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1

Industry Braces for Vaping Backlash as Crisis Escalates

Ruben Bagues

The cannabis industry is blaming the illegal market for the mysterious vaping disease which has sickened more than 450 and killed five.

Some insiders believe the news could drag on legal vape sales. Morgan Paxhia, managing director of cannabis investment fund, Poseidon Asset Management, said legal operators could be scapegoated.
MJBiz

  • Vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from Vitamin E, has been found in THC vape samples collected from people who have fallen ill across the country including nearly all of the samples collected in New York. New York's health department posted pictures of Dank Vapes and Chronic Carts brand products found to contain vitamin E acetate. However, health officials say it's too early to determine whether it is the cause.
    Washington Post
  • Oregon officials said a middle-aged adult who died in July of respiratory illness had vaped cannabis oil purchased at a legal shop. "Pot shops kill. Close them down," anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet tweeted.
  • Dumas de Rauly, CEO of vaporizer company The Blinc Group said Vitamin E acetate is not used in standard cannabis or vape cartridge production. "Vitamin E is what we call a preservative. That's what you add into cosmetics to make sure the product does not become spoiled," he said. "In no case is this a product that you should be inhaling."
  • Canopy Growth interim CEO Mark Zekulin is on "what might be termed an "everyone calm down" tour this week," CNN writes.
  • The New York Times' opinion page asks "Have We Hit Peak Vape Panic?"

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2

2020 Dems Embrace Pot Reform

The donkeys are increasingly 420-friendly

REC legalization "has become something of a de facto platform plank for the 2020 Democratic [Presidential] candidates," USA Today reports. Among the leading candidates, only current frontrunner Joe Biden hasn't committed to legalization, instead calling for rescheduling. In 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the only major party candidate who called for legalizati

  • Many in Democratic circles say legalization is a way to better engage young voters.
  • According to The Onion (in 2015), Biden worried his business would be "completely dicked over" by REC legalization in D.C.
  • Andy Bernstein of voter registration non-profit Headcount: "A decade ago, mentioning marijuana made you a fringe candidate. Today, you’re out of the mainstream if you don’t have a position, and a position to provide greater access.”
  • Register to vote at Headcount.

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A note from the editor

Since 2015, WeedWeek has been the best way to keep up with the Green Rush. WeedWeek's audience includes many of the most influential figures in cannabis because we are editorially independent: Advertisers have no influence on our editorial content.

We publish three free newsletters: 1) WeedWeek by founder Alex Halperin, 2) WeedWeek California by Donnell Alexander and 3)WeedWeek Canada by Jesse Staniforth, as well as theWeedWeek Podcast and original reporting. The original WeedWeek newsletter has 11,000 subscribers.

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3

California Could Soon Have Limited Cannabis Banking

California appears to be on the brink of creating what State Treasurer Fiona Ma calls “a partial and temporary cash management solution," for cannabis businesses.
Cannabis Wire

  • The Bill would authorize the state to license “cannabis depository institutions” They could accept deposits, and issue and redeem special purpose checks, which account holders could use to pay fees and taxes as well as rent and vendors.
  • 🌴WW California has more!

Quick Hit

  1. In the New York Times, conservative writer Christopher Caldwell suggests cannabis banking would lead to a "Microsoft of Marijuana." He's not wild about the idea.
  1. L.A. opened a long awaited licensing period for equity retailers. 🌴WW California has more!
  2. California vape company dosist is #2 on LinkedIn's 50 top U.S. start-ups. It has about 200 employees and "has hired more than 100 employees over the past year, attracting top talent from the likes of Apple and Tesla." Yahoo Finance explains why dosist made the cut.

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4

WW Council on Infused Drinks, Cannabis Marketing

WeedWeek Council is a new initiative to build a community of industry leaders, and share their insights with WeedWeek's audience.

We recently asked council members' if they thought infused beverages will become a hot product category and for what they think are the most important trends in marketing and branding:

Peter Gigante, Head of Policy Research at Eaze says, Drinks will be big, but...:

A major question outstanding is how regulators and the public health community will respond. Depending on what is being infused (i.e. will there caffein or other added energy boosters and in what quantity, I could easily see an outcry that the risk of overconsumption is too great with infused beverages, much as some critics do with edibles today.
(Disclosure: Eaze is a WeedWeek Recharge sponsor.)

Here's Gigante on branding trends:

"Celebrity brands have done well in other industry areas. It remains to be seen if cannabis consumers, and WHICH cannabis consumers, will be swayed by familiar names or if other factors like quality and price will still reign top of mind."

James Eichner, Sana Packaging

The most interesting trend in cannabis branding is the growing focus on showcasing regenerative agricultural practices as an integral part of a brand's story.The word "sustainability" means different things to different people...On the other hand, it's clear a regenerative cannabis farm cultivates cannabis using regenerative agricultural practices like no-till, living soil, etc. Visit https://regenerativecannabisfarming.org/ to learn more.

Tammy Pettigrew, The Cannabis Cutie:

"My favorite trend in cannabis branding is seeing products that are labeling what the end experience will be after consuming their products, like uplifted, relaxed, or focused. For beginning consumers this is ideal, especially since there are thousands of strains that exist and we have now learned that the sativa-indica binary is a myth."

What else is on the Council's mind?

Jacqueline Rosales, Soapbox Sample

"There are big challenges in the candy and confection cannabis space from the food scientist and engineer perspectives. I think it's something very interesting to watch given the current challenges with regulations."

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5

MSO's: Not All the Same

At New Cannabis Ventures, Alan Brochstein discusses how American multi-state operators are beginning to differentiate themselves:

"We have seen two of the larger MSOs access debt markets, both including a very small amount of warrants, while another MSO has pursued convertible debt. Another aspect of capital markets approaches is how aggressive some companies have been with their mergers and acquisition strategies, while others have preferred to grow organically. Most of the MSOs cite California, Florida and Massachusetts as the most important markets in the near-term, but we have seen several be aggressive in markets like Arizona and Nevada as well."

Quick Hits

  1. Politico is launching a paid cannabis newsletter, but it's free for the first few weeks. Business Insider recently launched a cannabis newsletter called Cultivated.
  2. 🍁WW Canada has the latest on the CannTrust scandal!
  3. Another step towards legal REC in Mexico.
    Marijuana Moment

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6

Massachusetts Mayor Arrested for Canna-Corruption

Jasiel Correia II, the mayor of Fall River, Mass. was arrested on federal extortion charges for allegedly helping cannabis businesses get licensed in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Prosecutors say he agreed to sign non-opposition letters for four companies in exchange for "significant six-f

  • Correia, 27, pleaded not guilty. The Democrat is also accused of other corruption related charges. He was indicted last year for fraud related charges to which he has also pleaded not-guilty. He faces 24 total charges.
  • Fall River is about an hour south of Boston.
  • The cannabis businesses are not identified in the indictment.

Quick Hit

  1. Federal prosecutors held their second closed door "marijuana summit" this week.

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7

Hempcrete's Day is Here at Last

Someday this could all be hemp

BNN Bloomberg reports hempcrete is increasingly popular as a building material, largely because it produces fewer greenhouse gases than concrete. Incredibly, cement mixing accounts for about 7% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Hemp fields absorb carbon when they’re growing. After harvest, the crop continues to absorb greenhouse gases as it’s mixed with lime or clay. Hempcrete structures also have better ventilation, fire resistance and temperature regulation, according to their proponents....

8

Cannabis Growing: Not So Green

But cannabis isn't all green. Scientific journal Nature has a deep dive into the environmental hazards of pot growing and how they can be mitigated.

It concludes, Oregon's Yerba Buena and other eco-minded growers "demonstrate that cannabis can be cultivated in a way that doesn’t harm the planet. But the cannabis industry has only just begun to chart a route to a greener future."

9

What Does Your Airport Think of Weed?

The WSJ looks at the patchwork of cannabis rules at U.S. airports.

10

Homeless Growers Can Keep Oakland Garden

A pot grow of 35 plants tended by six homeless men in Oakland is illegal, but the city will let it stay for now. The issue involves managing two two California megatrends: cannabis legalization and homelessness.
S.F. Chronicle

  • “I smoke a lot of weed,” Cam McKeel, one of the farmers, said. “As much as I can, as often as I can, as soon as I wake up, before I go to bed.”

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