California edition / March 14, 2020
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1 COVID-19 TAKES WEED ON A TRIP

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The spreading Coronavirus and its impacts on the vape industry are being capably documented. Yet, the specter of Covid-19 is being received like no health crisis before it. For starters, the virus might have benefits for the cannabis industry in general and delivery services in particular.  
Marketwatch, Hollywood Reporter, Cannabis Business Times

  • In Los Angeles, "scarcity mode" is the order of the day, with fewer people on the streets and more in dispensaries. Though not yet at the levels of masks and toilet paper, marijuana sales are up, according to a number of big-name dispensaries. As Alex Halperin pointed out on Monday's WeedWeek podcast, cannabis is the tried-and-true companion of the isolated and stir crazy.
  • The less anecdotal Covid-19 story is that commercial vaping hardware is not accessible outside of China. (Some companies have begun to look at packaging alternatives to the besieged nation.) Normally a mid-winter disruption occurs because of  the lunar New Year, so many vape companies have so far been insulated from feeling the effects of China's shutdown thus far.
  • Supply-chain issues have stymied the rollout of Canada's so-called "Cannabis 2.0," which includes vapes and edibles.

Quick Hits

  1. A San Luis Obispo County Supervisor attempted suicide after the FBI raided his office on Wednesday. Supervisor Adam Hill has been dogged by corruption allegations for more than five years, according to Cal Coast News.
  2. Remember the Ashley Madison data leak of five years back? Cannabis data, too, has sensitive associations among customers, and that's just one reason why attention to data retention matters.
    Law.com
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2 CALI TAX REVENUE PASSES $1B

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Dude, was that one tough billion

Growth in weed's legal wing has been slower and rockier than many of us anticipated. Yet, the recipients of tax revenue to fund child care, public health, and research aren't out there complaining about what legal weed has brought to the State of California. 
Orange County Register

  • Tax revenue this calendar year is expected to reach the $1B annual earnings promised when REC was approved in 2016. In the first two months  of sales, $72.6M came in. By the last three months of 2019, that figure had risen to $172.7 million.
  • The main impediment to even more revenue is, of course, unregistered weed. Bootleg bud products are 30-to-80 percent cheaper than legal, taxed REC. 

3 SALINAS WEED SNEAK SETTLES FOR $1.1M

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In September of 2018, a state Fish and Wildlife inspection uncovered violations involving waterways at the site of grower Top Shelf.
The Californian

  • The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office alleges Top Shelf employees escorted plants targeted for destruction by CDFW off the property. "Law enforcement advised the operators to cease operations and not remove any of the product but found employees trying to move cannabis plants to another location in the middle of the night," according to county Deputy DA David Rabow.
  • Top Shelf won't have to acknowledge any wrongdoing, but they'll be on the hook for $1.3M in fines and costs.

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4 WHEN GIRL SCOUTS STRIKE BACK

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In 2019, San Diego edibles company Kaneh was promoting its cookies by comparing them to Girl Scouts brands, including Salted Toffee Blondies and Samosas. Last month,  a lawsuit from the non-profit  followed.

This is not the Girl Scouts' first time at the cannabis litigation rodeo. But, more than proving that raising the Girl Scouts ire' is a bad idea, the Kaneh case illustrates the risk of misappropriation when comparing products.. 
Canna Law Blog

  • Language in the suit has the Girl Scout attorneys accusing the cannabis company of coasting on the youth organization's good will. 
  • Weed advertisers must keep in mind that using another's trademark  in comparative advertising may be allowed, but the practice can still be hazardous. 

Quick Hit

  1. Per usual, California is providing weed around America with teachable moments. This week’s lesson comes in the form of a Florida firm’s lawsuit against weed entrepreneur Case Mandel.
    The Capitolist

5 LA CLOTHIERS COTTON TO HEMP

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Sustainable apparel, especially clothing made from hemp, was a walkaway winner at a recent LA Textile trade show, which drew about 1,500 people to downtown Los Angeles last weekend.
Apparel News

  • Hemp clothing is "the hottest topic in the fabrics industry right now," according to Justin Perron of the forecasting consultancy Peclers Paris. Perron, who produced a booth at the trade show.
  • SoCal suburb Paramount's Hemp Traders had stopped exhibiting at LA Textile , but returned due to the rise in interest. in hemp and other sustainable fabrics.
  • Reportedly, forty percent of the trade show's vendors showed sustainable fabrics.

Quick Hit

  1. The Cannabis License Integrity Committee of legal cannabis leader West Hollywood is collecting signatures to“stop ‘Corporate Cannabis’ giant MedMen from re-writing the city’s retail cannabis regulations.” 
    WeHoville

6 LET’S VISIT OKLAHOMA TAX EXILES

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One wouldn't say that those Golden State entrepreneurs fleeing to the likes of Oklahoma are in search of greener pastures. the Bible Belt Green Rush isn't about a contrast in the fat of the land. Nope, it's about leaner taxes

Opening a dispensary in Oklahoma is "as easy as opening a taco stand." And just under six percent of the state’s four million residents have MED cards.
Associated Press

  • One Oklahoma lawyer estimates 15% of the state's new licensees are from California. An Oklahoma license costs $2,500 and can be applied for online. A Golden State license can cost $300,000.
  • While the process of applying for a California license is notoriously slow, OK approval takes two weeks.
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7 HAWAII REQUESTS PSILOCYBIN STUDY

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Seeking a "medicinal psilocybin working group," two Hawaii state legislators have submitted a bill that could make psychedelic mushrooms available to patients.
Marijuana Moment

  • Hawaii Democratic Senator Les Ihara Jr. and Congressman Chris Lee in their bill asks the state's Department of Health to examine medical benefits associated with psilocybin and "develop a long-term strategic plan" for the drug.
  • The state is suffering from a shortage of mental health professionals. Ihara Jr and Lee's legislation suggests Hawaii "actively consider novel, innovative, and safe solutions to treat its citizens."

8 A QUEER WEED CULTURE CRITIQUE

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Drag performer Laganja Estranja told the London (Ontario) Free Press she went onstage in a skimpy bra and panties at the 2015 Cannabis Cup in Oxnard and was booed offstage.

“I felt weird, like I was pushing something onto these people," she said. The former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant commented on homophobia in the cannabis community while preparing to speak at the since-cancelled South by Southwest festival.
London Free Press

  • “People will catch up over time and I can see small incremental improvement," she said, "but it’s frustrating. I just keep putting one stiletto in front of the other, because that’s what activists do.”
  • Estranja is partnering with Fruit Slabs on vegan edibles and said she is set to release an album in July.

9 FROM PROHIBITIONIST TO ‘FARMACIST’

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Up through the aughts, Berkeley's Sue Taylor was so prohibition-minded that when her son enrolled at Oaksterdam University she packed a pair of suitcases and got from Atlanta to the Bay Area to "save" her boy.

Now Taylor, 72, runs Farmacy Berkeley and will always be the first black woman to be granted a dispensary license in her town. 
The Bold Italic

  • Farmacy targets elderly consumers. According to a JAMA Internal Medicine study, between 2015 and 2018 Americans over 65 increased their usage 75%. 
  • Ten years into selling cannabis, Taylor obtained her REC license without the benefit of a social equity program.

10 A COMPASSIONATE CANNABIS COMEBACK

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At the start of March, cannabis providers were allowed to return to the practice of giving MED away to patients who can't afford it. Nearly two years after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill that would have brought back compassionate cannabis, the givers of weed have begun to rejoice. 
Cannabis Now

  • In October Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill that once again removed criminality from the weed-giving equation. 
  • This week, Santa Barbara's WAMM Phytotherapies celebrated the win by giving 40 people free bud.