California edition / August 14, 2020
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1 KAMALA’S WEED POSITIONS: MIDS, NOT SWAG

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California's first Democrat ever to grace an American Presidential ticket has an intensely mixed record on cannabis policy. Senator Kamala Harris opposed legalization as our Attorney General in 2010, then last year sponsored a bill to federally de-schedule.

If—as one Twitter mob insists—Kamala is a cop, where weed is concerned she certainly isn't old-school fuzz.
Marijuana Moment

  • Harris sponsorship of the MORE Act, a fat piece of federal legislation containing social equity and restorative justice provisions, has helped tamp down criticism of the Senator's sometimes over-the-top law enforcement policies at home.
  • While Harris said this summer that she won't push Biden on cannabis, she is also on record as saying. “Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do."
  • Industry figures expressed cautious optimism about having Harris on the ticket.
    WeedWeek

Quick Hits

  1. Following on the heels of Long Beach City College, the Behavioral Sciences department at CCSF is offering cannabis coursework. The university has raised the stakes by offering an associates degree
    SF Weekly
  2. "No matter how high the penalties are, there will always be people who are willing to ‘risk it’ and ignore the law. Prohibition never stopped many people from selling cannabis. Enforcement alone, says the author, won't correct the market's biggest problem.
    Canna Law Blog
  3. It's not a dulcería, or even a botánic. This place is a CBD shoppe, and it's an East L.A. story with deep, Mexican roots
    LA Taco
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2 JULY WAS REC’S BIGGEST MONTH YET

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Trust WeedWeek if you're not old enough to remember, but in March came a quarantine in which Californians bought a shade under $332M in registered cannabis products, then a REC-era record. 

Last month's sales broke that mark by $16M.
MJ Business Journal

  • The $348M figure, reported by the tracking firm Headset, puts to bed any idea that, driven by scarcity panic as it was, March's spike was more one off than turning point.
  • In 2020, only January's sales figures failed to break the $300M mark. Last year just the final three months broke that mark.

3 A BIGGER BUD FOOTPRINT COULD COME WITH BALLOTS

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November's ballot will see 26 localities with legalization up for a vote. Estimates are that, if passed, the measures could lead to 150 new business permits.
MJ Biz Daily

  • Many of the votes would authorize new business licenses, others would expand the industry locally. Some measures are startups, seeking approval for new taxes. Still other measures are nonbinding advisory issues.
  • "There’s a fundamental shift happening across California," says Hirsh Jain, government affairs director at San Jose-based retailer Caliva. “In the next 30 to 36 months, all of the chess pieces on the board are going to fill up. California will not be a cannabis desert."

Quick Hits

  1. On Aug. 3, West Hollywood's city council took up a ban on smoked and vaporized cannabis in the extremely dense city's apartments, which are 85% of its residential experience. Is this actually happening in one of weed's flagship municipalities?
    WeHoville
  2. The first AI-powered automated checkout technology is here for retailers. Meanwhile, Dan Mitchell asks, "Will Weed Vending Machines Ever Catch On?" 
    Cannabis & Tech Today/WeedWeek

4 STILL VAPING AFTER ALL THIS YEAR

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When August of 2019 began, vape-related products were about 27% of the state's monthly sales. Then came the unsettling reality that the VAPI disease was a legitimate medical threat. Flash forward to 2020 and the arrival of a deadly respiratory illness. 

One year after vaping's health scare,
monthly vape sales remain steady at 23%.
Leafly/MJ Biz Daily

  • After an initial dip, sales bounced back at the start of this year. Even with quarantine, the respiratory nature of COVID, and rampant unemployment, sales haven't dropped. Some of the resilience derives from the discretion associated with vaping, as more Californians are home with family. 
  • While not as keen for vaping as California, the states of Colorado, Nevada and Washington have also shown unremarkable drops.

Quick Hit

  1. Growth in extraction and manufacturing long ago moved beyond the California border, yet insight into running these businesses isn't easy to come by. So here's a talk with George Sadler, president and co-founder of House of Platinum.
    Cannabis Industry Journal

5 ON THURSDAY, TALK 2021 OVERSIGHT CONSOLIDATION

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The Bureau of Cannabis Control's Cannabis Advisory Committee is set to meet on Thursday morning, and you can attend via their Webex setup. The January consolidation of California's three licensing agencies will be the focal point of the session. 
Bureau of Cannabis Control 

Quick Hit

  1. Since Black Lives Matter began enlarging the social-justice conversation, Sonoma County and New York state expanded expungement, Colorado found it their hearts to pass social equity legislation, and Portland redirected all cannabis tax revenue away from the Portland Police Bureau. You're welcome. 
    Politico

6 THEFT, CONSPIRACY AMONG EX-DEPUTIES’ CHARGES

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Earlier this month, we learned what a pair of sheriff's deputies from the biggest Golden State market yet to legalize pot saw in a thriving underground pot game: A shot at stealing confiscated product and conspiring to sell it. Which they did. 

Considering who's imprisoned for possessing and selling pot, but not for stealing the stuff? The penalties these disgraced deputies face seem light.

Associated Press 

  • Derrick Penney and Logan August, former Kern County (Bakersfield) Sheriff's deputies, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges and were given probation for the thefts. A separate investigation revealed that the officers stole 350 more pounds of product than initially thought.  
  • August could get as many as 10 years for his role in the caper. Penney will serve 90 days in custody and be placed on probation. Sentencing is set for Oct. 13. 

Quick Hit

  1. The labeling changes to be ushered in next January are must-know content, even if you offer low-THC content.
    Green Entrepreneur

7 PLANT RECOVERY IN PLAY FOR GRANNY PURPS

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Legal eagles have kept an eye on Granny Purps, Inc. v. County of Santa Cruz, in which the cannabis company brought suit against local government for confiscation of 2,000 plants. On August 7, a 6th District appellate court judge ruled that land-use ordinances cannot supersede weed's status as a legal plant.

Granny Purps might get its bud back yet.
Legal Newsline

  • "A government entity does not have to return seized property if the property itself is illegal," Justice Adrienne Grover wrote. "But the ordinance here ultimately regulates land use within the county; it does not (or could not) render illegal a substance that is legal under state law."

Quick Hit

  1. When are limes and cacti like a Trojan horse? When they're hiding 15,000 pounds of weed, plus meth and more at the the ports of entry in San Diego and Imperial Valley counties.
    High Times

8 A CASE OF MISTAKEN DISPENSARY IN SACTOWN

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This summer a single mom who lives in the Sacramento suburb Natomas noticed increased foot traffic on her residential street. Then a stranger asked the address of the dispensary he sought. He showed the woman his phone and the address on Yelp turned out to be her home.
CBS 13 Sacramento

  • Kelley Bosch says her home address isn't only listed on Yelp as a dispensary, it's also named as a dispensary on Yahoo and YouTube. Bosch gets shoppers at her door, and companies are now mailing her products to promote. 
  • The Alpaca Club Sacramento acknowledged the error and said most of the posts have been taken down.

9 WEED SKEPTIC REVERSES FIELD, MAKES CBD NATION

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CBD and THC pioneer Raphael Mechoulam is just one of the experts featured in CBD Nation, the first wide-release film to reveal 60 years of undercover reports and ongoing research. 
Forbes

  • Director David Jukabovic was reluctant to take on the project because of prevailing CBD hype. Then he watched biologist's Didi Meiri's TED talk, reconsidered, and began shooting CBD Nation
  • "[E]pilepsy is just one of many conditions that we know cannabis medicine can treat," Mechoulam says in the film. "If the world chooses to not look at all of the science, it is not ignorance—it’s negligence.” 

10 MERRY JANE DOC SPOTLIGHTS POT PRISONERS

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We cannot talk enough about the more than 40,000 nonviolent Americans imprisoned for what so many of us use to enrich ours lives. Prisoners of Prohibition on YouTube is the latest media effort to spread the word of justice.
Merry Jane 

  • In Episode 1, activists, lawyers, and long-suffering family members are the focal point as we see how the sausage of cannabis justice is made. No drug kingpins enter the Merry Jane frame, just low-level dealers.
  • En route to explaining why legal forgiveness is a must, the documentary shows the lives its cannabis inmates left behind. 

Quick Hits

  1. After Jimmy Fallon put Susan Soares' illustrated children's book What's Growing in Grandma's Garden on his list of books he doesn’t want you reading the author put out a video response. 
    The Tonight Show
  2. There are more than a few remarkable resources in cannabis media, and you're reading one of the tip-top sites.
    Quartz