California edition / November 09, 2019
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1 MORE THAN THE SUM OF OUR PROBLEMS

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PHOTO BY MAARTEN VAN DEN HEUVEL ON UNSPLASH

Legal weed in Cali sold $2.5 billion in REC’s debut year and is on pace to do $3.1 billion in 2019. No state (or country) comes close to our monetary or cultural clout. California will always be to American cannabis what African America is to the nation’s popular music: Fundamental to the point where, if we ain’t in the equation, somewhere, the default Stateside assessment is to question the stuff’s veracity.

For better or worse, we lead the widening world of weed. Beyond the massive full-iceberg industry, is our socio-political clout. When our social programs arrive wonky, the states who follow treat our work as building blocks, improving on what we reveal to be possible. When we respond to a crisis in vaping by — as a wag in publicity shared—hoping the issue would disappear Ralph Northam-style, the entire industry suffers.
Green Entrepreneur 

  • When does increasing sales by 24% feel like a loss? When sellers are charged a 15% excise tax on top of city and county taxes. (Don't forget the grower’s cultivation tax—$9.25 per ounce of flower, $2.75 per ounce of leaves.) As total industry taxes are going as high as 45%, it’s appropriate to view Oakland’s Nov. 19th City Council meeting, when it could cut pot taxes, as a potential inflection point.
  • Gov. Newsom recently signed a raft of new legislation that is unlike any on U.S. books, including a law allowing cannabis companies to donate cannabis to low-income medical marijuana users. Also, cannabis that does not initially pass testing can now be re-tested by companies to correct for minor errors. Previously, failing weed was destroyed. Need-based fee deferrals, mandated labor unions, and permission for UC San Diego to study the plant all will resonate beyond our borders.

Quick Hits

  1. Palm Springs City Council passed ordinances including a zero tolerance policy for businesses emitting a weed odor. “No one, whether you live across the street or three miles away, should be subject to cannabis odor where you live,” said Mayor pro tem Geoff Kors. “That has to stop.” 
    Palm Springs Desert Sun
This week on the podcast
From NHL Enforcer to Cannabis Ambassador

2 ARE SEED-TO-STEM SCOFFLAWS DEAF TO CONSEQUENCE, TOO?

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PHOTO BY SUSHOBHAN BADHAI ON UNSPLASH

Ninety-five percent of legal weed operators in the state received the widely-discussed and criticized news that all plant-touching business needed to join the Metrc regulation system, which tracks product from seed to sale.

Five percent — about 400 operators — missed the memo (and the news stories and the repeated government reminders.) They are now both suspended and impeding the supply chain. MJ Business Daily

  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Public Health, and Department of Food and Agriculture reported that 2,630 marijuana companies, 932 manufacturers, and 3,830 farmers figured out how to make it happen. The numbers have fluctuated mildly throughout the week.
  • The process of registration takes approximately three hours.
  • The California Cannabis Industry Association's position is that the suspensions result from a lack of awareness. “This has flown under the radar” of these retailers, delivery services, microbusinesses and distributors, according to Communications Director Josh Drayton.
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3 CAMP IS HELLA IN SESSION…

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PHOTO BY MIKE ERSKINE ON UNSPLASH
Not that kind of camp

The Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) is the country's largest illegal marijuana grow eradication program. And CAMP is putting in work.
CBS--Sacramento

  • In 2017, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees the eradication of what it calls illegally grown cannabis, seized 700,000 plants. Last year the department took out 1.5 million. This year's number should be much higher.
  • Attorney General Javier Beccera attributed the increase in seizures to access to more law enforcement resources, not an increase in illicit growing.

4 SRA. LUCY MOVES THE FÙTBOL, AGAIN

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PHOTO BY JEREMY LWANGA ON UNSPLASH

Gamblers who were certain we’d have Mexican REC before a Brexit vote have begun fingering their chips nervously. Despite a Supreme Court mandate, November is here and cannabis remains illegal south of our border. Mexico’s delay follows companies’ attempts to shape the law.
Cannabis Business Times

  • On Friday — the Senate’s deadline for finalizing the deal — came the delay’s announcement. Only two weeks prior, it was being widely reported that the language was close to complete. 
  • Word is that distributors with an eye on this market — which is twice Canada’s size — remain bullish on legalization. One can only imagine the action going on beneath the regulatory scrum. The new deadline for revisions is April 30.

Quick Hit

  1. After an extended family of Mormons were killed by drug lords this week, the 45th U.S. President declared war on Mexican cartels. Since wiping out drug lords differs from delivering tax breaks or appointing conservative judges, there’s limited faith in this promise being fulfilled.
    Filter

5 SAFETY FIRST, D.A.R.E. LAST

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PHOTO BY ELEMENT5 DIGITAL ON UNSPLASH

Unlike most previous drug and alcohol curricula, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Safety First is drug education that combines hard evidence with the principles of harm reduction. The kids are gonna love it.
Leafly

  • Pilot high school classes in New York City and San Francisco showed Safety First students were inclined to research drugs’ effects prior to ingesting them and favored rehab as a resource for a friend with a drug problem.

6 CALI’S LAX RULES FOR FLYING WITH WEED ARE UNUSUAL

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PHOTO BY ARTUR TUMASJAN ON UNSPLASH

At LAX passengers can carry up to 28.5g of weed. Seattle-Tacoma Airport has a similar policy. And Portland only lets passengers carry pot with them if they’re flying within Oregon. Beyond that, there's risk.

Altogether, it's a complex web to keep track of, especially for coast-trotting high-flyers.
Airport Technology

Quick Hit

  1. On a cannabis level, that annual music gathering in Coachella can’t match Outside Lands, where festival-goers can purchase weed on site. But two new hotels ought to make 2020 in the Valley a very different party.
    Merry Jane

7 DOPE: DEAD IN SEATTLE, LIVE IN L.A.

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PHOTO BY OAKIE ON UNSPLASH

On the last Wednesday of October, 11 staffers at Dope, the Seattle magazine founded by David Tran — a mainstay throughout the Northwest — received lay-off notices instead of Halloween treats. Some have accepted jobs in L.A. with High Times.
Ganjapreneur 

  • The legacy brand bought DOPE in an all-stock deal last year.
  • “As we move the combined company forward, we made a strategic decision to shut down the Seattle office and consolidate all content creation out of our Los Angeles headquarters,” said High Times CEO Kraig Fox. Reportedly, three of the 11 people fired have taken L.A. gigs with the publication.

8 CONCORD CITY COUNCIL: WEED BIZ COME IN NEXT YEAR

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PHOTO BY BRUCE MARS ON UNSPLASH

The biggest muncipality in Contra Costa County gained clarity on what it's been undecided about since 2016. Concord approved the industry of cannabis to operate within its city limits.
East Bay Times

  • Early next year, city staff is to provide its council with a draft ordinance that will set the stage for where business in the municipality might go. It's thought that as many as five commercial operations will be approved.

9 ‘SHROOM LEGALIZATION EFFORT EXPANDS ITS VISION

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PHOTO BY THIMO PEDERSEN ON UNSPLASH

Ryan Munevar manages the campaign called DeCriminalize Psilocybin. Having filed paperwork for a relatively modest statewide decriminalization initiative in September, Munevar this week revised the initiative's proposed language.
Marijuana Moment

  • The new "broader" California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative would loosen commercial aspects, including on-site consumption and Farmer's Market sales. Decriminalize Psilocybin hopes its measure “advances cognitive liberty and implements a comprehensive, statewide scheme authorizing and regulating the cultivation, processing and distribution of Psilocybin Mushrooms and the chemical compounds contained therein for personal, spiritual, religious, dietary, therapeutic, and medical use.”
  • Berkeley, Chicago, and Dallas have all begun movements to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.

10 HOW DOES WEHO FOLLOW LOWELL CAFE?

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The always-acquisitive cannabis experience crowd is less than a month into having Lowell Cafe to chew on, and it is looking for the next edible thing. If you you're close to West Hollywood, you don’t have to look far. The health-and-wellness restaurant Cafe Aeon Botanika is on its way.
Eater LA

  • Guests will be able to smoke and vape in comfort. State law doesn’t allow restaurants to infuse its own food — a rule that doesn’t seem even a tiny bit pointlessly hamstringing — so the restaurant will only sell edibles made elsewhere. Cafe Aeon Botanika is expected to open in the spring.
  • Fifteen companies have secured restaurant permits in the city. The next to open will be a plant-based concern operated by Fred 62 chef and founder owner Fred Erici. The locale is a former mattress salon and kickboxing studio on Santa Monica Boulevard.