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No Growth for Us,

Courtesy of Getty Images

It can seem the only names that matter in cannabis news are the growth-hungry multistate operators backed by driven by faceless investors. But they are not California cannabis.

Small operators are everything to Mary Jane in this state. Take the Monterey County manufacturer Sparx Cannabis, which has a couple of big grows and a distribution center that it’s planning to expand into manufacturing. Beyond that, “the only growth Sparx is planning in the near future is cultivating plants and sales to consumers.”
The Californian

  • The vertically-integrated manufacturer’s prime objective is building out its grow, a process that will boosttake its number of employees from 50 to 65 or 70.
  • "We're big enough to raise money to survive, but the CEO knows every farmworker. We do barbecue every Friday and encourage employees to be community oriented and charity focused," said Sparx President Jared Helfant.

Quick Hit

  1. Have you wondered how LGBT advocacy is interwoven with legalization? Christine De La Rosa, Leon Mostovoy, Buck Angel, and Katie Stem explore a unique cultural history and imperative.

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‘It Was the Marijuana Movement, Now It’s the Cannabis Industry.’

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The United Commercial and Food Workers Union represents 10,000 cannabis employees in 14 states. The UCFW has helped legitimize the movement in Sacramento and D.C. and negotiated major worker contracts with big companies such as MedMen. A progressive pipe dream realized.

But the UFCW has been gathering power for nearly a decade and is no longer an underdog. As tends to happens with organized labor whose clout is on the rise, the number of foes stepping up to criticize how UCFW gets down is growing.
Rolling Stone

  • Advocates acknowledge that joining the UFCW finally got politicians to trust them. Six years ago, the UCFW got the NLRB to acknowledge cannabis workers as being worthy of protection by labor laws. The improvements have been especially big in California. “We made sure that if companies were found to have any labor code violations, that they could lose their licenses,” said Jim Araby, an organizer from UFCW 5, of the state’s weed laws. “It’s the most labor-friendly in the country, and that’s partially because we were involved in it.”
  • Regardless, critics argue the union can work against the goals of the larger cannabis movement. There was a rift with growers hen the union opposed a bill that would have allowed licensed California growers without retail permits to take their product to farmers markets and fairs.

Quick Hit

  • Exactly how much has the awkward transition from MED regulations to REC hurt marijuana earnings? Revenue shrank from $3B in 2017 -- the last all MED year -- to $2.5B in 2018.
    Investor's Business Daily

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New Budget Ends Licensing Threat, Adds CEQA Exemption

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The “extinction level” threat looming over the state’s legal cannabis operators no more. Gov. Newsom’s 2019-2020 budget contains language that extends the provisional licensing structure through 2025. Operators sweating the prospect of being expelled from local lists of legitimate cannabis businesses are seeing a few clouds of uncertainty clear away.
Sacramento Bee

  • In addition to remedying the temporary license imbroglio, the trailer bill -- part of the Governor’s $214B spending package -- clarifies how licenses are obtained and provides operators a two-year exemption from meeting CEQA standards.
  • Four thousand temporary licenses expired in the month of April alone.

Contra Costa Cops Took $1 Million from Uncharged Suspects

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

Over four years, the law enforcement agencies of Contra Costa County seized $1.1M from people accused of crimes but never charged. Of the nearly $3.5M million taken as part of the Contra Costa’s asset forfeiture practice -- a means of financially hamstringing criminal investigation targets -- $1.2 million was related to cannabis charges.
Mercury News

  • Asset forfeiture has been a feature of the law enforcement landscape since 1982, when the War on Drugs was merely a toddling menace. The Obama administration backed off on the practice, but former Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated it a “key” law enforcement tool and brought new energy to seizing the accused assets.
  • Contra Costa deputy public defender Jeff Landau called asset forfeiture a predatory practice that “should have ended here a long time ago.” He told the Mercury News, “Simply put, it’s wrong for the government to take people’s property without first proving they’ve broken the law.”
  • Last year. Contra Costa prosecutors petitioned to keep $57,588 in cash from people not charged with crimes.

Rappers Remain Legalization's Unsung Champions

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It doesn't take a music historian to know that the release of Dr. Dre's The Chronic in December 1992 represented a seisemic shift in how younger humans regarded cannabis. And one need not be a fan of the hip hop form to know that smoking weed figures prominently in its ever-evolving story.

There's much more to say about this lineage. Killer Mike of Run the Jewelstakes analysis of MCs impacts on legalization to a higher level.

  • "With national decriminalization of marijuana now, a lot of people are going to get credit for it. A lot of activists, a lot of workers. But I can show you a line that reaches straight back to Cypress Hill, that reaches straight back to Snoop Dogg, that reaches straight back to people like Rick James," Killer Mike said.

Quick Hit

  1. Bob Weir was heavily addicted to hard drugs. Famously, Elton John was as well. Today both are well and successfully performing. But while John is a 12-stepper who doesn't have soft drugs in his plans, Weir still inbibes. What's interesting about how these celebrities with different approaches to sobriety actually have in common.

Hemp's in, Like,
Such a Weird Place

Photo by Michael Louie on Unsplash

With the state's patchwork rules dictating unpredictable outcomes, it makes sense that counties and cities are reacting so differently to hemp production.
Plumas News/New Cannabis Ventures

  • While rural places like Plumas and Lake counties are contemplating and enacting hemp moratoriums, outside investors are buying into communities such as the Sacramento Elk Grove. A few decades ago, suburban Elk Grove might have been one of those communities that opposed hemp for specious reasons.
  • The Elk Grove Farming Company is backed by CannTrust. This weeke Canadian company this week signed a letter of intent that will "provide access to over 3,000 acres of farmland for hemp production" to the diversified farming company.
  • “I’m mad, I’m angry and I’m scared,” Plumas rancher Rick Roberti after a meeting in which hemp opponents outnumbered supporters. A resounding cheer went up in the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ meeting room when the ban was narrowly passed. Roberti's family had invested $500,000 in this year's crop, which was to be planted this week.

Quick Hit

  1. But have you ever tried mergers... on CBD?? The consolidation story never gets old, in part because the industry experiences it from so many different angles.
    CBD Testers

Psychedelics Fans Across America
Plan to Follow Oakland's Lead

Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash

Oakland has started something cosmic.

Of course Decriminalize Nature -- the focused pioneers who brought us the resolution to decriminalize psilocybin, ayahuasca, mescaline and ibogaine -- was standing on the backs of Denver and Oregon, governments that have made the decriminalizaton of psychedelic drugs seem a scaleable project. But they're the ones taking calls from Americans who, too, want psychedelic legislation.
Marijuana Moment

  • As of this week, people in 55 cities have contacted the organization, which has devised a tiered system for ranking interest. San Diego and Boston follow Bay Area and Colorado cities. On the next level are Los Angeles, Eugene, Santa Cruz, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City are in the fourth tier. Baltimore and the Hawaiian islands citizens have also reached out.
  • The City of Berkeley was scheduled to meet with Decriminalize Nature this week.

How One Storied Weed Scene Owned Its History

"Conveniently located between the vast cannabis-growing regions to the west and the north, and the huge markets to the south, Santa Rosa has for decades been a truck stop on the cannabis highway. Much of that story has never been told in print or on film."

The history of cannabis in Sonoma County might be obscure, but it's no less compelling than yours.
North Bay Bohemian


Lloyd Wright Home to Be
Cannabis Events Site

Photo by Andrew Knechel on Unsplash

The Snowden House , a 5,600-square foot Mayan style home was sold to Dan Goldfarb, who made a fortune with Canna-Pet. He and his wife Jenny Landers have established the PetConscious Foundation, which supports animal rescues on an international basis.

Now the weed public will be able to enjoy this storied and magnificent neo-Mayan home as a space for hemp and charity events. The pricetag was $4.7M.

  • In 1926, Frank Lloyd Wright's son built The Snowden House as "a bohemian playhouse for aspiring actors and Hollywood bons vivants."
  • Once connected with The Black Dahlia Murders, the home The home was originally designed with four wings, each opening onto a central, inner courtyard . Outside, is comprised of custom, concrete "textile blocks," cast to emphasize the matierial's pliable nature.

XMas Comes Early: Vegas Gives MJBizCon Its Own Day

Photo by Daniil Vnoutchkov on Unsplash

Las Vegas and Clark County extended the biggest embrace to cannabis commerce as yet seen by American municipalities when it named December 9-13, 2019 official MJBizConWeek.

The MJ Business Daily's trade show is the nation's largest.
MJ Business Daily

  • Las Vegas issued a proclamation lauding the brand's global recognition, growing attendance and "significant impact beyond the convention center walls."
  • “Southern Nevada, the hospitality capital of the world, has now established itself as one of the focal points of the cannabis industry because of MJBizCon,” said Commissioner Tick Segerblom, Board of Clark County Commissioners.

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