California edition / May 23, 2020
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FREE from WeedWeekOur Guide to the California Cannabis Industry.

Written by editor and publisher Alex Halperin, the report features interviews with 14 luminaries on navigating the world’s biggest and most complex cannabis market. Plus: An exclusive market research survey by SoapBox Sample.

FREE at WeedWeek!  

1 SIGNS OF REEFER MADNESS IN L.A. FIRE REACTION

The Los Angeles Fire Department henceforth will be inspecting vape and smoke shops, even though last Saturday's downtown explosions and fire may not have been about marijuana after all.

At least two of us see Reefer Madness in the early media reaction and realities that followed.
Forbes

  • "[T]hough it may be weeks or longer before arson investigators piece together the actual cause, the lesson for drug-policy reform advocates and anyone in the cannabis industry is that baked-in anti-drug biases will take much longer than that to fade away — and you can do everything right and still suffer a setback in the information wars," writes Chris Roberts.

Quick Hits

1. Let WeedWeek columnist Dan Mitchell introduce you to Stan, an Emerald Empire farmer who—unlike most of his colleagues—won't take a check. And if the government approved cannabis banking tomorrow, he wouldn't open an account.
WeedWeek

2. A 2012 endometriosis attack in Koreatown brings forth the first of  six moments one woman could not have experienced without her relationship to cannabis.
BuzzFeed

3. Corporate Responsibility leaders from Harvest Health, Cloud 9 and KushCo discuss their strategies and inspiration in the context of pandemic.
Green Entrepreneur

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3 WILL TRADE GROUP CLUSTER GET GUV’S ATTENTION?

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From Humboldt to San Diego, there are two dozen trade organizations. Los Angeles-based United Cannabis Business Association would like to see them close together like butt cheeks.
MJ Biz Daily

  • Like lobbyists and cannabis companies, trade groups have scrambled to reach the sight-lines of Gov. Gavin Newsom. According to its president, Jerred Kiloh, the UCBA's 165 members should focus resources on gaining the attention of the governor's office, especially as the organization has begun to push for more membership beyond L.A. 
  • One option could be 18 groups pooling financial resources for a single industry-lobbying effort, to get behind imperatives such as lowering legal marijuana taxes and expanding retail access.
  • In recent weeks UCBA has extended invites to hundreds of California entrepreneurs.

Quick Hit

  1. This week's report commissioned by the Nevada Dispensary Association on COVID-19's economic impact says quarantine-related drops in tourism and dispensary sales will keep the state from repeating last year's 20% sales leap. It won't be close. 
    KTNV

4 CRISIS BREEDS WEED OPPORTUNITIES

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No one downplays the scariness of the past few months or the tensions inherent in re-opening. But tilt your head and take a look:

It's almost hard not to see the financial opportunity in our upheaved world, especially in Cali. 
Market Realist

  • The state's $248M in April earnings, and California's expressed interest in using the burgeoning market as a remedy to coming tax shortfalls. 
  • An optimistic view is that Cali's weed industry will land well because cities with shortfalls who hadn't been up for enacting cannabis ordinances might just open their minds. Too, goes the thinking, might municipalities that had only begun thinking about ending their prohibitions.
  • More local approvals of cannabis business will draw more Canadian investment money. 

5 HIGH TIMES’ TALE OF TWO EQUITIES

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“The press notified me after the deal was announced,” inadvertent High Times deal partner Alexis Bronson tells SF Weekly." And since then, he says, “I have not heard anything” — not from High Times, or their holding corporation. " 

WW has been diligent in following the company's sometimes hard-to-fathom follies, and the story behind High Times' new deal coming undone is a fascinating look at what happens when social-equity responsibilities mingle with private-equity concerns. 
SF Weekly/MJ Biz Daily

  • Bronson's former Geary Street shop, right next to the Chanel store, was part of a 13-dispensary deal announced April 28. The deal has been hung up since partners in Bronson's dispensary — a participant in The City's social-equity program — merged with MSO Harvest.

6 CATHARINE DOCKERY ON VICE

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As 'zines are print media, Vice is a legacy media brand. Some transition better than others. In this podcast interview, Catharine Dockery, founding partner at investment firm Vice Ventures,  provides an overview on her vice-driven journey and explains its relationship to the canna-sphere.
Ganjapreneur

  • Dockery tells host TG Branfalt "the mission, besides delivering superior returns [is] to the people who believed in us. But we also want to change culture and change stigma and prove that these, quote, bad companies, actually aren’t bad at all."
  • The executive expressed belief in profit-driven investment, but added that social responsibility, such as investing in knowledgeable, intellectually honest operators is a must.
  • "Vice Ventures is also a social impact fund, in a way," she said.

7 MILPITAS PROHIBITIONISTS DROWN OUT OPPONENTS

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This week, a pot prohibition group called Better Milpitas provided the energy behind the Silicon Valley suburb's council reversal of plans to vote on taxing pot businesses within its city limits. On its website, Better Milpitas claims, "People in Milpitas have spoken loud and clear again against marijuana."

Have they though?
Milpitas Beat

  • Independent of Better Milpitas' claims of total victory, the tax measure brought a shitload of emails to City Hall, both for and against. The prohibitionist side, however, was distinct in submitting emails whose substance were exact copies of a template provided by Better Milpitas.
  • The measure would have represented a step toward legalization in Milpitas. 
  • The one vote of dissent, Councilmember Anthony Phan, addressed residents who in their public comments said any councilmembers who voted in favor of cannabis would be voted out. “That’s not how democracy works,” Phan said.

Quick Hit

  1. The greenhouse owners calling themselves Ventura County Citizens for Responsible Cannabis had until yesterday's "soft deadline" to gather enough signatures to make the November 3 ballot.
    VC Star

8 CANNA CONTINGENCY COULD UNDO SF’S SUCCESS PROGRAMS

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medicine.

San Francisco's Success Centers is a 36-year-old, privately funded program designed to give juvenile detention-involved youth improved education and employment options.

Now 
Success has hit a corona-virus road block with training funds CEO Liz Jackson-Simpson says she received and is prohibited from doling out to cannabis businesses.
Forbes

  • With the state of California having released funding to cities and municipalities to support their cannabis initiatives, the treatment disparity is particularly striking. 
  • Unaffected by quarantine, Success's Equity for Industry training workshop continues to provide education sessions for both people in search of employment and equity applicants.
  • Equity applications are backlogged amid virus-related slowdowns at city offices.

Quick Hit

  1. Napa Valley vintners aren't all that into the state's new effort to certify cannabis like it does their grape-based product.
    Bloomberg Law

9 WHAT DENNIS PERON REALLY BELIEVED

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Dennis Peron is called "The Father of Medical Marijuana." Charismatic, a friend of legendary San Francisco pol Harvey Milk, he worked tirelessly to get cannabis to patients of many stripes. 
WeedMaps

  • Peron, a Bronx native who passed away in 2017, is best remembered for his role in the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, the gateway to the passage of Prop 64. (Some of you may be inclined to hold that last one against Dennis, but the bad parts aren't his.)
  • "There is no recreational marijuana. They made it up. What they're trying to do is separate us by saying there's people having fun and there's people medicating," Peron told Merry Jane in 2016.

10 WEST OF THE ROCKIES IS FOR JOCKS WITH WEED STRAINS

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Fans are seen at a memorial started next to a mural of Kobe Bryant on Melrose Avenue on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant, was a five-time NBA champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was 41. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Okay, not all of the great athletes with weed strains named after them reside in the west. But we can name a few.

Mike Tyson, Marshawn Lynch, Kobe Bryant...
Westword

  • UC Berkeley's Marshawn Lynch, probably the stoniest active pro star, has a powerful strain that's legally available only from his Seattle grower. 
  • Tyson's allegedly is potent, "knocking out novice users nearly as fast as a Tyson uppercut."
  • A number of genetic strains carry the name "Black Mamba." According to Westword, all are deep-purple candidates to put your head to rest.