WTF is rosin?
Weed buzzword check! Plus, the news.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, June 28, 2021
Time to read: 7 minutes, 58 seconds. 1596 words.
Good morning, readers!
As you may know, I’m a fairly dedicated flower gal. But that doesn’t mean I don’t encounter concentrates in my cannabis regimen, and it definitely means I still get confused by that complicated, scientific realm. That’s why I’m starting off this morning’s Report by taking a moment today to lay out a clear definition of rosin—the wildcrafted raw honey of the cannabis world.
Before I get our explainer on this concentrate form à la mode, I can’t help but tease an equally juicy newsletter this Friday. Influencers, paid placements, billboards, digital campaigns—there are sooooo many ways to spend money trying to make money, but what actually works? Find out on Friday when a handful of cannabis companies large and niche spill the beans on their single most successful marketing moment. They’re talking about the move that ended up making them the most money—what it cost, how it worked, what that success meant—plus their biggest marketing regrets. Believe it or not, even a Coachella-adjacent pool party can go wrong. This is going to be a good one, but it’s only for paid subscribers.
Thank you for supporting independent journalism. ✿
WTF is Rosin? Breaking down the buzzword of the concentrate cosmos.
There’s a variety of forms and consistencies of cannabis and CBD oil that go by different names. Carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction is the most prevalent commercial method of separating cannabinoids from plant biomass—it’s the form of weed usually found in vaporizer cartridges, pens, and many edibles. Ethanol extraction creates RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)—that potent, gooey extract typically packaged in syringes and recommended to those with chronic pain. Then there’s rosin—an increasingly sought-after form of concentrate found in the most cutting-edge dabbables and gourmet edibles like Rose Delights.
Ironically, the process to create rosin calls back to traditional hash-making methods. A grower friend once demonstrated a DIY version that helped me understand. He took a wad of kief collected from harvest tables and well-used grinders (the fine, glittery good stuff that falls off flower as it’s handled), folded it within a piece of parchment paper, placed that inside a hot hair straightener, and squeezed down like hell. Chartreuse syrup oozed out of wad onto the paper. He disposed of the smooshed kief remnant and scraped the streaks of extract off the paper, collecting a transparent glob of rosin at the end of a poker. (DIY edible hot tip—he proceeded to divvy up that dab atop a batch of Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough chunks and popped them in the oven for fresh-baked edibles.) By combining heat and pressure to squeeze the good stuff out of plant matter, all the cannabinoids and terpenes are retained in the finished product. It’s akin to fresh-squeezed orange juice—pulpy with nutrients and rich with flavor.
(In the vape cartridge world, "live resin" is also another massive buzzword right now, and daily dabbers/vapers pay top dollar for this “champagne of concentrates.” If you’re curious if “resin” is the same thing as “rosin”—it’s not. That would be too easy! Resin is made with fresh, whole flower via CO2 extraction or using a solvent like butane. No stems and stalks—real buds and fan leaves only, often flash-frozen to retain the original moisture. More on that in a future newsletter.)
Because no chemicals are required to make full-spectrum rosin, it often gets associated with hollow marketing terms like “clean” and “all-natural.” This is the equivalent of “wildcrafted” weed oil. As to whether it works better, that all depends on the body. I am not a dabber, but in regards to my experiences with edibles, the rosin edible can deliver a more full-bodied high than edibles made with CO2 oil. Case in point: my mom transitioned off of her half-an-Ambien bedtime regimen with a 5mg gummy made with CO2 oil. After a while, that one gummy just wasn’t hitting the same. I started buying her 5mg gummies made from rosin, and so far, those are working better for her. After multiple months of daily dosing, it’s still delivering what she’s looking for, and she doesn’t seem to notice the effects waning. The caveat? Rosin = way more weed flavor, so it takes real culinary prowess to keep the taste from being overpowering or a palate that doesn’t mind herbal top notes.
As science, regulations, and language evolve, the concentrate realm expands the opportunities for innovation. In Vogue, Sydney Gore recently penned a piece titled “The Future of Edibles is Artisanal,” highlighting the emergence of highbrow ingredients, more complex culinary textures (looking at you, Sundae School mochi gummies), and concentrate descriptors like “single-strain flower rosin, extracted and hand-pressed with fresh local produce.” Will cold-pressed hemp shots replace wheatgrass at the farmer’s market? Is a hemp-rosin-infused bath bomb from Lush imminent? Probably all of the above, and more.
And now, onto the news.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
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I’m sure many of you saw the headline about the $100 million “bailout'' Governor Newsom is dedicating to helping the 82% of California licensees who can’t currently afford to move from provisional to permanent licenses. It is so frustrating to see this reactive, not-enough solution when the root cause is so obvious: the crippling tax burdens on small cannabis businesses make it impossible for them to thrive. Yes, sales skyrocketed last year, but, according to Kim Lundin, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Association, those figures only tell part of the story.
“Most retailers are riding on razor-thin margins without access to bank loans or bankruptcy protections. So long as the industry is under federal prohibition, taxes are just one burden cannabis retailers will contend with.”
These high tax burdens aren't limited to California. The Blue Mountain Eagle spoke with Sally Alworth, the owner of one of Portland’s most beloved and established tincture companies, Luminous Botanicals. It reports that, on average, Luminous Botanicals pays 62% of its annual net income in taxes (and that’s in Oregon, which has lower taxes than many states). If state governments want the cannabis industry to generate sustainable tax revenue, it’d be a lot more cost-effective to reign in the local and state tax layers drowning the industry. Then they can spend that $100 million on getting federal banking protections passed.
White marble be damned—the maximalist upscale dispensaries have arrived! At least in Southern California. Las Vegas brand Planet 13 is opening a huge, garish store in Santa Ana next week—think massive digital waterfall, a 16’ octopus sculpture, and an “interactive floor”—and then there’s Wyllow, a new LA spot literally glowing with magenta neon lighting from floor to ceiling and featuring elements like custom-engineered ASMR background music and an interactive terpene-based scent installation. That store will serve as the bicultural, woman-owned Wyllow cannabis brand’s flagship, stocking their mini pre-rolls and flower alongside other brands, with a focus on “women-led, underrepresented minority-owned and BIPOC companies.”
Weedmaps went public. This one feels big to me. Although it doesn’t have the same position in Oregon’s market as Leafly, it owns the California market—as in, few businesses operate long without paying multiple thousands of dollars a month to be listed on its popular GPS map of dispensaries—and it has a presence in many other legal and medical states. Weedmaps is a growing cannabis-related business with a huge, established footprint, and it’s one that doesn’t touch product—thus freeing it of many prohibitive constraints that can limit the growth of companies like, say, Tilray or Sundial. I’ll be intrigued to follow its trajectory.
Event and CBD box company Culinary & Cannabis launched a new cannabis event directory that aims to help people find cannabis-centric (and cannabis-friendly) vendors, venues, service providers, and other hospitality and entertainment-leaning businesses. It’s $4.20 to join the directory to get your business listing up, and although it’s just getting started, I believe nationwide directories like this will be key for finding partners when producing pop-up experiences in different locales.
Connecticut made legal cannabis official. Possession becomes legal on July 1st, and sales begin in spring 2022. There is a stipulation expunging certain cannabis crimes, though only those charged since 2000 will be automatic; those with older charges will still have to file petitions. Half of all licenses are reserved for social equity applicants—categorized as those coming from economically disadvantaged areas that have been the most harmed by the war on drugs—and those applicants will pay reduced licensing fees.
CBD beverage brand Recess publishes a zine to help us navigate The Outside again, calmly. A Guide To Re-Entering Society features illustrations from artists like @LianaFinck and @chrissimpsonsartist, and every order of Recess comes with a free issue until supplies run out. If you’re based in LA, the Bay Area, NYC, or Seattle, select stockists are carrying the zine IRL, too. We’re inspired by this creative take on a cannabis-related publication—as noted in a past newsletter all about weed books, cookbooks and gardening guides are only the beginning.
A cool new education facility opens in Florida called Learn Sativa University. The five-acre farm provides hands-on experience in growing and harvesting cannabis, as well as classes on cannabis business development, providing any aspiring cannabis-related entrepreneur with step-by-step blueprints to develop a complete business plan. The grounds will include a 30,000-sq ft greenhouse space for a community garden; the food grown there will be free to the community.
Off to educate myself on the latest flowers,