October 14 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
Happy weekend all!
Have you seen our gorgeous new media kit yet?
Let’s get to it:
- SCOOP: Massachusetts was investigating Trulieve before Lorna McMurrey died
- Does a 5.5M square foot greenhouse make sense?
- The toughest job in weed
WeedWeek regularly links to paywalled content
LATEST PRESS RELEASE
Native Roots Launches Gold Label: Small Batch, Handcrafted Cannabis
WHAT YOU MISSED IN WEEDWEEK CALIFORNIA PRO
Questions for Nicole Elliott, California’s top regulator
Nicole Elliott, executive director of California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has the toughest job in weed. She oversees a tremendous market where all the legal industries’ challenges have run amok. Many of these were baked in before Elliott took the helm and/or are beyond her power to change.
Still, she’s as prepared for the job as anyone reasonably could be. Elliott was San Francisco’s first top regulator then served as Gov. Newsom’s liaison to the industry. We spoke about her top priorities, her recent visit to the Emerald Triangle and her plan to expand retail access.
Does Glass House’s 5.5M sq. ft. greenhouse make sense?
Glass House owes its status as one of California’s most controversial cannabis companies largely to a number: 5.5M. That’s the square footage of its new Ventura County greenhouse. It’s 126 acres, almost 100 football fields, the largest licensed grow in the country. The outsized facility has made Glass House the face of the mega-grows that have pushed prices down and hobbled many California farmers. And Glass House aims to push its production costs still lower.
Co-founder and President Graham Farrar thinks it’s a winning strategy.
For a non-paywalled conversation with Farrar, check out the latest episode of The Dime podcast.
TRULIEVE "KILLED MY FRIEND"
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) began investigating MSO Trulieve in Fall 2021, not long before a worker at Trulieve’s Holyoke, Mass. factory died in early January.
- The active inquiry began “due to employee complaints,” a CCC spokesperson told WeedWeek.
- CCC is working with state and federal officials on the investigation but declined to comment further.
Trulieve was not able to immediately comment. The company has repeatedly declined to comment on the specifics of Lorna McMurrey’s death other than to say personal protective equipment (PPE) was available onsite and that OSHA found air quality levels within acceptable ranges.
McMurrey, 27, left the factory in an ambulance on January 7, 2022 and died at a hospital.
- The CCC said it became aware of McMurrey’s passing on or around January 10. Trulieve was required to report her death to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) within hours.
The CCC statement comes after McMurrey’s former Trulieve supervisor Danny Carson said the company promoted the factory’s safety manager a month after McMurrey’s death. Carson described the promotion as indicative of the company’s disregard for worker safety.
- “They killed my friend,” he said.
- “Gloves are not personal protective equipment,” he said. “A hairnet is not personal productive equipment.”
- Trade groups U.S. Cannabis Council and the National Cannabis Industry Association didn’t respond to Carson’s assertion that the lack of access to respirator masks at Trulieve’s factory is standard for the industry.
Separately, a U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) report no longer lists a cause of death for McMurrey. It previously said McMurrey died from cannabis dust inhalation while making pre-rolls.
- An OSHA spokesperson declined to comment on the change, but said the case is still open.
- According to a spokesperson for Springfield, Mass., McMurrey died of brain death brought on by cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest and “presumed severe asthma attack.”
WeedWeek reached out to numerous MSOs and Trulieve partners to ask about their safety records and worker safety protocols. None provided a comment.
- One thing that hasn’t gotten as much attention as it deserves is that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra has an outsized role in the federal review Biden has set in motion. Becerra is a former California Attorney General and legalization supporter.
- In Slate I argued Biden’s pardons are not enough. The magazine also discussed what his review of weed’s schedule 1 status means for MED research.
- Following a recent federal court ruling against Maine’s residency requirement for MED businesses, a Michigan individual is suing for a New York license.
Green Market Report
- Financial analyst Aaron Edelheit thinks Biden will move fast on federal legalization, to help him run for re-election.
- MSO Verano killed a deal to acquire Green Growth Holdings for $413M. GGH said it would sue.
Green Market Report
- After a tough year, the biz is looking forward to a strong holiday season.
- Bloomberg meets some of the big players in cannabis banking.
- Many companies have corrected errors in their financial statements. MJBiz
- Motley Fool looked into the recent board resignations at MSO Green Thumb Industries. The company has released a statement that the resignations came in response to a disagreement over the company’s polices and practices on personal misconduct, not its financial performance. The company has been profitable for eight-straight quarters, which few if any other big MSOs can match. Do you know more? Email me on background: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tech unicorn Dutchie has a new insurance offering for the industry. Forbes
- Scaffolding at Cookies’ flagship location in New York’s Herald Square has been criticized for potentially violating state rules which explicitly forbid use of the word “Cookies” in weed marketing. The company says for now it’s only selling clothing and CBD. It’s not the first time the company has been criticized for marketing to kids. NY Post, WeedWeek
- Lawyer/consultant Marc Hauser discussed MSO MedMen’s lawsuit defense that a Chicago lease is unenforceable because it and its landlord are breaking federal law. “It’s not a novel or frivolous argument,” Hauser writes.
- HoneySuckle introduces leading women of the east coast industry.
State and local:
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is promising “complete eradication” of the illegal market. The state will expand its nearly four-decade multi-agency seasonal eradication program into a year-round effort. It will also prosecute underlying labor and environmental crimes, said Attorney General Rob Bonta. Fortune
- A fire shut down Nevada’s application system after it started accepting dispensary lounge applications.
- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper endorsed decriminalization.
- Canna Law Blog discusses Washington state’s flawed new equity rule.
- New Mexico still prefers illegal product. The Paper
- Oregon saw pot taxes fall for the first time. Portland Business Journal
- MMA fighter and MED activist Elias Theodorou died of cancer at 34.
Fun and interesting:
- Miss Grass discusses how to bring your relationship with the plant back into balance.
- Payments provider CanPay announced an exclusive partnership with ERP platform Seed & Beyond.
- Charlotte’s Web is now Major League Baseball’s “official CBD.”
- Media company Respect My Region dropped a flower brand: Legacy Smalls, grown by The Cure Company. It got me thinking. Does the world need a WeedWeek brand?
- High-dose beverage Uncle Arnie’s announced a distribution deal with Herbl and one with Nimble Distro in Oregon.
- MSO TerrAscend borrowed $45.5M in non-dilutive funding from OC-based real estate lender Pelorus Equity Group.
- SXSW will feature a panel on whether the union of equity and tech can save cannabis?
- Formerly Portland, Ore.’s top regulator, Dasheeda Dawson will take on the same job in New York City. WeedWeek, N.Y. Times
- Pharmacist Laura Mentch is Pennsylvania’s new top regulator. Green Market Report
- Humble & Fume, Cookies’ new California distributor, named Charlie Cangialosi, VP Commercial for the state.
- MSO Ayr Wellness names Neiman Marcus exec David Goubert president.