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The Shrinkage You're Sensing
Is Not Just in Your Head

Courtesy of Getty Images

And it's not just in California. What's happening to that friend of yours who struggled to get compliance on the other side of the state? A similar buyout/land-grab phenomenon is sweeping the nation.

This is the part where the cannabis companies act like all of the other companies. The prospect of consolidation and then some is real.
Sacramento News & Review/Cannabis Now

  • “The availability of capital in public markets, especially Canada, has accelerated things,” said Josh Wurzer, president of SC Laboratories in Santa Cruz. “Some of those companies are new and looking to use their cash reserves to scale quickly.”
  • Two examples of the unprecedented consolidation came this spring. Canadian juggernaugt Canopy Growth said it would acquire Acreage Holdings in a deal worth $3.4B, pending U.S. federal legalization. In May, Canadian producer Sunniva bought ownership of two California cannabis companies, 420 Distribution and Coachella Distillation.
  • Big business norms are establishing themselves. Take Harvest, which runs two grows in Pennsylvania that someone else owns. Under a management service agreement Harvest takes as much as 90% of the farm's revenue. The farm owner merely holds the permit.
  • All the consolidation activity is making "pro-forma" reporting more common. What that means is companies are reporting "what the company’s revenue might be if all pending or recently completed acquisitions had been closed for the entire reporting period."

Quick Hit

  1. The Lady Jane Society is offering a weekend retreat later this month for Central Valley women working in cannabis. Over 200 women are expected to take part.

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Oakland One-Ups Colorado:
Decriminalizes All
Psychoactive Plants & Fungi

Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

This week, Oakland decriminalized psilocybin. The experienced among us look to that and think, "This where it actually begins. The training wheels are off."

  • The city will no longer spend its money on enforcing laws against "entheogenic plants." By not limiting the decriminalization to strictly psilocybin, Oakland permits other plants and fungi containing psychoactive substances
  • Oakland's resolution is broader than Denver's. Denver's initiative decriminalized the use and possession of mushrooms containing the compound psilocybin, whereas Oakland's refers to "entheogenic plants" in general, which includes the mushrooms and other plants and fungi containing psychoactive substances

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California is Leader
of the Free Pot World

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The idea of waiting on Trump to make a pot move hangs about the political discussion like an old-school hangover. But waiting on a POTUS is not what we're doing anymore. Not in this world.

  • This spring has seen seven instances of governors exercising powers to push pot forward in previously unseen ways.
  • While he's not passed major legislation, Gov. Gavin Newsom is the heaviest hitter in the nation. Not just because our state is to weed what the Golden State Warriors are to the NBA, but because Newsom's precessor Jerry Brown was such a killjoy.
  • While he's not passed major legislation, Gov. Gavin Newsom is the heaviest hitter in the nation. Not just because our state is to weed what the Golden State Warriors are to the NBA, but because Newsom's precessor Jerry Brown was such a killjoy.
  • As much as Governors have grabbed the wheel, the adage "all politics is local" won't ever stop being true. City and county level engagement remains huge. "If all [local politicians] are hearing from are the people holding torches and pitchforks, they’re going to get scared and fear for their re-election.

Like My Dinner with Andre,
But with Black Stoners

Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Do you remember the hilarious WeedWeek podcast episode with Ngaio Bealum? Of course you don't, because the damn thing doesn't exist.

But that dialogue did indeed occur.

Earlier this year, in the tradition of his interviews with Ed Rosenthal and the filmmaker Lev Anderson, questionable WeedWeek hire Donnell Alexander fucked up the recording. (Not to be all high-tech.) His is scheduled to sit down with the Sacramento-based comedian and International Cannabis Business Conference MC again next week.

  • Perhaps best known for his live and video appearances with Doug Benson, Bealum also writes about all facets of the cannabis universe. He is touring in support of his new album Weedier and Sexier.
  • The arguable highlight of the lost session was a prolonged conversation about the relative merits of the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band. You won't catch two black men having that converation a whole bunch.
  • The question remains, Will Alexander achieve techical competency before he runs out of famous stoner friends?

East Coast Tears for
California's Best Farmers

Photo by Aliyah Jamous on Unsplash

Proving its never too late to jump on a live story, Virginia-based Politico took a cue from The New Yorker and this week published a dispatch from the economic catastrophe bestowed upon Emerald Triangle growers by legalization. This time, the problematic rollout of legal weed got framed by the solemn loss of many all-star farmers.

The woes of Humboldt County approaching iconic status. A prime time special with Anderson Cooper cannot be far off.

  • The piece profiles a school board member. At his peak the grower pulled in $100,000 a year, to go with his home and retirement account. After legalization, he's down to his last $500.
  • “I wish I could go back in time,” says Thomas Mulder. “Maybe not pass Prop 64.” A lot of people do say that.

Illegal Grow Crackdown Tearing
Through the Underground

Courtesy of Getty Images

The illicit market crackdown has escalated further.
Marijuana Business Daily/KSBW

  • In Santa Cruz County, investigators located more than 9,700 cannabis plants inside eleven greenhouses. Reportedly, the site was managed by a staff of four, who lived in a trailer. Police said the operation was at least two years old. property owner faces civil fines.
  • In Riverside County, 700 law enforcement officers swept through the valley between L.A. and San Diego and hit 188 grows totalling almost 141,000 plants.

Quick Hit

  • "California leads the nation in minority-owned businesses in general, but not when it comes to cannabis. It’s time to change this."
    Capitol Weekly

Emerald Triangle Rep. Huffmann 'Not Surprised' by Boehner's Opportunism

Courtesy of Getty Images

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) took a shot at former House Speaker and current Acreage Holdings board member John Boehner. In doing so, the Representative spoke to issues of concern to his constituents.

  • "You get a little whiplash, just seeing this guy for so many years had the opportunity to lead and change policy. Now he's got an opportunity to make money," Huffman said. "I'm not suprised at all."
  • He then spoke a truth about the legalization quandry that many who saw a light at the tunnel and too late realized it was a train, remain unprepared to hear: "Folks may not have had a realistic idea of what it means to be a legitimate business."
  • Also, Huffman said, "I've always want to bring good actors out of the shadows and bring them into legitmate businesses."

It Started with
Click Stealing

Courtesy of Getty Images

The guy who got swindled by investing in a shady CBD company -- along with Montel Williams -- has a story to tell. It's very nearly a redemption narrative.

  • The clicks in question linked to altered versions of an article Williams' partner had written. These versions were used to promote CBD products that had nothing to do with their stuff.
  • "When this initially started, it was pretty terrifying," Williams said. "We had somebody out here selling things in my name, and people really angered by the way the service was going, and I had nothing to do with this."

Reporting Live from
the Hen House: The Fox?

Photo by Valentin Malinov on Unsplash

DOPE published an article called "Sexy Gone Sexist," a thoughtful piece of reporting on cannabis marketing that provoked the question: Can important reporting on industry sexism come from a media company with allegations of sexism hanging about it?

  • The articles's author Madison Lisle asks, "[h]as sexy marketing in the cannabis industry morphed into sexist?" Lisle takes particular aim at Dan Bilzerian, whos's lingerie models sell vapes on billboards statewide.
  • The quotes from women curated for the article include an IG post from social media influencer Kitty Kitty Bang Bang: “Remember it is possible to be a multifaceted woman! Be classy + a freak. Be spiritual + a bad bitch. Be fierce + compassionate. Be a Queen + smoke weed!” Her words validate the notion that some of the criticized advertisers ought to be taken in stride.
  • Last month, respected industry figure Ah Warner accused DOPE's owner High Times of infringing on her "Women of Weed" brand, and sexualizing it. And that alone makes the coverage worthy of a close read.

Hold Your Trade Secrets
As Close As a Loved One

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

They're what give you the edge: Your formulas, methodologies and recipies. You've got to protect them as though they were your own self. But how?
Cannabis Dispensary

  • Top note: "A proprietor that has confidential and secret agricultural methods, for example, should make efforts to enter into non-disclosure agreements with vendors and suppliers not only to protect any favorable pricing that is negotiated but to protect any agricultural techniques that a vendor or supplier might learn about or see on a visit or delivery."
  • It recommends hiring counsel, making agreements to protect any secrets that outsiders might come upon, and conducting exit interviews.
  • The sad truth is that a lot of trade secrets walk out the door with employees who get hired away or who follow their own entreprenurial impulses.

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