The Broccoli Report
Monday, October 18, 2021
Time to read: 6 minutes, 6 seconds. Contains 1220 words
Back before the pandemic, this would be the time of year to start scoffing at the too-early appearance of Thanksgiving and Christmas paraphernalia on store shelves. But this fall, we’re scrambling to buy Christmas gifts before inconsistent inventories sell out by Halloween. The interruptions and full stops brought about by supply chain shortages, shipping delays, and The Great Resignation are challenging the flow of commercial goods around the world in truly unprecedented ways. (This TIME story following a stuffed giraffe from the manufacturer to the writer’s doorstep conveys the situation in a very readable way.)
I hope all the brands reading this are already encouraging their followers to shop now if they want a fighting chance at getting presents in time. The stakes were already high—some companies are still working to catch up to pre-pandemic sales numbers, and now holiday inventories (the linchpin of holiday sales) aren’t guaranteed. As we approach what is typically most brands’ profitable period, I find myself wondering: Is everyone freaking tf out?
To learn how brands are approaching this uncertain holiday season, I checked in on the vaporizer world with G Pen, the state of indie retail with Boy Smells and weed-friendly boutique Friends NYC, plus a marketing consultant whose clients span those realms and more for this Friday’s roundtable (available for paid subscribers only). They shared how supply chain issues are impacting their holiday plans, the ways that they’re adapting, and how they are communicating those changes to customers. Subscribe to get this inside story.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Last week, I brought up concerns around how the legalization of interstate commerce could expedite large multistate operators (MSOs) domination of the market, making it even harder for small businesses and equity operators to survive. Genine Coleman, a legacy advocate, cultivator, and leader in the cannabis community, argues that interstate commerce is the path toward maximizing the profitability of cannabis appellations. As one of the main architects of California’s Senate Bill 67 establishing appellations of origin for cannabis cultivation in the state, she hopes to promote a prestige for flower grown in these regions, akin to the way that true Champagne must come from the Champagne region in France. So, my question now is: is there a way establishing appellations could also be used to protect small and legacy growers?
If you are a CA-licensed operator or want to be, make sure you keep tabs on this Grant Funding page on the Department of Cannabis Control’s website. The state just opened up applications for the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program—US$100 million available in 17 cities and counties where there are a disproportionate number of provisional rather than full-year marijuana licenses. There’s also information on upcoming application windows for other equity and research grants.
In Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, a new consumption-friendly co-working space complete with a sandy back patio is filling up fast. The 21+ members-only We Toke Club offers coffee, tea, and breakfast/lunch items, free wi-fi, and space to enjoy cannabis you bring from home. Owner Manny Mendoza has a grand vision for the place, and he’s securing a liquor license, event and rental capabilities, looking into serving infused food on site, and more. Mendoza hopes to create a cannabis hub that “builds community and culture."
ICYMI—hemp made an absolutely epic appearance on a NY runway in September: For Coperni’s SS22 show, an actual field of hemp plants was installed, dirt and all, with models walking between the tall stalks.
I highly recommend reading this piece by Chicago publication The Triibe interviewing three young Black women on their experiences applying for a cannabis license. It catalogs every step, every fee; it captures just how much it takes even to try to enter this industry, and paints a very honest picture for people considering joining this business in other newly legalized states.
Early-bird pricing has been extended for this year’s Black Canna Conference & Expo in New Orleans, November 18th to 20th. The business-to-business (B2B) event designed for “BIPOC cannabis founders, entrepreneurs, and professionals” is curated to provide a range of business insights and consumer education and will feature speakers like the inimitable Wanda James and Jesce Horton of LOWD Cannabis and NuLeaf.
NY-based, cannabis-minded production team On The Revel announces Revelry, a New York cannabis-licensing conference. The one-day conference, happening November 13th, will create space for current and future cannabis entrepreneurs to learn how to prepare for NY’s 2022 licensing process.
Even Paul McCartney is growing hemp at home.
MJ Brand Insights profiled Humboldt Social, a group of businesses working together to normalize cannabis hospitality that includes boutique hotels like the Humboldt Bay Social Club and Scotia Lodge near the Redwoods. At Scotia Lodge, a dispensary delivers edibles, pre-rolled smokes, and THC-infused drinks for guests to consume in their rooms or common spaces.
TX-based, weed-friendly boutique Go Easy collaborated with Oregon confectioner Greater Goods (makers of my favorite infused chocolate-covered marshmallows) on two tasty, Texas-inspired CBD chocolate bars: Grannie's Pecan Pie, made with organic milk chocolate, maple syrup, and bourbon pecans, and Hotties Delight, containing 70% dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
Way down south, close to the U.S.-Mexico border and just an hour from Yuma, Arizona, there is a massive consumption lounge in Heber, California—two, actually. Both of the 5000-square-foot spaces are operated by Cannafornia Connection. The company is partnering with cannabis brand Luchador on a free Halloween event for attendees 21 and over to celebrate “the heritage of the region” at their Queen of Dragons lounge on October 29th. There will be a full ring set up for matches between more than 20 local professional wrestlers (for the title of Heavyweight Champion of Cannabis, of course), costume contests, agua frescas on tap, and more. Register here to attend.
In other Halloween party announcements, NY brand Medly will be throwing a Masquerade hosted by comedienne Marie Faustin on October 29th. The lower Manhattan location is TBD, but you can expect a “multi-dimensional” light show, a burlesque performance, infused bites by Medly collaborator Chef Andrew Gerson, and a grand prize for the best costume. Learn more here.
A correction for last week’s newsletter: Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin are the former co-founders of MedMen, and their recent lawsuit was filed to attempt to halt the sale of Coastal, not MedMen, to the Parent Co. There is no sale of MedMen taking place at this time.
Off to consider a THC-break,
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