California edition / July 31, 2020
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1 ONE MORE DEAD AND MURDER’S A TREND

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A lawyer connected to dispensaries in West Los Angeles and North Hollywood was shot at dawn during a home robbery in Laguna Beach on Tuesday. LAPD says Barret Slome, 46, may have been targeted because suspects thought the home harbored cash and drugs.
CBS Los Angeles 

  • A 911 call reporting breaking glass and gunfire brought Laguna Beach police to a condominium on PCH. Detectives reportedly have access to camera footage.
  • Law enforcement reports that Slome survived a shooting—still unsolved—three years ago in Beverly Glen. 
  • Taken along with the spike in dispensary robberies and May's murder of Santa Cruz exec Tushar Atre, the Slome killing reinforces the growing sense that the cash-rich industry has a target on its back.

Quick Hits

  1. Arvin is the closest city to Bakersfield with a legal dispensary. That Arvin’s 420 Kingdom has struck gold by offering delivery service into our biggest municipality without legal weed is the least surprising news we’ve published this year.
    Bakersfield Californian
  2. "We can switch to edibles, we can only share with quarantine partners, we can put condoms on our joints. What we can’t do is expect puff puff pass culture to return to pre-COVID days."
    High Times
  3. The Security and Exchange Commission has named six individuals in a scam to bilk 400 American investors out of $25M. The complaint says investors were promised 100% annual profits from a growth and extraction facility in Salinas.
    WeedWeek
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2 BECERRA REJECTS DOJ’S BCC SUBPOENA

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CA Attorney Gen. Xavier Becerra

In January, the Drug Enforcement Administration subpoenaed the Bureau of Cannabis Control for documents on multiple weed businesses, explaining only that the information sought is "relevant and material to a legitimate law enforcement inquiry."

The Bureau objected to the DEA request on the grounds that it's been insufficiently explained and may violate privacy law. Then, earlier this month, the Justice Department requested that California's U.S. District Court for the Southern District make the BCC give up records. 

On Thursday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked the court to reject the Justice Department lawsuit
Marijuana Moment

  • Becerra complained that beyond being inadequately detailed, "the subpoena sought information that was part of a pending licensing application investigation and was confidential, protected as a trade secret, or was otherwise protected by California privacy laws.”
  • The DEA is seeking cannabis licenses, cannabis license applications, and  shipping manifests—all unredacted—for three cannabis enterprises and three individuals, from January 2018 to January 2020.

Quick Hits

  1. In federal court, Beverly Hills-based investment firm Arcadian Capital is arguing that Curaleaf's $390M acquisition of Cura Partners means they're owed 3%—11.3M—for consulting. Curaleaf counters that the Arcadian Capital consulting contract is bogus. Also, a new lawsuit alleges purchased samples of Cura's Select Elite vapes in Oregon contained less THC than labelled. Curaleaf declined to comment other than to say a previous similar lawsuit had been dismissed by the plaintiffs.
    MJ Biz Daily, WeedWeek
  2. A bit more than three years ago, rapper-entrepreneur Master P sued Privateer Holdings for $25M, alleging that the company never intended to honor their deal to produce and distribute Master P's Trees. Instead, the artist formerly known as Percy Miller said he was used for "an inside look into the urban and hip-hop demographic of cannabis users." Last week a Sonoma County Superior Court judge found otherwise, awarding Miller $0
    The GrowthOp

3 A TAX PEACE TO CELEBRATE IN THE OC

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Like so many cities, Costa Mesa in 2016 set up a tax agreement that would deeply inhibit its legal cannabis industry. In a way that's the opposite of most California municipalities, Costa Mesa's local industry and City Council collaborated to reverse course, creating policy that benefits both. On July 21 the change was approved as law.
Forbes

  • When Costa Mesa passed its ballot measure allowing cannabis manufacturers, testing labs and distributors to start up in what would become the "Green Zone," the City Council proposed a 6% tax rate on all gross income for distributors and manufacturers. The rate proved too high when taken with the distributors' and manufacturers' other tax responsibilities. So, moved by industry lobbying, the City Council revisited the issue last year.
  • "Costa Mesa’s lesson is that tax policy has a fundamental role to play in cannabis policies, with the need to heed the industry’s economics as much as the state or locality’s needs," writes Ben Curren.

4 ‘THE ORIGINALS’ RAISE $145K TO REWRITE WEHO RULES

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A November ballot initiative put forth by MedMen, Alternative Herbal Health Services, Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group and Zen Healing collective—West Hollywood's four "Original" dispensaries—was just infused with $145,628 chipped in by the owners.

First granted licenses in 2016, the four are operating on a temporary basis after a committee determined eight other dispensaries—the city's limit—later gave  proposals the city found more attractive. The temporary licenses expire at year's end. 
WEHOville

  • Also on the ballot is a measure produced by Adult Use Retailers Association of West Hollywood—the eight businesses that received approval to open REC shops.
  • The Originals' initiative asks voters to approve a bump up in licenses from 8 to 16. Also, the petition includes numerous other changes to the city’s regulations governing cannabis shops, including: combining consumption lounge categories and changing the rules regarding sale/transfer of licenses. Because the Originals received the required number of signatures on their petition to change the rules, the city council voted unanimously at its June 1 meeting to send it to the voters in the November election.
  • A breakdown of group contributions to the West Hollywood Residents and Businesses for Fairness, a Coalition of Cannabis Businesses, UFCW Local 770, and Concerned Residents show MedMen contributing $90,000, Local 770 $25,000, and $25,000 from Alex Kardos of Where Eagles Fly, which qualified for a consumption lounge license in 2018.

5 ‘SAFE HARBOR’ BANKING BILL GETS AUGUST SENATE HEARING

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A "safe harbor" bill that would allow state or local licensing authorities, agencies or joint powers to share regulatory and financial data with financial institutions as a means of facilitating commercial banking is set to have a California Senate hearing on Aug. 11.
Bloomberg Law

  • Assembly Bill 1525 says financial services—including public accounting firms—are not guilty of criminal offense under California law "solely by virtue of the fact that the person receiving the benefit of any of those services engages in commercial cannabis activity as a licensee."
  • The Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) bill, which is supported by the California Credit Union League, passed the Assembly by a 68 to 1 margin.

Quick Hit

  1. The Minority Cannabis Business Association will host a Wednesday webinar on social equity and real estate. The session is free for members of MCBA, social equity owners, and people applying for social equity licenses.
    Cannabis Business Times 
  2. Caliva has been hit with a class-action ADA suit over "an incompatibility with screen-reader software used by the visually impaired."
    WeedWeek

6 CLINT EASTWOOD: MAKE MY DAY IN COURT

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Clint Eastwood (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

On July 22, a pair of Clint Eastwood companies filed suit against two California cannabis enterprises that he claims have infringed on his trademark and trampled upon "his right of publicity."
Los Angeles Times

  • The two—of six sued—are alleged to have used Eastwood's image to promote CBD products. In one of the suits filed in the Central District Court of California, the Hollywood heavy filed against the nonprofit CBD Green Labs. The other defendant is a company named Greendios. 
  • The lawsuit asks CBD Green Labs and Greendios for millions, an amount “sufficient to deter unlawful conduct by defendants in the future.” 

Quick Hit

  1. From the empty office spaces at Twitter to its startling paucity of tourists, The City in 2020 carries more than a whiff of modern-day ghost town. This exodus of actual, non-homeless San Franciscans and a rash of dispensary robberies have SPARC's owner feeling his way through the new fog
    SF Weekly 

7 NGAIO BEALUM JOINS WEEDWEEK

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Ngaio Bealum, all-around cannabis edutainer and Sacramento icon, is now also WeedWeek's culture columnist. His first offering asked "What is cannabis culture?" This week he looked into "the art and science of cannabis blends."Though newly trendy, blends have been around, so travel back to when "strains were known but not that important, and folks would chip in on a blunt," and learn about what's next.
WeedWeek

  • The contemporary approach "is more like how winemakers create blends with an eye on a certain profile, and not just stoner happenstance."
  • Recommended blends on the market include Lola's Mingle and Perfect Blends' NightCap.

8 YOU, TOO, CAN SMOKE RTJ’S WEED

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Killer Mike (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT)

Considering Michael Render's straight-up activism and the trippy, overtly pro-pot—and psilocybin—stances that Run the Jewels's El-P puts forth, it's actually surprising that RTJ didn't already have a cannabis brand.

The duo's first product, furnished by Cookies' cousin Lemonnade, is named for their their recent hit, "Ooh LA LA."
High Times

  • Lemonnade specializes in sativa-leaning bud, but the Ooh LA LA strain, according to the group's statement "merges Lemonnade’s sativa focus with RTJ’s indica appreciation to achieve the ideal hybrid strain.

  • RTJ pre-rolls, extracts, blunts, and vapes will be available at Sacramento's Lemonnade store, but also in Merced, Modesto, La Mesa, San Diego, Oakland, Redding and Hayward.

Quick Hits

  1. The City of West Hollywood is considering a ban on pot smoking in new apartments. Anyone offended by this policy can protest it by writing the council or calling into Monday's Zoom council meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.; (323) 848-6460.
    California NORML
  2. In March, Nevada regulators told all retailers to stop selling Cherry OG F3 because the flower failed multiple lab tests. This week, three stores are under investigation for continuing to sell the strain.
    MJ Biz Daily

9 DR. NORM’S IS ACTIVE IN AFRICA

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Giraffe are seen by the Nairobi skyline (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Dr. Norm's is a cookie company that began as an offshoot of nonmedicated product, moved over to MED, then quickly transitioned to REC. Now the brand, named for the brother-sister team's Los Angeles physician father, is ramping up charitable acts in Africa.
Cannabis Now

Quick Hit

  1. Where ergonomics in the workplace are concerned, the standout concerns are pruning, which can cause musculoskeletal repetitive motion issues, and trimming, "a motion that is specific to the cannabis industry.” 
    Risk & Insurance

10 SCHITT’S CREEK EARNS 15 EMMYS AND A NICE BUZZ

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Annie Murphy (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

On Tuesday morning Schitt’s Creek scored big in the Emmy's nomination process and weed may have played a role, as Annie Murphy said she discovered one of her character Alexis' trademark affectations "when I was probably on marijuana." Meanwhile, Eugene Levy, who plays Alexis' brother in the series, has expressed support for legalization.
The GrowthOp

  • The Schitt family is known to serve cannabis at their annual and fictional Hawaiian Night party.
  • Levy and Murphy are only two of the community favorites among this year's Emmy nominees

Quick Hit

  1. If you've not yet read Alia Volz's magic brownie memoir Home Baked, or even if you have, you'll be super-into her reminiscences about San Francisco pot in the '70s and '80s. Her talk about the research process is fascinating.
    California Sun