The Rights Fight Relocates to D.C.

Courtesy of Getty Images

The 116th Congress has diversity of gender and race, and a new tilt toward the left, all of which add up to optimism about pot reform. Twenty sixteen's election wake featured the cartoonishly anti-cannabis Attorney General Jeff Sessions pooping on the future. Looking today to D.C. today one sees Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee and an aggressive Cannabis Caucus, along with multiple pro-pot presidential candidates. Never not vote again.

After years of Western States carrying a disproportionate amount of the legalization workload, the fight(s) have come to the nation's capital.
National Cannabis Industry Association

  • Co-chairing the two-year-old Cannabis Caucus with Lee is Earl Blumenaur (D-Oregon). The two Republican representatives are Arkansas' Don Young, a founding member, and David Joyce of Ohio, where the need for representation is great.
  • "The federal government’s interference in this arena has stifled important medical research, interfered with doctors and patients making treatment decisions and harmed state-legal businesses," Joyce said.
  • Blumenaur immediately proposed House Resolution 420, which would deschedule pot. Although the bill isn't expected to pass, the proposed legislation should gain more signatures than ever. The House’s Safe Banking Act, which had 95 co-sponsors last session could also benefit. (The Senate version garnered 20.)
  • Also expected to see a leap in support is legislation to reform Section 280E of the Tax Code, the Small Business Tax Equity Act. Last month the bill had 46 co-sponsors. (Six in the Senate.)
  • While the Republican controlled-Senate remains an uphill battle, the presence of so many pro-pot potential 2020 Presidential candidates -- from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to Kamala Harris -- represents a breaking of the silos that cannabis conversation had been trapped in. There's even a school of thought that, should the President's numbers drop enough, he might make a gambit of legalization.
Photo by Hannah Smith

A Sit-Down with
LA's Chief Regulator

On Monday's podcast you can hear Cat Packer, Los Angeles' Director of Cannabis Regulation, talk to cohosts Alex Halperin and Donnell Alexander. In a rangy, sometimes surprising conversation, the woman overseeing the planet's largest metropolitan cannabis market discusses:

  • How her journey from law school to advocacy prepared her for the job, and some of the ways it hasn't helped at all.
  • The Director's preferred name for the illicit market.
  • Her answer to the question, What was the largest unforced error committed by the City of Los Angeles in inaugurating legalization? Is the answer: 1) Not suitably anticipating the illicit market competition? 2) Underfunding cannabis equity programs? 3) Failing to provide PSAs that distinguished legal dispensaries from the non-legal? By Monday night, you should know. Feel free to hit hello@weedweek.net with your answer.
  • Also audible in this podcast will be a handful of yelps from a small blind and aged pug. (Our back-up studio had to do this week.) Packer was a sweetheart about the noisy, wandering dog.
  • Monday's episode can be downloaded from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud & Player.Fm.

Quick Hit

  1. Stand tall, Golden State warriors: Our marijuana is beating institutional agriculture on pesticide compliance. And if you don't get how big that news is, there's no way you got high on cannabis during the almost-certainly-poisonous "Just Say No" '80s. The story of our clean weed brings a tear to any veteran's eye, a tear for the children ;-)

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Civil Suits Have MedMen
Fighting on Two Fronts

Courtesy of Getty Images

Major MedMen investors and one former board member have slapped the REC juggernaut with a $20 million lawsuit on Tuesday. The litigation comes in the direct wake of last fall's class action suit,which accuses the retailer of stiffing workers.

Deep pockets are for exactly this occasion...

  • Brent Cox, a board member of the company's MEDMJ entity, alleges MedMen leadership generally chose on behalf of their personal agendas and not MedMen investors' best interests. At the heart of the suit are claims that, after going public last May, the retailer used its array of company entities to self deal.
  • In the suit Cox writes, "MedMen veneer is a complex web of interconnected subsidiary entities." MedMen has responded by calling the suit "frivolous."
  • In November, former company employees lodged class-action litigation, charging wage theft. The workers said their employer failed to pay minimum wages for off-the-clock work and overtime, as well as keep accurate records and give proper breaks. The company did not offer comment.

Playing Catch-Up
to Factory Farmers

Courtesy of Getty Images

One need not visit Harborside's Salinas County facility to understand that small farmers are in a countdown to marginalization. Yet, a significant number of growers only now seem to be getting the news that mechanization is the way to go in the 21st-century.

  • Machines like as The Triminator can do in 15 minues what might take a human an entire workday to prepare.
  • Some Southern California growers continue working multi-million-dollar operations with equipment purchased from hydroponic stores, according to Brent Burman, vice president of the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network. "They’re coming into this commercial arena, still, with this hobbyist mentality,” Burman said.
  • Lise Bernard, the sales director at GreenBroz, a a harvesting company that makes machines for work like trimming and extraction, said customers can be "super-secretive" about their hi-tech upgrades because customers equate mechanization with low quality.

City Innovate's
'Start-Up in Residence'
Welcomes Ganjapreneurs

Thursday brought another 40 young businesses into City Innovate's 'Start-Up in Residence' program. Through a competitive process, "selected startups will volunteer their time with government agencies over 16-weeks to tackle civic challenges with new technology tools and services." Most of the 700 start-ups that applied last year were mainstream, but on Wednesday Co-CEO Jay Nath wrote to us of weed start-ups that, "When the next set of challenges come out (and with the growing number of cannabis friendly cities and states we could def see some opportunities) they will be notified."

  • The program aims to create deals between startups and government partners.
  • Examples of "Start-Up in Residence" companies already in the mix include Coord, which is helping San Diego build an asset management platform and GovIQ which has helped S.F. build a 911 call center tool that features voice recognition in languages other than English.
  • Cannabis innovators can register here.


  1. An upcoming conference will address the impacts of pot on commercial rents in L.A.
  2. Finally, a who's who of those undeniably getting rich off of the legal weed boom.
  1. SuperNova Women said their big project for 2019 is to link underfunded ganjapreneurs with capital.
  1. San Diego's Zephyr Partners hopes to make a New York incursion with a proposed high-tech campus for REC and MED at the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park.
Editor Note

Thank you to WeedWeek's Patreon Supporters!

Sam Cornwall
Co-Founder/Photographer, Cannabis In Color Boutique Photo Service for the Industry, providing Custom and Stock Photos. 
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Find us at cannabisincolor.com and Instagram

Pamela Hadfield Co-Founder, HelloMD HelloMD: The largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers HelloMD on InstagramFacebookSpencer 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

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!

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Weed Outlier: Where Were You When Malcolm Gladwell Publicly Flaunted his Ignorance?

Will you remember where you were or what you were smoking when celebrated thinker and author Malcolm Gladwell preceded an interview called "Is Marijuana as Safe As We Think?" with newly ubiquitous anti-pot author Alex Berenson by shamelessly constructing a series of strawman positions masquerading as moral concern and then experienced a rare public misstep? Just store that memory away. Gladwell's early assertion that post-sixties marijuana was akin to "near beer" sets the tone for an ensuing sophisticate ignorance that might have been laugh-aloud funny had it been printed in a less august publication. There's a willful blindness to Gladwell's piece, a will to swirl correlation into causation. With pot on the ballot in New York this year, the prose feels vaguely irresponsible.

After that intro, Berenson instantly begins to drive the questioning, and much of that questioning is wrong. To object here is not Gladwell's baliwick. Biases all-but inherent to the Jamaican-Canadian Gladwell's heritage -- contrary to reggae imagery, Jamaica has only recently begun to shed its conservative Christian attitudes toward pot -- show through the controversial piece. Weed Twitter let Gladwell have it, apparently to the storyteller's surprise.
The New Yorker

  • The elephant in the room -- blame on his editors' laps -- is that Gladwell's framing sentences unconsciously argue for what legalization warriors have scream for over have a century: Well-funded research on the cannabis plant.
  • In the Monday defense tweet, our obsessively exact wordsmith described his critics' (assumed) cannabis consumption as "their habit." Quite a tell. Additionally, the New Yorker star compared those who rejected Berenson's claims of schizophrenia risks to climate-change deniers.
  • More than a one-day social-media kerfuffle, this clash signified the official opening of an historically handicapped Manhattan media culture's weighing in on the REC movement. Though the run-up to New York's state's vote may resemble silly season, this stretch of debate is anything but; for practical purposes, if something as big as legalization isn't happening in New York, it isn't totally happening.
  • Should Gladwell like to step out of the Los Angeles cafes where he's sometimes spotted, he's welcome to have an edible and join us 45 minutes later for a WeedWeek podcast. Our show, our terms -- now that would be a narrative!

Quick Hits

  1. We know that taking THC before bed can put us to sleep more quickly, but what can it do for our dreams?
  2. Wine snobs insist that marijuana infusion is one of the five big trends in wine.
  3. Sacramento's December pop-up known as the Orbit Show, where patients spoke straight to product representatives, is just one scene from the last days of our beloved medical marijuana collectives.
  4. It would have been hard to imagine, in the marijuana collective heyday, a shop like the new Jardin dispensary in Las Vegas.

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