California edition / September 04, 2020
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1 FLURRY OF POT BILLS PASS AS LEGISLATURE WRAPS SESSION

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One of the most unusual legislative sessions in Sacramento history came to a close this week, and the volume of industry-impacting action was dizzying.
Marijuana Moment

  • The top headline belonged to passage of Assembly Bill 1872, which puts a desperately needed freeze on tax rates.
  • In slightly smaller type is Assembly Bill 1525, which establishes for canna-business banking, "an entity, as defined, that receives deposits, extends credit, conducts fund transfers, transports cash or financial instruments, or provides other financial services, including public accounting."
  • Growers can now designate their weed's origin with passage of Senate Bill 67, which establishes California's appellation program.
  • The Assembly passed a bill that will allow manufacturers to submit unpackaged product in testing. 
  • For two years running, the effort to put through legislation that would regulate CBD in food, drink, makeup, and dietary supplements has failed to cohere before deadline. 

Quick Hits

  1. Why are we among the worldwide leaders in progressive cannabis policy, yet dispensaries need a special license to sell hemp flower and infusing edibles with CBD isn't legal?
    Medical Cannabis Weekly
  2. The eastern Fresno County town of Clovis is best known for prep sports excellence and supporting Devin Nunes' continued representation in DC. Clovis is also gaining fame as lead burgh in the delivery lawsuit against California. How conservative is that?
    Fresno Bee
  3. There's a historical narrative behind why alcohol is culturally ingrained and "California sober" is a phrase newly happening, writes Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi.
    Leafly
  4. On Sunday, three-time All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins announced via Facebook that he's the latest big-time athlete to join the legal weed game. The Oakland native's pre-roll is available in Hayward
    NBC Philadelphia
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2 COURT RULES BCC MUST COMPLY WITH FEDS’ REQUEST

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The U.S. District Court in California’s Southern District ruled on Monday that the Bureau of Cannabis Control must hand over all Drug Enforcement Agency-requested documents relating to an investigation of Mexican imports. 
WeedWeek 

  • The ruling is the latest in a back-and-forth since January, when California regulators refused to comply with the subpoena. In July, the Justice Department requested the court order.
  • A 2019 DEA email to the BCC last year said the documents would serve as part of an investigation of "possible importation/transportation of a controlled substance (marijuana 'crude oil') from Mexico" by six licensees.
  •  The redacted subpoena asks for licenses, license applications and shipping manifests.

Quick Hit

  1. The quietest ground-breaking development since legalization might be the state's  "This is California Cannabis" promotional campaign.
    Marijuana Moment

3 SACTOWN DELAYS ADDING DISPENSARIES

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Sacramento's City Council on Tuesday opted to hold off on a plan that would have brought 10 new dispensary licenses to the River City, upending its 30-storefront cap. Rationale for the increase is improving Black-owner representation. Some council members expressed as a reason to delay concerns over whether enough businesses are in shape to compete.  
Capital Public Radio 

  • Members of the city's Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity Program (CORE) will assist Drug War victims in navigating California's regulatory death maze, should new licenses be approved.
  • As originally proposed, five CORE licenses would be granted next month, another two next year.

5 DOES EVERYBODY KNOW THAT SMOKIN’ AIN’T ALLOWED ON ZOOM?

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You're a USC professor lecturing a large class, online. One of your squares features a student unquestionably smoking a joint. What do you do?
Leafly

  • In a since-censored Tuesday Tweet, USC gender studies prof @chris_belcher wrote: "Today in professoring, a student is visibly smoking a joint in my large lecture course. Ideas on how to address this welcome. Is it fine? Maybe it’s fine."
  • Amongst the deluge of respondents—many of whom seem to think California colleges are meeting in person—were author Roxane Gay and cannabis perennial Seth Rogen, who came down on the side of no big deal. 

Quick Hits

  1. In an enlightened reversal, a Harvard Square landlord learned the racial justice benefits of Black cannabis ownership. Now, Cookies appears headed to Cambridge
    Boston Globe
  2. Farewell Black Rock City. Tomorrow they'll be burning The Man, virtually and globally, via the Infinite Playa.
    SF Weekly

6 AFTER A MASSIVE FEE INCREASE, CHULA VISTA GRABS FURTHER

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Having raised cannabis business fees from $7,000 to $55,000 last fall, the City of Chula Vista went an extra mile in replenishing its COVID-ravaged coffers by unanimously approving a mandatory employee background check
San Diego Union-Tribune

  • The fee increase—$320 per background check—was approved without deliberation or a staff presentation as part of the meeting's consent calendar.
  • In the 131-minute background check process, Chula Vista police charge $130 per hour, lieutenants $177, sergeants $207, and deputy city attorneys $197.

Quick Hits

  1. On Monday, a member of Mexico's Senate placed a mota plant on her desk in anticipation of the nation's impeding legalization. 
    Marijuana Moment
  2. Weedmaps' Uprooted docuseries has debuted, and its opener presents California's tangled marijuana history in a digestible form.
    YouTube

7 ANOTHER SUIT OVER L.A. LICENSE ROLLOUT

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In the This-Is-Why-We-Can't-Have-Nice-Things department, yet another Los Angeles social-equity community member is suing the city over last fall's botched license rollout. This time, the lawsuit alleges LA's Department of Cannabis Regulation "colluded with their preferred Applicants," among other charges.
WeedWeek

  • Plaintiff ARMLA says the regulator revoked its selection over a nearby, as-yet-to-open preschool but did not revoke those of similarly situated others.
  • The attorney for ARMLA declined to comment. The DCR referred questions to the City Attorney’s office, which said in an email, "We will review the complaint and have no further comment at this time."

Quick Hits

  1. On Wednesday, leading-edge social-equity partner Eaze announced its Partners Menu, which allows consumers to identify minority-owned cannabis businesses.
    WeedWeek
  2. The Bureau of Cannabis Control granted Palm Springs four times what Stockton received in equity funding. Here's an early look at how the community might put that to work.
    Desert Sun

8 CAN STATE PROPERTY REMEDY THE ACCESS CRISIS?

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A thought: Instead of California "jacking up the fines by 3,000%, compounded daily and also going after landlords"—which would increase public access to righteous bud how?—maybe licensing cannabis sales on state-owned property could drive consumers away from the illicit market. A side benefit, of course, is that state parks would be a lot more fun.
The Leaf Online

  • Establishing dispensaries "with retail zoning to ensure the collection of taxes and discourage illicit sales" in areas where sales are banned would "alleviate the crisis in cannabis access."
  • The author argues that at least two sections of California law allow for the implementation of this proposal.

Quick Hit

  1. Are cop bust pot pics to the Emerald Empire as game-hunting photos are to South Africa?
    Facebook

9 PASADENA REJECTS MEDMEN OVER TOP-END UPHEAVAL

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An Aug. 27 letter from Pasadena's City Manager on MedMen's effort to open a dispensary near Huntington Hospital came to light this week, revealing that Pasadena's denial of the application was due to the company's mass leadership swap-out.

Nine out of 10 listed as owners on MedMen's applications have changed since the Culver City company applied for a Pasadena license.
Pasadena NOW

  • City Manager Steve Mermell wrote: "It is my finding that there has been a material change in ownership and/or management in MedMen such that the evaluation and scoring of MedMen’s Application is no longer valid. As such, it is my decision that: there is a change of control, MedMen has lost the right to proceed through the cannabis permitting process, and MedMen’s Application is hearby rejected."
  • Mermell concluded that Gotham Green Partners, with 31.9% of MedMen's total voting power, would control MedMen.

Quick Hits

  1. A potential arson at an illegal grow has been tied to the Dolan Fire, which still burns along the Monterey Coast. 
    SF Chronicle
  2. If you're a grower who's looking to defend against the next round of fires, start by burying your infrastructure, raking back your hay, and "creat[ing] a defensible space."  
    Cannabis Business Times

10 CLIFF ROBINSON, 2-GAME LEGEND

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Clifford Robinson #3 of the Golden State Warriors(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

NBA All-Star and Sixth Man of the Year award winner Cliff "Uncle Spliffy" Robinson died in Portland this week at 53. The obvious cultural comp for Robinson is Pee-Wee Kirkland, a Drug War-era mover and shaker who won equally big in cocaine and hoops. But where Kirkland dealt blow, Robinson—seen here in his 2011 season with Golden State, his last double-digits scoring season—was a diligent cannabis advocate and educator

And, to a sea of network television fans, Robinson was a contestant on Survivor.
Instagram/Variety

  • Robinson had a series of serious health issues prior to his death. In 2017 he suffered a stroke. The following year he had a tumor removed from his jaw. Last year Robinson underwent cancer surgery. 
  • Already ill when he opened his Portland dispensary three years ago, Robinson became one of legal weed's most vocal athlete advocates. Last year he joined Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in lobbying for legal lounges.

Quick Hits

  1. Ireland Basinger Baldwin, daughter of Alex and Kim, has taken her talent for being famous to KIVA. As is often the case with cannabis, her relationship to the plant is a good story.
    Forbes
  2. The apartment in which Dale's dealer explains the rare weed gem called “Pineapple Express”? That's at 118 N. Westmoreland Avenue, in LA, as well as real-life locations for every scene in the flick.
    Cinemaholic