California edition / May 25, 2019
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This week on the podcast
Gov. Newsom Adviser Nicole Elliott: Live from WeedWeek’s Recharge Event

1 BANKING GAME-CHANGE ON HORIZON FOLLOWING SB 52 PASSAGE

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Courtesy of Getty Images

On Tuesday the state Senate approved a bill that would make California-chartered cannabis banks a reality. Last week the Association of State Treasurers announced its support of congressional legislation allowing banks to service legal weed enterprises. This week the Senate voted in favor 35-1.

Should Senate Bill 52 pass the upcoming Assembly vote, an industry plagued by restrictions on to bank access would have a game-changing win. In terms of overall impact, passage would further pressure Congress to legalize banking with the industry.
CNBC

  • Under the new law, private banks and credit unions would be licensed to work with weed companies if they applied for a limited purpose charter.
  • The bill introduced by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) would arrange for special bud biz checks with which companies would pay rent and state and local taxes and fees.
  • If passed, the arrangement would push Congress toward legalized pot banking. “Congress will have to act because there’s all the interstate ramifications of banking that just really cry out for federal lawmakers to do something in this space,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Quick Hits

  1. MedMen took the first $80M of the $250M in funding that the company will receive from the Gotham Green Partners, a New York private equity group.
    MJBiz Daily
  2. "Agriculture is messy; can you imagine trying to follow the life of an almond?" Good question. Track and trace is indeed a grease fire, but grease fires can be born of ambition. We might need to understand how they came to be if we're going to put them out.
    Cannabis Now
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2 KERN COUNTY: TWO PLACES AT THE SAME TIME

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

complete ban of cannabis businesses in Kern County went into effect on Friday, except for the free towns of California City and Arvin. The law firm Harris Bricken has filed an appeal claiming that Kern County shows "disregard for the will of the voters" in not providing residents an opportunity to overturn its REC ban. Meanwhile, delivery services became legal in Bakersfield this week.

Pick a lane, Bako!
The Californian / Bakersfield Now

  • In 2017 Bakersfield banned all commercial activity, which the local illicit market quite enjoyed. The ban excluded businesses based in cities where the plant is legal.
  • Brian Hayek of California City's Driven Deliveries said he intends to meet with Bakersfield residents, politicians, and cops. It's possible that on his tour Hayek will set the record for uttering the word "compliant."
  • And for good reason. With demand for bud spiking before Kern's MED dispensaries closed their doors, indications are that Driven Deliveries will be in wild demand.

3 WE SPENT SOME TIME WITH EUSTACE TILLEY… ON WEED!

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But it's just not the same onlineThe New Yorker took a deep dive into how legalization has impacted Humboldt County.
New Yorker

  • Emily Witt in The New Yorker: "What happens to a group of people whose anti-government ethos was sustained by an illegal plant that is now the most regulated crop in California? Forced into the open, and facing the very real possibility of economic extinction, the farmers of Humboldt are now trying to convince regulators and buyers that these outlaws who had profited off prohibition were not greedy criminals but people who stood for something: stewardship of the land, the biodiversity of a crop, resistance to corporate consolidation, and a spiritual connection to a psychoactive plant." Now they know what we know. Nice.
  • WeedWeek founder Alex Halperin visited Humboldt in late 2017 and had his own take for HuffPost.

Quick Hit

  1. Kym Kemp's respected Humboldt blog responded as well.
    Redheaded Blackbelt

4 IS THIS 2019’S MOST TRENCHANT TWEET?

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It's fascinating how stabs at writing can go on for thousands of words and give you very little that's new, while a single Tweet can rock your world.

Has legalization achieved what Reagan could not have achieved? What J. Edgar Hoover only wished he could have done? Is the money-mad milieu of the Green Rush making lovely Mary Jane just another annoying cultural characteristic?
Twitter

  • It's not just the CEO who seeks to collaborate with Steve Bannon on a hempcrete wall. Or the budtender who exclaims -- for the eighth rando purchase in a row -- "That's what smoke!"; she's a symptom, not a cause. What's ultimately annoying isn't even the industry sales spiels that dependably cite "wellness" over getting high as their product's main attribute? Our present annoyingness stems from just one source.
  • As Margolin pointed out in a follow-up Tweet on the cornying of cannabis, "the way it's playing out still perpetuates racially unjust/socially inequitable paradigms, indulges unbridled consumerism and empty branding while only paying lip service to social justice."

5 CO-OPS ON THE RISE: AN UNINTENDED BENEFIT OF FEDERAL OPPRESSION

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Among the opportunities coming out of the disheveled unfurling of American legalization is a slowed impact of corporatization on smaller operations. Federal folly functions as a shelter, and the industry often resembles Mr. Magoo on a good day.

The advent of co-ops is one happy accident that's seemingly taken hold.
MJBiz Daily

  • Collectives help mitigate the cost of scaling up and spread marketing expenses, among other benefits.
  • “If we’re able to collectively market our product, we’re able to secure greater shelf space,” said Nevada County's OM Farms operator Daniel Fink, founder of Grass Valley Growers Cannabis Cooperative. The collective has eight members who are responsible for the cultivation of about 70,000 square feet. “With the force of the cooperative, we’ll be able to approach retailers and distributors with a consistent and quality-controlled supply,” he said.

6 IF YOU AREN’T CONFUSED ABOUT HEMP YOU AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION

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Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Ongoing legal warnings on the uncertainty surrounding CBD commerce may be on their deathbead--at least in the Golden State. Prospects for CBD sales are all-time sunny after the Sacramento Assembly's Business and Professions, Health, and Appropriations committees unanimously passed AB 218, which removes all sales restrictions from all products containing the ingredient.

Yet, legal advisors continue to remind vendors that "virtually all products containing CBD are regulated by the FDA."
Green Camp/Cannabis Industry Journal

  • "It is highly unusual that CBD has been able to proliferate in the marketplace given the FDA’s technical legal position on it," writes Jonathan Shandler. And even though CBD can seem ubiquitous here, Shandler speaks the unvarnished truth. While operators have been able to function, reminders of the drug's netherworld status remain. Last month, websites peddling unproven claims received letters from the department.
  • The FDA will hold a public hearing on May 31. The idea is for the hearing to generate feedback from interested parties so that the department can clarify federal industry standards.

Quick Hit

  1. On Thursday, a long-awaited clarification on hemp regulation was released. Perhaps this will help make counties less apprehensive about allowing it to be farmed.
    Hemp Industry Daily

8 BILL PERMITTING PETS TO RECEIVE CANNABIS PASSES SENATE

On Thursday the Senate approved 33-0 to allow adult owners of pets to buy MED, with a permission note from their veterinarian.
KTVU

  • Though Gov. Jerry Brown last year made it legal for vets to discuss cannabis treatment options with owners, marijuana's federal status as an illegal drug has continued to turn doctors who recommended it illegal actors.
  • In addition from barring the veterinarian medical board from disciplining vets who dispense weed, the new law would give veterinarians the same protections as doctors who recommend cannabis for human patients.

9 SHOULDN’T THIS MAN HAVE THE ‘BURN BUD’ OPTION?

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Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Any enthusiast of burning bud who has left the crib since January of 2018 knows that the issue of where to smoke is only slightly improved from the old, pre-REC days.

In hotels the issue is particularly acute. (Is one really relaxing if they're on edge about pot?) Fortunately, some in local government and the hospitality industry are adjusting to present-tense realities better than others.
Leafly

  • You're a grown-ass human; why are you putting a towel under your chain hotel room like a nineties rapper? For now the best bet in Cali is a boutique, 420-friendly spot. The Hiltons, Wyndhams & Marriotts, however, are feeling their way. “What we see more and more today," according to Louis J. Terminello, chair of the Hospitality, Alcohol and Leisure Industry Group at the Greenspoon Marder law firm, "is the hospitality industry reaching out to their legal providers to help rewrite their policies, procedures, manuals and operational plans on how to deal with this."
  • Colorado not long ago approved a measure that would allow “hospitality spaces” where bud might be burned. Similar measures have been approved in Nevada and Massachusetts.

10 IS SETH ROGEN OUR BIGGEST WEED CELEBRITY?

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Seriously, who's larger in the culture than Seth? Snoop? Willie? Possibly. But GQ profiled the A-list actor --who told Desus and Mero that he's never been shot straight for a movie -- and managed to relegate the pot part of his doings in a stunningly tasteful manner. The word "cannabis" appears once, "marijuana" not at all.
GQ

  • Houseplant, the actor-philanthropist's Canadian cannabis company, only gets a cameo, on a phone call.
  • Rogen does manage to provide the mic-drop rejoinder to those who say making comedy in the "Age of Woke" is an impossible challenge. “I think if you actually care, then it's easy. We do not want people to feel bad when they're watching our movies. I've had people come up to me and be like, ‘That made me feel like shit when I was in the movie theater and everyone was laughing about that.’"

Quick Hit

  1. Grateful Dead legend Mickey Hart has a low-dose brand, and he's not afraid to smoke it.
    Merry Jane