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City Hall to THC:
Weed's New Revolving Door

Deborah Coleman /Getty Images

In his four-decade political career, Bill Lockyer was a state representative who rose to State Senate Leader. Now he’s founder of C4distro, one of two dozen former officials now making a living in California cannabis. Dozens of former California officials and political insiders are moving into legal weed. Even one of the authors of California's REC law advises a cannabis company. 

“There is an opportunity to make a lot of money,” said Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association.
L.A. Times

  • Among the famous politicians now working in the business are former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa(D) and former Orange County Congressman Dana Rohrbacher(R). Five former advisors to Gov. Brown work as industry lobbyists or for companies. 
  • Lockyer said, “As a general matter, business and government transmit on different wavelengths, and so there is some value in having somebody be able to translate to each side.”
  • Prohibitionist Scott Chipman, Southern California chairman of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana says officials should have to wait 10 years after retiring to join the industry.


Dank Vapes: Crisis Narrative's Distributor Zero

@DankVapes.officialaccount on Instagram

The inevitable scripted procedural series about the Vape Crisis will look like nothing we’ve ever seen. Law enforcement and scientists will comb through crime scenes and laboratories for answers, but also social media detectives will be scrutinizing Instagram, the Cash app, et al, in trying to untangle the illicit cannabis narrative circa 2019.

An inflection point will likely be the fingering of a company called Dank Vapes
MJBiz, Mashable

  • Its IG bio states only, "Nothing is for sale" But in the comments sections third-party distributors advertise the goods.
  • Though the Dank Vapes Instagram account is registered in LA, there may not be an actual Dank Vapes company at all. An August report from Inverse concluded that the brand is "one of the biggest conspiracies in all of marijuana" — a packaging company "with no quality control or oversight." 

Meanwhile, the health scare and ensuing business crisis led 800 of the industry’s biggest names to sign a letter to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asking for cannabis to be descheduled.
Marijuana Moment

And in this opinion piece, Seattle’s Bruce Barcott is talking to his governor, but he could very well be talking to ours when he says vape bans will make things worse.

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Eaze Continues to Refine
Its Social Justice Take

Courtesy of Mathieu Stern on UnSplash

(WeedWeek Advertiser) Eaze is intent on addressing social justice, which is hard. So, to help launch Momentum, its businesss incubator for underrepresented communities, the delivery service has joined up with Bail Capital and Ultranative.

  • Ten participants in the program's first class will receive a $50,000 grant and access to a 10-week education program, 40 volunteer experts and access to the company's "ecosystem of business, marketing and retailer resources." At the end, the participants pitch to investors.
  • In a promotinal video, Momentum presents the story of Nindhi, whose participatin begins when "I didn't see any brand that spoke to me, and I couldn't find anything to identify with."

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Dispensary Suit:Nevada's First Public Shaming

Getty Images

Since 2016, when citizens passed Question Two and legalized REC, Nevada has had a charmed run through the Green Rush, bringing revenue to state coffers and earnings to most everyone fortunate enough to get licensed.

That was until last month, when a lawsuit by rejected dispensary applicants alleged problems with Nevada's selection process. As a result, this week Nevada’s top regulator was let go.

  • In her Aug. 23 ruling, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez said Nevada's overseeing Department of Taxation Deputy Executive Director Jorge Pupo maintained relationships in the industry containing "potential for abuse."
  • Plaintiffs alleged that Pupo dined with heavy hitters in Nevada REC, then changed their application scores.
  • The Department of Taxation had placed Pupo on leave two weeks prior to his firing.


Beyond the Noise, What Are We Actually Doing?

Photo by Lacey Raper on Unsplash

In chaotic times, the most engaging news should simply reflect life as it is. And what life in cannabis can never be more essential than a day in the life of a Mendocino grower.

If Califoria weed has an Africa that would be the Emerald Empire. In our homeland today, there's struggle and misunderstanding. One anonymous grower from the county's Northeast section reminds us of our roots.
Anderson Valley Advertiser

  • The ungussied up rhythms of growing and selling weed are that, "Everything goes along slowly and rarely changes and then suddenly everything changes all at once." That's perhaps a suitable throughline for a New Yorker piece, but it's the honest truth.
  • The normal cannabis entrepreneur is coping with what the author calls “the industrialization of cannabis cultivation.” His anonymous farmer has his area's largest grow, full of 14-feet plants. Bounty though he may raise, he struggles with track-and-trace. In one recollection, a state inspector measures the farmer's whole outfit and advises him to consolidate.
  • Meanwhile, some problems have been a part of Mendo life since the first hippies moved north: “A lot of growers drop the ball at the end of the season, which is understandable because it’s such a long road to get the crop in and then to dry, cure and store it. Those are some of my biggest concerns right now, especially drying.” Everyone's trying not to drop the ball.


New Bill Seeks to Protect Mexican Weed Independence

Getty Images

In Mexico's hallowed Chamber of Deputies — its equivalent to the U.S. Senate — Mario Delgado Carrillo has put forth a bill. that would keep big cannabis from controlling its industry.
Marijuana Moment

  • Carrillo's MORENA party has posited that public health benefits would benefit from the promotion of legalization. A national plan, MORENA says, will stop monopolies from being formed.
  • The legislation presents an outline of Mexican prohibition history in arguing that the nation's policy harms patients who might benefit from the plant.


In San Diego, No More
Billboard Free-For-All

Courtesy of Kate Trysh on UnSplash

San Diego has proposed tighter restrictions on billboards, and loosening the rules on dispensary and production locations. The planning commission takes up the proposals on October 24.
San Diego Union-Tribune

  • The proposal would ban weed billboards within 1,000 feet of public parks, schools, playgrounds, day care centers and youth center. Libraries, churches, and residential care facilities had initially been part of the proposed ban, but have been rejected.
  • The proposal would also allow dispensaries to be located within 100 feet of housing.
  • City reforms also include changing "marijuana" to "cannabis" in codes and documents.


Transbay Challenge: Purple Hues, Lemongrass Notes

Courtesy of Ngaio Bealum

San Francisco bragging rights were at stake with a pop-up called The Transbay Challenge. It turned out to be a summer's end exclamation point.
Cannabis Now

  • Jimi Devine hadn’t produced a cannabis event since he worked on the first New Weed Summit, but then he got together judges Ellen Holland, Ngaio Bealum (above) and Elise McDonough. Being judge-y never felt so good.
  • Perhaps the most compelling plant description is judge Holland's take on Golden Seal's runner-up Red Congolese. “I’m a sucker for landrace genetics so the Red Congolese from Gold Seal and F1 Durban x Gushers cross from Commune bubbled to the to the top.” As it does.

Quick Hit

  1. Is it still news if Seth Rogen shows up for a pot thing? Asking for a fiend. If you missed out on smelling the flower, here’s an opportunity to experience a mediated answer to that Hall of Flowers question and much, much more.
    SF Weekly


Is Hemp Ready for
It's Big Ag Close-Up?

Getty Images

The mammoth 53rd World Ag Expo will go down as the one at which hemp got a debut as large as merited by its potential impact on the agricultural world. The hemp pavilion is a 9,400-square-foot-tent that will house 30 10 by 10 exhibitor spaces, as well as a seminar stage.
Tulare Business Journal

  • Passage of last year's Farm Bill paved the way for 2020's mainstream farming introduction. Organizers point out that 25,000 hemp-related products are available around the world.
  • The Expo runs from Feb. 11-13, in Tulare's International Agri-Center.

Quick Hit

  1. Yikes! There’s hemp growing in Arvin that’s not “harmless” hemp; the weed has too much THC. Welcome to the “hot hemp” lawsuit of Kern County.
    Bakersfield Californian


Roy Choi Eats an Edible,
Offers Awesome Insights

Getty Images

Roy Choi is trying to make things that matter cool. The wildly accomplished accomplished chef and media maker has has a new TV series, related to social justice, food, and sustainability. Broken Bread is nothing if not guided by cannabis.

“I’m truly at one with weed,” Choi says. “It’s my martial art. It’s my shaman, it’s my life…”
Cannabis Now

  • The show features famous faces like Cheech Marin and Shep Gordon explaining the adventure of copping Mary Jane in 1970 and 1969. There's nearer history as well in that Broken Bread takes a look the case of Compton's Virgil Grant, who went to prison for having a dispensary.
  • “We decided if we’re going to look at cannabis, let’s look at the state that it’s in right now and how it’s like a field day — mainly for people who have the privilege to have a field day — but let’s also look at what [led] to the gentrification and the kind of retail element of weed now.”

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