California edition / May 18, 2019
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This week on the podcast
The Future of Dispensary Design with Danny Gonzalez

1 A NEW FRONT IN SACRAMENTO VS. CITIES

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Rancor between local municipalities and Sacramento over city and county cannabis bans may be peaking as Assembly Democrats have introduced a bill that would mandate 2,200 new cannabis stores -- more than three times the 631 shops presently operating legally.

Assembly Bill 1356 would require one REC shop be established for every four bars or restaurants with a liquor license. The goal is to extinguish California's illicit market.
L.A. Times

  • “If I wanted to buy cannabis in Victorville, I could figure out how, and that’s the whole problem,” bill sponsor Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said. “It isn’t that you’re living in Victorville and you can’t go buy cannabis, it’s just you’re restricted from buying legal cannabis.”
  • The bill arrives after a group of counties and cities sued Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration to challenge the legality of allowing home delivery in locales that ban weed shops. Three quarters of jurisdictions ban sales.

Quick Hits

  1. Check out how Caliva is using events and recruitment around the state to attract people to the weed biz. "What companies need is the right people," says company chairwoman Carol Bartz. The former Yahoo CEO has S.F. legend Joe Montana as a backer, so she knows of what she speaks.
    Yahoo Finance

  2. Nevada legislators voted to transfer cannabis oversight from the taxation office to a five-person body appointed by the Governor.
    MJBiz
 

2 DISPENSARY AS NEIGHBORHOOD MENACE ISN’T AN ACTUAL THING

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Courtesy of Getty Images

An in-depth study from Leafly's Bruce Barcott and David Downs found dispensaries actually improve public safety, health, and property values. When the issue comes up for city and county votes, the discussion is often dominated by misinformation-based fears. In response, Leafly has released a PDF of the literature reviewed in the study.
Leafly

  • The media company said its research team looked at 42 studies and "found that the broad body of published research suggests crime near licensed dispensaries has generally stayed flat or decreased. Teen cannabis use in legalization states has fallen since legalization. And property values near cannabis outlets generally are not affected or even rise."
  • Local bans tend to pop up in suburban and rural areas in the wake of state legalizations. A recurring theme at public meetings is fear that children will have greater access to the drug.
  • Citing CBS, the report states that correlation and causation were often mixed up in Los Angeles. "Once medical cannabis became correlated with higher-crime areas, people quickly—and mistakenly—inferred that cannabis dispensaries cause crime.
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3 HEMP PRODUCTION REGISTRATION HAS OPENED, AND THAT’S ABOUT ALL WE KNOW

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Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced last week that County Agricultural Commissioners could start registering prospective hemp growers. Unfortunately, the process for actually becoming a producer remains unclear.
AG NET WEST

  • Monterrey County Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales said regulations for the crop are still being developed. Merely registering doesn’t give you the green light to grow.
  • Gonzales said his county has signed up its first producer, but many unknowns remain. "We needed to have more guidance. The forms to fill out, how to deal with questions that are not addressed yet. We have been meeting with CDFA to try and find all of those details out,” he said.

Quick Hits

  1. Humboldt County ended its hemp ban, with Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone the lone no vote. A frequent cannabis opponent, Madrone said cannabis laws are too heavy and a crash may be in the future. “The industry is struggling on many, many levels,” he said.
    North Coast Outpost

4 CALI LOOKS TO ISRAEL FOR WEED CANCER CURE CLUES

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Courtesy of Getty Images

As pharmaceutical pioneer Eyal Barad explained last year on the WeedWeek podcast, Israel is the worldwide leader in researching the uses of marijuana as a potential cancer treatment. Now, California is turning toward that nation for direction.
Haaretz

  • At the state-run Volcani Institute, Israeli plant scientist Nirit Bernstein studies whole plants. In S.Francisco earlier this month, she addressed the California Israel Chamber of Commerce's CannaMed/Tech Summit.
  • Bernstein is working on how to use light, heat, fertilizer and growing conditions to standardize the compounds in cannabis. “If you want to treat [cannabis] as a drug, you have to standardize it to an acceptable level,” she said.“Cannabis is not a tomato!”

5 HDL COS: A NAME YOU DON’T KNOW, BUT SHOULD

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Along with lawyers and accountants — and of course the entire illicit market -- consultants are generally thought to dominate the category that is humans making money of weed right now. This week Marijuana Business Journal left little to the imagination in its three-part look at how the little-known firm HdL Cos -- ostensibly an auditor -- became dominant.
Marijuana Business Journal

  • HdL Cos functions as a "one-stop shop" for municipalities still figuring out how to regulate the industry and the scale of what they'd like it to be. Simultaneously, it's supported 1,200 businesses in their quest to go legal.
  • “No one else has come close” to the company's level of clout, according to California Cannabis Industry Association's Ben Bradley. HdL Cos reportedly has worked with at least 62 California counties. The company's relationships and reputation are powerful enough that it doesn't advertise.
  • "That level of influence from a private, for-profit company has also inspired distrust from many cannabis advocates and has led to a bogeyman-style reputation for HdL in some circles," according to MJ Biz Daily. The series' third installment illustrates best how this dynamic plays out, as it profiles lead consultant Tim Cromartie, who has worked pro- and anti-cannabis assignments side by side.

QUICK HIT

  1. An L.A. City Council woman wants to establish an enforcement program or task force to keep pot out of the hands of children. And here we thought there was such a program: Legalization.
    My News LA
 

6 EXPUNGEMENT MOVEMENT EXPORT: CALI’S UNQUALIFIED POT SUCCESS

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Legal weed taxes can take a buyer's breath away. Entrepreneurs are struggling to stay licensed. But have you heard about that one facet of legalization that's working as intended?

Michigan, which voted for legalization last fall, sure has, and its legal weedership is looking west for expungement policy direction. Specifically, the task is to how to address those arrested and convicted on charges related to marijuana and explain how they might petition the courts to have their records considered for expungement.
Michigan Public Radio

  • Prop. 1, Michigan's marijuana legalization law, didn't have Prop 64's expungement mandate. About 50,000 Michiganders have been convicted for cannabis.
  • California's example could make certain that those arrested for weed know that expungement is an option. Michigan will look to Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in establishing its model.
  • Capital Public Radio's Scott Rodd explained to Midwestern listeners that, "A marijuana-related conviction on your record can hurt your chances of getting into college or finding a job. It can also restrict you from accessing certain government benefits... It’s not simply having a blemish on your criminal record. It has a pretty significant impact beyond that.”

7 LAX SMUGGLING ARRESTS JUMP WITH LEGALIZATION

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Would-be small-time smugglers are carrying more weed on planes these days. But in Los Angeles, so are wannabe ballers who have been checking in fluffy bags of flower. The combination has resulted in an arrest spike, 166% since 2016.
Newsweek


  • The L.A.P.D. allows LAX passengers to hold small amounts of pot. But authorities warn that passengers canface arrest or charges at their destination if weed's not legal there.
  • Over the first year of legal REC, 2018, LAX cops made 101 trafficking arrests. There were only 38 arrests in the previous year, and only 20 in 2016. 
  • LAX arrest records showed the most popular flight destinations for pot smugglers were Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Dallas

QUICK HIT

8 TEMPORARY BANKING-FOR-BUD BILL BITES IT IN SAC

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Courtesy of Getty Images

A bill that would provide relief to California businesses unable to bank because of the federal ban died in Assembly committee on Thursday. Sponsoring Democrat Rob Bonta had hoped to temporarily drop the state sales tax to 11% while suspending cultivation taxes for two and a half years. It can be reintroduced next year.
CNBC

Quick Hit

  1. Governor Newsom's proposed budget trailer bill does indeed propose an open-ended extension of provisional licenses. But it also significantly alters the entire system of provisional licensing, according to one cannabis attorney.
    Omar Figeuroa

9 OAKLAND DISPENSARY BREAKS THE SOCIAL EQUITY BARRIER

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Photo by Joel Danielson on Unsplash

Blunts & Moore, located in a big, lustrous warehouse across from the Coliseum and Oracle Arena, is a pioneering company: America's first-ever up-and-running dispensary brought in under a municipal social equity program.

But if that's all Blunts & Moore offered, its co-owners would be little more than future trivia questions.
WeedMaps

  • “We found our equity partner, an Oakland native, through a friend of a friend of my mom," said Moore. "When I found out his name was Blunt I was like, this is meant to be, we are going to have a dispensary,” said Moore. The family friend was Michael Marshall, who most know as the vocalist on the Luniz's anthem, “I Got 5 On It.”
  • Alfonso Blunt hails from East Oakland and his hip-hop community connections bring at least as much value as his name. As a teen, Blunt was busted for pot. In Oakland, equity programs have to be at least half operated by people who have been convicted of a weed-related crime or someone who has lived in one of the 20 or so districts with disproportionate numbers of cannabis-related arrests for half of the last two decades.

Quick Hit

  1. On the heels of DenverColorado's move to legalize psilocybin -- and Oregon's initial inquiries -- Oakland held a psychedelics decriminalization hearing.
    Marijuana Moment

10 NBA VET KEYON DOOLING THE LATEST JOCK TO TRY THE WEED GAME

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Photo by Joel Danielson on Unsplash

Retired guard Keyon Dooling was never a star. He averaged a modest seven points a game in an 12-year career, most identifiably with the Los Angeles Clippers. But Dooling was a survivor. It's fitting that his cannabis journey comes from a survival place.
Dope

  • As a boy, Dooling was a victim of sexual abuse. Even during his pro career he did battle with PTSD. “I spent four days in a mental institution and on my healing journey I tried so many things, such as traditional prescription drugs and it had such a negative impact on my body, on my mind, on my spirit, that I knew it wasn’t the thing that would help me heal at the rate I needed to heal,” Dooling told Dope.
  • Post career, he settled in California, in part to have access to CBD. Beyond his mental scars, Dooling suffered from degenerating hips and body inflammation. And, having watched his teammate Alonzo Mourning suffer, he wanted to protect his kidneys and liver.
  • "CBD oil stepped in and it just flat out changed my life," Dooling said. Now he sells high-end CBD under his Krafted Organics brand.