California edition / October 02, 2020
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1 KUSHY PUNCH SUIT: BIG REACH, BIGGER RAMIFICATIONS

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@kushypunchlife

Documents filed by the state indicate that Kushy Punch parent company Vertical Bliss's reach into the illicit market was three times larger than previously believed. The Los Angeles company faces enormous fines and may be the new face of cheaters paying jaw-dropping civil penalties in the future.
WeedWeek/Canna Law Blog

  • According to the suit, an internal records search revealed that Kushy Punch was responsible for about $64M in illicit gummies, concentrates and other raw cannabis materials.
  • Previously, the state had the company on the hook for roughly $21M worth of illegal products, seized when law enforcement raided Kushy Punch's Canoga Park facility in 2019.

Quick Hit

  1. The National Council on Compensation Insurance said in its Regulatory and Legislative Trends Report that MED is complicating worker's comp claims.
    WeedWeek
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2 SMOKE IMPACTS AND SUPPLY-CHAIN TROUBLES AFTER THE FIRES

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The worst fire season on record has traumatized the fall harvest and is impacting even the crops it didn't torch. Now that we've wrapped our minds around the destruction, we can wonder about the long-term impact of these blazes.
Bloomberg/Cannabis Industry Journal

  • Between 2% and 5% of the state's crops would fail mold tests in an average year. Estimates for this year are that double those amounts could fail as smoke has blocked the sun and potentially weakened plant resistance to mold and pests. 
  • A largely uninsured community of growers is dealing not only with smoke damage and actual fire. Issues with drying and curing, testing and concentrate processing are potential threats to the supply chain.
  • Some Northern California farmers have refused to evacuate and are staying to protect their livelihoods.
    Ganjapreneur

Quick Hits

  1. These ugly lighters are waiting for you in damnation. It's cool though; ours is the lesser Hell, where they still let you smoke and ruminate on the meanings of lighters.
    Leafly
  2. It took California 7,808 days from the establishment of MED to 2018's first REC sale. Illinois, America's newest REC state, covered the distance in a fraction of the time. Dramatically shorter waits are the national trend.
    MJ Biz Daily
  3. Four months into an official recession, it's time to turn the trial that is our coronavirus epoch into an opportunity to make cannabis legal across the nation. 
    Cannabis Business News

3 NEWSOM LEGALIZES POT BANKING

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In a week that historians will look upon with wonder, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law four bills passed in Sacramento's latest legislative session. Had he signed only AB-1525, which removes state penalties and provides privacy protections for financial institutions doing legal-weed business, signing sesh would be regarded as epic. While there's a lot it doesn't cover, many in the industry seem pleased.
WeedWeek 

  • Now that AB-1872 is a law, for a full year businesses will benefit from suspension of California's ability to raise cultivation taxes and markup rates.
  •  AB-1458 "provides wiggle room" for manufacturers of edibles by raising the allowable variance of THC in retail products by 2%.
  • Testing labs are now allowed to test products from law-enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies with SB-1244 becoming law. (Presently, testing labs can only work with state cannabis licensees.) 
  • A milestone for craft cannabis worldwide, the signing of SB 67 means companies that aren't from Humboldt County, for example, can no longer  call their product Humboldt County bud.

Quick Hit

  1. Unable to gain a license in the state where they birthed Somatik, the infused-coffee makers have pulled up stakes in San Francisco and settled into small-town Colorado
    Bay Area Reporter 

4 SANTA BARBARA SUPES REJECT GRAND JURY FINDINGS

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On Sept. 24, Santa Barbara's Board of Supervisors rejected the recommendations of a Grand Jury report that said they inadequately protected the public's health and safety in developing the county's cannabis ordinance.
News-Press

  • In addition to the Grand Jury's health and safety "findings," the body also said the board’s ad hoc cannabis regulations committee didn't observe the Brown Act and lacked transparency, and that the supes were "overly chummy" with industry professionals.
  • "I don’t think the Grand Jury really looked at how often we met with people on the other side of the debate," said Supervisor Das Williams. The board submitted a letter of response to the Santa Barbara County Superior Court's presiding judge.

5 CAN HARBORSIDE’S COSIGN HELP BLACK BRANDS GET SOMEWHERE?

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September saw Harborside launch an initiative to highlight Black-owned cannabis brands. The Congo Club, Cannabis on Fire, Viola and Oakland Extracts are among those the brands set to benefit from retail displays and other promotions up and down the state.
San Jose Spotlight

  • Oakland Extracts' Terryn Buxton acknowledged that in 2020 California Black entrepreneurs are less perceived as "other people who have duffel bags full of weed." But, he said, "the perception is [still] they don’t actually grow it, they’re not connected to the plant, they’re just trying to make fast money as opposed to the cool guy who looks like a ‘hippie’ is actually a real cannabis person."

Quick Hits

  1. The Bureau of Cannabis Control wants you to know technical assistance is available if you're an equity applicant who needs something like help. 
    Twitter
  2. Orange County's My Green Network announced the 12 finalists for its Green Quest minority business award, and 80% of them are women.
    High Times
  3. The new coalition Cannabis for Black Lives believes Black liberation is very closely tied to more equitable cannabis policies.
    SF Evergreen

6 LAWSUIT REVIVES COMMERCE’S REP FOR CORRUPTION

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The City of Commerce has a historic reputation for corruption—a tradition that lives on, as argued by a new cannabis company lawsuit. The suit alleges a retail scheme involving the city and a prominent local political operative.
Los Cerritos News

  • The owners of From the Earth, LLC, say that Eastside Los Angeles organizer and activist Mario Beltran demanded kickbacks from prospective Commerce dispensary operators.
  • "[T]he action is based upon the corrupt conduct of the city of Commerce illegally conspiring with convicted felon and disgraced former Bell City Councilman Mario Beltran to develop a plan in which each would profit off the issuance of licenses in the city of Commerce."

Quick Hits

  1. The most election-minded population in American history just got blessed with a guidebook for getting psychedelics decriminalized in your hometown.
    Marijuana Moment
  2. "Foreign investors ... have a special set of issues to deal with when it comes to cannabis, and they don’t necessarily stem from state law licensing issues," Hilary Bricken explains.
    Canna Law Blog
  3. The industry continues to struggle with energy-efficiency issues, causing some to wonder whether legal weed is stressing the enviroment.
    Greenhouse Grower

7 THE GREAT OUTDOORS GOES ONLINE

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We're just past the halfway point of Meadowlands, those four days of "Essential Conversations for the California Cannabis Community" that are at or near the top of most industry leaders' list of great (non-WeedWeek) events. 

This year Meadowlands is, like everything else, a digital get-together, and  Camp Navarro is, for weed purposes, a state of mind. (Like the Cherokee Nation.) And unlike so much of 2020 Planet Earth, Meadowlands is not sucking—turns out that not having to bomb up to Mendo lets a wide range of people into the legendary "weed camp." Who knew?
Meadowlands

  • Opening day's "Caretakers of the Plant & 4:20 Smoke Session" peaked in substance at roughly 4:20 p.m. and 45 seconds. In a conversation on wildfire aftermath, Tina Gordon of Moon Made Farms said ash could be part of consumers' fall smoking experience, "but they're going to smoke the truth. They're going to smoke the story of this year."
  • The fires were rarely far from Meadowlands conversation. Friday, on a government panel, state NORML Deputy Directory Ellen Komp called out insurance companies who charge cannabis clients exorbitant rates. "They're not really serving us in some of the ways they need to be," she said.

Quick Hit

  1. Now that the things that happened online across Labor Day weekend are over, let's abandon the aspiration, get real, and ask: Can Burning Man be replicated digitally. Ya know, without the pilgrimage aspect?
    Lucid News

8 SUIT CALLS C.V. PERMIT PROCESS ‘FATALLY FLAWED’

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Chula Vista's strenuous licensing approval process is being challenged by a rejected company that alleges the city failed to follow its own merit-based application evaluation rules. WeedWeek has more.
San Diego Union-Tribune

  • Since opening its permit process in January of last year, Chula Vista has received 136 applications—84 of which are for dispensaries. No businesses have been granted licenses.
  • "The suit demonstrates the city’s process is fatally flawed, and will not serve the citizens of Chula Vista in their desire to permit the 'best and most qualified candidates,' and thereby eliminate the dangerous, illegal operators that have plagued the city for years," said lawyer David Damien.

Quick Hit

  1. In Mendocino County, tensions between traditional market growers and firefighters began after officials closed forest roads, which were used to bring water onto grows. Tensions spiked when personnel found a water truck pump had been stolen.
    KRCR

9 PLAYBOY LEANS IN ON WEED POLICY & POT PRODUCT

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MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 13: A model walks the runway (Photo by Thomas Concordia/Getty Images for for Sean John)

On Sept. 24 Playboy announced a cannabis law reform and advocacy campaign, a move that comes in concert with a new CBD intimacy product line. 
MG Magazine

10 SPACE COYOTE PARTNERS UP FOR SOME POOLSIDE DELIGHT

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In September, "For Stoners By Stoners" brand Space Coyote and LA "daytime disco band" Poolside collaborated on a pack of limited-edition hash joints .
Muse by Clio

  • The limited-edition product is meant to be paired with the band's latest release, Low Season.
  • CEO Libby Cooper "had a vision last year to live on the ocean with friends, dogs and our own veggie + weed patch," and that's what she's doing now. On the island of Oahu.

Quick Hit

  1. The New Chardonnay might sound like the most pretentious title ever for a book about weed, but Heather Cabot's work wants to be the gateway drug that its subject never actually was. So give it a chance.
    SF Chronicle