October 2 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
This newsletter’s coming in a bit late. Circumstances informed against me after a whirlwind trip to Vegas. I hope you still find it valuable.
In today’s issue:
- The gloves come off in California beach cities
- Trulieve worker died of kief inhalation
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WHAT YOU MISSED IN WEEDWEEK CALIFORNIA PRO
Bitterly contested ballot initiatives on whether to allow dispensaries in three SoCal beach cities could have far reaching implications for retailers trying to access consumers, an ongoing concern for California’s beleaguered cannabiz. The measures have attracted fierce criticism from local officials as well as some in the industry who say more similar initiatives could further hinder the state market.
The initiatives are funded by Catalyst Cannabis and Tradecraft Farms, two retailers eager to open in the affluent and heavily touristed markets of Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach (Los Angeles Co., 3x). In response, town officials have condemned the initiatives as a foreign invasion. Manhattan Beach Mayor Steve Napolitano and all three city council members signed a statement calling the vote “an abuse of the initiative process,” backed by out of town business interests.
Elliot Lewis, CEO of 13-shop chain Catalyst calls it grassroots democracy. Lewis has gained some renown for social media jeremiads where he describes himself as a fighter delivering #weedforthepeople in the face of “Chads” and MSOs “that ain’t ready for real competition.”
Lewis’ opponents accuse him of trying to secure for himself the kinds of anti-competitive carve outs he claims to oppose, and that few SoCal…
TRULIEVE FACTORY WORKER DIED OF KIEF INHALATION: OSHA
Lorna McMurrey, a 27-year-old worker at MSO Trulieve‘s factory in Holyoke, Mass., died from inhaling cannabis dust during a shift early this year.
A report from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) summarized: “At 11:00 p.m. on January 7, 2022, an employee was grinding cannabis flowers, and packaging ground cannabis in pre-rolls. The employee could not breathe and was killed, due to the hazards of ground cannabis dust.”
According to one Reddit poster, McMurrey was the “first ever cannabis death.”
At time of publication, a Trulieve spokesperson said the company was working on a statement but had not yet approved it.
- Politico looks at how courts could throw the state markets into disarray.
- The FDA hired former New York and Rhode Island cannabis policy advisor Norman Birenbaum, a potential sign that it’s looking to accelerate regulatory action. Pharma Intelligence
- Ten leading MSOs are owe half a billion in back taxes, according to a Green Market Report analysis. They’re apparently using it as a form of financing since the interest payments are less than for loans. Tax experts say it’s a risky strategy.
- MSO MedMen argues that a lawsuit claiming it owes nearly $1M in back rent in Chicago should be argued in federal court citing the federal illegality of its business. Law360
- Florida dropped the battery charge against Abner Kurtin, CEO of MSO Ascend Wellness Holdings. Since the September charge, Ascend said Kurtin would step down from the CEO role but remain chairman. He’s been replaced by Ascend execs Daniel Neville and co-founder Frank Perullo on an interim basis. MJBiz
- Amazon, which supports federal legalization, is removing smoking accessories from it’s marketplace.
- Canada’s teetering Canopy Growth exited the retail market. Globe and Mail
- A Canadian trade group says the country’s whole industry is in crisis.
- Pot stocks melted down in September.
State and local:
- Starting this month any driver suspected of being intoxicated in Las Vegas can have their blood drawn on the spot. Proof of cannabis impairment requires more than a blood test.
- New York’s first call for shop licenses attracted more than 900 applicants.
- REC sales began in Vermont.
- A lawsuit says Detroit licensing is unfair to non-residents.
- In Oklahoma, companies are suing tracking company METRC for dissatisfaction with its service. Also, a Sooner State REC initiative will not be on the ballot in November.
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma Watch
- Canna Law Blog discusses tough times in the Beaver State.
- Recruiting shop FlowerHire discusses industry marketing salaries.
- Plastic weed packaging is becoming a problem.
Inside Climate News
- Hempcrete has been approved for U.S. residential construction.
- Cartoonist Brian “Box” Brown argues the legacy market is more professional than the licensed one.
Health and science:
- Leafly spoke to the neuroscientist author of a new study on cannabis use during pregnancy.
- The Washington Post called stoned parenting “weed’s last taboo.”
Fun & interesting:
- 420-friendly vacation rentals are catching on.
- Weedmaps picks seven brands that define modern stoner style.
- Retail operator TRP opened a Cookies dispensary in Brentwood, the first in the tony LA nabe.
- TRP is partnering with MSO TerrAscend to bring Cookies to Pennsylvania.
- Eaze subsidiary Green Dragon opened six MED dispensaries in Florida.
- The Heritage Club, the first Boston dispensary owned by a Black women, opened.
- Hubspot’s legal chief John Kelleher joined cannatech unicorn Dutchie as general counsel. Bloomberg Law
- Berner received an honorary prize at the CLIO Awards honoring cannabis marketing. Here’s the complete list of winners.
- TechCrunch Live will feature a conversation with cannatech unicorn Dutchie and Casa Verde Capital on October 12. (Casa Verde just invested in German MED company Sanity Group alongside tobacco giant British American Tobacco.)