California edition / January 04, 2020
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1 MED MEN STUNS BY BOLTING ARIZONA

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After contributing $200,000 to a 2020 REC ballot initiative, Culver City-based MedMen announced that it won’t be doing business there after all. Selling the company's three dispensary licenses in the state belongs to a bigger strategy of “earning credibility” from investors.
Phoenix New Times/MB Biz Daily

  • In addition to selling its Scottsdale and Tempe dispensaries, MedMen is also getting rid of its Illinois factory, closing out a period of extensive purchasing and focusing on current market strongholds.
  • “My biggest mistake of the last 12 months was not going through this restructuring sooner, and the market will tell you that, and the market has told us that for the last six months,” CEO Adam Bierman said. The company has laid off 300 in recent months.
  • MedMen’s stock slid across 2019, ending the year at $.44 per share.

Quick Hit

  1. Legalization and home growing in Peru, Colombia, and Argentina are something you likely only think about if you have relatives in those countries to show off for. However, companies such as Canopy, Aurora, and Cronos sure are thinking about those issues.
    Green Entrepreneur 

2 THE STATE VS. LOWELL FARMS: 2020’S MUST-WATCH CASE

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“You can’t have a regulated economy without regulators and in order for the laws to have any meaning, regulators have to demonstrate that the laws matter.” That’s what the state’s case against Lowell Farms amounts to, longtime cannabis journalist Chris Roberts writes.
Cannabis Now

  • Neither the California Department of Food and Agriculture or Bureau of Cannabis Control are talking, as their investigations are ongoing. But since March’s half-ton seizure of weed from an unlicensed processing facility in San Luis Obispo County, discussion has grown around the state’s claim that Lowell put unregulated cannabis into the market and thereby undermined the legal market.
  • Lowell Farms doesn't appear to have directly disputed the allegations about having used an unlicensed facility for several months, but it said it hasn’t put any untested product into the market.  
  • The author asserts that a scenario exists in which both the state and Lowell “could be ‘right.’”
  • Meanwhile, Eater wonders if the lawsuit has anyting to do with Lowell changing the name of its West Hollywood restaurant just after debuting to coverage that small business owners dream of.

3 A HEAVY TONE IN SOCIAL EQUITY

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In an otherwise rote opening round of takes on regulation and federal legalization, Papa and Barkley co-founder Guy Rocourt and Seth Adler, host of the impeccably-produced Cannabis Economy podcast spoke about social equity in unsentimental terms. Performative wokeness, this is not.
Cannabis Economy

  • People of color in and around West Coast legal weed circa 2019 have previously heard the mixed company version. Why can't more be done? (A quick answer is that California could have started out offering $20M available in small business loans, as Illinois has.)
  • Apparently referring to the state level Rocourt says "there should have been just a tax thing. There's so much emphasis put on incubating and job creation for minorities. I feel like for companies the best and easiest thing to do is just put a tranche of money into something and have leadership at the state level dole that money out to qualified [Equity] applicants." He added, "I'm very happy to say it's still part of the conversation, it's not forgotten about."
This week on the podcast
The Elusive Tribe of Roger Obando

4 NEXT STOP FOR ‘SHROOM CREW: TAKING NAMES

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By mid month the movement to legalize mushrooms is expected to have advanced to the stage of collecting signatures. Decriminalize California must collect 623,212 signatures to get on California’s ballot in November.
Marijuana Moment

  • The attorney general's office is expected to have to approve the prospective initiative's title, summary, and fiscal impact report.
  • If approved, adults 18 and older would be permitted to possess and cultivate psylocibin mushrooms for personal use.

Quick Hit

  • Hallucinogenic drugs are having the little moment that’s bound to precede its big one. Drug Journo Michelle Janakian takes readers to communities beyond amateur analysis “psychedelic societies” and “integration circles.”
    Twitter
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5 UNSHACKLED RESEARCHERS WILL CHANGE OUR WORLD

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“The lack of information is astounding for a new marketplace,” said John Yoder, who teaches plant science at UC Davis. The drawbacks from this near-void of scientific information could be the underappreciated narrative of our prohibition hangover epoch.
Lake County Record-Bee

  • Unlike UC Davis, whose pot scholars are limited by the school's lack of a DEA license, UC San Diego’s School of Medicine's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research does have one, in addition to the $2M Prop. 64 provides. Because the center has a DEA license, the school has received about $7M in National Institutes of Health grants over the past two decades.

6 MENDOCINO’S SMALL ISSUES WRIT LARGE

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The state-wide and big-city issues of California cannabis are disproportionately known — how much detail does even an ardent Golden State pot fan really need regarding L.A. licensing snags? — but compelling matters also abound in the shadowy, spiritual home of American bud.
Merry Jane

  • When the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors amended a cannabis ordinance to allow a new owner — an arrangement previously prohibited ownership change— the decision instantly raised the value of the property. Local agencies intervened, avoiding a massive kerfuffle.
  • What does the Emerald Triangle's future hold? In Mendo, ordinance changes include a possible increase in cultivation canopy area allowed, which some fear will attract takeover-minded corporate big boys (and girls).

7 SANTA BARBARA HEMP NOW DETECTED VIA ‘LIGHTLAB’

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Santa Barbara County has used a portion of its tax revenue to purchase a portable device that detects the difference between hemp and cannabis.
KEYB

  • LightLab creator Orange Photonics has been working with law enforcement "to ensure that folks on the cannabis side are doing what they are allowed to do," according to Dylan Wilks, Orange Photonics' Chief Technology Officer.
  • Your county, too, can have a LightLab kit, for a light $1,350.

Quick Hit

  • The sweeping economic implications of a maturing marketplace mean that serious entrepreneurs are creating efficiencies for profit margins.
    Cannabis Industry Journal

8 SHEPHERDING DISPOSABLE PENS TO RECYCLING

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The Sacramento non-profit Up Kindness,
cannabis brand Big Karma, and product design firm Canna Co-Operative hosted a lively dialogue on the pressing matter of thrown-away vapes.
Cannabis Dispensary

  • “We’re using the word ‘disposable,’ where people believe they can throw these in the trash,” said Up Kindness Executive Director Shira Lane. “Really, you can’t. You can’t throw them in the trash. You can’t recycle them. There’s nothing you can do about them, and many people are just collecting them in their homes, not knowing what to do.”

Quick Hit

  1. Arizona-based MSO Harvest Health and Recreation purchased a 32,000 square foot cultivation facility in a suburb or Las Vegas. The former MJardin grow cost Harvest $35M and gives the MSO an even bigger Nevada footprint.
    New Cannabis Ventures

9 WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS A BREW WITH AN EXTRACT?

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In a look at five case studies of partnerships between cannabis and mainstream companies Marijuana Business Magazine explored the partnerships' collaboration, origins and why some succeeded and some failed.

Petaluma's Lagunitas Brewing Co. partnered with Santa Rosa's AbsoluteXtracts, and what played out was as unsurprising as the events were illustrative.
MJ Biz Mag

  • The partnership was born of "one of those nights hanging out" and figuring out how the two Sonoma County CEOs might collaborate.
  • After Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms put the kibosh on a concoction made up of hops and THC, AbsoluteXtracts and the Heineken-owned Lagunitas infused beer flavored water with cannabis. The product is called Hi-Fi Hops.

10 WASHINGTON STONER THINKS WE SUCK

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Beware the pot connoiseur who humblebrags, "I'd only ever been to cannabis cafes in Vancouver, Barcelona, and Amsterdam." It's almost guaranteed that they're going to have a shitty time at any American consumption lounge.

And a Seattle pot snob, at that? Sheesh.
The Stranger

  • "Pot cafes are an inversion of the normal stoner public experience. Instead of getting high and fearing everyone around you knows you are high, at a pot cafe, you're high but you know all of these strangers around you are also high. It's almost more disconcerting." More of a "you" thing than a problem with the unnamed dispensary under review.

Quick Hit

  1. Let us look back hazily at a decade of weed hype. Writer Jimi Devine has some wild ideas on the federal legalization slog, the War on Drugs and, of course... strains.
    Cannabis Now