The Broccoli Report
Monday, February 22, 2021
Time to read: 5 minutes, 56 seconds. 1188 words.
Some sunnier news to start your week: as of today, we’re only 26 days away from spring. Where I’m writing from in Oregon, that doesn’t mean much, but I am still looking forward to brighter days and evenings ahead.
This Friday, paid subscribers can look forward to a different kind of dispatch. This edition will focus on a common pain point for cannabis and cannabis-adjacent brands engaging in e-commerce: payment processors. Selling CBD, hemp, and cannabis accessories online is against most payment processors' policies, forcing vendors to work with "high risk" processors that often charge premium fees to accept payments for every t-shirt and pack of rolling papers sold. We’ll make a side-by-side comparison of merchant processors that are usually willing to work with weed-adjacent companies, looking at pros and cons from brands who’ve used them before. Anyone in or interested in e-commerce operations won’t want to miss this one!
A lot of you were curious about accessing the recent newsletter on trademark and intellectual property, so just a reminder that paid subscribers get full access to the back-catalog of posts. Subscribe for $8/month or $80/year to receive every Report and support independent journalism that matters to you.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Mark your calendars for the return of IRL industry events! Hall of Flowers announces two 2021 dates: Santa Rosa on September 24–25, and Palm Springs on December 8–9. The massive, California-based B2B trade show is eager to get back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to reschedule their 2020 events. Still, they’re not too impatient to neglect a caveat to “please wait for us to give the final word before you book your trip.” I’m thinking these kind of confidently tentative announcements will be par for the course over the next couple of years. But it’s exciting to think about hundreds of members of the industry filling an airport hanger again, even if we’re in masks, and the consumption corner is a no-pass zone.
The Baker Institute published an academic study of marijuana policy’s effects on racial equity. It’s a concise overview of policy and enforcement over the years, and it concludes that we do not live in a world where cannabis legalization alone can erase the racist legacy of prohibition. There’s a useful outline of additional measures that could help expedite equity, including automatic expungements for past convictions, drastic reductions or eliminations of penalties for remaining law violations like public use in legal states, and automatic decriminalization of simple possession with the passing of any medical marijuana law. Let’s send a copy of this to every one of our local lawmakers, shall we?
Remember how South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem filed a lawsuit to get a voter-approved ballot issue to legalize medical and recreational cannabis thrown out on a technicality? Her campaign to keep legal weed out of South Dakota, despite the majority of her constituents’ wishes, just got one step further.
The Chamber of Cannabis—a Nevada-based nonprofit with a mission is to expand opportunities for commerce, diversity, and competition in the state’s cannabis industry—rallied the 2021 Nevada Legislature to pass cannabis social-use legislation. Sure, social-use venues won’t be able to open until COVID-19 infection rates plummet, but once they do, having laws like this in place will make a difference. Consumption spaces offer an additional channel for cannabis-business licenses, which means more opportunity for entrepreneurs to get into the industry. It could also mitigate the bottleneck of retail licenses that keeps happening when states come online.
Hood Incubator, the Oakland, California-based organization working to empower and support more Black people at the center of the legalization process, is collaborating with Cannabis for Black Lives to raise funds for an affiliate network of industry leaders around the country. Kassia Graham, leadership team head of CfBL, explains that the affiliate network's efforts will focus on "teaching marginalized groups how to drive policy." Learn more about the network and how you can support it here.
Back in November of 2019, Maine’s largest private employer, MaineHealth, with about 22,000 employees, decided that in light of statewide legalization of adult use, their pre-employment drug screening panel would no longer include a test for THC.Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamic manufacturing facility gearing up to hire 2,700 new employees, just echoed the sentiment, announcing it doesn’t intend to deny any applicants based on cannabis test results (save for safety-sensitive positions like security officers, fire or medical personnel, and crane operators).
On that note, the mayor of Atlanta issued an executive order earlier this month suspending physical examinations and drug screenings for “prospective employees who are not applying for employment in safety sensitive positions.”
The Wall Street Journal published a piece highlighting the cash-laden land rush ensuing in the four states that legalized adult-use in November.
Did the herbal newsletter leave you wanting more? I highly recommend this article on five African herbs by Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey for further reading. She delves into the known origins of plants like cape aloe, rooibos, and umckaloabo (South African geranium), how people used them traditionally, and why they are included in different Xula tinctures.
Hemp CBD brand Ned launches Mellö Magnesium (not to be confused with Mello Bottoms CBD suppositories), a daily magnesium supplement formulated to “propel memory, mood, brain function, stress response, sleep, energy, and nerve and muscle health.” The supplement contains a magnesium cocktail, plus L-theanine and GABA, but zero CBD. This offers an interesting look at one way a hemp brand can logically expand into wellness offerings that may not contain any cannabinoids at all. (Now I’m imagining if Brain Dings dropped a multivitamin and named it “Vitamin Ding.”)
An Indiegogo campaign launched for a new kind of cannabis accessory that I can honestly say I never saw coming. The Pass’n’Puff is a “football you can smoke,” as in, there is a joint fixture you place within the empty football. When you throw it to a friend, the air passes through the joint and fills the football with smoke for your bud to inhale. It’s creative, I’ll give it that.
California-based sparkling beverage brand WUNDER launches WUNDER20, the brand’s first high-dose offering. This is a pivot from the brand’s original approach, which emphasized a unique low-dose THC Delta-9 and Delta-8 formula. With 10mg of each, WUNDER20 still sits under half the maximum milligrams for THC content. So, same WUNDER, just a couple degrees stonier, in a new Blood Orange Bitters flavor. I think this is a perfect example of getting creative with all that white space in between 1 and 50mg edible experiences.
This month, the Floret Coalition will donate funds to Nolef Turns. This nonprofit helps recently incarcerated people navigate early release and re-entry with job trainings, community partnerships, healthcare and mental wellness services, family support programs, and more. You can learn about joining our anti-racist collective of small businesses funding equity-oriented actions via monthly donations and social campaigns here.
Thank you for reading,