California edition / June 28, 2019
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This week on the podcast
Strains, Shrooms and Stoners with Ophelia Chong

1 SANTA BARBARA BUST ONLY PART OF ILLICIT MARKET CRACKDOWN

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Courtesy of Getty Images

As with the rest of California, tensions over the illicit market are front and center in Santa Barbara County. Last week law enforcement officials in the coastal county seized enough untracked product that it took four days to gather it.
KEYT

  • At properties in Buellton, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, sheriffs reportedly destroyed 350,000 plants and seized 20 tons of processed weed. So much cultivated product that won't reach its destination. Authorities are investigating whether the growers had fraudulently acquired licenses.
  • The raids coincided with Friday's release of the Bureau of Cannabis Control's long-awaited education campaign. #weedwise which will be spread through billboards and social media. The advertising emphasizes the health risks of consuming "free market" weed.
  • Cannabis taxes paid for the raid. Thirty five detectives, investigators and wildlife officers were used in the two-month investigation.

Quick Hit

  1. Meanwhile, up in Humboldt County, the former marijuana champ continues to take a beating. Follow along on a copter watch in the Emerald Triangle. A scroll through the comments bring the local sense of foreboding to life.
    Readheaded Blackbelt
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2 VAPE MAKERS FACE DEADLINE TO COMPLY WITH LABELING REGS

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Photo by DeMorris Byrd on Unsplash

All vaporizer cartridges are to display tCalifornia's version of the industry’s universal symbol, under new state regulations.

Packaging that was compliant under the emergency rules, but isn’t compliant under permanent regulations, must be shipped to a licensed distributor before Monday.
MJBiz

  • Mandating the symboltriangle bordering a marijuana leaf and an exclamation point with CA underneath symbol is a move that will cost manufacturers. That cost is likely to be passed on.
  • Attorney Dana Cisneros said it "seems very strange that vape cartridges themselves are included in the definition of a ‘cannabis concentrate’ and now suddenly [California Department of Public Health] is classifying the cartridge as a ‘product container’ at the same time without revision to the definitions.”
  • Retailers have until the year's end to sell these products.

Quick Hit

  1. You can get the best pot at any time when you're in San Francisco. Some of the world's best growers reside in the Bay Area. That's why the S.F. Cannabis Cup-winning strains are major news.
    Leafly

3 SAN DIEGO GROUP DEMANDS BAN ON BILLBOARD ADS

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Photo by Lee Weng on Unsplash

Just when coastal California looks like an uninterrupted stretch of Mary Jane acceptance, a community once known as East San Diego is demanding a billboard advertising ban.
NBC San Diego

  • City Heights activists want the signage gone because they say many are in violation of laws that say signs can't be within 1,000 feet of a K-12 schools and playgrounds.
  • "We urge the San Diego City Council to make the passage of a marijuana billboard ordinance," said William Perno of Say San Diego. The advocacy group holds that their community has seen "a pattern of illegal billboard ads."

Quick Hit

  1. High Times looks to avoid hard times as it explores trading on an OTC exchange as opposed to the NASDAQ. The legacy brand has faced numerous problems, including an outstanding lawsuit over $4M million related to its acquisition of Culture magazine.
    MJBiz Daily

4 TULARE CITY COUNCIL OPTS TO ADD REC TO 2020 BALLOT

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Listeners to our podcast episode on Farmersville's effort to open a dispensary know that REC in the Central Valley county of Tulare - famously home to Dorethea Lange's early 20th-century migrant photography -- has been a tough nut for legalization activists to crack.

As of this week though, there's movement in our cradle of agriculture.
Sun-Gazette

  • On Wednesday, Tulare's City Council asked its administrators to ready guidelines for putting REC sales before voters in 2020. If approved in Tulare, recreational marijuana sales would be permitted in Tulare, Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville and Woodlake. Visalia and Exeter have rejected such proposals. Woodlake is the lone city to have a dispensary doing business after the approval.
  • Tulare's county seat rejected REC by 10 points in 2016. Fifty-seven percent of state residents supported Prop. 64.

6 ANTI-TAX PROGRESSIVES: THE NEXT EAST BAY THING?

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Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

James Anthony of Oakland Citizens for Equity and Prosperity may have the definitive take on California bud taxes, Oakland taxes in particular.

“They insist on boiling the frog backwards,” Anthony said. “Their fucking idea of how to boil a frog is to get the water boiling, fling that poor little bastard in there, and tell him that it’s OK because you’ll turn the heat down in a couple of years.”
SF Weekly

  • The city’s 10-percent tax on gross receipts are the highest such rate in California, no slouch in the tax-them-to-the-brink-of-mortality division itself. Oakland is the Kawhi Leonard of getting taxed for selling pot.
  • Critics such as Anthony say that neighboring cities with lower tax rates will take away Oakland business, unless the gross-receipts tax is lowered.

7 WEED’S INVISIBLE DRIVERS: AI AND BIG DATA

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Courtesy of Getty Images

The immense and speedy growth of the industry has made big data and artificial intelligence invaluable. We all know that our vast sums of collected info allow our farmers to optimize for weather changes and variables some of us get that data can help change a strain.

But how many among us get how deeply the two technologies "allow businesses to make informed decisions, track trends and target the right markets" "provide real-time market insight," and "ways to use technology to improve the ability to move product across the nation"?
Forbes

  • Delivery app Eaze uses use data to aid MED retailers in predicting supply and demand, as well as in changing inventory and delivery based on that information.
  • Agricultural companies are using big data in tracking to help cut out "the mundane tasks from the company so they can concentrate on the product."

QUICK HIT

 

8 IS CHARGING FOR SHELF SPACE THE NEXT BIG ARGUMENT?

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At the start of 2018 reports emerged of a dispensary practice called "slotting." Today slotting is on the rise.
MJ Biz

  • San Diego and Los Angeles retailers are are reportedly asking brands for $1,000 to $50,000 a month.
  • “In a new burgeoning industry, the fact that there’s already this sort of creep of brands that are able to pay these high prices to buy shelf space – it’s setting the industry up for bad business practices,” said Sonoma operator Karli Warner.

9 AND YOUR NOMINEES FOR FOOTBALL’S ALL-MARY JANE TEAM ARE…

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Courtesy of Getty Images

For better or worse, California graduates the most athletes into big-time American football. So, it's there's little suprise that our state is well represented among the NFL's rarest strain, the openly-weeded former player.
Cannabis Now

  • "The number of players who advocate for medical marijuana use and research are now more than enough to field an ironman squad of 10 Pro-MMJ ballers, helping get out the message to commissioner Roger Goodell," Cannabis

10 INNOVATION BEGINS GIVING L.A. WEED ITS PHYSICAL SPACE

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Courtesy of Getty Images

As we pointed out last week, weed-related property doings are afoot in L.Angeles, a city as in love with marijuana as it is real estate spectacle. This year locals are getting a tast of how delicious this Reese's Coupling might be.

The last half of 2019 is expected to see LA house a temporary cannabis museum, as well as another breakthrough home, this one a lux crib tricked out for optimal enjoyment of The Plant.
Yahoo Finance/CNN

  • The Weedmaps Museum of Weed doesn't just lean into its moniker's redundancy. From Aug. 3 through Sept. 29, 720 North Cahuenga Boulevard will take visitors on a chronological walk through history — from the early uses of the cannabis plant to the "Reefer Madness" and "War on Drugs" eras through to present-day legalization efforts.
  • "We're at this point now where there is some cannabis normalization where they're already starting to forget that there have been people who have been in jail (because of prohibition)," Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals told CNN Business. The exhibition runs between August 3 and September 29.
  • The Marijuana Mansion is the product of developer to the stars Ramtin Ray Nosrati. In addition to a cannabis lounge -- possibly a first amont luxury homes -- the Nosrati mansion will also offer a cigar lounge, an organic hydroponic cultivation gallery, and expert gardening services.