Norcal Raises $27 Million

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Opening the door to going public later this year, Norcal announced the close of a $27.4 million Series A funding. The investment brings the S.F.-based operator's total raise to $50M.

  • NorCal -- one of the state's biggest vertically-integrated marijuana companes -- plans to use this cash infusion to up production and manufacturing at its Santa Rosa campus, expand its statewide delivery platform, and increase its retail and customer-facing footprint.
  • Cannabis Growth Opportunity Corporation (CGOC), Cresco Capital, and JM10 Partners are among the main investors. Norcal has over 100,000 feet in production facilities, with indoor flower canopy, manufacturing, processing, packaging and distribution assets. The operator also possesses delivery depots around the state.
  • The fundraising round, “puts them in a strong position to carry out their growth initiatives in cultivation, extraction and building out their brands and dispensary networks," said Jamie Blundell, President and Chief Operating Officer at CGOC.

Financial Wrongdoing Charges Hurled at Former Growers
Association Director

A Facebook post containing what appears to be a California Growers Association status report has dredged up allegations of financial malfeseance against former Executive Director Hezekiah Allen, the former head of the advocacy association.

  • A Facebook group California - City and County Regulation Watch is where the scanned CGA document was shared. Signed by the CGA's "Executive Committee", the three-page internal memo put the association's debts at $267,000 and blamed Allen for "expenditures that were outside of CalGrowers financial policies." The December-dated document says the association's lawsuit against the Department of Food and Agriculture was dropped due to insufficient funds.
  • On the matter of the lobbying group's future, the document says "there has been no easy answer to the next steps in this organization's stability," as membership has dropped. It also says that new fundraising efforts are underway.
  • Both CGA chairman Nathan Whittington and Allen called the charges inaccurate. Allen told MJBizDaily Tawnie Logan, a former CGA board chair who has since left the organization, wrote some of the letter.

Cannabis Equity, Where
Survival Equates to Success

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Anyone who follows significant financial transactions in legal weed is noticing that mostly white people are getting the dough. So, should interested parties celebrate every small victory earned by individual cannabis entreprenuers from historically abused communities? Isn't the greater pattern of wealth vacuuming more significant?

Tell that to Blair Augusté, founder, and CEO of Vista Distribution. Augusté is one of the Californians who can tell you what an embryonic social equity success looks like.

It looks a lot like survival.

How to Become Cannabis Executive Material

Liz Gehl, the main woman at Gehl Search Partners, a talent recruitment firm, appeared on the Ganjapreneur podcast. She spoke from the perspective of being a veteran recruiter in the alcohol space and losing muliple job offers after acknowledging her cannabis use.

  • Gehl recalled an alcohol industry meeting in which an employment opportunity was rescinded and "having a strong feeling that recreational legalization was coming very, very quickly to California."
  • She makes a point of telling prospective executive talent that in legal weed change has been a constant, particularly because of changing regulations. Just as significant is that these prospective executives understand that a "long conversation" is a must for recruits who desire a lot of structure, "not that there isn’t structure in the cannabis industry."
  • In seeking long-term commitments from candidates for her clients’ companies, Gehl says it's necessary to learn the prospective employees long-term goals and how personalities will mesh and "those things aren't listed on a job description that are so important to realize."

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Now, the Moment that the Illicit
Market Feared: Proposed Tax Cuts

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State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Oakland assemblyman Ron Bonta are behind the proposed legislation that would cut taxes on marijuana around the state. Jesus wept.

  • To counteract underwhelming sales, AB 286, would reduce the sales tax on marijuana products from 15% to 11% and and cut the $148 per-pound farmers' tarrif for three years.
  • According to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the state collected $234M between January and October 2018. Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed budget for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2019, anticipates an estimated $355M in annual tax revenues is expected. That's down $275 million from earlier estimates.
  • “Lowering state excise taxes will help the legal marijuana industry gain a better foothold over the black market in California,” said National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) state spokesperson Ellen Komp. Bonta said that additional funding would go toward law enforcement efforts to crack down on illegally sold marijuana.

Did the North American Canabis Summit Birth a Political Alliance?

Photo by Jeffrey Lin on Unsplash

Those of us who couldn't break away to attend the inaugural North American Cannabis Summit, held this week in Los Angeles, found themselves realizing that they were missing out on something of major substance.

A thread of Tweets from a Boston Globe reporter made the FOMO into tangible regret for anyone interested in marijthe politics around marijuana.

  • A seemingly blown-away Dan Adams tweeted that representatives of the health and prevention worlds -- public health workers, scientists -- and the social equity community united in a way that "could eventually reshape the politics around marijuana."
  • Specifically, the two sectors both want to see small, locally-owned operators. Adams said that if the alliance coheres, it would likely mean residency requirements for vendors, public funding and co-ops, exclusive license classes for marginalized communities, and strong restrictions on interstate commerce.


  1. The World Health Organization wants cannabis taken from the most restrictive category. The body has also asked that THC and its isomers to be "completely removed from a separate 1971 drug treaty and instead added to Schedule I of the 1961 convention," according to a WHO document.

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'Joe Cool' Becomes the Biggest Sports Name to Go Big on Pot

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Champion quarterback Joe Montana isn't the first jock to put his money into marijuana now that it's legal. Upcoming WeedWeek podcast guest Mike Tyson, for example, told us a few weeks ago that he's growing bud and developing products, in addition to this month's 420-friendly music festival.

But Mike Tyson was a flawed rock star in an individual sport whereas American professional football remains culturally repressive and controlling. Montana, as well as Ricky Williams and Tiki Barber, get special pioneer points for openly investing in the plant.

  • The 49ers Hall of Famer earned the nickname Joe Cool for, among other feats, pointing out John Candy in the stands to his huddled teammates seconds before the biggest play in 'Niners history.
  • So, welcome, Joe Montana. Pot was pretty cool without you, but it's a lot better now that you're here.


  1. The French are spreading the word on how, despite legal weed's underperformance, our pot tourism is thriving.
    FRANCE 24
  1. If you're about to go on a far-away trip, consider taking a break from Mary Jane.

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