WeedWeek edition / July 15, 2019
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This week on the podcast
Up from Bud Tending, with Tiara Darnell

1 ACREAGE, HARVEST UNDER SCRUTINY IN OHIO

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Ohio regulators allege two multi-state operators (MSOs) violated state licensing rules, according to a report by Jackie Borchardt in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The allegations involve New York-based Acreage Holdings and Arizona-based Harvest Health and Recreation.

  • Ohio requires dispensaries to be open for a year before they make significant ownership changes. Regulator, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy,s allege Greenleaf Apothecaries, a partner of Acreage, violated state rules for ownership changes and/or gave false information on its applications."
  • A lawyer for Greenleaf called the allegations "meritless."
  • In an email to WeedWeek, an Acreage spokesperson said the company is fully compliant in all states where it operates, and transparent with regulators.
  • Separately, the state board alleges Harvest "committed fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in furnishing information" in overstating in applications how much of the company was black owned, which gave the company a leg up over competitors who scored higher.
  • Each company received notices in June telling them they will have the opportunity to argue their case. The reporter obtained the notices through freedom of information requests.
  • Arizona-based Harvest unsuccessfully attempted to block the release of its notice in court. Harvest argued its would reveal proprietary information about its "unique way of organizing an LLC" to qualify for the minority owned and controlled designation "with ownership that is only minimally from an economically disadvantaged group."
  • A Harvest spokesman said it is aware of the investigation and is cooperating with the state.
  • It's not the first time the two companies' tactics have made news. Acreage is under investigation in Massachusetts. (Again, it says it is compliant.)
    Boston Globe
  • In April, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Harvest is under investigation in Pennsylvania.
  • Harvest did not immediately return a request for comment about the Pennsylvania investigation.

Over at 🍁WeedWeek Canada, Jesse devotes much of the issue to the CannTrust scandal.

The producer grew 12 tons of weed in unlicensed rooms. The biggest scandal in Canada since legalization, itand has rocked the industry.

We also discuss Cannit with Jesse on the podcast episode dropping this afternoon.

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2 SEEING GREEN: IS JOHN BOEHNER GOOD FOR THE WEED BUSINESS?

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Alex Wong/ Getty Images
John Boehner, October 2015

John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who served as Speaker of the House between 2011 and 2015, has never consumed cannabis and declared himself "unalterably opposed" to legalization while in office. His thinking has evolved.

Since joining the Acreage board last year, Boehner has become a prominent and well connected voice for legalization in Washington D.C.

This week in Seeing Green, I look at Boehner's record and ask what it might mean for the weed business.

3 JAY- Z JOINS CALIVA AS CHIEF BRAND STRATEGIST

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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Rapper and mogul Jay-Z has joined NorCal company Caliva as Chief Brand Strategist.
The Guardian

  • Jay-Z is also involved in criminal justice activism which he anticipates incorporating into his work at Caliva.

4 CONGRESSIONAL PANEL DEBATES EQUITY

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For the first time, Congress debated the racial justice case for legalization. The overall argument was legalization can help reduce some of the injustices on the war on drugs. But much of the debate centered on how to legalize.
Cannabis Wire

  • Witnesses included an industry advocate called for passage of the STATES Act, which would protect state-legal businesses.
  • Another witness, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore's reformist prosecutor, opposes the STATES Act because it does not include any equity measures.

Also:

Marijuana Moment reports the debate on "how, not whether," to legalize is setting the tone in Congress. Additionally it notes the House Veterans Affairs committee held a closed door meeting on MED research.

5 HERE’S WHO’S FUNDING NEVADA POT COMPANIES

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The Reno Gazette Journal dove into newly available Nevada records detailing who bankrolls the silver state's cannabis businesses.

  • Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) initiated the document dump when he signed a cannabis transparency law in May.
  • The records reveal 8,900 people have invested in Nevada companies. They included athletes, at least one strip club owner and the wife of a former Republican operative who championed Nancy Reagan's just say no campaign.
  • Not everyone was wild about being outed, though one insider said she wasn't impressed by the list. "I thought actually it was going to be more interesting." 

Quick Hit

  1. A ruling could come soon in a case which pits dozens of disappointed license applicants against the state's licensing process. All sides expect the case to be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.
    AP
  2. After five years of REC sales, Washington state insiders weigh in on lessons learned.
    MJBiz

6 CBD BRANDS GET SNEAKY ON FACEBOOK

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Business Insider reports on how CBD and hemp brands are skirting Facebook's ad ban.

  • The site talked to three companies about their tactics.
  • Facebook recently cracked open the door by allowing topical CBD companies to advertise.

Quick Hits

  1. Canna Law Blog studies hemp and CBD in California.
  2. MSO Green Growth Brands said it would buy concentrate company Moxie for $310M.
    Press Release
  3. Former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli joined hydroponics firm GrowGeneration as a strategic advisor.
    MJ Biz
  4. CNBC's Jim Cramer says there's been a "paradigm shift" in cannabis: Investors are starting to care if a company makes money.

7 NOBODY KNOWS WHAT CANNABIS MEANS FOR FERTILITY

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Leafly looks into the almost non-existent research on cannabis use and conception.

  • "THC 'acts on receptors found in the hypothalamus, pituitary and internal reproductive organs in both males and females.' In other words, there’s probably a relationship, we just don’t understand it."
  • Some studies have shown cannabis use reduces sperm count, but at least one study has shown it raises sperm count.
  • Very little is known about the relationship between cannabis use and women's fertility.
  • Credible health authorities say neither men nor women should use cannabis when trying to conceive.

Studies have shown cannabis users have more and better sex than non-users.

Quick Hit

  1. MED research is also a struggle in Canada.
    CTV
  2. Germany is the largest MED market outside North America.
    MJBiz

8 FEDS PROSECUTE CA OPERATOR FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING, NOT POT

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California cannabis company WellGreensCA and two of its executives face federal criminal charges for allegedly dumping 1,500 pounds of toxic waste.
MJ Biz

  • A federal prosecutor charges two executives conspired to illegally dump 28 drums of ethanol waste between November 2017 and June 2018.
  • An attorney for WellGreensCA said the company had passed multiple inspections and blamed a compliance consultant the company had hired.
  • Canna Law Blog discusses why the company wasn't charged with anything directly related to cannabis.

Quick Hit

9 SOCIAL USE STARTS AND STOPS

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The Boston Globe sent a reporter to Colorado to check out the state's slow motion social use rollout.

In California:

10 ESPN: GOLFERS LOVE CBD

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Golfer's interest in CBD is spilling out into the open, with a number of high profile players singing its praises and landing sponsorships.
ESPN

  • The players have noted CBD improves their sleep, recovery, anxiety and focus.
  • PGA Tour rules on the compound remain murky which is why it caught on faster with older Champion's League players, who are not as rigorously drug tested.

Quick Hits

  1. An viral incident has cost a Dairy Queen worker her job. After receiving permission from her manager the worker decorated a birthday cake with a stoned My Little Pony. The customer, who had a think Georgia accent, had asked for a 'Moana' cake.
  2. Vogue visited Broccoli Magazine's fashion forward cannabis festival.