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A Roller-Coaster Week
Like Few Others

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The ride that's legal weed is still throwing all for loops. Last weekend, serious people were fretting about the stock market doldrums.

Days later, the MORE Act easily passed out of its U.S. House committee and investors were singing "Happy Days Are Here Again," only cautiously and to themselves.

Stock market performance only tells the surface narrative of cannabis. Legal weed's new spate of unemployment and disfunction is the backdrop against which the legalization's latest act took shape.
East Bay Express/LA Times 

  • Social media was aflame with news of a California tax increase going into effect on New Years Day. Talk of organized protest snowballed in one popular and active Facebook group. Sacramento entrepreneur and podcast guest Kimberly Cargile wrote to WW California on Friday, "For the last two years since regulations were enacted in CA, the regulated industry has been failing to thrive for 3 main reasons: 1. Lack of local government permitting. 2. Lack of capital. And 3. Extremely high tax rates. Our industry has been advocating to lower taxes so that we can bring in more consumers and compete with the unregulated and untaxed market... It came as a huge surprise and quite frankly a slap in the face when CDTFA raised the taxes this eeek."
  • Inevitably, libertarian critics have come to blame the current business environment on California liberalism's collective effort to shoehorn social justice issues into what was supposed to be a simple Green Rush. Big Pot, the claim goes, has licked its chops because of this, and is waiting to pounce. Only part of that sentence is true.

Quick Hit

  1. A coalition representing the industry petitioned Contra Costa’s Board of Supervisors to rescind its ban on vaping devices. 
    MJ Business Daily
  2. The The San Fernando-based company best known as Kushy Punch lost its license . Reportedly $21M in cartridges and other product was seized from the company's Canoga Park site by law enforcement.


Hundreds of Suspended
Licenses go Unfilled

Photo by Kat Love on Unsplash

If there's a single aspect of the chaos presently all about us in the great state of California, it might be the fact that all of those licenses suspended last month are going unused. Meanwhile, many operators would all but die for one.
MJ Business Daily

  • Weeks ago, regulators put more than 400 operators in suspended animation for their failure to meet their track and trace obligations.
  • According to MJ Biz Daily, 277 out of the 407 permits involved had had not been reinstated to active status as of Tuesday.
  • Of those suspended, there are 164 distributors — 16 transport-only; 28 retailers; 41 delivery services; 34 microbusinesses; eight manufacturers; and two cultivators.


On Thursday, Maybe Be
Grateful for Ted Lieu?

Congressman Ted Lieu has been a vocal pro-legalization voice since 2015. His co-sponsorship of the advancing MORE Act — as well as the SAFE Banking Act — makes him one of the day's salient anti-prohibition voices.

Here Lieu shares his positions on the three bills gaining steam on Capitol Hill.

  • Even though the STATES Act leaves cannabis as a scheduled drug on the federal level, the Representative said that he supports "pretty much any cannabis reform legislation. I understand we're in an environment where Republicans control the Senate. They also control the White House, so you have to think about practicalities."
  • Lieu insists that the Banking Act, which is also moving through Congress on a bipartisan basis, should not be overlooked, as it's a remedy to "the completely ridiculous situation where you have a growing, exciting industry that's all cash. It makes no sense on a number of levels." What happens when the bill lands on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk will be an industry inflection point.
  • "The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl after they legalized it, point of fact," Lieu said. Left unaddressed by the Santa Monica Democrat are the post-legalization titles won by the great Golden State Warriors and Seattle Seahawks squads.

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Social Equity:
Follow the Money
(Seriously, Do That)

WeedWeek California

At last Saturday's State of Cannabis, State Treasurer Fiona Ma wondered aloud about who in the state oversees the funds to be dispersed in support of local social equity programs. Congresswoman Barbara Lee didn't seem to know either. No one in a room chockful of weed cognescenti seemed ignorant as well. That was weird.

For what it's worth, there's going to be an audit of the Los Angeles social equity program.
Cannabis Business Times 

  • Last week L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called for the audit after complaints arose last month that the latest round of licensing was flawed.


Pain Research:
UCLA's New
Pioneering Product

The Institutes of National Health has granted $3.5M to Riva Cooper, the brilliant director of UCLA's Cannabis Research Inititive. The grant will und study of MED's effect on pain.
Unlike nearly every institute of higher learning, Westwood is in a righteous way where the amount of serious academic study it devotes to the plant is concerned.

  • “This is an ideal first project as it probes significant public health questions related to the potential medicinal and adverse effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, a central mission of the Initiative,” Cooper said.


As Atwater
Retail Goes, So
Goes the State

Getty Images

The traditional market is strong and the politics run deep red in and around this Merced County town. So, how does a municipality respond when its moderately-underperforming first REC storefront asks for a new contract?
Merced Sun-Star

  • Atwater's council voted 4-1 last week to change the store’s monthly payments to the city from $15,000 to 5% of gross monthly sales.
  • An attorney for Medallion Wellness said the terms had been established on the condition that the local illicit market would be stanched.
  • “I would rather take a little bit less than the $15,000,” Councilmember Cindy Vierra said. “Fourteen-thousand is nice versus nothing at all, and if you fail, that’s what we get.”

Quick Hit

  1. Elon Musk will apologize to SpaceX employees for that anemic hit he took while guesting on Joe Rogan's podcast, proving that the government — not space — remains the frontier we must immediately concern ourselves with.

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So, You've Never in
Back of the Dispensary?

The vast majority of cannabis consumers don't know the industry beyond their dispensary's show room. That makes what a business looks like beyond that room's door legitimate news. As many perfectly tasteful rap fans clearly bought To the Extreme as their first album, many future cannabis people will be introduced through local TV segments.

A San Diego TV reporter offers his take on an operation in downtown Los Angeles.
NBC San Diego

  • TradeCraft Farms opened last month. One of its owners got into it because a family member experienced pain. There are rows of plants and high-tech temperature control equipment. TradeCraft product must be tracked from seed to sale.
  • It's crucial to remember that, for reporter Dave Summers' listeners, this is serious news.


Brit Psychedlics Scholars Join Cali Decrim Movement

Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash

On Monday, The Beckley Foundation, Oxford, England's psychedelic study institute, jumped into California's psilocybin decriminalization movement.

  • Beckley's partnership with the open-source initiative that is Decriminalize California would be an exchange of knowledge. "Decriminalize California welcomes the knowledge and expertise that Amanda and the team at the Beckley Foundation brings to the campaign, and looks forward to implementing evidence-based drug policies, via the democratic consent of the people of California, and working to end many of the disastrous collateral harms caused by decades of prohibition," the site says.


No One Said A Thing
About Dosing Grandma

Getty Images

KIVA Confections' infused gravy. comes in a single serving pouch, containing 10 milligrams of THC.

Have seconds. 

  • The product allegedly takes effect in 15 minutes. A serving costs $5 and is available at Sweet Flower in Los Angeles and San Francisco's Grass Roots dispensary.


The One Where Matt Barnes Meets Nellie

Getty Images

Matt Barnes, the talkative and funny former NBA forward, told a celebrity-laden story about Don Nelson that made its way into a Tweet by ESPN's Arash Markazi.

  • Nelson, Barnes, Owen Wilson, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, and Woody Allen are in the story. (Clearly someone meant Woody Harrelson.) And Snoop Dogg.

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