California edition / December 14, 2019
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1 OBSCURE COMMITTEE OPTS TO WARN MOMS

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PHOTO BY ANDRE ADJAHOE ON UNSPLASH

California cannabis packaging will be required to carry warning labels for expectant mothers, after an obscure state agency ruled that THC may be harmful to their developing children.

Though the decision won’t take effect for a year, its impact is being debated immediately. The specter of lawsuits targeting cannabis companies has been raised, according to Associated Press.
Associated Press

  • The state's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee on Wednesday voted in favor of warning language on labels. The committee did this after consulting available research on cannabis impacts on both humans and animals.
  • The vote also puts THC and bud smoke on a list of chemicals known to cause birth defects and developmental problems. 
  • Some in the industry have taken issue with the decision, as the committee researched only weed smokers and not users of lotions, tictures, or vapes. The studies “produced conflicting results,” according to Ellen Komp, California NORML deputy directory. 

Quick Hits

  1. Tara Carver of the Humboldt Growers Alliance recently submitted to a phone interview from the Emerald Triangle. She talked about cultivators coming out of the shadows, advocating beyond the profit motive, and following the three P’s of “people, place, and prosperity.”
    Cannaconomy
  2. Last month, two trimmers who worked for Cali Pura — a cultivation contractor hired by Salinas’ Loud Buddha — are suing both companies for violating Fair Labor Standards Act provisions and the California labor code. The complaint alleges among its 11 counts that Loud Buddha and Pura Cali, made workers toil 12-hour days, for entire weeks, prohibited employees from leaving its remote mountain location, and failed to provide meal breaks.
    Lawyers and Settlements

3 HARBORSIDE APPEALS 280Z DECISION

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GETTY IMAGES

Attorneys for Harborside last week filed an appeal to the fall court decision that ordered the company to pay $11M in tax deficiencies. The appeal’s outcome could have broad ramifications for the dreaded U.S. tax code Section 280E, which can drive government-approved businesses tax rate to 70%.
Bloomberg Tax

  • The appeal comes after the Ninth District Court ruled in October that Harborside must make up for deficiencies in fiscal years 2007 through 2012. The company took deductions that ordinary businesses selling federally-prohibited drugs take without a second thought. 

Quick Hit

  1. The Coachella Valley has 40 dispensaries. Only one of them, Harborside Desert Hot Springs, has a drive-thru. Actually, it’s the only state-sanctioned drive-thru anywhere. Here’s how a loophole helped make that happen.
    San Bernardino Sun
This week on the podcast
Weedmaps’ Big Pivot, with Chris Beals
A note from the editor

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4 OAKLAND MAYOR TO OPPOSE TAX CUT

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GETTY IMAGES

At 10%, Oakland has the state’s highest local REC tax. So, a lot of the community sighed in relief when its City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to reduce those fees. Then the mayor spoke, and ensured that a spotlight will be on City Hall next week.
Marijuana Moment

  • “Our City Council is poised to give a massive $4M a year tax-break to Oakland’s largest cannabis businesses,” Mayor Libby Shaaf told residents. “I urge you to call your councilmembers to oppose this reckless give-away.”
  • Mayor Shaaf justified her position by saying that the Council voted last spring to reduce taxes for just under 75% of registered Oakland cannabis businesses.
  • A second reading on the proposed cut is set for City Hall on Tuesday.

Quick Hit

5 BERNER PARTNER TO OPEN 1ST S.F. SOCIAL EQUITY DISPENSARY

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San Francisco has tried to leverage the legal market to make up for the horrors visited upon certain of its communities by the War on Drugs and disproportionate policing. But while The City has a social equity program that offers  a $5,000 licensing-fee waiver and access to equity incubators — which feature technical assistance or rent-free space for three years, eligible applicants must have a criminal record for cannabis or housing issues. 

Progress has been slow in this wealthy municipality that’s leaking black people, but now there’s actually going to be a dispensary that’s owned by one.
Filter

  • In February, the Cole Ashbury Group was approved as The City's first social equity dispensary. On Dec. 11, Cole Ashbury CEO Shawn Richard announced his partnership with Cookies brand owner Berner.
  • The second S.F. equity applicant, whomever that may be, is going to need a big-time partner of their own. Startup costs in high-traffic parts of town run between $1.5 and $3M.
 
 

6 FOLLOW THE DOUGH: RESTRICTIVE PERMITTING CORRUPTS POT BIZ

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It doesn't take an Atlantic City casino owner to know that limited business opportunities bring about an environment in which "competition for those opportunities exceeds the bounds of propriety. That is, they encourage corruption, bribery and other excessesa fact recognized by the FBI and alleged by lawmakers and members of the public as well as law enforcement in other states and cities."
Cannabis Now

  • Corruption allegations have emerged in California locales from Sacramento to Grover Beach. And as the industry begins to expand, issues of influence have come about in IllinoisOhio and Florida.

Quick Hit

  1. “The past nine years have shown an increase in reported crimes at dispensaries overall. (The LAPD data, however, does not distinguish between licensed and unlicensed dispensaries.). For the first nine months of 2019, there were 115 reported crimes at cannabis dispensaries.”
    Crosstown

7 WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SEED PATENTING

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Up at Camp Navarro June, the canna-tech company Meadow puts on a wide-ranging event called Meadowlands, attracting all manner of legal weed insiders. This year Meadowlands was set to see a panel on heirloom seeds.

Controversy kept the discussion from happening as planned, but the patenting issues that didn't get talked about are only growing larger as a cultural and business concern.
Leafly

  • The race to patent seeds is worth billions. Leafly's series discusses the mysterious company with the first cannabis patent, "One man’s crusade to open-source cannabis," and the ways bud farmers work to protect their seeds out of large farming corporations's figurative hands.

8 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY OPENS PERMITTING, FINALLY

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PHOTO BY JIM HARRIS ON UNSPLASH

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday conditionally approved four prospective dispensary operators and seven propsective cultivators to begin its conditional-use permit process.

  • The board strongly emphasized that those granted approval weren't guaranteed permits. Qualified also-ran Contra Costa applicants are eligible to be considered in the future.

9 A STRETCHING OF THE SACTOWN HEMP BAN

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Despite being fully legal under state law, the City of Sacramento may continue banning hemp for as long as a year.
Capital Public Radio

  • The City would prefer to hold off until state and federal regulations are fully established.
  • “We'd like them to take the lead and then we can craft our own regulations,” Assistant City Manager Leyne Milstein said.

10 THERE ARE MORE THAN 8 GOOD PODCASTS?

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The answer, of course, is yes. Weedweek California pulls from a bunch of quality podcast before they hit the studio. This week Forbes singled out their faves, and because their brand is bigger than WeedWeek California, this is a thing that you’re reading right now.

Among Forbes’ faves are the dashing young thems of the WeedWeek podcast.
Forbes

  • It’s worth noting that this is just a list. So many podcasts out there and who’s even really counting? “Among the best,” this apparent survey seems to say, are the pioneering Montell Williams, the legit estimable Weed + Grub, the intriguing Blunt Blowin' Mama“A podcast for all the moms and women who proudly consume cannabis and proclaim: "I'm not a regular mom, I'm a stoner mom.” And more.
  • Four, to be precise. We've got a cross-pod appearance deal in the works with one of them.
  • According to WeedWeek California, the takeaway shouldn’t be that WeedWeek is one of the eight best podcasts in cannabis. Rather, the best people listen to the WeedWeek podcast, they said.

Quick Hit

  1. A bunch of people in attendance at MJ Biz Con were excited about the Weedys, our first cannabis competition. Vote for your faves today.
    WeedWeek