California edition / February 01, 2020
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1 MEDMEN CEO’S TELEGRAPHED RESIGNATION

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PHOTO BY BAYLEE GRAMLING ON UNSPLASH
MedMen CEO Adam Bierman has resigned, effective yesterday. If this announcent has caught you off guard, welcome to our humble li'l newsletter. Technical 420

Quick Hits

  1. In the middle installment of of a three-part series on legal weed's crisis point, we get some historical perspecive on how we arrived at it. MJ Biz Daily
  1. Their cannabis-forward strides don’t produce major headlines, but mid-size and small municipalities that weren’t participating in the legal cannabis market are now warming to the industry. This week, Colin Kaepernick's hometown Turlock performed a complete 180-degree turn on legal weed — even got a location approved one block away from a private school that real, live children attend! Modesto Bee
  2. A Fresno man who has been in the U.S. since he was 1 and a citizen since he was 12 was targeted for deportation after he returned to SFO from Canada. The reason? A 2012 pot conviction. SF-ist

2 HAS REC SCARCITY SEEDED SACRAMENTO CORRUPTION?

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Andrey Kukushkin is a local REC heavyweight, a Lev Parnas associate who has brought federal investigation to the River City. A municipality previously thought among California early legalization exemplars, Sacramento more than ever has on its mind corruption and the causes of it. Sacramento News & Review
  • An essay by Diane Goldstein of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) argues that "arbitrary" caps on business licenses "inherently breed corruption and increased crime."
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3 EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT VAPING

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Past WeedWeek podcast guest Amanda Chicago Lewis offers much insight on the deep on the "high-margin product in a business with increasingly thin margins" that is vaping. California Sunday Magazine
  • Public health officials believe more than Vitamin E acetate is at the heart of last years illness spike. Analysis from the Mayo Clinic, among other research bodies, points to other causes.
  • "Scared straight" tactics aren't driving away pen fans. Psychologist and public-policy analyst Robert MacCoun said, “We moralize to kids and exaggerate the harms, and then their own experience doesn’t match up... They were hearing about the most extreme harms, but that’s not what they’re observing among their friends, so they go to the other extreme and dismiss all harms.”
  • This week the state announced that 75% of the illicit vapes seized by the state last December tested contained additives such as Vitamin E acetate. (Many also contained just a fraction of the THC advertised.)
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4 WEED-THIEVING COP VICTIMIZES COOL LA NEIGHBORHOODS

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On Monday, an officer assigned to the division that patrols Los Angeles between Echo Park and Eagle Rock was arrested for stealing cash during a police operation at a legal grow. The Eastsider L.A.
  • Northeast LA Division Officer Louis Mota was charged with attempting the theft as narcotics officers conducted an operation at a local grow. An employee reported to a police supervisor that she was missing money from her backpack. A surveillance camera reportedly revealed the thief to be Mota.

5 THE RAND CORP HAS BEEN STUDYING SIGNS FOR SIGNS

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Santa Monica-based think tank Rand Corp. has issued a report on how dispensary storefront signage and neighborhood density influence consumption rates and associations among the youth. The second of these two studies looked at young adult MED card acquisitions. Greencamp
  • Rand's signage and density study surveyed 1,887 participants aged 18–22 online between 2016–17. It found living near more MED "is positively associated with more frequent use of marijuana within the past month and greater expectations of marijuana's positive benefits." Dispensaries "with signage show stronger associations with number of times used each day and positive expectancies."
  • The report “Factors Associated With Acquiring a Medical Marijuana Card: A Longitudinal Examination of Young Adults in California” found that young men who reported more frequent marijuana use were at greater odds of acquiring a medical marijuana card over the study period. No findings on the wetness of water were reported.

Quick Hit

  1. In one of the week's more compelling podcast half hours, UCSF Professor of Clinical Medicine Donald Abrams said, "Cannabis has been a medicine for 3,000 years and only hasn’t been for 77. So I think we can harken back to some of the prehistoric information that we have that suggests that cannabis was useful in a number of different conditions. And those conditions are still, I think, responsive to cannabis as a medicine.” Cannabis Economy

6 REPORT SAYS EQUITY COULD OVERSATURATE S.F.

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When San Francisco approved REC in 2017, its Board of Supervisors stipulated that a progress report be filed at the end of two years. That 105-page report became available this week, and two issues leapt out as areas of concern: A backlog of equity applicants and the retail oversaturation risk. SF Weekly
  • The City officially has 212 permitted cannabis businesses — 37 of which are dispensaries — operating within its limits. In the queue are 277 equity permit applications. Of the 212 permitted businesses, according to the report, “the actual number currently operating is likely closer to 118.”
  • If 73% of San Francisco equity applicants are approved, according to the report, space and possibly commercial demand could become inadequate.

Quick Hit

  • “By putting in the work and partnering with an experienced tax professional, cannabis operators will be able to avoid penalties, limit their audit risk and stay on track with their business goals.” Perhaps Tax season is here. Cannabis Industry Journal

7 ‘SHROOMS ON THE BOARDWALK? NO PROBLEM AT ALL

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Psilocybin's not-so-slow march to normalization continued this week as the City of Santa Cruz decriminalized mushrooms for those 21 and over. Marijuana Moment

8 BERKELEY APPROVES DISPENSARY CONSUMPTION

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Reasoning that people who cannot smoke at home or work need a place to consume cannabis, Berkeley voted on Tuesday to allow consumption in what the city used to call dispensaries and is now referring to as retailers. Berkeleyside
  • The opposition came from those opposed to exposing workers to secondhand smoke. It's not clear how many of these people had actually worked in a Berkeley dispensary.
  • Permitting for dispensary, er, retailer consumption could take as long as a year.

9 MEDIOCRITY REARS ITS HEAD IN A MODEL POT MARKET

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As Nevada has begun to see more producers come aboard legal REC, its weed has veered toward the mediocre. The wholesale price of weed in Nevada, has fallen, while high grade’s holding its own though. MJ Biz Daily
  • Top-shelf legal Nevada pot is down to $2,400-$3,600 per pound after selling for as much as $4,000 at this time last year. Meanwhile mid-level bud is going for $1,800 to $2,200, which is down from $2,400 to $2,800 a year ago.

10 WHO’S HOTTEST FOR THE BUD IN THEIR OSCARS GOODIE BAG?

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We don't yet fully know what will be in the Very Important Film Person goodie bags set to be handed out next weekend for the Oscars. However, a handful of companies have gotten news of their inclusion into the press. We know weed will be in the mix. And that got certain among us to thinking: Which 2020 nominees are most likely to consume the pot in their goodie bag? If you said, Just About All, that’s a solid guess. But, for every Brad Pitt there’s a Boon Joon Ho, who hails from Korea. So, who knows? The Fresh Toast