Can I Be Blunt?

September 2016

Viewing posts from September , 2016

August Medical Marijuana Program Statistics

August Medical Marijuana Program StatisticsThe August Medical Marijuana Program Statistics are provided by DC’s Dept. of Health. You can see the total number of patients registered, their gender and in which ward they live.  

August Medical Marijuana Program Statistics

3,986 patients and 33 caregivers have registered with DC’s Medical Marijuana Program since 2014. In the last month, DC added 43 new patients, 2 caregivers, and 2 physicians. The number of cultivation centers (7) and dispensaries (5) remains unchanged.

Statistical Insights for Marketers/Business Owners

August’s numbers suck, plain and simple — a 65% drop in registered patients compared to the previous month. At this time last year, DC had 4,212 residents with legal access to medical cannabis. (I can only guess that the numbers are dwindling because patients are not renewing their licenses. If you know, please leave a comment.)

Knowing only that I know nothing, I looked for a statistic that would give me a bit of perspective. Perhaps my expectations are too high (among other things) for DC. Turns out, the answer is maybe.


According to, an organization tracking the number of “legal medical marijuana patients” in the U.S., the average is 8.06 per thousand statewide residents. According to this group, the District has 5.12 card-carrying residents per thousand. Like most averages, this is both helpful and misleading; the top 6 states in the U.S. have more than 19 patients per thousand on average. Those states include the obvious: Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington; but there’s also Michigan and Maine. With the exception of California (for now), all of these states also allow for legal recreational use (while not statewide, both Maine and Michigan have cities that legalized REC). One would think that the ratio of MMJ patients per thousand residents would be lower, not higher if everyone has access.

Unfortunately, REC is legal in the District but residents don’t have access to cannabis because it can neither be purchased nor sold. If Congress didn’t mandate this Catch-22, would the number of patients increase like those other states? Or is there another force at play? And I would love your thoughts on this!

Analysis of earlier months can be found in the archives (helpful for trending data on gender and wards with the greatest number of patients). You can view the two-page report from this month here.

Jay Z: The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail

JayZ illustrates (literally & figuratively) why the War on Drugs is an epic failure. … Why white men got rich while African-Americans got jail. … Why — even though African-Americans make up 13 percent of the United States population — they account for 31% of arrests for drug law violations … even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites. Kudos to the New York Times for expanding our experience with the op-ed, too.

Watch the Video

Competition, Tight Margins, Price Wars

Cannabis Has Come a Long Way, BabyI’m going to talk to my business mavericks for a moment. You are the cornerstone of an industry that is projected to surpass $22 billion by 2020. What do you get in return? More competition, tighter margins and price wars. It’s the kind of excitement I felt when Virginia Slims told me that I’d “come along way, baby.” I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

As discussed in the previous post, the rate at which new cultivators are entering the market has accelerated, greatly increasing the market’s product supply, resulting in downward pressure on prices. Across the board, wherever there’s a legal market for marijuana, prices have been dropping by as much as half. And as the price of cannabis drops so low as to compete with the illegal marijuana market, still more ganjapreneurs join the ranks.

Here’s an idea: stop selling cannabis, and start selling your business.

If you “only” sell cannabis, it’s hard to create value, capture a premium price and attract new customers. But if you’re selling more than a product — some call it “lifestyle” or “experience” (again, a little vomit) — then you’re different. And the more unique you are, the harder it is for anyone else to copy you.

Differentiation must start with your customers in mind. How can you be more relevant to them before, during and after the transaction? Keep reading …

Coming soon: Creating Value Before the Transaction

A Cannabis Canary in the Coal Mine

The price of pot is tumbling in Colorado,” reported a financial paper this week. I hope every business owner is paying attention to this cannabis canary in the coal mine: in less than a year, wholesale prices have been nearly cut in half.

Why? Growers are ramping up production and flooding the market regardless of demand. And the trend isn’t unique to Colorado. Wherever there’s a legal market for marijuana, prices have been dropping.

cannabis canary squaks about surplus supply
Since legal marijuana entered Washington in July 2014, prices have dropped from $25 to $30 per gram to about $10 a gram at the end of 2015. Prices plummeted in Washington as new retailers clog the market.

In short, everyone wants in, seems to be getting in, and the question arises: how do the original industry mavericks stay in? I’ll share some thoughts tomorrow, but leave you with this insight from Seth Godin:

“Marketing creates value, by combining stories, design and care. The product or service is produced in a way that makes engaging with the item better.

“Commodities are in the eye of the producer. If you don’t want to sell something that’s judged merely on price, then don’t.”