WeedWeek edition / July 26, 2020
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1 DAB WARS: PUFFCO SUES KANDYPENS

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Puffco, maker of the popular Puffco Peak dab rig, has sued its competitor KandyPens alleging it uses Instagram for "false advertising," and "trade libel:"

"Puffco also claims KandyPens orchestrated the filing of a [2019] class-action lawsuit against Puffco in Arizona federal court last year, through a plaintiff named Jacob Anderson, affiliated with the company. That case alleged Puffco Peak vaporizers were defective—with battery units failing to charge correctly, or atomizers that break quickly. It also accused Puffco of fraud and of not honoring warranties."

Puffco says the lawsuit was dismissed. KandyPens did not respond to requests for comment.
WeedWeek

Read the whole thing.

More from Hilary Corrigan:

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2 WHO’S AFRAID OF SLOTTING FEES?

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Nobody is especially eager to talk about slotting fees, a.k.a. the "pay to stay" deals brands make with dispensaries. And it's not just because they might be illegal in California.

WeedWeek business columnist Dan Mitchell takes a closer look:

"It’s impossible to say how widespread such arrangements — called “slotting fees” or “pay to stay” deals — are in cannabis. Among big, mainstream retail chains, the fees can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the biggest stores. So far, cannabis retailers are charging between $1,000 and about $50,000 for prime real estate, according to various reports. This development has boutique brands worried."

Read all about it.

3 FEDERAL APPARATUS BESTIRS ITSELF ON WEED

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Taken together, several small developments this week in Washington D.C. suggest the federal government is beginning to realize it can't ignore cannabis forever:

BTW, MJBiz suggests cannabis the industry could have a staggering $130B economic impact by 2024.

4 LORD JONES CEO IS OUT AFTER BIG ACQUISITION

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@thelordjones

Robert Rosenheck, CEO of CBD brand Lord Jones 🔒is out, less than a year after it was acquired by Altria-backed Canadian Player Cronos Group for $300M, roughly 100x Lord Jones' 2018 revenue.
Barron's

  • "To some...[his departure] was representative of a larger industry trend in Canada—the largest of the country’s licensed producers have been reconfiguring their businesses, including laying off hundreds of people as the promise of legalization has failed to match the reality of the market."

In other business news:

5 POWER PLAYERS: DUTCHIE CEO ROSS LIPSON

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For this week's Power Players interview, I spoke with Ross Lipson, CEO of Dutchie, an online ordering platform used by more than 1,300 dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. The company says it has seen a 700% spike in order volume since the pandemic arrived.

Lipson discussed the problem with "Apple store" dispensaries, the future of delivery and what the most successful pot shops have in common.

Read up.

Recently in Forbes, Lipson wrote an article headlined, "Cannabis and Technology: Critical Functions, Opportunities and Gaps."

6 IN MASS. LEGALIZATION PADS COPS’ COFFERS

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Equity programs have struggled to gain traction in Massachusetts (as elsewhere), but one population seems to be thriving on legalization in the state: cops.

  • The Boston Globe reports dispensaries are paying cops to work additional shifts.
  • The piece notes, state "Marijuana companies complain that local officials frequently require (or pressure) them to spend large sums on traffic details that are unnecessary, intimidating, or both."
  • A bill in Massachusetts would require equity programs to receive as much pot tax revenue as police training.
    Marijuana Moment

Related:

7 STATE NEWS ROUND-UP

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Interesting doings in the states this week:

  • In Missouri, state and federal corruption probes into the MED licensing process threaten Gov. Mike Parson's (R) re-election bid. The investigations involve a friend of the governor whose clients "appeared to receive a boost" in the licensing process.
    Politico
  • Two New Mexico companies have asked a state judge to nullify state health department regulations one called "arbitary and capricious."
    NM Political Report
  • New York's Senate passed a bill to block evictions based solely on MED use.
    Marijuana Moment
  • Federal agents raided two Maine businesses associated with Luke Sirois, a well known figure in state cannabis circles.
    Bangor Daily News

8 ALEX BERENSON: COVID SKEPTIC

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Anti-legalization author and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, whose 2019 book Tell Your Children argued cannabis use is more closely tied to severe mental illness and violence than is commonly believed, has found a new calling as a pandemic skeptic.
New York Times

  • Berenson "pumps tirades against lockdowns, school closings and even masks into the central conversation on Twitter. His avatar shows a mask dangling mockingly from his jaw. “Masks are useless,” he had tweeted at 1:40 last Thursday morning; he was back on around 10 a.m., accusing The Atlantic of “panic porn.”
  • Much of his COVID argument centers on the need to "accept the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans from the virus."
  • Listen to Berenson's contentious appearance on the WeedWeek podcast.

In cannabis media news:

9 CALI GROWERS PUSH BACK AT PROPOSED LED MANDATE

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Growers are incensed by a recent proposal from the California Energy Commission that would require indoor growers to switch to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) by 2023. 🌴WW California has more.

  • LEDs use much less energy than the standard metal halide or high-pressure sodium lights, but are also more expensive. According to one estimate, it would cost $255M for all growers in the state to make the switch.
    MJBiz
  • Last week, WeedWeek talked to a scientist who called indoor growing environmentally indefensible.

Bloomberg has a video of the mid-pandemic (outdoor) harvest at Wellfounded Botanicals.

Quick Hit

  1. A study found consumers seem generally satisfied with the licensed cannabis industry, though they said prices are too high.
    Addictive Behaviors

10 CLINT EASTWOOD IS NOT A CBD PITCHMAN

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Clint Eastwood (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Clint Eastwood filed two lawsuits against CBD companies he says falsely claimed he endorsed their products. You got a problem with that?
New York Times

  • The Academy Award winning actor and director says he has "no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products."
  • "Celebrities like Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and former President George W. Bush have also been the target of false product endorsement claims by ingestible health supplement companies in recent years."

Quick Hits

  1. A U.K. company called Big Narstie has introduced terpene-flavored, "hemp chips."
  2. Kanye West said he got high the night before his first presidential campaign rally.
    Marijuana Moment