California edition / April 11, 2020
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1 THE VULTURE INVESTORS COMETH

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All of the legal American cannabis markets have experienced their periods of consolidations, company failures, and market stress, and this moment appears to be peak stress in California (so far anyway.) That means now is a unique moment for investors looking to grab distressed assets
Canna Law Blog

  • Many distressed-asset investors are looking to take a controlling interest in businesses they want to turn around or restructure. At the least, they seek to secure controlling authority through debt instruments.
  • Nonetheless many will warn away from investing in cannabis companies because of the byzantine and water-logged state and local government oversight systems. Then, there are the state regulatory disclosure requirements. The author encourages an "open mind" to "vulture investing" here, "as there are many California cannabis businesses with few realistic options for continued survival without a serious infusion of capital."

Quick Hits

  1. February was a remarkably strong month for the Western cannabis states, with an 11% overall sales improvement in Cali and jumps as high as 37% in Arizona. BDS Analytics also reports that Nevada sales went up 16% compared with the previous February.
    New Cannabis Ventures
  2. As sales rise and dip, companies' first concerns must be measures to ensure employee or customer safety. But John Schroyer says California businesses must also keep in mind potential inaction from local government–or restrictions.
    MJ Biz Daily
  3. On a podcast call from Eureka, Papa & Barkley chief product officer Guy Rocourt explains why he's a Navy veteran who views selling weed as a patriotic act
    Cannabis Economy
  4. The days of passing joints back and forth might be officially done. Do we really need to be sad about that?
    brobible
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2 L.A. RETAIL PHASE 3: NUG BROTHER OR NOT?

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PHOTO BY JAY STONNE ON UNSPLASH

Over the next two months, more than 1,600 eligible applicants will compete for 100 new retail permits from the City of Los Angeles. This might sound like reality show material, but the competition is serious.
MJ Biz

  • L.A.’s third phase of retail licensing started Tuesday morning and remains open until September 17 at 10 a.m.
  • Eligible applicants—all of whom qualify for the city’s social equity program—will get priority in having their applications processed. L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation verified more than 1,600 applicants through July.

Quick Hit

  1. The Assembly has passed “Jo Jo’s Act,” a bill that would permit MED in schools. What’s left is for Gov. Newsom to do what Gov. Brown would not and sign the bill.
    San Diego Union-Tribune
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4 AGE-OLD HEALING IS NOW BAKING IN

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As a species, we're not bred to feel safe in isolation. Cannabis relaxes the mind. It's little wonder that bud is staking its claim as an anxiety-management panacea in these days of quarantine. 
San Francisco Chronicle

  • San Franciscans are using more weed—gummies in particular—to "keep their head right," according to Johnny Delaplane, president of the San Francisco Cannabis Retailers Alliance. Delaplane says his stores have seen larger-than-usual sales of THC edibles and other non-inhaled products, such as tinctures and capsules. Cannabis patches have reportedly become a top-five seller.
  • Along with those consuming on the sly, people living in government housing, who are prohibited from smoking cannabis in their homes, are likely contributing to a transition from smokeable weed.
  • Long-haul "value product" has been in demand, according to Delaplane.
This week on the podcast
For CEO Alex Shah, Intelligence Is Central

From the onset of adulthood through 1995, guest Ashesh “Alex” Shah worked as a profiler for the CIA. Shah now runs Solo Sciences, a Boston company specializing in the authenticating weed products. He shares with Alex and Donnell the unclassified truth of his unlikely professional transition.

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5 BUMPY WEATHER AHEAD ON THE INSURANCE FRONT

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Earning essential status gave the industry a boost. But being essential will not shelter legitimate marijuana enterprise from the storm clouds of change where insurance is concerned.
Insurance Journal

  • Vaping companies will face insurance challenges. Product liability for vaping is about to become more stringent as a result of COVID. Expect an increase of exclusions to product liability coverage across legal weed. 
  • Reinsurance will be harder to get. Carriers and reinsurers will almost certainly ask that the virus be addressed in policy forms. 
  • Just as coronavirus assistance through the CARES Act has never been available to the cannabis industry, business interruption coverage was not widely available to, or purchased by, most cannabis companies.

Quick Hits

  1. How is coronavirus impacting the selling, buying and consumption of cannabis? The answer to your questions are right here
    Leafly

6 SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHUT-DOWN OPPONENTS SEEK REVERSAL

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When Santa Clara County announced that its region’s shelter-at-home order would be extended to May 3, the county stipulated that retail REC sales would be limited to delivery. The only Bay Area county to make such restrictions, Santa Clara is now contending with political opposition both from Sacramento and within its boundaries.
San Jose Mercury News

  • Members of both the state  assembly and San Jose's city council have written Public Health Officer Sara Cody, requesting that she reconsider her policy. Wrote the council members, "Today, a resident can walk out of a grocery store with a bottle of Tylenol, but that same person is unable to pull up curbside for pain relief from CBD oil. These individuals in need of relief should not be denied safe access to cannabis during this critical time."
  • The officials have asked Cody to implement “manageable requirements,” such as limiting the number of customers allowed in a store at a time and setting work stations six feet apart.
  • A lawyer for Santa Clara County says, "Even for essential services, everyone is strongly urged to stay at home as much as possible."

Quick Hit

  1. Somewhere in the East Bay, legendary grower Ed Rosenthal is sheltering in place and tending to his new grow. Rosenthal took a few minutes away from tending it to talk about his latest book, Ask Ed: Marijuana Success: Tips and Advice for Gardening Year-Round
    SF Weekly

7 WEHO CONVERTS CAFÉ TO MED, KEEPS IT OPEN

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Neon signs glow on the the trendy boutiques of Melrose Avenue.

At the end of a meeting chockfull of Covid-19 decisions, the City of West Hollywood granted a temporary MED license to Original Cannabis Café, a licensed REC consumption and delivery company.
WeHoville

  • Only MED businesses have been allowed to stay open under the the West Hollywood health department's declaration that non-essential businesses must shut down.

Quick Hit

  1. “I believe in marijuana sociologically, economically, medically, spiritually and more. I can’t see doing any other job, though I have worked in construction,” says Essential grower David Drips, from his West Sonoma County farm. 
    North Coast Bohemian.com

8 CBD PLAYS SAVIOR IN ‘WALDO ON WEED’

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Tommy Avallone’s on-demand documentary Waldo on Weed is a heartfelt examination of what happened when, in 2014, a young child was diagnosed with eye cancer. His father then criss-crossed America in search of cannabis oil.
Los Angeles Times

  • It's pre-legalization in Brian Dwyer's home state of Pennsylvania, and he risks jail time in pursuit of CBD. Waldo features experts and doctor visits and the Dwyers' eventual move west for access to alternative treatments.
  • "[W]hile fellow cannabis converts and devotees are the film’s focus, Avallone—also the accomplished editor—succeeds at not proselytizing but rather humanizing the issue," says the Times.

9 JADA AND WILLOW TALK WEED EXCESS

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Photo by Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Haute Living

On this week's installment of the Facebook Watch hit Red Table Talk, three generations of wealthy women discuss how they've coped with sheltering in place. If the rich are just like us, we're all working on our inner-selves and cutting back on alcohol and weed.

Samesies, no?
Merry Jane 

  • This winter, Willow Smith was smoking an untenable amount of pot. In a genuinely inspirational conversation, Jada Pinkett Smith and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, come clean about past struggles with hard drugs. Willow says, "I know it sounds so cheesy, but around the time I stopped smoking I started doing a lot of yoga."
  • Scientology gets no credit for this great moment in celebrity weed. 

Quick Hit

  1. Jackson Tilly spent his life in the industry, wrote last fall's well-reviewed memoir Billion Dollar Dimebag about it, and is sober. 
    L'officiel