The Canopy Juggernaut

Courtesy of Getty Images

Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton is arguably the biggest name in the business. Here in California, Joe and Josephine BongHit might not have heard of this Canadian, but if they haven't yet felt the impact of Linton's business decisions, they almost certainly will. Soon.

  • A force with no American antecedent, Canopy is built as an umbrella entity for about one dozen subsidiaries, including foreign distributors, grows, and a health-research division. In addtion, the behemoth has consumer-facing brands.
  • Based on its overall ability to produce and its growing retail footprint, the Canopy entities could take about one-third of the Canadian market. Annual cannabis sales are expected to exceed its hard liquor sales -- near $5 billion (U.S.) -- by 2020.
  • Canopy shipped nearly 1,000 pounds MED to German medical providers, to get last year into motion. The group distributes MED or has research partnerships all across Europe. Linton has an unwavering stare on the market that isn't Canada. “There are [only] 35 million people here," he said. "You can’t stay home and be huge the way American companies can.”

Toward 21st-Century
Banking Transparency

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Tyler Beuerlein an executive at fintech company Hypur believes "opening of new cannabis markets in the U.S. brings myriad new banking institutions into the space."

  • Despite D.C.-generated delays, there's a growing understanding that the banking albatross is almost out of its misery. “There are at least five institutions that have come into the market to bank it," Beuerlein said. "That number should at least double, if not triple, during the course of this year.
  • Until then: he says transparent bookkeeping is critical to navigating the banking issue for a legal, plant-touching enterprise. "Unless they have a forensic audit for those monies or a very clear trail of where those monies came from, they are never going to get them into a bank or credit union,” Beuerlein says.


  1. Norcal Cannabis is run by Jigar Patel, a Sonoma winemaker turned MED cultivator. Patel's rugged journey to REC company owner in the gateway to our Emerald Triangle CLARIFY--->is almost every small entreprenuer's story, now.
  1. Last year Leafly announced that it will stop listing unlicensed sites on its delivery finder app. WeedMaps did no such thing. That difference has given WeedMaps a decisive edge in the marketplace.

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Feds' Shutdown Slowed
Hemp Plans, Too

Photo by Michael Louie on Unsplash

The now-concluded stfederal shutdown's self-imposed injuries, included delays in hemp policy development. After last year's Farm Bill approval, the stage was set for quick movement on a number of fronts. Since the shutdown:

Since the shutdown:

  • The status of the Department of Agriculture's hemp farming rules were tossed up in the air. As of Friday it was not clear whether the USDA’s 60-day approval window will start until the agency develops a national framework for hemp oversight.
  • Hours after the Farm Bill passed -- and days before the shutdown -- the Food and Drug Adminstration stated that it would "take a fresh look" at rules pertaining to CBD. Since then, manufacturers and retailers have had no guidance on a timeline for this fresh look.
  • Epilepsy drug Epidiolex was the only FDA-approved cannabis application approved before the shutdown. A number of applications await address. Also waiting on decisions are CBD beverage companies, hemp researchers and exporters, as well as those seeking patents that would make use of the formerly-forbidden plant.

Growers Association Drops
Suit, Seeks 'Clean Slate,'

Courtesy of Getty Images

The California Growers Association has dropped its year-old lawsuit against the state's Department of Food and Agriculture. The growers sought to close a loophole which allowed industrial-scale farms to operate in the state, contrary to Prop 64. For more see here.

  • In a press release, Growers Treasurer Sequoyah Hudson said , “While we still firmly believe the decision to not enforce the 1 acre cap directly conflicts with the intent of Prop 64, we also recognize the importance of direct dialogue with the agencies regulating California’s cannabis industry.”
  • At issue was the 1 acre cap on farm size, which smallersgrowers interpreted as protection from being outcompeted by larger businesses. Late in 2017, the state decided to allow cannabis companies to obtain unlimited “small” grow permits.

State Deems All Delivery Legal, CHP Still Confiscates Product

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Highway Patrol seized almost eight tons of cannabis between January and November of 2018, twice what it seized in all of 2017. The aforementioned tonnage was the most taken the CHP since 2014.

The rise on seizure numbers can be placed on conflict through the state on where cannabis should be delivered, as well as federal prohibitions.

  1. In September, drivers Rick Barry and Brian Clemann -- former CHP officers who drove for Eureka-based Wild Rivers transport -- were arrested in Stanislaus County and then released. However, more than $250,000 of their marijuana was turned over to the department of Homeland Security.
  2. Barry and Clemenn, who were charged with illegal possession of drugs and guns, filed suit for unlawful arrest in Merced.
  3. Appearances are that the CHP seizures are a byproduct of the department's pursuit of illegal-market drivers.


  1. Marijuana Business Daily reports uncertainty over the state Department of Food and Agriculture's new track and trace program, intended to keep tabs on all plants from seed to sale. Track and trace went live on the second of January, but only 14 companies were online by the 10th.
  1. Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair Barbara Lee spoke plainly her marijuana agenda to San Francisco Chronic-al's It's All Political podcast. The Oakland Representative said she came to know medicinal marijuana's benefits through a close relative's experiences. Lee talked up the burgeoning industry's social responsibilities, as well as upcoming legislation.
  1. When the Nevada legislature opens next month, a panel created by executive order, will be tasked with completing new regulations. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) set a deadline of March 15 for the panel to come up with bill language. “Similar to gaming,” Sisolak said, “it’s an industry that’s going to be highly regulated, and the licensing is difficult.”

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Spencer Vodnoy
CEO, Critical Mind Inc. Adelanto, CA Affiliations: CA State Bar; Board Member, Adelanto Growers Association
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


A Long Broad City Goodbye

Photo by Cara Howe

The farewell season of the urban milleninal stoner fave Broad City opened this week with an episode shared in the manner of an Instagram story. Its only overt reference to marijuana was a quick vape hit roomie Ilana took inside Manhattan's Midtown Mall. And that's all we needed to see, because these young New York women are exactly like us.

But, brace yourselves. Abbi and Ilana "will tackle milestone moments" and bare their souls.

  • Broad City's normalization of cannabis use neatly overlays with the national legaization movement. How it has portrayed usage is completely opposite of TV's previous history.
  • Far from their web series roots, creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer walk away from the self-based characters with raw emotions. "[S]ince it’s the final one, it feels especially vulnerable," Glazer said. "Like when you ask someone out and finally do it, and it’s so scary after you make yourself vulnerable. It’s so amplified, that vulnerability, after showing people."
  • Weedmaps' Nic Juarez writes of Abbi and Ilana's pot relateability that their tokes "show a version of ourselves that we've never seen positively portrayed on television that we instantly recognize and connect with."


  1. Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey has a book about weed butter. Aggrey is not a chef, but her offering is unique in that it presents infusion as a demonstration of love and appreciation.

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