Welcome to 2021's Weed
News, launches, and recommended reading.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, January 4, 2020
Time to read: 4 minutes, 10 seconds. 834 words.
Good morning! It’s the first Monday of the year, so let’s start things off easy, shall we? Just a simple session of one-hitters today, and I’ll be back Friday with a newsletter for paid subscribers. Want a double dose of The Broccoli Report every week, including trend reports, deeper dives, interviews, and more? Subscribe to our paid plan to receive all our dispatches. Can’t wait to unpack the world of weed business with you this year!
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Politico’s year-end cannabis reporting ends on a high note with this story about cannabis corruption centered around a promising young mayor’s fall from grace after his arrest for attempting to extort cannabis companies of $600,000 in exchange for licenses, and this piece touching on some critiques of the Last Prisoner Project from people who are skeptical of the popular organization’s’ follow-through with the millions they’ve raised for social justice efforts in cannabis.
Herbal smoking brand Barbari (who we interviewed in a past newsletter about their journey creating a new product category with their herbal + cannabis spliffs) launches adorable, portable 5 packs of their CBD rich hemp spliffs for all three Barbari Blends. They also introduced a subscription option, and we’re likely to see more of these in 2021.
In the final hours of 2020, Illinois governor JB Pritzker pardoned 9,200 low-level marijuana convictions and removed more than 490,000 marijuana-related convictions from arrest records. Can all states try finishing out this year like that? 🥂
In Massachusetts, the opening of new woman-owned dispensary Rebelle demonstrates one way to incorporate equity efforts into the operations of a cannabis business. Starting back in 2018, Rebelle’s founder Charlotte Hanna began talks with nonprofit Roca on ways to support the org’s mission to disrupt mass incarceration, poverty, and racism. Roca members from communities that have been hurt by the criminalization of cannabis worked on Rebelle's renovation as interns and were reimbursed for long-distance travel. One member accepted a permanent position at the facility and Hanna plans to continue filling open positions with Roca members.
Speaking of Massachusetts, adult use dispensaries throughout the state are on track to be able to kick off home delivery services this year, sooner than later.
A BBC story about a British woman who regularly visits Amsterdam to restock on cannabis oil for her epileptic daughter highlights how Brexit may make it more risky (and more expensive) for medical cannabis users in England to obtain legal cannabis products elsewhere in Europe.
In the year 2020, nine cannabis plant patents were issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and all but one were filed by Biotech Institute, LLC, the shadowy California company first brought to the community’s attention by Amanda Chicago Lewis’s 2017 piece for GQ, “The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery.” Only four cannabis plant patents have ever been granted prior to last year, one of which being the hemp patent on Charlotte’s Web. So, yes, Biotech is turning out to be just as concerning as they looked in 2017. (*cue scary whispers of “Monstanto” in the wind*)
Surreal pipemaker Miwak Junior drops a custom oversized bandana titled “Calendar Journey” and made by Everybody.World. Sebastian Boher, the Chilean ceramicist behind every Miwak pipe, uses hieroglyphs and symbols to depict the four seasons in the geometric design, and spaceships “that allow us to do mind space travel and try to get to the center of this rotating calendar where the Miwak Junior community is awaiting you with open arms.”
Biko launches in California (with photography produced by yours truly on a cold November day in Portland!), an equity brand founded by Timeka Drew, co-founder of the Our Academy mentorship program. Her first product is a queen size joint that goes by “juseyo," which means “please pass me” in Korean.
Arizona adult use dispensaries could open for business as soon as March. From passing the vote to the first transaction in stores, in under 5 months? That may set a new record for state implementation of a legal weed industry.
Worthwhile browsing: Business Insider’s roundup of their top cannabis stories of 2020, which includes a deep dive into the rise and fall of Civilized (the weed media darling that raised $7 million in 2018 and since laid off all staff and suspended operations), a peek at Eaze’s significantly scaled down pitch deck, and an update on the cannabis tech realm that highlights how VCs invested $57 million into cannabis tech companies during the months of July and September 2020 alone.
In my final Thrillist column of 2020, I interview Monica Lo of Sous Weed, a cannabis and cooking blog where Lo explores her Asian heritage through ingredients and infusions. This piece ended up a refreshing reminder for me of how, much like the cannabis industry is proving social equity initiatives can be written into regulatory laws, cannabis experiences like Lo’s journey through different recipes and techniques can inspire consumers to consider more ethical supply chains beyond the bounds of their smoking corner.
Have a great week,