California edition / August 28, 2020
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1 CROPS, SHEDS & DREAMS BURN AS BLAZES RAGE ON

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NAPA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 24: A view of a home that was destroyed by the LNU Lightning Complex fire on August 24, 2020

On August 15, an Alameda grower named Sean was posting pics of his gorgeous rosin on Instagram to his friends. Four days later he watched millions in plants and equipment, his sheds and his dreams melt, puddled "in tornados of fire."

This week, as tragic stories play out for grows throughout the state, be certain that blazes will pose "an existential threat to Northern California’s celebrated pot growers."
Leafly/Weedweek

  • The Lightning Complex Fires—35% contained by Friday—in particular contributed to 2,187 square miles burning. Seven are dead as a result of the blazes. (Through Aug. 24.) 
  • "Nine years of blood, sweat and tears in that place," Sean said. "It’s going to be a really bad year for a lot of people. Already, it’s just been like a wham-bam-bam combo."
  • Meanwhile cannabusiness could be worsening matters. As climate change grows more severe, the industry sends more cultivators indoors. There they find more control over temperature and humidity, but exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Consumers should to be mindful of the bud they consume. Said Leafly California Bureau Chief Dave Downs: "You're seeing advertisements for cannabis that has been contaminated by wild fire retardant. This cannabis looks red or pink, and that certainly is something you want to throw away.”
    KCRW

Quick Hits

  1. Sacramento's legislative session ends Sunday. SB-827, which would pause tax increases for a year, is one of three critical marijuana and hemp bills that could see a vote.
    MJ Biz Daily
  2. Last year positive urine tests for weed among American workers rose 11% from 2018. Since 2015, the leap has been 29% percent.
    The Hill
  3. In 2006, Camille Roistacher showed her knack for leadership when she became the big Pasadena parade's Rose Queen. On Wednesday—Women's Equality Day—she led for real by launching a flower brand.
    Green Entrepreneur
  4.  
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2 PRAISE THE WEED, FOR 5-0 HATH SCRAMMED

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Grace Memorial Church in Los Angeles declared it would open at the end of July. Days later, county officials sent a cease-and-desist and subsequently threatened to close the church. But Grace Memorial remains open during the pandemic, because its leadership claimed dispensaries are treated better than churches.
CBS Los Angeles

  • Church attorney Charles LiMandri argued that the state discriminates against churches when it closes them but allows businesses, supermarkets, “abortion providers” and marijuana stores to remain open.
  • In Pasadena, a similar fight involves the city and Harvest Rock Church.

Quick Hits

  1. Were you to run through all of the strange weed laws in America, you might find our state's prohibition against transporting product by skateboard the most pointless. 
    The Cannigma
  2. On Tuesday, Cat Packer, Chaney Turner and Nina Parks will share their views in a webinar focused on social equity.
    Twitter
  3. September 1 is the final day to nominate your dark horse in analysis, processing/extraction, formulation and plant science for the Cannabis Science Innovation Awards.
    The Cannabis Scientist

3 REDWOOD CITY, PACIFIC GROVE SEEK SOLUTIONS IN WEED

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Poised to join the Golden State municipalities who've learned their opposition to cannabis exists in direct proportion to the health of their coffers are lovely Pacific Grove and Redwood City.
Monterey Herald/Patch 

  • Reluctantly, Pacific Grove this week will consider an amended ordinance permitting limited sales, although non-pot revenue alternatives are also being considered. Only two, non-related operators would be permitted.
  • On Monday, Redwood City got the go-ahead to become the first city between San Francisco and San Jose to allow dispensaries. Its ordinance allows six pot shops.
  • Palo Alto, San Mateo, Mountain View, Menlo Park, San Carlos and Los Altos have all rejected cannabis retailing.

4 NEW FED RULES POISED TO SINK HEMP

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The Interim Final Rules for federal hemp regulation, published on August 21 are here, and they might blow up the future of extracts and synthetic forms of hemp-derived THC, including delta-8-THC. The Drug Enforcement Agency's fingerprints are all over these changes.
Kight on Cannabis

  • So-called Work In Progress Hemp Extract (WIPHE) would now be forced to meet THC limits that contradict previous Food and Drug Administration positions.
  •  The criminalization of WIPHE comes along with an ambiguous decision that would designate the naturally expressed delta-8  as synthetic—and therefore illegal—because it results from a chemical reaction. Producers can be prosecuted and/or open to civil litigation.

Quick Hit

  1. Angilbert "Bert" Sarkis runs Phenos, a Modesto dispensary. He also just chipped in $100,000 to a city council member's campaign for mayor. That's a big contribution for Modesto.
    Valley Citizen

5 NEVADA LIGHTS FIRE UNDER DELINQUENT LICENSEES

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After holders of 70 licenses failed to renew on time or had past due taxes, Nevada's Cannabis Compliance Board is cracking down.
Nevada Independent

  • Well into July, 11 licensees—holding 22 permits—hadn’t submitted renewal paperwork or fees, according to Tyler Klimas, the board's executive director. 
  • Klimas added that 18 licensees holding a collective 48 licenses had outstanding tax debts ranging from $500 to $4M, reaching as far back as March of last year. 
  • Tax scofflaws were notified that delinquent licenses would be cut off from the state's tracking database unless they paid off their levies or worked out payment plans with the Department of Taxation. All have paid up or are working out plans.
  • “With these guardrails in place, CCB staff now has the tools to ensure licensees understand that full compliance, including any tax obligations, must be fully resolved before license renewal will be considered,” Klimas said.

    Quick Hit

  1. More than ever, big-name Black athletes are becoming big names in legal weed. Not all are equally active on the social justice front. 
    Leafly

6 WHY AREN’T YOU IN ON SUBSCRIPTION WEED?

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Flowsent, Nugg Club, and Lucky Box Club are among the California companies offering weed subscription boxes. But are they safe and worth the cost?

This is why we must save the Post Office. 
Market Realist

  • Do your homework on these boxes, which run as much as $300 a month. Subscriptions in the $25 to $30 per month range offer products valued at $100 or more. Spending over $100 a month can be dicey, though Nugg Club's $99 box offers $225 in product.
  • As cannabis products cannot be shipped across state lines only in-state vendors can be used. Leafly has a list of subscription boxes available around California.

7 DUO SEEKS FULL PICTURE OF WHO WE ARE IN WEED

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Rico Lamitte and Mieko Hester-Perez are the media professionals who teamed up with Ebony magazine to produce the virtual Juneteenth Cannabis Opportunity Summit. Perhaps more intriguingly, they've released the first in a series of surveys aimed at completing the picture of cannabis community diversity.  
Forbes

  • Findings from the surveys—based on over 100 interviews recorded in less than a month—are said here to have verified the couples' theories about BIPOC consumers. 
  • Lamitte and Hester-Perez, possessors of remarkable pasts and credentials, plan to share highlights of the findings as part of a joint project with hip-hop artist AZ. 

8 STOCKTON’S CULINARY LOSS IS CHICAGO’S GAIN

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Rob Menor was raised in Stockton's Little Manila section. Now he's taken this talents to the Midwest and blown away Chicago foodies with his Filipino take on cannabis cuisine.

The fusion began in 2015 when Menor, 36, turned a batch of canna-butter into the slightly sweet, cheesy coconut rice-flour cake bibingka before a Raiders game. 
Chicago Reader

  • A co-founder of The People's Dispensary, Menor has an edibles line, named for the Stockton street he grew up on, called 8th Street Treats. He has applied for two Illinois dispensary licenses. 
  • Menor began cooking after he moved to Illinois at 18 and started working bottom- rung kitchen gigs. After cooking school, he made Filipino street food under the pseudonym Adobo Loko. His reputation grew from working pop-ups, markets and private parties as part of a cross-country pop-up schedule.  
  • "I was just a dishwasher that kept showing up," he says.

Quick Hit

  1. Freedom Grow Forever is a cadre of women who encourage sending letters and cannabis to inmates imprisoned for possession, among other acts of advocacy.
    WeedWeek

9 FERRISS SPEARHEADS FUNDRAISING FOR MDMA RESEARCH

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Not so many years ago, podcaster and 4-Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss was just one of Silicon Valley's favorite local thought leaders. Now he's the investor who sparked $30M in MAPS donations.
Marijuana Moment

  • MAPS—the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies—will use the money to complete the third phase of a study of MDMA as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • In addition to driving the effort, Ferriss kicked in $1M, as did Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. Space X and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson came through with $2.6M, while Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy, contributed $2M.

Quick Hits

  1. Caliva this week expanded its delivery service to half of the state's population. That's a range of range of 19 counties and 223 cities.
    Benzinga
  2. Each week, tons of cannabis plants are destroyed, and not simply because the product was unlicensed. As the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. said after ripping out 3,338 marijuana plants, illicit grows can be a threat to the water table.
    Patch

10 ‘GROWING BELUSHI’ COMES ON STRONG

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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Season One of the Discovery Channel's Growing Belushi docuseries began Wednesday, and the publicity run-up has been mainstream and pervasive. But, is Jim Belushi's narrative compelling material? 
Cannabis Business Times

  • The smartly produced first episode reveals the backstory of Belushi’s pot journey, including the passing of his brother, John, an addict whom he says cannabis would have saved. Jim Belushi's utter ignorance upon starting in weed is also the stuff of content.
  • Belushi likes to do his morning swim starkers. Visual proof is in the show. 

Quick Hit

  1. LA's Echo Park neighborhood makes an appearance in this wide ranging episode when B-Real's crew reminisces over their sketchiest bud runs.
    BREAL-TV