California edition / November 20, 2020
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WeedWeek California will be off next week for Thanksgiving. Best wishes for a happy, restful holiday!

1 SUPERIOR COURT TOSSES LEAGUE OF CITIES DELIVERY SUIT

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Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire on Tuesday dismissed the lawsuit seeking to overturn statewide marijuana delivery, but industry watchers are viewing the decision as a small victory brought with daunting possibilities.  
WeedWeek

  • A cluster of small California municipalities asserted that the state's permission of statewide delivery "removes local regulatory power." In her order, Judge McGuire wrote that state law and local ordinances aren't in conflict and said, "this matter is not ripe for adjudication."
  • The California Cannabis Industry Association's Josh Drayton said, "it’s going to be up for interpretation moving forward. I don’t think we’re done having this discussion."
  • It may not be a big win for the industry.
    MJBiz

Quick Hits

  1. Emerald Exchange co-founder Michael Katz is the inaugural executive director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance.
    MCA
  2. Product producers unable to go organic under the USDA's National Organic Program can look to Sun + Earth, a nonprofit cannabis certification program  with support from Dr. Bronner's.
    Portland Business Journal
  3. Contributions from weed-associated figures like Ricky Williams and Nas help make Smoke more than “just another hollow documentary banking on the plight of Black people at the hands of cannabis."
    Weedmaps
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2 TO CLARIFY 2021, LOOK BACK TO NOV. 3

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Local municipalities up and down the state voted in favor of allowing cannabis sales, a development made more relevant by this week's defeat of the jerkwater burghs' revenge.

Experts expect a general increase in commercial opportunities and, in the middle distance, an undeniably larger dispensary presence. California's bald patches will begin filling in. 
Leafly

  • On Election Day 32 out of 38 local measures passed—the heavy majority to allow and tax cannabis business—bringing to far-flung rural and conservative areas shops, grows, labs, kitchens and distribution. 

Quick Hits

  1. Good thing that for every Sonora and Costa Mesa who have come onboard the state-sanctioned cannabis train, there's not a Sausalito.
    OC Register/Marin Independent Journal

3 CANNABIS CONTROL CZAR AJAX STEPS DOWN AFTER 5 YEARS

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Top California regulator Lori Ajax 2019, takin questions from Meadow CEO David Hua at Camp Navarro

Lori Ajax , the only person ever to oversee the Bureau of Cannabis Control, has retired, the bureau confirmed on Friday.
MJ Biz Daily 

  • Ajax was appointed to the chief deputy director position in 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown, after having served as chief deputy director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • It's unclear who will appoint an interim director, in part because of next year's planned three-way oversight merger.
  • An earmark of Ajax's era was angry and disappointed operators buttonholing the administrator. Yet spokesperson Alex Traverso compared Ajax to "the baseball player who stays and signs autographs until everyone’s gone."

Quick Hit

  1. All the Smoke podcast host Matt Barnes' first act as an Eaze Senior Advisor is being the face of the Momentum accelerator in its national launch. 
    Business Wire

4 MEXICANS CELEBRATE BIRTH OF LEGAL WEED INDUSTRY

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Mafer Benitez on Unsplash

After a year of delays, Mexico's Senate has approved draft legislation that will finally end prohibition in this country mad infamous for drug violence. Only approval from the government's Chamber of Deputies separates the nation of 129 million from having a regulated cannabis market.
Marijuana Moment

  • The law permits persons 18 and older to buy and possess as much as 28 grams and cultivate as many as six plants for personal use.
  • In the final days of legislative tussle, an increase from the initial limit of four plants per person rose to six. Also, the government must clear all cannabis convictions within six months. Vertical integration became permitted in final negotiations. 
  • As Mexican residents ready for cannabis openness, too many MED patients to the country's direct north continue to struggle to get cannabis.
    San Diego Union-Tribune

Quick Hit

  1. The monetary value police assigned to a "6 Weed World Records"-worthy Fresno raid is a laugh in that it's fun to picture a crew of Central Valley cops divining individual strains and figuring bud value before setting the entire crop aflame.
    Merry Jane

5 BCC GRANTS CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS $30M FOR RESEARCH

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Photo by Lucas Vasques on Unsplash

Nine public universities will divvy up just under $30M in research grants. Monday the California Bureau of Cannabis Control announced it will fund 36 cannabis-related studies.
Ganjapreneur 

  • The BCC said it received more than 100 applications to research cannabis issues related to economics, public health, criminal justice, environmental impacts and public safety.
  • CSU-Dominguez Hills will use its $1.8M to study equity and community revitalization.
    CBS Los Angeles

6 THE 200-MG SOFT GEL CAPSULE, SANS SMIRKING

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The online jokes and claims flew after CannaCraft-owned ABX announced the release of a 200-mg THC dose. So did allegations that the CannaCraft product represents a dodgy loophole breach.
Forbes

  • The gel capsules manage to escape the state's 100 mg limitation by qualifying as a concentrate. California limits edibles to 100 mg per package.
  • "Capsules tend to be used therapeutically whereas edibles are used for both recreational and therapeutic purposes," said CannaCraft’s Chief of Government and Consumer Affairs Tiffany Devitt. "Also, there is a lot less risk that a capsule will be unintentionally consumed by a child than, say, an-infused chocolate bar."
  • Readers within WeedWeek social media got a behind-the-scenes look at reporter Jackie Bryant's approach.
    Twitter

 

 

7 LONG-SUFFERING CRAFT FARMERS: DYING IN PLAIN SIGHT

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Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

You could call it an open secret that, as John Schroyer reports, the small-scale "Emerald Triangle farmers arguably most responsible for that reputation [of excellent goods] are largely getting left out when it comes to credit for the quality of the state’s marijuana crop."

It's possible that too many people already know about these farmers' plights to classify it as a secret at all. Open indifference might be more apt.
MJ Biz Daily 

  • Some of the ways that Golden State small craft growers—the farmers who instructed America—are getting the business end of the bat: Distributors—mandatory though not necessarily necessary—throw their own company names on product grown by these farmers; the independent grower must navigate a maze of regulations; and craft farmers face extreme financial barriers as the tens or hundreds of thousands it costs to set up and manage their products is beyond their margins, for starters.
  • This is the first of a two-part series. 

Quick Hit

  1. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle said a cop who claimed he smelled a volume of weed above the legal limit "just doesn't know what he's talking about" before throwing out the case
    Davis Vanguard

8 SLEEPY CANDY MAKER AWAKENS AN EDIBLES COMPANY

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Photo by Analia Baggiano on Unsplash

The Organic Candy Factory is a 10-year-old Southern California company that makes treats free of gelatin and gluten and pesticides. And, as of Wednesday, OCF is a producer of weed-infused sweets for hemp health specialist Vertical Wellnesss.
Reuters

  • Edible products have been the hands-down winner in the undeclared quarantine popularity contest.
  • The company, which has no professional Mary Jane history, becomes a $110M operation. Vertical Wellness Chief Executive Smoke Wallin said he expects Organic Candy Company earnings of $21M in 2021 and $78M in 2022.

Quick Hits

  1. Allen Hackett and Marie Montmarquet's vertically integrated enterprise stretches from San Francisco to the Central Coast and happens to be Black owned.
    SF Weekly
  2. Humboldt County's Rio Dell (pop. 3,400) is the rare town that has come out of quarantine "better than we've been in a long, long time."
    Lost Coast Outpost

9 ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER L.A. SOCIAL-EQUITY LAWSUIT

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Lawsuits in Los Angeles are not at all like Lay's potato chips in that quite a few people would be happy to stop at one. That doesn't mean the suit show isn't just getting started. Not when social equity is the issue. 

The latest LA social-equity lawsuits come from applicants Karla Benavides and Judith Contreras, who on Nov. 9 in Los Angeles County Superior Court named as defendants the City of Los Angeles, its Department of Cannabis Regulation, and Accela, a software firm. 
WeedWeek/MJ Biz Daily

Quick Hit

  1. There's no truth to the rumor that half of each week's cannabis news stories involve business litigation; no way do more than 30% of the articles relate to such litigation. But, also, the maker of Nerds is suing SoCal seller Tops Cannabis for copyright infringement.
    MJ Biz Daily

10 FOR THOSE WHO MISSED JOHN BELUSHI THE FIRST TIME

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Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

For a lucky few, their ears' first hip drug references fell from the lips of the late, great John Belushi. But in his original Saturday Night Live role it wasn't always a spoken line that made these kids less square; an arched Belushi eyebrow was just as likely to do the trick. 

Belushi's SNL run was indescribably influential. A new Showtime documentary gets inside that phenomenon and generally explores the shooting star's trip.
Showtime

Quick Hits

  1. Manny Mendoza of Netflix fame talks art, social equity and the ground rules for cooking with cannabis: "Don’t get people sick because of a lack of attention to detail. It’s a craft, not a hustle."