids space has just started to emerge for smokers to achieve a “cleaner high” and a more healthy alternative compared to that of rolling a joint. There are a lot more options available with customization, different e-liquids, and products that can heat both dry herb, liquid, and wax.  Just as e-cigarettes have dramatically changed the business of tobacco smoking, e-cig technology and vaping are bringing excellerated change to cannabis markets.

Steve DeAngelo, a marijuana entrepreneur and activist who founded the Harborside Health Center medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, told USA Today that “The arrival of compact, portable, microprocessor-controlled vaporizers and advances in extracting active ingredients from cannabis plants have caused a shift in consumer demand.”

Some dispensaries such as his and many in Colorado, where recreational pot is legal, now do roughly 50% of their business in raw marijuana leaf or flowers, and the rest in edibles and concentrates, some prepackaged in cartridges for use in vape pens.

“The percentage of raw (pot) flowers we sell has been dropping steadily,” DeAngelo said. “The percent of extracts and concentrates … has been rising steadily.”

The arrival of marijuana vaporizing goes hand in hand with the recent development of highly concentrated forms of marijuana extractions in liquid both viscous and waxy forms. Those concentrates are easily consumed through vaporization and are used to fuel many of the vape pens on the market.

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