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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September 16 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
It was great to see many of you in Chicago this week. Forgot how much I dig that city.
Let’s get to it:
- Why Wana Brands Left California
- What’s working here
- CEO Jon Avidor departs Shryne
Send tips, press releases, concerns, feedback and criticism to email@example.com
Why Wana Brands left California
HOW TO WIN IN CALIFORNIA: TWO VIEWS
Not all is doom and gloom here according to two plugged in execs:
Rob Sechrist, president of mortgage REIT Pelorus Equity Group, said the California market is “more nuanced than the soundbites that you hear.” While many outdoor producers can’t find buyers, he sees “indoor user/owners who grow for themselves” in a much stronger position.
- In this year of oversupply, he says its smart to prepare for a shortage.
- However, he warned about dashing into interstate trade agreements: “California should figure out its own economics before they make it more complicated.”
Brady Cobb, chairman of OnePlant, which has nine California shops, also sees upside in going vertical. The company plans to buy a high end indoor grow which “gives you the opportunity to distinguish yourself amid an endless supply of mids.”
Cobb is also CEO of Sunburn Cannabis, which recently
stole bought MedMen’s vertical license in Florida, including 14 dispensaries, for $63M.
- Cobb is especially bullish on where MedMen placed its shops. “We can fix the grow, we can’t replicate its store locations,” he said.
- Though Sunburn has fewer stores than Trulieve and other MSOs, Cobb sees an inflated store count as a detriment. With federal legalization, he expects dispensary’s to lose their monopoly on selling legal weed.
SCOOP: CEO Avidor departs Shryne
Jon Avidor has departed his role as CEO of Stiiizy parent company Shryne Group to return to lawyering, someone familiar with the situation confirmed to WeedWeek. Avidor, who had been chairman and president, took over the CEO role last September after former CEO Brian Mitchell was indicted for fraud in relation to his work at a previous company. (Mitchell has pleaded not guilty.)
The company needs operational expertise and Avidor did not see himself in that role, the source said. Co-founder James Kim now serves as CEO; COO Mark Unterbach is adding chairman to his portfolio.
- WeedWeek recently published a story about Stiiizy’s popular vapes showing up in New York City.
- Congressman Jared Huffman (D – Emerald Triangle) introduced a bill to allow small growers and manufacturers to sell weed by mail nationwide with federal legalization.
- The L.A.Times looks at the local corruption associated with legal weed and the scourge of unlicensed dispensaries.
- The state’s new advisory committee, charged with making policy recommendations, got to work.
- Statehouse Holdings (formerly Harborside) doubled its quarterly revenue to $34.6M after closing its acquisition of LoudPack.
- Cookies’ new California distributor Humble & Fume took a $6M investment from Canada’s Green Acre Capital. The deal was funded by an option agreement with Johnson Brothers, a major U.S. liquor distributor.
- Herbl CEO Mike Beaudry spoke to liquor biz pub Shanken New Daily about the cannabiz’s challenge’s.
- The Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis filed a complaint alleging widespread illegal water usage by growers along the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara County. For more see the Santa Barbara Independent.
Santa Ynez Valley News
- An Alameda County judge upheld an order calling for two Oakland grows to stop using diesel generators.
- California City News counts more than 20 cities which could vote to allow retail this fall. Plus, LA, San Diego and Sacramento County residentd will vote on shops in unincorporated areas.
- Some in Ukiah (Mendocino Co.) think Cookies’ brand is too attractive to kids.
Ukiah Daily Journal
- Urbn Leaf, now part of Statehouse, continues to push for a shop in San Diego neighborhood Rancho Bernardo.
San Diego Union-Tribune
- Green Market Report checks out the ballot measure fights in LA County’s beach cities.
- A Nevada judge ruled the state’s classification of cannabis as a schedule I (banned) drug is unconstitutional.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Two lawsuits accuse a company of bilking their social equity partners out of the company’s profits.
Fun and interesting:
- Willamette Week recounts the legends of Portland, Ore.’s iconic strains.
- Mint Cannabis is opening Arizona’s first 24-hour pot shop in the Phoenix area. (California shops must close at 10 p.m.)
- Cookies partnered with Akanda to bring high-THC strains to Europe in coming years.
- Lender FundCanna is now financial platform PayQwick‘s preferred lending partner.
- New York law firm Feuerstein Kulick expanded to Oakland and is bringing on all four lawyers at Ringgenberg Law.
- Kiva Sales and Service will distribute new brand CherryWorld.
- Kiva also announced its new Kiva Cares Project, a new program to prevent cannabis waste and supply patients in need.
- The Parent Company launched brand RCVRY with YouTube star FaZe Rain.
- Greg Gaspar joined Shango as sales director.
- Beleaguered Unrivaled Brands named Patty Chan interim CFO.
- Journalist Jackie Bryant will be on a panel discussing the San Diego situation as part of Voice of San Diego‘s Politifest, October 8.
- Mendo Dope Boys are giving away two tickets to an upcoming Oregon show with Marlon Asher.
- The Dazed on the Green music festival is this weekend in Turlock (Stanislaus Co.).