WeedWeek edition / October 18, 2020
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This week in the People Mover: Hirings, Promotions and More: CannaSafe and Excelsior College.

To be included, send personnel items to hello@weedweek.net by noon PT on Friday.

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1 HOW BIG A PROBLEM IS “DOUBLE DIPPING”?

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@kushypunchlife

A lawsuit against Kushy Punch parent company Vertical Bliss for allegedly running an unlicensed gummie factory, spotlights the taboo topic of "double dipping," licensed companies that also operate in unlicensed ways.

WeedWeek reports:

"While the extent of it is unclear, the practice has been blamed, at least in part, for the continued vitality of California’s illegal cannabis market. A report this year by New Frontier Data suggests 80% of the state’s cannabis sales are illicit. And some business owners feel the state isn’t doing enough to curtail what they see as unfair competition from double dippers cutting into their bottom line."

  • The Bureau of Cannabis Control declined to comment on the practice. Vertical Bliss didn't respond to requests for comment.

Read the whole thing.

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2 “BRAZEN AND SHOCKING:” GENIUS FUND CASE GETS UGLIER

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Following the dissolution of Genius Fund, a SoCal company that blew through $164M, the company's former CEO is accusing individuals associated with the company of moving or selling more than $3M in assets in violation of a court order. Genius Fund representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
WeedWeek

  • Francis Racioppi Jr., who is suing the company, called the action a "brazen and shocking" move that represents a "direct affront" to the court's authority.
  • Racioppi's lawyer called his motion for contempt "an extraordinary legal remedy" justified by the "blatant violation of a federal court order."
  • Genius Fund was backed by Russian oligarch Dmitry Bosov who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gun wound in May.

Separately, SoCal-based retailer MedMen 🔒saw its stock fall to 12 cents after reporting a 40% drop in sales from the previous quarter.
Business Insider

3 CANNABIZ HAS HIGH HOPES FOR BIDEN VICTORY

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Photo by Harold Mendoza on Unsplash

D.C.-based cannabis activists are preparing to press for federal legalization if Joe Biden wins the presidency and Democrats win a majority in the U.S. Senate. While the MORE Act is currently seen as the "primary vehicle" for legalization, several industry groups have proposed variations, some of which have been criticized for being too friendly to business interests.
MJBiz Daily

  • “If the Democrats do a clean sweep, then descheduling with interstate trade is definitely within the realm of possibility,” said Randal Meyer, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC).
  • This would be the industry's "holy grail," since it could resolve banking access, hated tax rule 280E, interstate trade and other issues.
  • GACC has created a 66-page draft legislation that amounts to a dream bill for the industry.
  • According to the story, sources say some MSOs favor a proposal that would keep cannabis as a schedule one drug in order to protect their market share in state markets.
  • NORML political director Justin Strekal criticized that approach: “Unfortunately, some of the focus by industry actors is protecting the limited market access that currently exists over ending federal marijuana criminalization,” he said.
  • Of course, neither a Biden victory nor Democratic control of the Senate is assured.

New Cannabis Ventures suggests the 2020 election could lead to more lasting gains for pot stocks than 2016.

Quick Hits

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to federal prohibition.
    WeedWeek
  2. A new certification program for the industry aims to make it easier for companies to find banks to work with them.
    WeedWeek

4 FIVE STATES SET TO VOTE ON MED OR REC

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On Election Day, five states appear ready to vote on MED OR REC legalization. Here's the latest:

Leafly looked at the top campaign contributors for and against ballot initiatives of this elections cycle.

5 L.A. LICENSING ROUND TO FOCUS ON EQUITY

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Almost three years after legal REC went on sale in California, Los Angeles, the world's largest metro market, wants to get licensing right. This time there's a heavy focus on equity.
WeedWeek

  • Thus far, licensing in L.A. has seen a great deal of bickering, recrimination and lawsuits as the licensing process slowed to a crawl. The new round, which opens this month, is supposed to eaze the burden for long suffering equity applicants, many of whom have been losing money on the requirement that they must secure a property to apply. That rule, has now been waived.

Elsewhere in California:

6 ILLINOIS LICENSING LAWSUITS CONTINUE TO PILE UP

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The latest lawsuit involving Illinois' licensing process comes from the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association which says its members have lost $20M while waiting for licenses.
WeedWeek

7 AMAZON DIPS TOE IN CBD MARKET (NOT IN THE U.S.)

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Amazon has launched a pilot program to sell CBD gummies in the U.K. The company's CBD ban still apparently applies to U.S. companies.
Hemp Industry Daily

  • The company declined to comment on how many companies are involved, how they were selected and how the program will be evaluated.

Elsewhere in the hempisphere:

Quick Hits

  1. Chris Roberts explains why there's no McDonald's of weed.
    Forbes
  2. Have you heard of Boston-based Dinner at Mary's? They sell infused meal kits.
    Boston Globe

8 WEED & WINE: STILL FRENEMIES

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A new documentary, Weed & Wine, compares the challenges facing multi-generational farmers of the two crops, one in Humboldt, the other in France.
S.F. Weekly

"Deep in the woods of Humboldt, Kevin Jodrey and his son Nocona cultivate cannabis while navigating California’s impending legalization of adult-use sales. In the Ardèche region of France’s Southern Rhone Valley, Hélène Thibon and her son, Aurélien-Nathanaël Thibon-Macagno, face the bleak realities of climate change while readying their centuries-old vineyard for another harvest."

9 THE INFLUENCER BACKLASH IS UPON US

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@koala.puffss

David Rheins, executive director of the Marijuana Business Association, has a beef with cannabis influencers: It's "a bullshit marketing thing that people pay into," he recently told the Talking Hedge podcast. "I think payola is alive and well in social media."

East Bay Express reports:

"It's impossible to know whether a person is praising a product that deserves such praise. One of the more popular weedfluencers, Koala Puffs, told MG Retailer magazine that the most important thing to her is that "the content has to feel genuine. With authenticity, the audience you attract will be organic and loyal."

Whether it "feels" genuine is, of course, up to the audience, which in Koala Puffs' case numbers nearly 700,000 on Instagram alone. "It depends on how you define 'authentic,'" Rheins said. "One can confuse and conflate authenticity with popularity."

Read the whole thing.

10 L.A. WEEKLY CAN’T PRAISE PUFFCO PEAK ENOUGH

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L.A. Weekly all but drools over the new iteration of popular dab rig PuffCo Peak, in an interview with Puffco founder Roger Volodarsky:

"A big factor in the Peak is its accessibility. It made it a lot easier for people to enjoy concentrates without the social stigma of a blow torch. But not just that, all the steps you had to take a dab prior to the Peak were a little much for the regular folks.

“We don’t believe that’s what the average consumer experience should be,” Volodarsky said. “The average consumer experience should be thoughtless and you should just be able to use something, it should be perfect every single time.”

Inhale deeply.

Quick Hit

  1. Family Feud asked where parents go to smoke weed?