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Blunts & Moore Debuts Equitable Cannabis

On Thursday, dispensary partners Brittany Moore and Alphonso Blunt opened the first retail outlet backed by Oakland's cannabis equity program. This benchmark for the program comes after an underfunded and sometimes awkward start. (MJ Biz)

  • Moore and Blunt obtained one of four equity permits from Oakland's City Council. Numerous offers from investors followed.
  • San Diego and Oakland-based Grizzly Peak Farms earned the first adult-use cultivation and distribution license in Oakland after negotiating a deal to lease retail space to the Blunts and Moore team, as well as providing financing and professional services.
  • Fourth-generation Oaklander Blunt, 31, received five years probation in 2003 for a marijuana felony.

Eaze Follows CBD Deal by Raising $65 Million

On the heels of the brand's landmark move to sell CBD online in leap in 40+ states, delivery app Eaze is wrapping up a round of fundraising that will place its total valuation above $300 million.

  • Netscape and Silicon Graphics co-founder Jim Clark is the company's big-name new investor.
  • The funding comes weeks after the company's first enterprise outside of the state, Eaze Wellness, which will deliver CBD products.
  • Eaze will focus further expansion on legal REC states. (Axios)
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Protect Your Business from Disaster

Weather catastrophe looms as a future threat even as we recover from our latest disasters. To minimize fears for your grow operation, consider these suggestions from marijuana industry professionals:

  • Build greenhouses low and sturdy, so that they are less vulnerable to wind. In doing so, choose materials, such as metal, that can withstand wind, fire, or water.
  • "Fire sprinklers on the inside of the building, for forest fires, don't mean much," one California survior said. Under wildfire threat, dig fire breaks or thin trees as a means of protecting one's property.
  • If possible, obtain insurance that will replace the entirety of a lost crop. Though few, some insurers will underwrite such policies. (Cannabis Business Times)

Altitude Closes $30 Million Fund

Since March, Altitude Investment Company funded 16 early-stage to growth companies. Altitude plans to launch a second fund --this time for an additional $100M--in early 2019.

  • Cannescent, C4 Distro, and Loud Pack are among the California brands in Altitude's portfolio. The funded firms include plant-touching operators as well as those in compliance, advertising, marketing, ag tech and data solutions.
  • Partner Michael Goldberg said "a larger capital base in Fund II will ideally position Altitude to take advantage" of investment opportunities.”
  • Contributors to the fund were not named. (Green Market Report)

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POLITICS
   
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Photo by Michael Louie on Unsplash

California Farmers Realize they Need Hemp

The hemp industry has enough momentum that mainstream agricultural interests will have their own forum to discuss the crop at the I-5 beef kingdom Harris Ranch, on Thursday.

  • The state is in the process of establishing the regulations for growing industrial hemp.
  • “We really have the capacity to be the number one producer of hemp in the world because of the Central Valley and our deep water ports,” Wayne Richman, president of the newly-formed California Hemp Association said.
  • The state government's history with hemp has been stalled going back to 2014. (Fresno Bee)

REC Fees in SLO Could Become State's Highest

San Luis Obispo this week unanimously approved permit fees of $65,000-$95,000 for dispensary licenses. The Central Coast city, previously opposed to REC sales, will also apply a $22,000 application fee.

  • The costs are intended to keep the city from absorbing any costs including administration to education and policing.
  • “I’m struggling with the overall (fee) number, and I hope we can eventually refine those down,” Councilman Dan Rivoire said.
  • The SLO council voted to reduce costs if less administrative work is needed than currently expected. (The Tribune)

Quick Hit

The Farm Bill's prohibition against felons participating in the hemp industry is providing an ethical dilemma for company's such as Vertical.

New Podcast Episode

WeedWeek Podcast
65. A Very Canadian Pot Scandal with Jesse Staniforth

Jesse Staniforth, Editor of WeedWeek Canada, updates Alex and Donnell on breaking Canadian stories. There is no lack of scandal: Cannabis giant Canopy Growth fired founder and CEO Bruce Linton and CannTrust, a major licensed producer, is estimated to lose C$350 Million for ignoring the law. New regulations limiting THC in edibles exacerbate the over-packaging crisis. The country continues to battle the illicit market which is now also available online and is known by the cool name "MOMS" (mail order marijuana sites). Plus, Alex and Donnell discuss Jay-Z's partnership with Caliva.

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud

CULTURE
   
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Playing E-Sports Stoned Goes Legit

Cannabis enthusiasts have been playing video games since before John Madden was script code. Yet no formal, above-ground league for such players emerged in Los Angeles until Zeus Tipado went legit with his Stoned Gamer League

SGL competitors must supply "proof of elevation," i.e., prove they are high in order to compete. Bonus points are awarded for dabs and bong rips taken.

Tipado, who's also written on gaming, has partnerships with Amazon-owned Twitch and gaming chairmaker Vertagear, and says he's secured an eight-figure investment. A big, red-faced barn in Boyle Heights serves as the Stoned Gamer Arena.

The SGL's history reaches back to 2014. The first Stoned Gamer tournament took place on 4/20 2016. Since legalization, competitions stream on Twitch, the games no longer disappearing from YouTube. (Spectrum News 1)

2 Chainz's GAS Is Unleaded

The Atlanta rap superstar has partnered with his Los Angeles-based Mazel Management to launch his cannabis brand GAS, named after 2 Chainz' homegrown slang for cannabis.

  • 2 Chainz' foray into REC cannabis is especially resonant as hip-hop artists are openly OPTING FOR THC as a replacement for lean, a beverage popular throughout the culture.
  • Codeine Cowboy was the artist's breakthrough mixtape. After 2 Chainz was arrested on felony charges in 2014, GAS exclipsed codeine in his lyrical lexicon.
  • "He knows more about weed than almost every other person I have ever met in the industry," said Rama Mayo, president of the Green Street advertising and marketing firm. (Forbes)

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