WeedWeek edition / July 19, 2020
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1 FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE VS. THE WEED BIZ

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WeedWeek reporter Hilary Corrigan looks at the industry's hope to advertise on Facebook and Google, and the tech giants' desultory response:

“What we want to see is the recognition of the states’ rights and recognition of the businesses’ rights” to advertise, said Sean Lucas, vice president of Nug Digital Marketing

But Lucas hasn’t even seen communication between state regulatory bodies and the tech titans. “It’s just not happening,” Lucas said. “It’s gonna take some lobbying.”

Facebook seems a bit more open to the discussion.

Read the whole thing.

More from Hilary:

A note from the editor

Since 2015, WeedWeek has been the best way to keep up with the Green Rush. WeedWeek’s audience includes many of the most influential figures in cannabis because we are editorially independentAdvertisers have no influence on our editorial content.

We put out two free newsletters:

1) WeedWeek by founder Alex Halperin

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We also publish original reporting daily. The original WeedWeek newsletter has more than 8,000 subscribers and a weekly open rate above 25%.

Tips, comments and complaints to Alex alex@weedweek.net.

To advertise contact Lisa Marie Dudenhoeffer lisamarie@weedweek.net

3 READY FOR A MARKET RALLY?

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At New Cannabis Ventures, analyst Alan Brochstein is bullish:

  • He anticipates solid revenue growth and improved profitability to emerge in the coming Q2 earnings reports.
  • Furthermore, suggests the possibility Democrats win the Senate in November as a potential catalyst for a pot stock rally.
  • In a contrary view, at MJBiz, Mike Regan warns of possible Q2 estimate cuts.
  • National Law Review says industry M&A has suffered because of the pandemic.

In other corporate doings:

Quick Hit

  1. Israel surpassed Germany as the world's top importer of MED flower.
    MJBiz

4 CALIVA SUED FOR DIGITAL ADA VIOLATION

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@calivahq

NC3 Systems, the company operating as high-profile California brand Caliva, has been sued with class action plaintiffs alleging its web site is not fully accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
Canna Law Blog

  • The suit claims the defendant failed "to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully and equally accessible."
  • The blog says similar lawsuits are increasingly common in the mainstream economy. Harris Bricken lawyer Jihee Ahn calls the case a "great reminder to all of our business owners that it’s absolutely essential to be proactive in ensuring your digital platforms are ADA-compliant."
  • Caliva didn't respond to a request for comment.

Separately, Caliva board chair, and former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, has some advice for cannabis entrepreneurs.
Benzinga

5 PROHIBITIONISTS SAY LEGALIZATION SETS BACK RACIAL JUSTICE

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@learnaboutsam

Kevin Sabet's anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, in partnership with the Illinois NAACP, argues legalization harms people of color:

"The reality is, marijuana legalization/commercialization exacerbates issues of systemic injustice by creating a predatory addiction-for-profit drug industry...[which is] already targeting communities of color like its predecessors Big Tobacco" and liquor.

  • It's promoting the hashtag #decriminalizedontlegalize.

Elsewhere in equity-related news:

6 POWER PLAYERS: MONICA VIALPANDO ON PRODUCT INNOVATION

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Cannabis Content & Media Photographer Jennifer Skog

Before starting her cannabis science company, Monica Vialpando Ph.D. spent much of her career in pharmaceuticals. Now her start-up Via Innovations seeks to bring the rigors of that industry to the development of novel cannabis products. 

For this week’s Power Players interview, we discussed how cannabis products can improve, the promise of transdermal patches and whether predictable REC products will ever arrive.

Read the interview.

7 THE RISE AND FALL OF CIVILIZED

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@civilized.life

Business Insider looks into fall of 🔒lifestyle media company Civilized, which aspired to be, "High Times for the upwardly mobile professional," but has effectively stopped publishing.

  • Civilized raised $7M from Canopy Growth venture arm Canopy Rivers and celebrities like Chelsea Handler.
  • A former employee said the company became more of a public-relations shop than a media company.
  • Some former employees and freelancers say they haven't been paid.
  • Terri Riedle, who built the company along with her husband, former CEO Derek Riedle, said the cannabis and media business climates have been "unbelievably challenging, to say the least." The company says it is "almost ready" to relaunch.
  • The story is the first to report on the collapse of a planned acquisition by New Frontier Data.
  • Civilized was desperate to placate advertisers, "who were paying us to write good news," a former employee said. On LinkedIn, I wrote, "[At WeedWeek] Our business depends on publishing material that will fascinate, inform and delight our readers. Content designed to please advertisers strikes me as the opposite of that."

Related: Columbia Journalism Review discusses the state of High Times:

"In many ways, the High Times story is also a media-industry story: The decline of print advertising. The shift to digital. The decline in the value of digital ads."

8 HOW IS OKLAHOMA THE HOTTEST MED MARKET?

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By Tim Jessell timjessell.com

WeedWeek business columnist Dan Mitchell asks how deep-red Oklahoma became the country's hottest MED market:

“We’ve been in the closet with it for a long time,” said dispensary manager Dedre Galvez. “It blows my mind, the people who are buying it now — religious groups, school teachers — just way more people than anyone knew. We are the Bible Belt, but it turns out a lot of people in the Bible Belt have been using cannabis for a long time. One of my growers is a Sunday school teacher.”

Smokee in Muskogee.

In other state news:

  • Michigan's fast-growing REC market faces tight supply and a shortage of cities welcoming to pot shops.
    MJBiz
  • In an unusual move, the Florida Supreme Court called for more arguments in a case challenging mandatory vertical integration in the state's MED market.
    Fox13-Tampa
  • In Nevada, the trial in a closely watched case involving license distribution is underway at the Las Vegas convention center.
    Las Vegas Review Journal
  • The practice of contract farming, where landowners bring in experienced growers is increasingly common in California, and has led to lawsuits.
    MJBiz
  • In Missouri, the FBI is scrutinizing documents which appear connected to utilities contracts and the MED industry.
    Kansas City Star

9 REACHING GEN Z

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More like Generation ZZZZ, amirite?

Cannabis Industry Journal shares some tips for reaching Gen Z , roughly consumers currently younger than 25. Here's one suggestion:

"As digital natives, they’re quick to recognize inauthentic communication methods. Whether it’s unnatural comments or trying to cover up negative testimonials, the younger crowd can always spot brands trying to be something they are not."

Read them all.

10 WHAT IS WEED CULTURE?

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We're thrilled to introduce WeedWeek's new culture and lifestyle columnist, Ngaio Bealum. In his first piece, the aficionado, journalist, comedian, scenester and cook asked the big question, "What is Weed Culture?":

”Cannabis culture” is a hard thing to define, because cannabis users are a subculture of every other subculture. Whatever it is people like to do, some of them like to smoke weed before they do it...

Cannabis use is truly intersectional. So that’s what I am gonna write about. Anything and everything cannabis. How does it work? How does it fit with what has come before and what is yet to puff puff pass?

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hits

  1. Instagram personality Gail Olson, better known as Dabbing Granny, has been "silenced" on Instagram for using the N-word.
    CelebStoner
  2. Mike Tyson has obtained a global license to "print" cannabis beverages in partnership with a company called SmartCups.
    Forbes
  3. What's the secret to surviving the NBA bubble? 🔒"Bongs, blunts and balms."
    The Athletic