The Broccoli Report
Monday, September 20, 2021
Time to read: 7 minutes, 50 seconds. Contains 1569 words.
Can you believe it? The Broccoli Report turns one this week. 🥳 Thank you very much for being here and for supporting us. I know we’ve got some day-ones out there, but we’ve also gained plenty of new readers over the past year, so this feels like the perfect time to talk about why we are here and what we do.
For years, the only cannabis stories that earned headlines centered on the war on drugs. Then, legalization began to spread across the country, and suddenly business-focused stories of the “green rush” dominated. But the narrow, misleading sensationalism of this reporting misses the bigger, richer picture. There is so much going on in the world of cannabis—and it is a broad world. It spans individuals, activists, artists, communities, and businesses large and small. And the cannabis industry is a rich and growing ecosystem, with companies that are plant-touching, like farms and dispensaries, in company with those that are non-plant-touching, like the amazing array of pipemakers, graphic designers, and, yes, writers (like me) who are crafting careers for themselves in the cannabis space.
Broccoli believes in this industry’s potential to be more than “business as usual,” and The Broccoli Report shares and analyzes news through that lens. There are plenty of places to read news about corporate mergers and special purpose acquisition companies—we read all about it, too, and sometimes we’ll cover those big stories in our One-Hitters. But our core focus is information that equips hemp and cannabis entrepreneurs to excel at doing things differently, doing things better. And often, those are stories you won’t find anywhere else.
Ultimately, we care about providing helpful, inspiring information in The Broccoli Report—information that disrupts outdated, unsustainable ways of business. Because if we want a world where ownership is actually equitable, where news is honest and available—a world where ethical small businesses are too successful for other industries to ignore—we all need to know what’s happening and why so that we can work together to make that world real.
We send out two emails each week. Monday’s edition is free, and focuses on news updates, with the occasional trend report or opinion piece. Friday’s emails for paid subscribers are where we go deep with trend analyses, interviews, business resources, event recaps, and industry insights. Like this Friday, where we examine the rise of consumer interest in and creative resources around growing at home.
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One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Small business funding company Mainvest has opened itself up to the cannabis industry. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)-regulated crowdfunding intermediary raises growth capital as opposed to working capital. New businesses can secure funding through Mainvest for start-up costs while existing businesses can raise capital for expansion costs. The company has helped raise money for over 75 breweries, bars, restaurants, cafés, and bakeries across the country, and its team is currently in discussions with 50 or so potential cannabis partners in legal markets.
In a recent Morning Brew piece on the challenges of cannabis advertising, Seattle dispensary The Bakeréé outlined a creative avenue for a campaign promoting online ordering during the pandemic: 30-second ads across websites and connected TV apps like Pluto, Roku, Sling, and Samsung TV. The campaign used location data to target people who visited competing stores and retargeted people who visited The Bakeréé’s website. The campaign took place during the quarantine-driven cannabis sales spike, so it’s hard to assess how much traffic the ads generated, but a campaign case study said it resulted in “record” sales of $153,000 during the second quarter of 2020.
The National Law Review published a helpful guide to zoning considerations for real estate eligible for cannabis businesses in new and developing legal markets.
Weed sightings at NYFW: Edie Parker hosted “The Smoke Show” on Bond Street, where chic attendees enjoyed pre-rolls and munchies and stocked up on supplies for the week ahead; Sundae School drove a Sundae-d out ice cream truck around the city all week, slangin’ free cones and trivia questions (the prize was mochi gummies); and Stevie popped up at Larrie gallery with an emerald-hued installation of goods and herbs.
Aster Farms released their annual Sustainability Report [links to Drive file], outlining water use, future conservation plans, hiring, plastic waste review, and more. Worth a read for any producer—cultivator or otherwise—looking for more ideas on cost-savings and more efficient use of resources. One slide breaks down how ordering bulk soil via dump truck prevented 700+ plastic soil bags from hitting waste bins.
Evidence that brand recognition in California’s hyper-competitive market does not guarantee success: PLUS Products has filed for creditor protection under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. They’d file bankruptcy if they legally could—this is allowing them to continue business while they do a restructuring of the company.
Along those lines, turns out big-dog cannabis company Aurora hasn’t been doing so well. The publicly traded Canadian company got caught inflating numbers to make their earnings look significantly larger than they were.
Got a friend considering becoming a veterinarian? There’s still time to nominate them for VETCBD ’s Memorial Scholarship Program. The hemp company is offering six $1,000 scholarships to veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and veterinary technician students across the country.
If you’re based in LA, I highly recommend making it to Santa Monica’s Richard Heller Gallery between now and October 2 for “Smoke and Prayers”—an exhibit of spooky, smoky paintings by Cindy Berhard. Cats, cross-joints, trippy shading, and gradients that alter depth perception—what more could you ask for?
Across town at the Nonaka Hill Gallery, Pure Beauty just unveiled a next-level bong exhibit in collaboration with London-based master glassmaker Jochen Holz. The exhibit features 10 imaginative bong sculptures ranging from $800-$1200, which will be sold exclusively through the gallery, like the art objects they are. The exhibit coincides with the drop of Pure Beauty’s new $30 five-pack of mini joints. Each package features custom artwork from five different artists.
This headline is too good for me to paraphrase: “Tokyo Smoke will meet you at the mall.” The Canadian cannabis brand that first made a splash with their retail aesthetic has announced several new Ontario stores, all located in malls and suburban shopping centers. Yep—there’s going to be one right next to an Old Navy. To me, this news is kind of a beautiful metaphor for the commercial manner in which founder Alan Gertner used Japanese words and visuals to brand bougie smoking accessories. Tokyo Smoke was always destined for malls, though—Gertner said so during a panel I moderated in 2018, explaining that he set out to create the “Starbucks of weed.”
It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, but the clouds are rolling in on Frankford Avenue—as in, Cloud 9 Clay’s first brick-and-mortar store! Now you can admire ceramicist Peyton Flynn’s pearlescent ashtrays, shapely pipes, and mugs IRL.
This is an official call for all cannabis, hemp, and plant-adjacent brands to be more considerate with merch. More pointedly: We have to stop thoughtlessly ordering stuff people don’t actually want. Stop creating unnecessary trash—think “free advertising” beer cozies, lanyards, and cotton totes, which have gone from a green solution to a huge environmental problem. No more swag totes unless your audience really, truly demands one!
Sessions’ new ashtray is the poker-installed ash receptacle that bong gals have been waiting for. You could find cheap ones in head shops that looked like a golf tee glued upside down in the middle of the tray, allowing for easy de-ashing without additional tools or “ash splash” (a phrase I just coined for the bits that end up falling outside your ashtray and coating your desk.) Sessions’ is the Sessions version: sleek, understated, with a no-slip silicone base and lid.
New “cannabis spirit” Afterdream launched with an intriguing dose of 3.5mg THC, 3.5mg CBD, and 3.5mg Delta-8 in an equally intriguing, almost ghostly white bottle. Created in partnership between cannabis beverage brand AMASS and LA cannabis venture studio OpenNest Labs, the in-house distiller paid equal attention to the terpenes and the herbs, pairing sumac, rosemary, and lemon peel with limonene, beta-myrcene, and eucalyptol for “a more interesting, complex spirit." I haven’t tried it yet, but in the quest to create a true drinkable cannabis substitute for alcohol—one with enough of a mind-altering effect and experiential specialness to rival alcohol—this may be getting close.
Your spirited source,
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