July 8 2023,
THE BIG IDEA
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Let’s get to it:
- Could Cookies THCa gambit pay off?
- Is a “land shark” coming?
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In the news
EXCLUSIVE: COULD COOKIES' THCA GAMBIT PAY OFF?
A week ago, the country’s best known cannabis brand launched “Cookies on Demand,” a service that mails branded flower, concentrates and other products to consumers in 14 states. As many WeedWeek readers are aware, there’s no legal way to sell state-legal weed across state lines. So, what’s going on here?
Cookies is selling “hemp THCa flower,” under a controversial interpretation of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, which legalized hemp. In recent years, companies have exploited a loophole in the same law to manufacture Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating compounds from hemp, which, per federal law, isn’t allowed to contain more than 0.3% THC. Selling hemp THCa flower across state lines involves what one lawyer described as a “pinhole,” within that loophole.
But it’s also a fast growing business and Cookies wants in. PLUS: Meet a thriving THCa entrepreneur in San Antonio, Texas…
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TIME FOR A LAND SHARK?
Todd Harrison at Cannabis Confidential has a characteristically provocative take: “There are several reasons these discussion make sense (CRON cash balance > market cap/ international assets /biosynthetics /more below) but we have questions:”
- “Would Cronos shareholders bless a consummation near an all-time low?
- “Could Curaleaf justify the deal given minimal, if any, overlap/ cost-savings?
- “And most importantly for prevailing sentiment: where will Altria net out—would this be their entrée or an exit?”
- The FTC and FDA sent cease and desist letters to companies selling Delta-8 edibles in “nearly identical” packaging to snacks kids know.
- The Montana Senate race is complicating the SAFE Banking bill and veterans reforms.
- Congress is debating several proposals that would ease cannabis use restrictions for veterans and active service members.
- Genetics shop Seed Junky sued Cookies alleging fraud and IP theft. Cookies CEO Berner refuted the allegations on Instagram.
- A judge ruled an investor lawsuit against Parallel’s former CEO, chewing gum heir Beau Wrigley, can move forward.
Green Market Report
- Wrigley, which makes Skittles candy, settled a trademark dispute with Terphogz LLC.
- MSOs Cresco Labs and Columbia Care weren’t able to complete the necessary divestitures by June 30, their self-imposed deadline for closing their proposed $2B merger. In a statement, they said they are “working amicably with respect to next steps.”
- May sales were sluggish.
New Cannabis Ventures
- Scientists have reportedly discovered a type of purple-colored cannabis that appears to fight off plant disease Hop-Latent Viroid which have blighted crops nationwide.
- Related: MJBiz discusses the touchy issue of plant irradiation.
- Canna Law Blog‘s Hilary Bricken discusses the industry litigation she’s watching.
- The new Meta-owned app Threads directs users to drug treatment when they search for weed or psychedelics.
- MG Magazine discusses how to build consumer loyalty.
State and local:
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) hit the brakes on sales at farmer’s markets.
- Oregon grower and LinkedIn voice Trent Hancock discussed why he just cut down his plants. KOIN breaks down the aspergillus testing issue.
- Ohio activists submitted 222,000 signatures to the Secretary of State to get REC on the November ballot.
Health and science:
- A study found “significant associations” between cannabis use and serious post-operative complications.
- The Feds charged three men with insider trading related to the 2021 SPAC deal for Donald Trump’s media company. Two of them are reportedly involved in a cashless ATM company called Transact First.
Fun and interesting:
- The San Jose Mercury News editorial page endorsed the labeling and packaging bill opposed by the industry.
- The state’s task force seized $109M in illegal weed (and products) in Q2, double their haul in Q1. This almost certainly represents less than 5% of the total illegal market.
- Tech shop Meadow asks what happened to MED in California?
- MJBiz digs into the Herbl mess. At least one brand is suing the former distro for lack of payment and Herbl has sued at least ten retailers and delivery services for unpaid debt. Meanwhile the L.A. Times reports that Kevin Singer, who Herbl’s debtor requested to be the Herbl receiver, was recommended by L.A. city officials to replace an embattled receiver overseeing 1,500 Skid Row apartments.
- Growing hub Santa Barbara Co. is moving towards a “death penalty” for farms that don’t pay their taxes.
- Despite talks, a Humboldt Co. initiative opposed by growers appears headed for a March 2024 ballot initiative.
Mad River Union
- San Diego County will host public meetings to discuss its forthcoming equity program.
- Seven years after Proposition 64, California has expunged, sealed or resentenced 206,502 pot convictions, about 90% of those elligible.
- There’s a Berkeley memorial service Sunday for psychedelics pioneer Ann Shulgin.
- Struggling MSO MedMen named Ellen Deutsch CEO and Amit Pandey CFO. Deutsch succeeds interim CEO Edward Record.
- The Humboldt Area People’s Archive is hosting a July 12 event to discuss the region’s counterculture.
Mad River Union
- Applications are open for Cookies’ Cookies U program which strives to create “an equitable access point” into the industry.
- @zendoproject seeks volunteers to provide psychedelic peer support at Burning Man.