September 30 2023,


Hi all,

Great to see so many of you in Chicago this week. 

It was a schlep getting back, so today’s newsletter is a bit short. But watch this space; Some big stories are in the works. We’ve also got the return of High Society (below). Send your pics to  

Also, after Hirsh Jain’s presentation on California retail geography went so well, I’m beginning to think about future panels, presentations, debates and other virtual events. Got any ideas for who to include? Let me know.  

Rock on,



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There was a hum in the air at this week’s Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago (a WeedWeek advertiser), that I hadn’t heard in a while. The money spigots aren’t on full blast exactly, but smart people say the capital climate is slowly improving. Investors seemed to be feeling better, at least about their prefered niches and sub-niches.

With rescheduling and SAFER banking now on the table, meaningful federal reform has never felt so close. But, many cautioned that it’s important to temper the optimism. The cannabiz and federal Washington still don’t understand each other very well. Whether or not the revised banking bill passes, it’s “become a proxy fight for other interests,” longtime legalization activist Justin Strekal told Politico.

The folks I asked seemed much more deeply invested in rescheduling to Schedule III. Since it would end industry-hated tax rule 280E would be a game changer for virtually every plant touching company. While some have argued that it’s near certain to go through, others are more concerned. The Schedule III recommendation from the Dept. of Health and Human Services now goes to the DEA, which (as far as I’m aware) has never ceded any ground on federal prohibition.

It’s not your father’s DEA. Director Anne Milgram, a political appointee,  was previously an attorney general of New Jersey known for police reform efforts. While we don’t know exactly how the Biden campaign plans to leverage the popularity of rescheduling, it’s going to happen somehow. And Milgram will be under intense pressure to reschedule. However, the Washington Post editorial page suggested Schedule II would be a more prudent option, leaving 280E in place. “Given the risks that remain with marijuana consumption, it seems preferable to be cautious on expanded marketing,” it said. 280E is an unfair tax, but in the eyes of official Washington, ending it would be just another sop to special interests.  

While the cannabis world vastly preferred de-scheduling, Schedule III would still be a major advance (both tangible and symbolic) for the industry and how the plant is viewed in society. By contrast, Schedule II would be a devastating setback for everyone who pays pot taxes, and the people who get paid by them. And since neither rescheduling is likely to have much immediate effect on consumers, it might be politically safer for Biden as well. Plan accordingly.



State and local:



Health and science:

Fun and interesting:



  • MJBiz has a rundown of key weed bills now awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature (or veto).
  • SF Gate discusses the industry’s pushback to AB 1207, the bill which would ban pictures of people from weed labels and marketing, including social media. “This is an attack on our identities,” Oakland equity activist and entrepreneur Amber Senter said.
  • Distru exec Azam Khan posted about the DCC’s Request for Information for track and trace software. It’s not “a signal from the DCC that they are themselves dissatisfied with Metrc. They are simply putting out the contract since the 5 year mark is about to be up.” Applications were due in July.


Job moves:

  • Jesus Burrola stepped down as CEO of Posibl, which developed Latino-centric brand Humo. WeedWeek has covered the brand’s lawsuit against its former marketing consultant. Hector Salazar, who has been involved with the company, is the new CEO.
  • Vertically integrated StateHouse named Zed Schlott, VP of retail.
  • Unrivaled Brands named Arturo Sanchez associate general counsel, compliance and David Stogner director of people.

Company milestones:




Courtesy: Liesl Bernard

CannabizTeam hosted a fun Chicago happy hour at venue Chez this week. Here’s boss Liesl Bernard with, from left to right, Terrascend CEO Jason Wild, CFO Keith Stauffer, COO Ziad Ghanem and CannabizTeam’s Rachelle Henning. Shout out to brand Kaviar for distributing samples in Volcano-filled vape balloons, which I hadn’t seen before. 

Send High Society pics to

Correction: This previously referred to CannabizTeam as a sponsor. It hosted the event.

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