Public consumption & equity proposals
The latest weedy news drop.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, June 14, 2021
Time to read: 6 minutes, 17 seconds. 1259 words.
Hope all our readers to the north and east got to see a peek of last week’s eclipse. I’m jealous! Then again, I’ve been up late binging Ziwe and probably would’ve missed that sunrise alarm. I’m trying to stick to a more regimented morning routine this month, though—I’m trying to fit in all the things this summer. I never camped once in 2020; I never slept under the stars. Now, I’m not taking anything for granted. I’ll even make that annoyingly long, but beautiful, drive to Crater Lake again. If you, too, are starting to block out some dates for camping trips and stargazing outings, and perhaps found a few gaps in your adventure gear, feel free to check out my latest Thrillist piece rounding up essential cannabis accessories for the outdoors.
Before we get to the news, a tease for Friday’s newsletter: What’s up with weed in Australia?
We’re going to start checking in with creative entrepreneurs all over the world to get a snapshot of the weed scene in their region. The dispatches will shed light on what’s really happening in cannabis-curious pockets across the globe, and we’re starting with one of the founders of Afends, an Australian clothing brand offering some of the most stylish options for hemp-made clothing we’ve seen anywhere. You definitely don’t want to miss this one, so be sure to become a paid subscriber if you aren’t already. If you are—we appreciate your support very much.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
The MORE Act is back on the table, and as you probably heard, Amazon announced its support for federal legalization and that it will drop marijuana testing requirements for some of its workers. Before you start worrying about Prime Weed Delivery putting us all out of business, read this Leafly piece on the roadblocks state-by-state regulations will inevitably create. As a point of comparison, it considers alcohol delivery, noting that Amazon has only tried it in 12 states.
A recent Bloomberg report on unregulated Delta-8 highlights a test conducted by the U.S. Cannabis Council on sixteen Delta-8 products from vendors across the country; all but one of them exceeded the allowable level of THC. In most cases, products contained more than 10 times the legal limit for THC in hemp (0.03% THC in a finished product), undermining the whole argument that Delta-8 from hemp is legal. Seven of the samples also exceeded limits on metals such as copper, chromium, and nickel.
One way to ensure a quality equity program? Start before legalization happens. In Rhode Island, a new coalition is building on New York’s proposed equity program framework—the 40% of tax revenue invested in communities most harmed by prohibition, grants and training programs to ensure access for those communities, and allocating half of all cannabis licenses for social equity applicants. Then, it adds elements like prioritizing cannabis licenses for worker-owned cooperatives and protecting cannabis workers’ ability to collectively organize. They are positioning their proposals to serve as a guide for legislators in the current session, where a bill to legalize cannabis is on the docket. But according to this recent Politico piece, the bill still doesn’t reflect the majority of the proposed equity program.
Defunct cannabis media site Civilized is back as Civilized Life, positioning itself as “a platform to connect leaders from the cannabis and adjacent industries with consumers” and eventually, an e-commerce business. Founded in 2015, Civilized was initially a darling of the digital alt-editorial realm, raising $7 million from investors that included Canadian behemoth Canopy Growth and celebrities like Chelsea Handler and throwing high-profile industry events. However, a series of bad calls and a botched takeover burned through the money, resulting in mass layoffs in 2019. Civilized still has debts to pay—to lenders and to freelancers for past work—and in this interview with Business Insider, CEO and co-founder Terri Riedle promises to pay up as the relaunch gets rolling. (And this is why we freelancers have to get signatures on every agreement for commissioned work, regardless of how polished and shiny the brand.)
Nevada allows for drive-through dispensaries and way later delivery windows than other states, but consumption lounges were not part of the state’s legal program until now. A bill currently sitting on the governor’s desk will, if signed, enact a consumption-lounge licensing system allowing existing dispensaries to open adjacent consumption lounges and letting independent lounges open and sell single-use cannabis products.
If future Nevada licensees pull this off, it could serve as a fantastic model for other states and change the game for experiential retail brands like Josephine & Billie’s, a new speakeasy-themed dispensary in Los Angeles that nods to Black gathering places in the 1920s and ‘30s. (Josephine & Billie’s was recently selected to be the first funding recipient by The Parent Company’s Social Equity Fund—the one with Jay-Z as Chief Visionary Officer.)
I haven’t personally tried MONOGRAM—The Parent Company flower brand most directly positioned as a Jay-Z-centric project—but I do get press releases for every “High Tales” installment, a series of 5-minute weed stories featuring famous people “in MONOGRAM's orbit.” I particularly enjoyed the most recent one with Slick Woods—the iconic, gap-toothed beauty who walked Rihanna’s inaugural Savage X Fenty runway show while nine months pregnant. Woods has since been diagnosed with cancer. In her “High Tale,” she describes the healing role of cannabis and shares memories of being hazed pretty hard for her rolling skills in her youth—teasing that motivated her to become the best in her crew and later inspired her stage name.
In Arizona, the Marijuana Industry Trade Association launched an online Social Equity Applicant Mentorship Program, a training course designed to teach applicants about the functions within the industry and guide them through the social equity application process. The free program can be viewed here.
A fun New York event happening on Tuesday, June 15 (tomorrow): Cannabis accessory brand Higher Standards is hosting a Puff-and-Paint event at its flagship in Chelsea Market. Guests can roll up flower (bring your own bud) with complimentary VIBES rolling papers while enjoying a mural installation on the 15th Street entrance. Because yes, under the new legislation, New Yorkers are legally allowed to possess and smoke weed in public where smoking tobacco is permitted. Swing by anytime between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., but the papers may run out before then.
I wrote a handful of profiles for a directory of BIPOC creators and business owners in Portland, including one on director Alberta Poon—which means I have an excuse to mention her sensory film It’s Lit,my favorite cannabis-centric short film to date.
California cannabis aperitif brand Artet branches into the hemp space through a new collaboration with Aurora Elixirs. The limited-edition sparkling hemp apéritif comes in a Mediterranean Citrus & Chamomile (😍) flavor with 25mg of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle, packaged with a beautiful Artet-inspired label.
The Pride drop from queer-owned cannabis beverage company Cann is the stuff of my weed fashion fantasies: this limited edition aquamarine pullover designed to encourage unabashed pride in self features extremely fun details like one asymmetrical white cuff (“Symmetry? We don’t know her”), a starry design on the other, a helpful line guiding where to cut for a cropped fit, and a back design uniting art elements from six queer-owned/inclusive brands in “a vibrant new mosaic.” I didn’t know a sweatshirt could make me cry. $15 from each purchase will go to support Copper House, Supernova Women, and Pot LA.
Wishing you a joyfully asymmetric week,