California edition / July 03, 2020
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1 WAITING TO BE ROBBED

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On the weekend that began May 29, at least 10 San Francisco dispensaries were robbed or burgled in crimes committed under the fog of street protest. Not a single suspect was charged.

Word on the streets in Northern California is that owners can expect more robberies this weekend.
Forbes

  • S.F.'s Office of Cannabis Control sent an email, warning licensed weed dispensaries to level up their security, including armed guards.
  • It’s not just The City that’s whispered to be in crosshairs. Dispensaries from Vallejo to L.A. are said to be on criminal hit lists.

Quick Hits

  1. Montclair, a Republican-dominated San Bernardino County town facing a big sales-tax shortfall, is one of the municipalities taking a new look at legalization.
    Politico
  2. This week a joint webinar presented by Black cannabis advocates posited that recent focus on serious diversity within the industry is far more than a fad.
    Cannabis Business Times
  3. Kanha has partnered with HBO on CBD gummies, as a promotion for  Together, an HBO-Plus series that also apparently contains just trace amounts of THC.
    Marijuana Moment
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2 NEW CRITERIA FOR L.A. SOCIAL EQUITY

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On Wednesday, the City of Los Angeles revised its formula for determining who counts as a social-equity candidate, among other tweaks to the struggling program.

The relatively rich will now have a harder time gaming the system to snag licenses.
Los Angeles Times 

  • Based on previous criteria, affluent applicants could qualify because the L.A. program identified over-policed neighborhoods by zip code, which can encompass a variety of wealth/need profiles. The city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation will now narrow the eligible areas to police-reporting districts only.
  • Applicants now must have a cannabis arrest or conviction on their records. Also, LA will switch from its controversial first-come, first served licensing approach to a lottery system.

Quick Hits

  1. Looking to promote social equity with Southern California brands whose owners are people of color? Here are a lot.
    Los Angeles Magazine 

  2. If you aren’t reading Ophelia Chong’s series of interviews with Asian entrepreneurs, you’re missing important perspectives on cannabis business culture.
    Green Entrepreneur 

3 BIZ SOFTWARE GETS IMAGE REBOOT

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In pre-pandemic life, the overlapping software needed to take part in the state-approved market was regarded as unwieldy and annoying. Now most operators see that software as salvation.
Forbes

  • Starting in March, regulation took a turn. State software helped operators adjust seamlessly to new COVID-19 rules and adhere to track-and-trace regulation.
  • In addition to allowing employees to work from home, Zoom reportedly has enabled remote compliance inspections.

Quick Hit

  1. Sonoma County just overturned more than 2,700 weed convictions, while Humboldt had 801 downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors.
    NBC Bay Area/Redheaded Blackbelt

 

4 FINALLY A BLACK WOMAN OWNER IN S.F.

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Reese Benton overcame a lot to open Posh Green, San Francisco’s first and only dispensary owned by a Black woman. Some of the hurdles owed to race and gender inequality. But it was an awkward boyfriend break-up that animated Benton’s business instincts.
SF Weekly

  • A novice smoker, the entrepreneur began looking into setting up shop and connected with former SF commissioner Nicole Elliott, who began guiding Benton.
  • In November, Posh Green was hit with a petition that led to an injunction. Benton was forced to lay off employees. On April 3, the injunction was lifted.

5 IS MARIO GUZMAN THE BANKSY OF BUD?

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Selling as Mr. Sherbinski, Mario Guzman became a big name before most cannabis CEOs could go public. His strains remain among weed’s most famous. Only now, he moves bud out of a fancy building on L.A.'s Fairfax Avenue.

Alex Halperin asks the street legend how this happened, and the artist Banksy comes up repeatedly.
WeedWeek

  • “Part of what is so cool about Banksy is he’s got this political art, but no one has ever seen his face and he’s like this mystical guy. And I think Mr. Sherbinski was kind of created the same way. It really piqued people’s interest. My name was floating around, but no one knew what I looked like. And also the product that I would make was very limited.”

6 GRAND JURY BLASTS SANTA BARBARA SUPES

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A grand jury delivered a blistering critique of Santa Barbara’s weed-lovin’ Board of Supervisors, accusing the body of ignoring public input and significant environmental impacts, in addition to growing far too rapidly.
Santa Barbara Independent

  • The grand jury report says, “Instead of a balanced approach carefully evaluating how the cannabis industry would be compatible, both as to amount of acreage and location, the board simply opened the floodgates.”
  • Despite having just 1.8% of the state’s land, Santa Barbara County issued 35% of cultivation licenses, as of last summer.

 

Quick Hit

  1. Nevada has a new governing body, a five-member Cannabis Compliance Board, which will take on marijuana-regulation responsibilities previously handled by the Department of Taxation.
    Cannabis Business Times

8 NEW BILL WOULD TIGHTEN APPELLATIONS RULES

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On Tuesday, the state legislature got its first look at an appellations bill that would refine the state’s new geographic indications program.
Redheaded Blackbelt

  • SB 67 was introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa). The legislation would “limit the establishment of appellations of origin to cannabis planted in the ground, in open air, with no artificial light during the flowering stage of cultivation until harvest.”

Quick Hits

  1. High Times has purchased Mountain High Recreation, a delivery service, to go with its 13 new dispensaries.
    Ganjapreneur
  2. Legal cannabis is taxed exorbitantly and getting punked by unfettered illicit pot producers. There’s this coronavirus pandemic thing that you may have heard about and, according to this newsletter, dispensaries are sitting ducks for robbers. But, if you can look past all of that, the California market doesn’t look all that bad.
    MJ Biz Daily 

9 A VERY, VERY, VERY FINE GROW HOUSE

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On June 20 and 21 Merced County Sheriff's deputies issued a search warrant and destroyed 7,532 plants and 500 pounds of harvested product. Six people were cited.

But that’s what sheriffs do. The real story is the house itself.
Mercury News

  • The Cressley home’s real-estate listing talked up the extensive storage space and two three-car garages, as well as the privacy afforded by the 1.6-acre lot’s “tree line in front of the house.”
  • The custom-built house—sold for $590,000 cash in April—also has a wraparound porch and incredible views.

10 INSIDE GFIVE’S CAM’RON PLAY

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Minority-owned cultivator GFive already had a celeb in its Big Baby Bud spokesman/partner (actor-comedian Darren Brand). Now that the company has linked up with iconic old-school MC Cam’ron, it's fair to ask about the strategy behind these deals.

Cam considers himself a would-be owner more than spokesman. How does CEO Larry Smith negotiate that?
Cannabis Business Times

  • According to Smith, the best results have come from engaging his spokespeople in working with the plant. “If people aren’t willing to really be a part of the process, then there’s probably not a good fit for us. Cam has come to the grow, and Big Baby, and they’ve cut clones. They’ve sat there for hours and did 1,000 clones. They didn’t just do it for a photo op and get up and leave.”