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September 8 2023,
THE BIG IDEA
Wow, ya go away for a week and the world changes. But as we digest the Schedule III recommendation, the industry keeps moving.
I’m excited to say that WeedWeek will be hosting our first webinar next week: Hirsh Jain will be taking a granular look at the retail geography in California.
It’s happening at 1 pm PT next Thursday, September 14, and you don’t want to miss it.
In the newsletter:
- Weedmaps shakes up prices as online climate shifts
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WEEDWEEK CALIFORNIA PRO
Retailers resist Weedmaps’ price hike
Several SoCal customers pushed back on social media after learning that Weedmaps is shaking up the payment structure for its core advertising business.
The company is best known as a Yelp-style directory for weed retailers. Under the new nationwide pricing plan, some customers would see their rates nearly quadruple.
Diane Kessler, a store manager at Arts District Cannabis in LA, said the price of their basic monthly listing would jump from $495 to $1,695.
TIME FOR A NEW JOB?
HHS RECOMMENDS MOVING CANNABIS TO SCHEDULE III
As most of you have surely heard, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that cannabis be recategorized from Schedule I to the less restrictive Schedule III under the controlled substances act.
The industry would have preferred for weed to be de-scheduled alongside tobacco, alcohol and dietary supplements. While not a complete victory, the cannabiz is celebrating that the change, which requires U.S. Justice Department approval, would end industry-hated tax rule 280E.
This kind of rescheduling is unprecedented and the exact implications remain unclear. And some within the industry remain wary.
Though it came out a couple weeks before the news dropped they generally agreed that Schedule III represented a “Goldilocks” option — not too hot, not too cold — that’s workable within the federal bureaucracy.
- Longtime weedbeat reporter Jeremy Berke also has a good post about why rescheduling may not change much for the industry.
- Days after the Schedule III recommendation, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown said he hopes to get SAFE Banking legislation out of committee within six weeks.
- Tech player Dutchie countersued a vendor which sued it for $25M in unpaid bills. Consultant Marc Hauser explained why it might be a smart move.
Green Market Report
- A psychotropic drug development company called Lucy Scientific Discovery acquired High Times‘ intellectual property as the brand faced a deadline on a $28M debt payment.
- Shops near borders with prohibition states do well.
- Sales slowed in July, according to BDSA data.
New Cannabis Ventures
- Water Tower Research analyst Jesse Redmond said MSO’s Q2 earnings were “not terrible.”
- MSO Green Thumb Industries announced a share repurchase program.
- MSO Cresco Labs became the first operator to have ads on Spotify.
- Industry workers can struggle to access mortgages and loans.
- In a Florida expansion, retailer Planet 13 acquired VidaCann for $49M.
- Bradley Arant attorneys discussed what tobacco giant Altria’s recent purchase of vaping device company Syqe Medical means for the cannabiz.
- The Richest assesses Snoop Dogg’s business empire.
- Lindsey Bartlett said it’s time the industry took women’s buying power seriously.
- Cannabis Now shared insights from Cannabis Conference 2023 in Las Vegas.
State and local:
- Ohio State’s law school released a report on the state’s MED market.
- Maryland released guidelines for equity REC licenses.
- In New York, a petition is circulating to call a special session of the legislature to enact laws protecting equity businesses.
- Critics say Connecticut’s equity partnerships favor big companies. And don’t hold your breath on consumption lounges in the Nutmeg State.
- A lawsuit alleges a New Jersey mayor improperly helped a company win a license.
- A Native American reservation voted to become the first place to sell REC in North Carolina.
- A Missouri judge upheld a recall that’s roiling the state industry.
- Denver’s “Marijuana Mansion” is on the market for $2.3M.
- A Las Vegas influencer warned about a scam used to get tourists to buy fake THC products.
The Daily Dot
- Is weed allowed on college campuses?
Fun and interesting:
- A bill to legalize some psychedelics is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.
- The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is raising the amount of grant money available to cities and counties seeking to license retailers.
- A hemp industry group warned that an amendment to a hemp bill would impose “draconian THC limits” on hemp-derived products, benefitting “marijuana monopolists.”
- Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) said state pot taxes are unacceptably high. He also said Fresno would be the first city to participate in a state/local collaboration to crack down on unlicensed activity.
- Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs’ co-founder and CEO Josh Swider alleged that California dispensary shelves are “inundated” with “distillate produced by turning CBD isolate into D9-THC through synthetic conversion.”
- A non-profit sued several Santa Barbara Co. growers over odor issues.
- Alameda Co. prosecutors are taking aim at a company they say illegally sells flavored tobacco and synthetic cannabis products to children.
Bay Area News Group
- The OB Rag has a history of the weed lobby in San Diego.
- Redlands (San Bernardino Co.) is considering whether to allow dispensaries.
Redlands Daily Facts
- Happy Cabbage Analytics raised $2M.
- Consultancy Siva said it would pivot to focus on corporate turnarounds and distressed assets.
- Unrivaled Brands shared details on its 10-month (so far) turnaround process.
- Operator Blaze Life Holdings hired longtime Anheuser Busch exec Shreyas Balakrishnan as CEO.
- Eric Hammond stepped down as CEO of Highsman.