California edition / September 18, 2020
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1 IS THE SEASON OF ‘HICKORY KUSH’ UPON US?

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From Trinity County grows to a hemp farm in San Diego County, images of the industry on fire—just before harvest—have us wondering whether a crop of “campfire pot” is headed our way. 

The August Complex fire has burned 900,000 acres and is only 28% contained. 
SFGate/San Diego Union-Tribune

  • "I can tell you from personal experience," said International Cannabis Farmers Association Executive Director Kristin Nevedal, "wildfire definitely will make your cannabis have a smoky flavor to it, just like wine.” "Hickory Cush," "Campfire Pot" and even "Beef Jerky" are names being applied to an Emerald Triangle harvest that's likely to reflect its environmental flavor. 
  • Widely uninsured, grows such as the No Boundaries hemp farm in Jamul—pictured above—face increased fire risks yearly.
  • In Humboldt County residents learned "what simple, decent people do when they have access to a decent livelihood: they do good."
    Readheaded Blackbelt
  • The most unfortunate growers by now have learned that crops can be destroyed in the period it takes to get relief.
    Harris Bricken

Quick Hits

  1. A British finance company is alleging CBD supplier Bioscience Enterprises coaxed it into loaning the Gold River company $1M, and hasn't paid it back.
    Hemp Industry Daily
  2. Among the new rules and guidances on returning employees to work during COVID-19 are clarifications and laws on employee testing, information sharing, and one ordinance requiring employers to offer positions to former employees separated from employment due to coronavirus related slowdowns or shutdowns.
    Cannabis Industry Journal
  3. The state just unveiled its unified cannabis license search tool, which simplifies immensely the finding of companies.
    California Cannabis Portal

2 TWITTER TEAMS WITH FEDS TO TREAT US ALL LIKE ADDICTS

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If you logged on to Twitter on Wednesday, perhaps to see Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman's unfurled Mary Jane banner, you would been presented with the image above. That's because the folks at Market Street's most prominent building are working with the feds.

How telling is the notion that Twitter users will only type in "marijuana" searches to cop the stuff? Try to imagine the liquor lobby tolerating this bullshit for a New York minute.
Marijuana Moment

  • As part of its partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration the platform began featuring a notification above relevant tweets on certain drug terms. "Alcohol," "beer," and "wine" trigger no such reaction.
  • “It is not surprising that SAMHSA would be behind stigmatizing content like this, but it is surprising that a platform like Twitter would allow them to co-opt entire search terms, regardless of a person’s reason for searching for them,” said Matt Sutton, director of media relations for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Quick Hit

  1. The California Department of Consumer Affairs tweeted on September 10: The Osteopathic Medical Board met online to discuss "possible approval of guidelines for the recommendation of cannabis for medical purposes."
    Twitter

3 THE STATE WANTS TO PAY FOR YOUR ACADEMIC ANALYSIS

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Golden State public universities seeking cannabis research funding need to submit any questions related to the Bureau of Cannabis Control's request for proposals by Thursday at 11:59 pm. Projects "related to the implementation and effect of Proposition 64" will be paid for by sales and cultivation taxes.

Prop. 64's passage sets aside $10M yearly for the study of the weed world we've entered. In total, $30M in research funding is available. 
Bureau of Cannabis Control

  • The RFP falls into specific categories: criminal justice, public safety, economic and environmental impacts, public health, and the cannabis industry itself. A detailed description of the research subjects can be found in Revenue and Taxation Code 34019
  • October 19 is the application deadline, with grant notification scheduled for November 3.

4 BERNER, SERIOUSLY

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Berner (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Players' Tribune)

Anyone who's followed the career of Berner recognizes that now is looking a lot like his moment. Earlier this month the San Francisco rapper/entrepreneur's proposed Harvard Square dispensary got an unexpected go-ahead. This week his celebrity-laced album , Russ Bufilino: The Quiet Don, dropped. 

As an MC, he wasn't a critic's darling, but 19 years of Berner weed and rap demand that we take the man seriously.
Forbes

  • Son of a restaurateur, Berner started out dealing and grew into a professional rapper on the back of his bud tending. In addition to co-owning Cookies and overseeing investments, he's at work on a book about brand building.
  •  After losing more than $1M in uninsured product in Melrose Ave. looting in LA, the MC said, “I stand by the people. I’m sick of being scared, sick of people being profiled, people being killed for no reason, with no justice.”

Quick Hits

  1. On August 27, the crackdown kingpins of Chula Vista shut down the last of its 27 illegal dispensaries. Next, the San Diego County town approved 11 delivery and retail services. 
    NBC San Diego
  2. La historia de La Chingona is the story of three strong, cannabis-growing sisters from Guadalajara, Jalisco. They happen to spring from the mind of a 3/4ths white dude who's marketing his brand. Is there a problem with that? 
    Los Angeles Times

5 SOCIAL EQUITY 2.0: THIS TIME IT’S EDIBLE

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Amber Senter, third from left, is shown with other members of the advocacy group Supernova Women.

Tuesday brought the announcement of funding for a new program aimed at bringing Drug War casualties into legal weed, one with an unprecedented focus on the production and marketing of edibles and infused goods.
WeedWeek

  • Bureau of Cannabis Control and the City of Oakland said the Oakland Cannabis Kitchen and EquityWorks! Incubator will offer shared spaces for fellows looking to start or grow businesses, primarily in manufacturing.
  • EquityWorks! co-founder Amber Senter, whose organization received $250,000 in funding, said her organization will take on five fellows and provide 1,200 feet of commercial space.
  • "Once these products are available in the marketplace, it will be the first Social Equity Black/Brown-owned edibles distributed statewide. As cannabis ingestible revenues rise, people of color will now have a firm seat at the table," Senter said in an email to the California newsletter.

Quick Hits

  1. On Wednesday, NCIA encouraged "businesses to participate, share efforts to improve inclusivity and support communities most harmed by prohibition" by endorsing the Cannaclusive accountability list.
    Twitter
  2. Because vulture investors tend to flock to the same wounded candidates, one might come across an applicant's name on a dozen social-equity applications.
    SF Weekly 

6 PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCH FINDS A HOME AT UC BERKELEY

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The wave of interest in hallucinogens has reached its proper academic home at UC Berkeley's new Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Initial experiments will use psilocybin. 
UC Berkeley

  • The center will investigate cognition, perception and emotion and their biological bases in the human brain, all using psychedelics to conduct research. Also in development is a public-education component. 
  • "There’s never been a better time to start a center like this," said UC Berkeley neuroscientist David Presti. The center was started with $1.25M in seed money from an anonymous donor.

Quick Hit

  1. Alessandra Nicole Russo of Arcata's Arcana Armada is one of four psychedelic entrepreneurs chosen to take part in Tabula Rasa Ventures' Fall 2020 business incubator program.
    Green Market Report

7 CANNABIS GETS ITS FIRST RETIREMENT PLAN DEADLINE

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The inaugural deadline for California employers to provide retirement plans is September 30. Regulators want to see the programs of companies with more than 100 employees, or they pay a $750 per-employee penalty.
CannaBizCentral

  • The CalSavers Retirement Savings Board oversees this program, which allows employees to automatically direct a portion of their pay into investments funds.
  • Companies with fewer than 100 and more than 50 employees have until next June 30 to provide their plans. Businesses with five or more have until June 30, 2022.

Quick Hit

  1. The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation has revamped its website. On behalf of the 21st century, California's cannabis community welcomes the DCR.
    LA DCR

8 PENINSULA DROUGHT ENDS WITH SIX REDWOOD CITY DISPENSARIES

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It's taken Redwood City "longer than any other city" to join the REC game, but the only legal town between San Francisco and San Jose came in hot with the City Council's Tuesday decision to license six dispensaries—in any retail or commercial section desired.
Mercury News

  • Part 2020's local government turning of the tide, the 5-1 decision did elicit concerns that cannabis culture could subsume restaurants. Said dissenting Vice Chair Ernie Schmidt, "Council is going to ultimately decide, but I’m not ready for multiple cannabis retail places downtown."
  • Proponents said the city has learned from California's earliest REC market entrants and will build a local industry conservatively.

Quick Hit

  1. On Tuesday, the Minority Cannabis Business Association hosts Asamblea Internacional Cannábica, in what it intends to be a robust discussion of the international Latino cannabis industry. 
    Twitter

9 SPARK THE VOTE IS LIKE ROCK THE VOTE, BUT WITH WEED

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GETTY IMAGES

A coalition calling itself the Cannabis Consumer Policy Council has set off Spark the Vote, a get-out-the-vote effort based on in-store and online customer engagement. 
Spark the Vote

  • The CCPC's national voter registration and mobilization campaign connects Spark the Vote with retailers across the country to launch contactless voter-registration stations. Nonpartisan virtual events on policy issues are also in the works. 
  • “The citizen initiative process has been one of the most successful vehicles driving the modern cannabis reform movement. While these achievements have come on a local and state level, the industry is finally in a place to mobilize customers on a national scale," said Campaign Director Jimmy Fremgen.
  • Partners include the Cannabis Equity Alliance, the Cannabis Voter Project, Teamsters, Turnout Nation, and Americans for Safe Access.

Quick Hit

  1. A new study from Yale counts California among the legal, Western states seeing large declines in vaping-related injuries. 
    Westword

10 NEARLY NEVER SMOKE YOUR HEROES

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Bella Thorne (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Too often with celeb stoner brands, a fraction of the effort that went into building the star's career has gone into cultivating the weed. Considering that, here are some famous-person brands whose real-world reputations are good.
Weedmaps
  • System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian allegedly puts out "the hottest fire of any celebrity weed brand."
  • Controversial OnlyFans entrepreneur Bella Thorne puts out weed in partnership with the esteemed Glass House Farms. So, expect no bait and switch.
  • Caliva CEO Dennis O'Malley, who signed Jay-Z as a brand ambassador last year, says "We are excited to be able to reveal some of the projects that we've been working on over the course of the next few months." And we're excited to no longer be waiting.

Quick Hit

  1. Underwhelmed by the Kanye presidential campaign and hankering for new ways of feeling manipulated by the Jenner-Kardashian family? Well, treat yourself to Kendall's pot revelationthen sit back and wait for some targeted marketing. Yum.
    The Fresh Toast