California edition / December 07, 2019
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WeedWeek California Editor Donnell Alexander will be in Las Vegas this week at MJBiz Con. He can be reached at donny@weedweek.net

1 NOW, BEYOND THE BUBBLE OUR STRUGGLE SEEMS REAL

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Within the bubble of weed, our $12 Billion industry — more than two-thirds of which is not state sanctioned — the market's struggles inevitably feel like one of California’s major concerns. Sacramento, however, has a different perspective.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) (and the Assembly and the Senate) would generally love for the whole cannabis thing to work out. But if you think cultivating the cannabis industry matters more than, say, California’s Rainy Day Fund, you need to get out more.

Sacramento politicians may not give enough of a damn about this impressionable child of an industry to cut taxes and bring traditional-market operators into the legal market. But the broader world that’s set to go legal sure does.

And the world would like California to get its shit together. 
MJ Biz Daily/CNN Business

  • After last month’s California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announcement of a New Year’s tax increase, leaders of influential companies, many of whom are laying off staff, are asking for a summit with Newsom. 
  • Flow Kana CEO Michael Steinmetz said, “The hard truth is that until legislative changes are made, our industry will continue to wither away.” 
  • Flow Kana is only one of numerous California companies making cutbacks.

Quick Hits

  1. In January, the Santa Rosa Planning Commission unanimously approved The Fox Den dispensary. Then Kiwi Preschool & Childcare, with whom the dispensary shares fencing, appealed the matter to the City Council. Here’s how the city came to approve Fox Den.
    Santa Rosa Press Democrat
  2. In a brand turnaround that startles, West Hollywood’s Lowell Cafe would now like to be called Cannabis Cafe . CEO David said his company will be “expanding our innovative cafe concept” to Las Vegas. Which must have NuWu psyched. 
    LA Magazine

2 JOHNNY LAW CRACKDOWNS, VARIOUS & SUNDRY

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Can you harken back  to the olden times — what, three years? — when pot people did not especially enjoy the police. (Take a sec, it’s profoundly hard to recall, and WeedWeek takes no responsibility for readers hurting their brains.)

Got it? Well, you best act like the antipathy is over and banished to memory, as the state keeps coming up with new ways to tamp down the so-called free market.  Stanislaus County law enforcement is  fining growers $1,000 a day for every plant above the six allowed for indoor cultivation.

The most surprising crackdowns might be arriving through the mail.
Modesto Bee

  • The City of Sacramento has in place a $500-per-plant fine that’s resulted in a bunch of lawsuits, each challenging the penalties as excessive.
  • Meanwhile the state is developing its take on the landlord-punishing approach that originated in San Diego. State officials have targeted 400 owners of property connected to trade in the traditional market. 

3 SACTOWN TO OPEN KUKUSHKIN OFFICE?

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Ukranian businessman Andrey Kukushkin was on his way to dominating Sacramento weed before his indictment last month for being part of an infamous campaign-finance conspiracy. The revelations surrounding Kukushkin’s ascent to the top of Sactown weed were alarming enough that the city has begun to consider installing someone outside of its Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the cannabis managers.
Capital Public Radio

  • "Placing such a position within our office would also allow my office to develop additional expertise within the cannabis industry and continuously evaluate the activities of our city and the operators to identify opportunities to strengthen controls, reduce risk and improve our business practices," said Sacramento Auditor Jorge Oseguera.  
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4 KARIM WEBB’S CRITICS TAKE AIM

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Los Angeles entrepreneur Karim Webb comes from black business royalty, has terrific political connections, and the right words on economic justice. That almost explains why his 4thMVMT cannabis equity applicants have landed a disproportionate amount of licenses this year. 

But it doesn’t explain why Webb’s 4thMVMNT entrepreneurs are alleged to not be working out in their new cannabis placements. According to Donnie Anderson — a California Minority Alliance founder — none of the dozens of 4thMVMNT applicants the CMA has worked with has worked out. 
Los Angeles Times

  • The goal of 4thMVMT, Webb said, is to produce applicants who can win licenses and, ultimately, become worthy competitors of the biggest names in weed. His applicants have been moving through L.A.’s tortured application process with uncommon ease.  
  • “We want to know how that happened,” Anderson said.

Quick Hit

  1. The San Diego Association of Governments has produced data showing that,  while the number of arrests and tickets for cannabis "crimes" has gone down over the past two years, people of color remain disproportionately targeted by law enforcement. Some of the racial minorities arrested are as young as 6 and 9 years old.
    Voice of San Diego 

5 NEW PAC TO CHAMPION LOCAL PRO-POT POLS

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The effort to back local politicians who support local access to legal weed markets has a nascent political action committee in its corner. Californians For Sensible Regulation of Adult Use (CSRAU) is “a nonpartisan PAC representing cannabis consumers and stakeholders supporting the regulated cannabis industry in California.”
Californians for Sensible Regulation
of Adult Use

  • The PAC was established in October of last year, then slowed by banking issues, according to founder Jacqueline McGowan. According to McGowan a half dozen banks opted not to offer the group an account unless it changed the PAC’s name.  
  • Though CSRAU hasn’t yet identified local candidates that it will support in 2020, it “will be taking a look at the beginning of next year on key areas to focus on,” McGowan told WeedWeek California on Wednesday.

6 WILL SACRAMENTO HELP EAST OF EDEN DELIVER?

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Salinas-based East of Eden Cannabis Co. is suing Santa Cruz County, which has banned deliveries by companies it has not licensed. East of Eden now has a powerful ally: The State of California.
Los Angeles Times

  • The lawsuit goes to legal weed’s defining Golden State bugaboo, county-level prohibition. (The majority of counties have a ban of some sort.) Last month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined the suit on behalf of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
  • “The state promised the people of California local control over the time, place and manner of local cannabis operations,” said Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin said, referencing Proposition 64. “The state is now lending the power of the attorney’s general office to a business seeking to break that promise.”
  • According to the Times, Beccera’s office deferred questions on the dispute to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, whose spokesman declined to comment.

7 WILL ‘STONER-LESS’ CANNABIS BECOME THE NEW NORMAL?

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Akerna’s initial public offering and multiple recent dispensary acquisitions have involved rebranding that de-emphasizes someone’s idea of a stoner. Many marketers new to the space are pushing a kind of greenwash to win over noobs.
MJ Biz Journal

  • “The industry is changing and sort of going from possibly something that’s sort of way recreational and goofy to something that’s a little more serious and medicinal,” said Bill Winchester, President of Madison-based digital marketing firm Lindsay, Stone and Briggs. Winchester has no cannabis activism on his resume, but rather credits with 3M and Target. So you know he’s looking out for the culture.

Quick Hit

  1. Clear-cut trees, diverted waterways, and ground littered with open containers of fertilizer and rodenticide were discovered in a recent raid of a 9,000-plant Shasta-Trinity National Forest grow.These are just some of Trespass farming‘s ecological toll.
    Cannabis Now

8 WHO GETS HIGH TO GROW CLOSER TO GOD?

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Is it absurd to see cannabis as a religious sacrament? Does selling prerolls in your “holy” spot discredit your worship? Expect such questions of your budding cannabis church when the institutional press comes to town.
New York Times 

  • Big Bear’s Jah Healing Kemetic Temple of the Divine filed paperwork as a church in 2017. Within a year, the county was accusing it of being an illegal dispensary. Despite adding day care and homeless services, Jah Healing, like all cannabis churches, still faces government skepticism. 
  • “When government gets involved, the point that it must stop at is that sincerity. It can’t get into what the beliefs are,” said cannabis attorney Tom Pappas. “If we truly are the society that we’re supposed to be, the importance of that freedom is as important as anything else.”

Quick Hit

  1. Nevada began investigating Certified AG Labs in August, for possible mold and yeast-levels violations. Then the lab found itself suspended under Nevada’s zero-tolerance policy on perceived manipulation of THC potency. Now the Certified Ag is fighting back.
    Cannabis Now

9 TAKE IN 2020 CANNABIS EARLY @ THE EMERALD CUP

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A “magnifying glass into the current state of California cannabis,” next week’s Emerald Cup in Sonoma County cannot help but reveal the sickest trends in bud.
Leafly

  • More than 30,000 enthusiasts and buyers are expected to attend while 700 growers have signed on to have their babies judged. The hot action will lie in the hash and extracts division, where best solventless rosin, best ice water hash, CO2 cartridge, distillate cartridge, live resin cart, BHO batter and shatter, and BHO sauce and diamonds will be closely followed.
  • Eighths of remarkable flower are expected to go for as low as $20.

10 BREAKTHROUGH MEETS REHASH @ CALIFORNIA CANNABIS AWARDS

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Steve DeAngelo and Cheryl Shuman received lifetime achievement recognition from the California Cannabis Awards awards. Many other winners simply sounded eligible for one. (Has Tommy Chong received enough trophies, honors and accolades to even give a shit about them in 2019?)
Green State

  • Among the winners were the omnipresent Sherbinskis (Breakout Company of the Year); Puffco Peak (Innovative Product of the Year); Alien Labs (Cultivator of the Year); and All Points Distribution (Distributor of the Year). The CBD Product of the Year was Bailey’s CBD Dog Treats, presumably based on canine testimony.

Quick Hit

  1. After 45 years, the party might be over at High Times. When Vietnam was bumming us out, High Times was there. Whilst Reagan was insisting that we just say no? High Times was on the scene. Legalization, however, may turn out to be the beast it could not slay. High Times Holding has $105M in debts.
    NY Post