The WeedWeek California Pro newsletter
Every Thursday morning the newsletter delivers exclusive reporting and analysis about what’s happening in the California market and why it matters for your business.
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September 8 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
Happy fall and greetings from WeedWeek’s new HQ in Long Beach, California.
Let’s get to it:
- Exclusive: We tested top Calif. prerolls for potency inflation
Plus lots more.
I’ll be at the Benzinga conference in Chicago next week. Say hello.
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WHAT YOU MISSED IN WEEDWEEK CALIFORNIA PRO
A WeedWeek test of seven California preroll brands suggests potency inflation is close to ubiquitous in the product category.
- The seven brands we tested include some of the top selling brands in California: El Blunto (Albert Einstone’s), Field (Glass House), Jeeter (DreamFields), KingRoll (StateHouse), Lowell, Pacific Stone and Raw Garden.
Of the seven brands (and nine total products) included, all of them tested below the THC levels on their label. The implied potency inflation on various products ranged from 14% to more than 500%.
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UP TO SIX STATES COULD LEGALIZE IN NOVEMBER
The Hill looks at the six states that could legalize in November:
- South Dakota’s bill would legalize without creating a market. The idea is to avoid the lawsuits that killed the REC initiative the conservative state passed in 2020.
- Arkansas’ board of electors recently derailed a REC initiative, but activists are taking it to the state supreme court.
- Deep blue Maryland is voting on a REC constitutional amendment that would bypass Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is ambivalent on legalization.
- Missouri’s REC proposal, like Maryland’s, would expunge some past pot convictions. The Kansas City Star has more.
- MED state North Dakota is likely to vote on REC.
- Oklahoma’s Supreme Court could put off the REC vote.
- NORML’s Paul Armentano criticized Nebraska’s Supreme Court for killing a MED ballot initiative.
- Politico discusses why weed companies still can’t make money.
- E-cigarette brand JUUL was ordered to pay a nearly $500M fine to resolve an investigation into whether it marketed to youth. Some saw the smaller than expected fine as a good omen for the cannabiz.
- MJBiz looked at the rivalry between trade groups U.S. Cannabis Council and National Cannabis Industry Association.
- A poll found, for the first time, that more Americans smoke weed than cigarettes,
- Green Sentry CEO Brady Cobb discussed buying out MedMen in Florida.
- Abner Kurtin, CEO of MSO Ascend Wellness, was charged with battery in Miami.
The Deep Dive
- The U.S. SEC is suing Instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian’s Ignite International brand to compel compliance over a subpoena involving potential accounting fraud. The company says it’s also being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. Read the complaint. (Legal research supported by Unicourt.)
- NFL great Jim McMahon discussed his brand.
State and local:
- The LA Times has a big story on the illegal market’s vast scope and related environmental and labor problems.
- Grown In checks out a grey-area pot mecca on the New York/Canadian border.
- I reported on armed officials conducting unannounced water inspections in Humboldt County.
- Oregon released proposed rules for its new psychedelics program.
- San Francisco decriminalized psychedelics.
Health and science:
- Among all types of agriculture, a study found wildfires are particularly detrimental for weed.
Fun and interesting:
- @_chaseh_ used AI to manifest Dark Brandon legalizing it.
- Low dose beverage Cann raised several million from adult beverage fund InvestBev.
- Uncle Arnie‘s parent Fly Beverage is expanding to Oregon.
- Cookies Miami had a big first week. It’s owned and operated by TRP.
Respect My Region
- Cookies is also opening a branch of its Lemonnade retailer in Denver.
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August 4 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
We’ve got a story today on lab testing and it’s made me want to dig in to this subject further. Got any ideas, thoughts or tips? Reach out any time: email@example.com
- Lab execs allege rampant potency fraud
Send tips, press releases, concerns, feedback and criticism to firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction: Last week I misspelled the name of LA dispensary Gorilla RX.
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Calif. lab execs allege rampant potency fraud
Berner makes the cover of Forbes
Cookies’ mogul Berner looks badass as the first cannabiz exec to appear on the cover of Forbes. The story, by my friend Will Yakowicz, focuses less on Cookies than the market’s struggles, mostly in California.
A few juicy tidbits:
- According to Jonathan Rubin, CEO of New Leaf Data Services, 95% of California growers operated at a loss last year.
- “Every single company has a back door,” says Jonathan Elfand who runs Empire Cannabis Club in New York City.
- Industry pioneer Steve DeAngelo says legalization failed in California.
- “This whole thing is a fucking scam,” says Jason Gellman of hallowed Ridgeline Farms in Humboldt.
- Glass House Farms co-founder Graham Farrar called the company’s enormous greenhouse a “call option” on federal legalization.
Separately, MJBiz announced Berner would headline their flagship Las Vegas conference in November.
MedMen hit with discrimination suit
An Asian American woman who worked at MedMen‘s Desert Hot Springs (Riverside) facility has sued the MSO alleging discrimination, retaliation, and other labor violations. Amanda Tran alleges the company harassed her on the basis of race, national origin, ancestry, sex and gender. In a response, MedMen denied all the allegations.
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- Lawmakers sent Gov. Newsom a bill that would create safe drug injection site programs.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial page is concerned about the industry’s crisis.
- The state fair’s first cannabis exhibit was popular.
- The massive McKinney Fire in far northern Siskiyou Co is not contained and fire season is just beginning.
- MJBiz suggests California consumption lounges could finally gain traction.
- East Bay Express asks what happened to singer David Crosby’s brand, Mighty Croz, which the old rocker announced in 2018 and has had on hold since.
- AdWeek discusses the appeal of experiential marketing — like wrestling matches and a planned mini Woodstock — for brands.
- Nevada-based Flower One reported a drop in revenue.
Green Market Report
- Santa Monica is the latest beach city that will let voters decide on dispensaries in November.
- Nearby in Manhattan Beach, the city council voted to create a ballot initiative to uphold the city’s dispensary ban. Residents will also vote on an initiative to allow three shops.
- In Redondo Beach, the vote will be, oddly, on Wednesday October 19.
- With LA’s new social equity verification process complete Canna Law Blog has some tips for those who didn’t qualify. The application process begins in about three months after qualifiers are announced.
- SF lawmakers filed a resolution to decriminalize psychedelics.
- Following a local grand jury report found delays with the license approval process, Mendocino County could lose $2.2M in state grants for cannabis businesses.
- The LA Daily News looks at how illegal grows disrupt life in Antelope Valley (LA County.)
Health and science:
- A post from law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King discusses MED use in hospitals in the three states that allow some form of it: California, Maine and Connecticut.
- Cookies announced a global beverage partnership with Green Monké, which is available in Canada and California.
- Holistic Industries announced the arrival of Garcia Hand Picked in Colorado, in partnership with Veritas Fine Cannabis. It’s the fifth state for what calls itself the country’s top celebrity brand.
- Brand Leune raised $5M from investors including Snoop Dogg’s vehicle Casa Verde and NBA stars.
- Kiva’s Lost Farm gummy brand has partnered with musician SAINt JHN for a second limited edition edibles line. Benzinga
- Antonio Frazier has joined testing company Sonoma Lab Works as president. He was previously with CannaSafe which shut its California operations on account of rampant “lab shopping.” North Bay Business Journal
- Weedmaps reports earnings on August 9.
- The city of San Diego is holding an August 11 meeting to discuss proposed changes to cannabis rules.
- Oaksterdam University is celebrating its 15th birthday with a screening of documentary American Pot Story: Oaksterdam on September 24 at the Fox Theater in Oakland.
- Legal publication Daily Journal named its top California cannabis lawyers: Sarah A.K. Blitz – Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Oren Bitan – Buchalter; Hilary V. Bricken – Harris Bricken Sliwoski; Anita Famili – Manatt, Phelps & Philips; Amanda R. Conley; Shay Aaron Gilmore – The Law Office of Shay Aaron Gilmore; Tracy A. Gallegos – Duane Morris LLP; Marc D. Hauser – until recently Reed Smith; Ryan D. Lowther – Farella Braun + Martel; Michelle A. Mabugat – Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger; Shabnam Malek – Brands & Branch LLP; Meital Manzuri – Manzuri law; Allison B. Margolin – Allison B. Margolin PLC; Joseph A. Rogoway – Rogoway law Group, P.C.; Jason H. Rosell – Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones; Robert W. Selna – Selna Partners LLP; Priya Sopori – Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger; Katy M. Young – Ad Astra Law Group; Amy M. Steinfeld – Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Sander C. Zagzebski – Clark Hill