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Entrepreneurs Poised to Move as California's Equity Market Opens

Good news: The Bureau of Cannabis Control announced that it has reopened its application process for the $10M Gov. Newsom made available last September to cities interested in developin cannabis equity programs.

Bad news: The funds won't go out until May 2020.
Times Standard

  • The deadline for municipalities to apply for state grants is August 30.

Quick Hit

  1. A Long Beach company called California Cannabis Enterprises announced it would join forces with major water developer Cadiz to grow hemp. The venture will be called SoCal Hemp.
    LA Business Journal

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ICE Uses Grass Busts to
Oust a Range of Immigrants

Handout/ Getty Images

In late July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took a Guatemalan-born woman who has lived in the U.S. since she was 3 from into custody. The L.A. woman's family suspects a pot bust from decades ago is behind her t predicament.

Her story isn't as jaw-dropping as the Wisconson man who, despite living most of his life in the state, was sent to Cambodia for getting bud in the mail.

  • Telemundo ran iphone footage of a neighbor asking for a signed order from authorities, who whisked her into an unmarked car. The tweet has 113 views. The neighbor's son said, "Just like that in five minutes… they took her… Boom. Just like that, in unmarked cars and they tell you, ‘We don’t have to show you anything.’ They just leave a note, a number to call.” 
  • Sothy Kum's deportation left his wife and child in Sun Praire, Wisconsin. And if their stories don't leave you bummed enough, consider the 26-year-old Anaheim DREAMer who traveled south of our border to fulfill green card obligations, admitted to smoking pot years ago, and has been barred from returning to his Orange County wife and family

Spotlight on Kamala Harris'
Weed Record Intensifies

Scott Olson/ Getty Images

Single-issue voters around America got an infusion of hope when Presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) attacked Senator Kamala Harris (D) during Wednesday night's debate for her now-conservative looking positions on cannabis. Candidate Harris may have harmed her campaign by failing to respond head-on.
Rolling Stone

  • “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. The last part refers to the Senator's February appearance on The Breakfast Club and proves that no good appearance on Power 106 goes unpunished.
  • Harris responded belatedly by pointing out that Gabbart has shilled for Syria's dictator, winning the historically-overlooked proportionality battle.
  • #KamalaHarrisDestroyed was trending on Thursday, allowing the candidate minimal wiggle room on her biggest unguardable flank this side of Willie Brown. Harris has introduced the MORE Act, a decriminalization bill that her backers hope will obscure her anti-pot past.

Law Enforcement Bombards Illicit Grows, as Buyers Await Upside?

Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash

The state claims $30M in illegal cannabis product has been seized from January 2018 of last year through this summer's ceaseless raids. That number seems very low but it doesn't include product seized by local authorities.

  • Raids in Sonoma, Siskiyou, Riverside, Trinity, and Mendocino counties have yielded about 280,000 seized plants. Santa Barbara law enforcement claims it has seized 20 tons of grass.
  • A BDS Analytics study reveals 74% of Californians buy their Mary Jane from illicit sources. Massachucetts is the only state with a higher percentage, 77%. The more established legal states all have higher legal purchase percentages: Washington, 51%; Oregon, 48%; and Colorado, 34%.
  • “I’m not going to say yes. I’m going to say maybe,” said Southern California Coalition co-founder Donnie Anderson when asked if legal operators are doing better business thanks to enforcement efforts.

Quick Hit

  1. Multi-state operators do the industry a service by improving brand recognition, executive Kris Krane writes at CannEconomy. The mom-and-pop businesses that hope to compete with them can only feel these companies pushing them to the margins. Here is what the future of MSOs looks like (Registration required, free)

CFDA on the Verge of Establishing Almost-Organic Certification

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

Throughout 2019, state Food and Drug Administration officials have been developing standards around toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals used by growers. Two weeks ago, the CFDA working group met to address the financial burden that organic certification typically imposes on farmers. It's part of developing the standards that will become known as OCal. Or, almost-organic farming.

  • Many small farmers grow organically, but cannot afford the fees necessary to become so designated. Seeking OCal status could exempt them from that fee.
  • CFDA is also considering means of quantifying how OCal growers track plant additives.

Is Big Alcohol Forcing Pot
Drinks Down Our Gullets?

Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash

Little proof exists that there’s a market for drinkable marijuana, yet that’s what’s on the menu for much of the future market, thanks to the goals of Big Alcohol. Between two and three percent of polled consumers say they prefer to drink their weed, yet industry targets have as much as 30% of us consuming cannabis beverages in the future.
The Verge

  • Last year Constellation Brands pumped $4B into Canopy Growth. If that weren't a splashy enough alcohol entrance, Molson Coors took a controlling stake in Canadian brand HEXO and Anheuser-Busch InBev put $50M into a venture with B.C.-based Tilray.
  • After years of declining sales, alcohol is thinking this unsettled moment in cannabis history might be the time to disrupt how we consume weed.

Does Cali Need 'Lemon Laws'
for Weed Consumers?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Strong consumer protection laws haves long been a hallmark of California. But what will be needed to protect consumers in the era of legal weed?
Cal Matters

  • Baldwin Park Democrat Blanca Rubio has authored Assembly Bill 1417. Expected to be approved after the legislature's August break, the law seeks to limit advertising and marketing by illicit sellers. Civil penalties would be in store for violators.
  • The law spells trouble for Weedmaps, which opposes the legislation.

In a Town Full of Hyphenates, Here's One Who Works

Photo by Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

Five years ago, Jessica VerSteeg was Miss Iowa. Today she stands atop Paragon, an L.A. company that has developed software for tracking cannabis and is now focusing on blockchain technology.

In an interview, VerSteeg explains she began brand building when the struggles of her former partner, an ex-NFL player struggling with concussions, brought her to a cannabis industry that she had been raised to scorn. VerSteeg’s first brand came in 2014, the year prior to his death from an opiate overdose. “I created it out of [feeling] so guilty about what happened with my ex,” she said.
Cannabis Now

  • VerSteeg came into the industry as her boyfriend Tyler Stash–– an NFL player struggling with concussions -- looked for pain relief alternatives. She started a brand of high-end MED in 2014. Stash died of an overdose the following year.
  • Today VerSteeg says she seeks transparency. “Let’s create an industry that’s so transparent that it’s better than Big Pharma. Why wouldn’t people choose this over opioids if we’re able to create an industry that’s transparent?”

Quick Hit

  1. The first-even non-retail license in Santa Cruz County will go to the singer Melissa Etheridge and her wife Linda. The "Etheridge Farms" manufacturing and distributing center will be based in Soquel.

LZ Granderson Comes
Out of the Closet, Again

The gay sports journalist crossed another frontier on Friday when he said in the sports section of an American daily newspaper that he consumes cannabis, "Not in a wishy-washy/Clintonesque 'I didn’t inhale' sort of way, but rather in a depending-on-what-time-you-are-reading-this-I-could-be-high-right-now sort of way."
Los Angeles Times

  • Experience has given Granderson insight on how America's professional athletics leagues ought to behave: They ought to allow players to use MED. "It’s borderline comical and downright embarrassing to watch these powerful entities continue to wring their hands over antiquated policy," he rights.
  • When Ricky Williams's pot use made him a national punchline in 2000, 31% of the nation thought cannabis should be legal. Today that number is 66%, according to Gallup.

Three Ways to Up
Your Instagram Game

Photo by Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

In 2019, CEOs and influencers alike ought to comprehend that the link-in-bio layup on Instagram is not a serious person's approach to effective social media.
Cannabis Now

  • Include keywords, hashtags and geotags. They help folks find the content you post.
  • Engagement is arguably the single biggest factor in social media. So, make time to ask and answer questions when you post.
  • Folks love photos, but they also crave range. Mix in screen grabs, memes, and even drawings. With attribution, of course, every single time.

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