Catching Up On Cannabis News

It’s been a minute.

The Broccoli Report 
Monday, September 13, 2021
Time to read: 6 minutes, 36 seconds. Contains 1322 words.

Good morning!

It feels like it’s been much longer than a couple of weeks between Monday Reports! Since our last Monday dispatch, we dropped a fresh Broccoli Talk episode about “Weed & Friendships,” and I joined Mala Muñoz for an episode of her podcast, Marijuanera (dropping tomorrow). I lost myself in the hour and a half of joy that is “Summer of Soul,” the new documentary about the epic concert series held at the same time as Woodstock that was virtually lost in the folds of history until now. That should get me through til the Savage X Fenty fashion show drops next Friday.

Before the news, a note re: Friday’s newsletter. This week, we’ll revisit a trend we covered in one of our early Reports—growing at home. From singular patio plants to finding hemp seeds and growing workshops, or even ordering a bud-filled bouquet, there are plenty of new shoots to touch on, and the cannabis-consuming community seems to be eager for more. Sign up for Friday newsletters to RSVP to this garden party.

One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance

  • The weed scene in New York is waking up. New governor Kathy Hochul has finally gotten the ball rolling for the adult-use program, announcing the first two members of the state’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB). Four seats remain to be filled before the board can get to business nailing down the finer points of regulation, sales taxation, and license allocation.

  • Meanwhile, science and business faculty members at New York’s historic Medgar Evers College have collaborated to develop a minor in cannabis education. Students can now enroll in the first prerequisite course for this degree: “Introduction to the World of Cannabis.”

  • More business in the Big City: A new conference called The Business of Cannabis: New York will take place on September 29, bringing together influential business, financial, and political leaders for serious networking and knowledge sharing. Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita, a featured speaker, is sure to touch on the new buying feature recently announced for Leafly’s app. 

  • September 19 to September 26 is this year’s Black Cannabis Week, “a collective web of educational and informational experiences to empower Black communities to move toward social and political change.” A collaboration between the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO), Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), Philadelphia Cannabis Business Association (PCBA), and others, events range from a career and expungement fair, a round table discussion with legislators like Pennsylvania state Senator Sharif Street, a hands-on hempcrete workshop, a free cannabis certification, and networking sessions with fellow entrepreneurs. RSVP here for free general admission.

  • What comes after CBN and Delta-8 in minor cannabinoid trends? Potentially Delta-X, a.k.a. THCO, a.k.a. THC-O-Acetate. THCO is a cannabinoid derived from CBD with a potency that sounds like super-charged OG THC (as in Delta-9—the stony stuff). It’s created in a lab by condensing Delta-8 or Delta-9 THC in a science-y solution. Because THCO does not naturally occur in the plant, most regulators’ regard it as synthetic, thus putting it closer to the “federally illegal” end of the grey-area spectrum. But who knows! That’s what we said about Delta-8, and entire companies dedicated to that cannabinoid have since emerged.

  • The Hound, a cannabis breathalyzer designed to detect recent cannabis use, just secured a $20 million investment to scale production. It’s main customer demographic so far seems to be employers, particularly those of truck drivers, but I’m sure their long-term goals are widespread adoption by law enforcement. It’s been near impossible for police to cite DUIs related to cannabis use because, well, it’s hard to prove someone’s high. Right now, to do so, they have to bring the driver back to the station and get a positive urinary analysis, which the driver can easily argue resulted from legal use within the past two weeks. Two years after Oregon legalized weed, I talked to an Oregon State cop. At the time, he said not one driver had been cited for driving high yet. They just couldn’t prove it. 

  • iFundWomen—the funding marketplace for women-owned businesses—launched a helpful podcast intended to provide “free startup coaching advice to all women entrepreneurs.” 

  • How wild is it that the FBI has been investigating Nevada’s potentially corrupt cannabis licensing program for over a year? In a summer 2020 interview, one source told federal agents that they witnessed eyebrow-raising campaign contributions, including one dispensary owner promising to raise $2 million for a candidate. (The source never saw a quid pro quo for a license). Nevada’s legal market has been a contentious space ever since the state awarded all of the 64 new licenses to just 17 applicants, sparking dozens of lawsuits. More dirty laundry may be hitting the clothesline before the investigation concludes.

  • Gorilla RX—the new dispensary that just debuted in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles—had their campaign featured in Adweek with a story about their glorious mural commissioned in partnership with Decoded Advertising. This marks the first time the historic Crenshaw neighborhood has ever been mentioned in the publication.

  • Filed under FOMO: musician (and Broccoli cover star) vōx debuts the Stay Lonely Supper Club, a new LA-based dinner series that “brings together creative souls to slow down for an evening and form meaningful connections,” complemented with flower from Glass House Farms and Field Extracts.

  • If your company has employees, consider checking eligibility for the Covid Employee Tax Credit (CERTC), which provides employers a tax credit of up to $33,000 per employee. In a recent MarketWatch story, Würk—a cannabis payroll and tax services company —said it’s confident enough about eligibility requirements to be “preparing tax credit applications with dozens of cannabis companies.” I’ll believe it when those refunds are issued, but it sounds like it’s worth a shot.

  • Proof that social justice sells: Justice Joints—a 100% nonprofit brand by Canndescent that directs all profits to social equity and expungement efforts in the cannabis community—raised over $20k for the Last Prisoner Project within the first six months of its launch in the CA market. That’s a lot of joints.

  • With ongoing concerns about IRL meetings in closed spaces, farm concerts are becoming a thing. Regular, non-weed farms like Topaz Farm in Portland and The New Farm in San Francisco hosted some of the most FOMO-worthy outdoor concerts of the summer. Which hemp farm operation will be the first to upgrade their sound system and join in on the fun?

  • This summer’s resort-based TV shows filled tropical escapes with stressful vibes, but the new cannabis-infused offerings at Thailand’s Anantara Chiang Mai Resort restaurant are sure to dampen interpersonal drama amongst guests (and staff). The Thai government has essentially decriminalized hemp—so we’re really just talking about having fun with low-cannabinoid fan leaves—but the chef is getting creative. Grilled river prawns are served with a spicy lime cannabis sauce alongside mocktails like the H.I.D. (Hemp in Distiller)—fresh cannabis leaves, monsoon jasmine tea, pandan leaf, dry orange, and chamomile tea.

  • Proud Portland pot sighting 🌹: Check out the co-owners of the Magic Hour Cannabis farm featured in this 13-minute Business Insider video breaking down the real costs of getting into the cannabis biz. 

  • The trend of edibles packaged as traditional medicine is picking up. Brands are leaning into unabashedly medical-looking pill formulations for those seeking an efficient way to feel targeted, positive effects. This new wave of products seems to be well received. 1906’s Drops are meant to be swallowed, not chewed, and are among their most popular offerings. New CA brand Zeno packages its microdose THC tablets in pop-out plastic bubbles, almost resembling a pack of allergy meds or birth control pills.

  • Pipe brand Yew Yew dropped the teal-toned Sunset Bong—a clever twist on a classic glass beaker bong with a rectangular shape that offers more stability. It sold out in one day, maybe two—certainly fast enough to remind us all that there is vast room for innovation in even the most traditional and familiar realms of cannabis.

Clinking my glass to yours,
Lauren Yoshiko