WeedWeek
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BUSINESS
   

Flow Kana Secures $125M Private Placement

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Courtesy of Getty Images

We've only passed Valentine's Day and the year's record-setting deals are begining to stack up. This week Flow Kana pulled down the biggest private funding raise yet. Its $125 million raise eclipses the $119 million Acreage Holdings’ scooped up last July.
CRUNCHBASE/FORBES

  • CEO Mike Steinmetz says he'll use the infusion to “double down on the supply chain strategy and allow Flow Kana to expand into other categories.”
  • Cali's top-selling brand, Flow Kana doesn’t cultivate its own flower. Rather, the company functions as a means for a network of small farms to reach dispensaries and delivery services.

Harborside Sale

In a reverse takeover that same Monday, Toronto's Lineage Grow Co. bought Oakland's Harborside, one of the largest dispensaries in the US. The Bay Area shaking dealallows Harborside to take the smaller Lineage Grow’s listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

The deal could not be more illustrative of the advantage Canada's flush industry has over US weed, which is hamstrung by being illegal at the federal level.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE


Apothecarium's Assets Head to TerrAscend for $118M

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Courtesy of Getty Images

In a stunning Monday announcement, Toronto-based TerrAscend said it will take ownership of The Apothecarium, sending the San Francisco-based company $73M in cash and $44.7M in stock. The gives TerrAscend several storefronts, a manufacturing facility and other assets.
MJ BUSINESS DAILY

  • The Apothecarium's assets include three retail shops in S.F., a vertically integrated operation in Nevada, including the Las Vegas Apothecarium and New Mexico/Nevada edibles brand Valhalla Confections.
  • TerrAscend Corp president Matthew Johnson called Apothecarium and Vallhalla "successful, world-class brands in the most sophisticated and coveted US markets." Between the California and Nevada enterprises, The Apothecarium earned $45M in revenue last year.
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For perhaps the first time ever, this Sunday a cannabis-themed wedding expo will be held in a mall, San Francisco's Westfield Shopping center.
CANNABIS WEDDING EXPO

  • The trade show floor will be ensconced among thousands of shoppers at one of the west coast's last remaining marquee malls.
  • More than 50 cannabis and traditional wedding venders are scheduled to be on hand with products and event package booking. Cannabis Wedding CEO Philip Wolf described the public event as part of his company's "mission to bridge the gap between niche and mainstream industries."
  • The show moves on to Denver and Las Vegas in March.

QUICK HITS

  1. Santa Barbara County is experiencing the sort of growing pains one might expect when a county becomes "California's Cannabis Central." So, there's going to be a big workshop in Santa Maria.

New Podcast Episode

WeedWeek Podcast
48. Weed on Wall Street with Business Insider's Jeremy Berke

New York-based reporter Jeremy Berke joins Alex and Donnell to discuss how Wall Street banks are wading into the green rush. Plus, a few words on data firm Headset’s partnership with mainstream data juggernaut Nielsen and the accounting giant Deloitte.

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud

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POLITICS
   

Congress Talks Bank Protection, Legalizing Weed Proceeds

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Wednesday saw the first Congressional subcommittee hearing on banking legislation for marijuana businesses. A draft bill circulating around the chamber proposed to protect banks who serve the industry from federal financial regulators. It would also clarify that profits from marijuana-related transactions “shall not be considered as proceeds from an unlawful activity.”
BOSTON GLOBE

  • Consumer Protection and Financial Products Subcommittee chair Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) opened the session by saying, “The absence of a broader, permanent regulatory framework continues to keep nearly all banks out of this growing industry despite a clear interest." Meeks went on to say that the hearing would produce draft legislation to bring cannabis commerce transparency and accountability, as well and address how pot's cash economies contribute to crime.
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Claire Weissbluth
Joe and Paula Winter of Kind Medicine in Santa Cruz


New Bill Seeks Tax Relief for Compassionate Care Advocates

On Friday night in Oakland the Sweatleaf Collective and East Bay Healing Alliance launched a campaign to ensure that poor and terminally sick people have access to cannabis. The four surviving co-authors of Prop. 215 and State Senator Scott Weiner spoke to an audience full of compassionate care providers about legalization's impact on non-commercial business models.

Sen. Weiner announced his new bill, SB 34, which would remove the taxes on compassionate cannabis freebies.

State Clarifies Edibles Regs, Questions Still Remain

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Photo by Jose Soriano on Unsplash

The state spent a chunk of early February sorting out its new edibles regulations for companies that complained the permanent rules lacked clarity. Businesses complained that the opaqueness could cost them money in the form of lawsuits, increased regulation, and unplanned capital outlays related to testing failures.
MARIJUANA BUSINESS JOURNAL

  • Edibles sellers were concerned primarily with apparent conflicts in rules published by California's Department of Public Health and its Bureau of Cannabis Control. CDPH said single-serving edibles products can't exceed 10 mgs of THC and packages of edibles couldn't exceed 100 milligrams. However, the BCC allowed edibles products to pass potency tests if their THC content varied by 10% or less from the legal limit.-- a single-serve edible with 10 milligrams of THC would pass BCC muster if it tested for 11 mgs of THC. Before this variance clarification, some testing labs unexpectedly failed products.
  • Swetha Kaul, chief scientific officer at Cannalysis Labs, said, "The good news is, this gives more leeway for passing edibles products."
  • Some questions remain for distributors of edibles and infused beverages. Pamela Epstein of Green Wise Consulting and Green Wise legal observed that infused product manufacturers still face the threat of product-liability lawsuits over THC limits.

QUICK HITS

  1. In the last two months of 2018, the state issued 6,855 new cannabis licenses, more than doubling the 4,085 licenses active at the end of October. Most went to cultivators.
    THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY
  1. The city of Sonora (Tuolumne County) is challenging the statewide law which allows delivery in jurisdictions which don't allow cannabis businesses.
    MARIJUANA BUSINESS DAILY
  1. December saw the arrival of a tax on local REC growing, processing, and retail in Shasta County. There is no similar tax on hemp. But that could be changing.
    REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT

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Critical Mind, Inc. is a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Manufacturing Facility located in Adelanto, CA. Providing the highest quality Cannabis products. Compliance without Compromise!
criticalmindinc.com

CULTURE
   

All Hail Our New
Trimmer Overlords

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Courtesy of Getty Images

The world's greatest thinkers continue to debate whether AI is good or evil. Over at the grow operation, the answer depends more than ever on whether you trim bud for a living or you're someone who pays for bud to be trimmed.

Bloom Automation has an image-based robotic trimmer that can recognize all of a plant's parts. The machine can separate them faster than a human. And it's the future.
WEED MAPS

  • The device features a machine arm and a camera that images plants. Bloom's segmentation accuracy rate is at about 95 percent, which means the robot can almost always distinguish the flower from the leaf and the branch.
  • "It would be a bummer if robots took over,” said trimmer Abby Martin. “That would change the whole culture. I like the outlaw mentality of the job and being able to make a living with a very relaxing day-to-day. Although not as good a living as I used to … .”

Does it Matter Whether Kamala Harris Is a Cop if She's a Cool One?

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Senator Kamala Harris is the beneficiary of awesome timing. Awesome not because Harris' Presidential campaign arrives in a gauzy epoch when a jokey claim of Jamaican ancestry as pot bonifides -- only 17% of Jamaicans report using marijuana -- offends no one. But awesome timing because the Senator's sometimes unsettling record in law enforcement comes under national scrutiny when even hardened leftists look to D.C. and think, "Maybe a cop as President isn't the worst thing in the world."

As compelling as you may or may not find these pot-related issues, they're unlikely to get the traction of last week's big, dumb Harris controversy, featuring Snoop Dogg.
VICE

QUICK HIT

  1. Not so quickly, the places where you can legally buy and consume pot are beginning to resemble familiar, mainstream spaces.
  2. Last fall Bonita Money gave a jump start to the relaunching WeedWeek podcast. Now she's featured in Dope mag.
  3. And a big shout-out to everyone who helped make ReCharge LA be so lit.