WeedWeek edition / April 06, 2020
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1 MSOS CUT DEEP

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@shopmedmen Instagram

Moves at several publicly-traded companies raise questions about the industry's ability to weather the coronavirus.
MJBiz

High Times said it had entered the growing and processing industry with the acquisition of a company called Humboldt Heritage for an undisclosed sum.
Benzinga

  • In his newsletter, Boston Globe reporter Daniel Adams wrote, "I'm confident this desperate plan to take a mediocre brand and slap it on an overvalued business in a completely different, highly-regulated, suddenly-screwed industry will turn out great." 

March was another bad month for pot stocks.
New Cannabis Ventures

Grizzle asks 'Who'll go bankrupt next?'

Quick Hits

  1. Green Entrepreneur serves up seven strategies for growing a business amidst the crisis.
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Tips, comments and complaints to Alex alex@weedweek.net.

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2 INESSENTIAL

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Numerous states and cities have given "essential" status to cannabis businesses. Massachusetts, which has denied it to REC shops, is the most important exception.

Two employees tested positive for Covid-19 at New England Treatment Access, one of the state's biggest cannabis companies.

  • Several workers told the Globe they were not satisfied with the protection they were receiving from the company.

In California, not everyone is thrilled with dispensaries' essential status. 🌴WW California has more.
L.A. Times

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, decided REC shops aren't essential and shut them down.
CTV

Quick Hit

  1. President Trump called for escalating counter-narcotics operations. Critics said he was trying to distract from his administration's handling of the coronavirus.
    Drug Policy Alliance
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3 CONSUMERS PIVOT TO EDIBLES

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Fear of Covid-19, a respiratory disease, seems to be inspiring more consumers to opt for edibles.
Grizzle

  • California delivery service Eaze says edibles now account for 30% of all sales, up from 15% a few weeks ago.
  • Trendy California infused beverage company Cann said it saw sales jump 300% from February to March.
    VentureBeat
  • Among cannabis users, a YouGov poll found 28% are now using more.

S.F. Weekly asked a UCSF anti-tobacco crusader and a dispensary about smoking cannabis and Covid-19.

  • “Smoking can irritate the lungs,” the Apothecarium's spokesperson said, "For people who already have predispositions to respiratory issues, you should really stick to edibles during this time.”
  • Cosmopolitan asks similar questions and reaches a similar conclusion.

Quick Hits

  1. Canna Law Blog says pay attention to the FDA's ongoing crackdown on bogus claims about CBD treating Covid-19.
  2. Coming soon: Virtual 420.
    MJBiz

4 POWER PLAYERS: TAHIRA REHMATULLAH

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This week's Power Players interview is with T3 Ventures president Tahira Rehmatullah. We had a wide ranging conversation that covered everything from macro industry trends to which cannabinoid will be the next CBD.

A few highlights:

On prospective investments:

The benefit of being an older company is dwindling because there's so many assets that they would like to get rid of to make the business more efficient.

On coronavirus:

The pandemic might accelerate some businesses going under, which is unfortunate, but it's also a normal part of an emerging market and rapid growth.

On being essential:

We've never had such broad-based validation because we're still in a federally illegal environment.

Read the whole thing.

5 WHAT ABOUT THOSE BALLOT INITIATIVES?

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Tom Angell asks about the state ballot initiatives for which activists are currently gathering signatures.

  • Campaigns to liberalize cannabis or psychdelics laws are on hold or suspended in Missouri, California, Oregon, Nebraska and Washington D.C. Several groups have called for a form of digital signature collecting. So far the states have not obliged.
  • Some initiatives have already gathered the necessary signatures or have been cleared for the ballot. They include REC in Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey and MED in Mississippi and South Dakota.

Quick Hit

  1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) conceded his hope to legalize REC this year is "effectively over."

6 TAMING THE PLANT

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The New York Times Magazine has a good read about companies trying to develop pot products with consistent, predictable highs. Some believe this is possible by producing formulas with specific ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Based on the piece, it doesn't seem like anyone will be mastering this anytime soon.

7 HUMBOLDT MONITORS ILLEGAL GROWS FROM SPACE

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Governing has a fascinating story about how Humboldt County, Calif. uses satellite imagery to curtail the illegal market and its polluting ways. 🌴WW California has more.

Quick Hit

  1. In Los Angeles, a long awaited audit of the city's equity license application process found no bias🌴WW California has more.
    L.A. Times
This week on the podcast
A Sound Bath & Beverage in Venice

In February Donny traveled to Venice, California for a sound bath guided by the musical duo called Dynasty Electrik. This week, Alex Halperin unpacks what his co-host learned about this trendy form of sonic healing and what happens when it’s enhanced with the cannabis drink called bhang.

8 U.S. MILITARY IS HEMP-CURIOUS

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U.S. Military researchers are discuss hemp fabric as an alternative to  imported polymers used in army vehicles.
Hemp Industry Daily

  • Hemp fabrics might be useful as seat belts or uniforms.
  • The military likes that the natural fabric is more durable and can be produced domestically.

Quick Hit

  1. A Colorado man named Morris Beegle makes guitars out of hemp.
    Westword

PRE-ORDER "THE CANNABIS DICTIONARY!

9 FIRST U.S. PRISON COVID DEATH A DRUG OFFENDER

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The Drug Policy Alliance mourned the death of Patrick Jones, a 49-year old man serving a 27 year sentence for drug-related offenses. He was the first Covid-19 fatality in the U.S. prison system.

"There are 450,000 people currently incarcerated for a drug related charge, and even if you released them all it would not be enough to flatten the curve in the criminal legal system. In Mr. Jones’ facility alone, a total of 30 incarcerated individuals and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. There will be more Patrick Jones’."

10 A FEEL GOOD STORY

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Inc. profiles Dennis Hunter founder of California company CannaCraft

In 1998 Hunter was caught growing more than 12,000 plants and served six years in federal prison. This year the company expects to process 146,000 pounds of cannabis and hemp. It has about $90M in annual sales, split between THC and CBD.