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.
(See an example here.)

March 30 2022,

TOGETHER WITH

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SOMETHING NEW...

THE BIG IDEA

Hi all,

We’re excited to introduce the first issue of WeedWeek California Pro, the only publication for people who make money in the world’s largest cannabis market. 

In this new newsletter, I’ll deliver exclusive reporting and analysis every week. Subscribers will also have access to our new, interactive tax and licensing maps, powerful tools to help you better understand the Golden State’s $5B+ cannabiz. 

Check it all out with a two-week trial for just $1

And don’t worry, we’ll still publish the free WeedWeek newsletter on Fridays.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it valuable.

Alex

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Send tips, press releases, concerns, feedback and criticism to hello@weedweek.com

SHAKE UPS

LA SET TO OVERHAUL LICENSE PROCESS

LA’s Department of Cannabis Regulation held a webinar yesterday on forthcoming changes to the city’s cannabis ordinance.

Built on top of entrenched grey and illegal markets, the city known as the world’s largest market has struggled with a host of challenges since the California REC market opened in 2018.

  • Cat Packer, the department’s first executive director stepped down in early March. Her former deputy Michelle Garakian has the reins on an interim basis.

Largely in response to frustrated applicants, the city began an ordinance review process in September. Among other goals, the new draft ordinance aims to clarify and accelerate licensing, with an emphasis on ensuring a smoother process for social equity applicants.

Among its proposals:

  • A lottery, probably next year, would determine winners of the “phase 3, round 2” process for social equity applicants seeking retail licenses.
  • They no longer have to be holding the property to apply for a license, but the definition of who qualifies as a social equity applicant is narrower.
  • City cultivation licenses would be reserved for social equity applicants through January 1, 2025.
  • Emily Hackman, a license specialist with law firm Vicente Sederberg, said one big takeaway is DCR would have to meet codified deadlines for responding to applicants 

The new ordinance could be approved by city council as soon as April, but they will also have opportunities to modify and delay it. 

See the city’s presentation here.

BILL PROPOSES BIG YELLOW WARNING LABELS

State Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D – Sac.) is holding a virtual press conference today to support SB 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act. It would require cannabis products to carry big yellow warning labels.

If the bill passes:

  • One-third of packages would have to be covered with warnings about DUI, use during pregnancy and cannabis’ potential to contribute to mental health problems, especially when THC is consumed frequently or in high doses. 
  • One of the messages would say: “WARNING: Buy Legal! Illegally sold cannabis is more likely to contain unsafe additives or harmful contaminants such as mold or pesticides.”

The California Cannabis Industry Association opposes the bill.

In a March 25 letter to Sen. Richard Roth, (D-Inland Empire), chair of the Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, CCIA executive director Lindsay Robinson argued the bill would:

  • Create additional regulatory burdens for an industry that has its share
  • Be redundant since products already have “significant and effective warning labels”
  • Lead to increased landfill waste and carbon emissions
  • Do nothing to reduce demand for illegal product

The bill’s supporters include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

  • California ER visits with cannabis as the primary cause have increased from 9,793 in 2016 to 14,999 in 2019.

Dr. Lynn Silver, a pediatrician and senior advisor to with Getting It Right From the Start, a program by of the non-profit Public Health Institute, which promotes public health and equity on cannabis policy called the labels a “very low cost intervention.” 

  • “I think it’s in the interests of the cannabis industry for consumers to have safer positive experiences and to avoid adverse experiences,” Silver said. 
  • She expressed optimism that the bill would pass. “We hope to have the support of the cannabis industry as well.”

EQUITY

SAN DIEGO CO. BEGINS LISTENING TOUR

San Diego County, the second most populous in the state, also has one of the lowest concentrations of dispensaries (See chart below). Now it’s seeking to develop an equity program and crack down on the illegal market. 

This week a company contracted by the county, Womxn’s Work Consulting kicked off a listening tour to discuss what equity could look like.

  • Aside from familiar equity issues, participants made intriguing, but unlikely suggestions like community cannabis gardens, farmers markets and government purchase quotas.  
  • Womxn’s Work is also conducting a community survey on what equity should look like and who should benefit. The responses will inform how the county shapes the program.
  • The listening tour continues Saturday at 10 a.m. You can tune in on Zoom

QUICK HITS

Politics:

Regulation:

Business:

Fun and interesting:

WEED DESERTS HO!

CHART OF THE WEEK

Our first chart of the week digs into WeedWeek‘s maps and state data to find the California counties with the fewest retail licenses per person, (storefront and non-storefront).

The graph takes us from Los Angeles County, where 328 active licenses amounts to just one per 30,000-ish people to Placer County which has one active license for its population of just over 400,000 people. It’s Golden State Patient Care, in Colfax, in case you’re hard up. 

  • To be included, a county had to have at least 1 pot shop and 100,000 people.

NOTABLES

Company Milestones:

Job Moves:

Upcoming:

Send your milestones to hello@weedweek.com

VAPE IT UP EDITION

WEEDWEEK HIGH SOCIETY

Collin Palmer, head of formulations at PAX with Chris Sayegh “The Herbal Chef,” and PAX COO Steven Jung smile for the camera at a tasting event for PAX’s new Live Rosin with Natural Diamonds vape pods.  Sayegh hosted the event at Nostalgia Bar & Lounge, his restaurant in Santa Monica. 

Pax
Photo by Kaitlin Parry @shootpeople_ , Courtesy of PAX

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June 2 2022,

TOGETHER WITH

THE BIG IDEA

Hi all,

Let’s get to it:

  • Pacific Stone is latest to leave Herbl
  • Shryne Group hit by labor suit

And lots more,

Alex

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WeedWeek California Pro is the only publication for people who make money in the world’s lagest cannabis market.
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SHRYNE GROUP HIT BY LABOR SUIT

This winter vertically integrated Shryne Group signed a collective bargaining agreement with more than 1,200 retail workers organized under the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. At the time a union official said the benefits and pay could make it a “model contract” for the industry. 

A lawsuit filed in May paints a different picture of working for the company. Former Shryne cultivation technician Juan Perez alleges that the company didn’t pay him for all hours worked, didn’t provide itemized wage statements, and didn’t reimburse him for expenses during his 16 days on the job. 

Perez’s time at Shryne came before the labor agreement, though as a non-retail worker, he wouldn’t have been included in it.  

  • A Shryne spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

More Shryne:

Last Thursday WeedWeek reported on a draft deal between Shryne and a social equity partner that outside lawyers called lopsided in the company’s favor. That evening Shryne and the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) hosted an LA fundraiser for California Attorney General and industry ally Rob Bonta.

  • Neither Bonta’s office nor CCIA responded to requests for comment on the story.  

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WeedWeek California Pro is the only publication for people who make money in the world’s largest cannabis market. Get a two-week trial subscription for $1!

QUICK HITS

Sacramento:

Business:

Local:

Health and safety:

Criminal Justice:

Strategy and execution:

  • Sounding a note of optimism, Bengal Capital suggests “home court advantage” could benefit some California brands.

Fun and interesting:

CHART OF THE WEEK

Our new Chart of the Week draws on WeedWeek Maps data to highlight counties with the most active non-retail licenses. They paint a unique picture of the state industry with some thinly populated areas having robust concentrations of business. And it’s not limited to the Emerald Triangle. Counties like Fresno, Kings (between Bakersfield and Fresno) and Nevada (between Sacramento and Reno, Nev.) have become unheralded production hubs.

Got some data for Chart of the Week? Send it to hello@weedweek.com

NOTABLES

herve
Courtesy of Hervé

Company milestones:

Job Moves:

Upcoming:

Products:

  • Edibles brand Hervé introduced a new CBN-infused hard candy for its Le Mirage Pez-like dispenser. CBN is said to help with sleep. (pictured)
  • Lowell Herb Co. is bringing back its Pride Packs to benefit GLAAD. Many other brands also have Pride promotions 

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