New Year, New Weed
Welcome to 2022.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, January 3, 2022
Time to read: 4 minutes, 55 seconds. Contains 984 words.
Good morning, and Happy New Year!
Like the first bowl of the day, it feels extra sweet to be back at this virtual newsdesk breaking down the latest news, ideas, and cultural shifts in cannabis. I’m grateful to be here reporting/revealing/ranting to you, and thank you for starting your 2022 with me.
While I’m mentally refreshed and ready for the new year, my inbox is not. I’m still making my way through December press releases, which brings me to today’s tease for Friday’s newsletter: “How To Get Covered By Places Like The Broccoli Report.” Beyond the Report, I’ll offer general editorial advice for pitching your business or stories to media outlets. Even with the best PR agency in the world, connecting with the outlets you really want coverage from is never guaranteed. While every outlet and editor has unique objectives in mind as they go through their inboxes, there are ways to be strategic about highlighting your company’s most interesting and click-worthy angles. Sign up as a paid subscriber for this insider scoop on getting coverage.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
A new inclusivity bill just filed in New York really highlights how much more creative rule-makers need to get before we’re making progress in cannabis equity. Senate Bill S7603 would edit eligible social equity applicants to include “gay, lesbian and bisexual people,” granting those communities access to the 50% of cannabis business licenses allocated for social equity applicants. I’m all for equitable license distribution that includes these communities, but how in the world are they going to handle those applications? Sexual identities are fluid and private—there is no gay-ness gauge you can verify. It’s difficult to imagine this bill progressing without the same maelstrom of lawsuits that cities like Chicago and Detroit experienced, delaying the start of business and wasting emerging entrepreneurs’ precious resources. Many states approach licensing with numerical scores, giving each section a point value. If regulators are spending time (and taxpayer money) identifying a point value for being bisexual vs. being Black, I think it’s time to step back and try a different approach. Maybe I’m being too cynical—hopefully, the Pantheon Collective, the “cannabis startup focused on the advancement of the LGBTQ+ community and LGBT entrepreneurs” that presented the idea to Senator Cooney, will be a part of the rulemaking process if it passes.
In other potentially overregulated news: Oregon just banned CBN? The sleep-associated cannabinoid is often derived from extracted oil—similar to Delta 8—and regulators are classifying it as a synthetic “artificially derived ingredient” too potent for grocery store shelves. Licensed dispensaries are allowed to continue carrying products containing CBN with the new contingency that they obtain a GRAS certification— “Generally Recognized As Safe.” (A concept we talked about in a past interview with skincare brand Dieux.) The Portland Business Journal reported that one OR hemp company solicited a bid from a company that could do GRAS reviews on their CBN line—the price tag was $850,000.
If you’re a California equity licensee or applying to become one, remember to apply for your fee waiver this month! The state’s Department of Cannabis Control recently implemented a program to cover the costs for equity operators, with an initial fund of $30 million. You can find more information about the waivers here.
Keep an eye out for a new cannabis app designed to help people recycle dispensary packaging. O'Neil Rudolph started Cannachange to incentivize shops and shoppers to reuse containers, developing a system that rewards users with credits from participating dispensaries for returning their recyclable cannabis packaging and exit bags. Consumers can use the app to monitor credits, find nearby participating dispensaries, and track how much waste they've kept out of landfills. Plenty of emerging apps like Jointly help users track strains and effects, but Cannachange is an exciting reminder of the numerous cannabis-adjacent problems that tech could help remedy.
The following news story is not an Onion headline: Berlin’s public transit released edible, hemp-infused tickets to help deal with the stresses of holiday travel. They really are edible, and they really are transit passes. (You shouldn’t consume until your trip is complete—tickets with a bite out of them are not viable). The BVG happens to have a habit of cheeky marketing campaigns, so this surreal announcement isn’t as surprising following a previous limited-edition Adidas drop that doubled as annual metro passes.
I will be forwarding this study showing that one-third of computer programmers consume cannabis while working to my parents.
This is by no means a recommendation to watch the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That, but I did appreciate the directorial choice to go with a futuristic flower pipe when Carrie’s fellow podcast host lights up at work.
Hall of Flowers is looking for a cannabis-savvy copywriter based in SoCal. 👀
New cannabis-friendly lodging in Phoenix: The Clarendon Hotel transitioned a 16-room wing into cannabis consumption-friendly (even flower!) spaces that can be booked via Bud and Breakfast. The hotel intends to open a members-only consumption lounge as well.
The first hookah-able cannabis product has arrived in the California market. High Desert’s “cannabis shisha” combines flower with molasses to get the traditional wet texture, and to consume it, you need a hookah. A product that doesn’t work with the usual consumer accessories is a steep hill to climb as a new brand, but I’m intrigued to see how consumers react. Based on a glowing reception at last month’s Hall of Flowers, being different might be an advantage in a saturated market.
It was too omicron-y to feel any FOMO over holiday soirees this season, but I do envy any LA-based enthusiasts who made it to the outdoor Cinelounge Cannabis Club for a screening of “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.” Upcoming screenings include “Back to the Future” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
Back to my Cinelounge Cannabis Couch,