Media Archives - Green Market Report

StaffAugust 4, 2022
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4min2580

A California-based CBD company was ordered by a judge to pay actor Clint Eastwood $2,029,245.07 on August 2, 2022 according to a report by Law360. The company Garrapata, LLC  filed a Complaint
against Norok Innovation, Inc. and Eric Popowicz and others alleging trademark infringement. Garrapata holds all trademarks related to Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Eastwood’s name and persona rights apart from those he grants in connection with the promotion and exploitation of the films he makes.

The article noted that Eastwood brought the infringement claims against Norok and Popowicz in a January 2021 suit, which was his second suit in less than a year against the pair. Law360 reported that Eastwood initiated his first lawsuit against Norok and Popowicz in July 2020, alleging similar claims, but the action was voluntarily dismissed in November 2020. The company makes CBD products under the name Terahemp.

The Judge’s order stated, “Defendants, and their officers, agents, employees, representatives, and all persons acting in concert or participating with them, are permanently restrained
and enjoined from (1) engaging in or performing directly or indirectly the use of Clint Eastwood’s name, likeness, and personal to promote and sell any products, and (2) using any names, words, designations or symbols consisting of, incorporating in whole or part, or otherwise similar to Clint or Eastwood or any other common law trademark owned by Garrapata or Mr. Eastwood in any buried code, hidden field, metatags, search terms, keywords, key terms, hits generating pages, or any other devices used, intended, or likely to cause any web site or web sites listed by any Internet search engines in response to any searches that include any terms identical with or confusingly similar to the Clint Eastwood mark.”

Original Complaint

The original complaint alleged that the CBD company would strategically place Mr. Eastwood’s name within blog posts and webpage meta descriptions (content that describes and summarizes the contents of a given webpage for the benefit of users and search engines to locate) as a means to promote CBD products and guide customers to an online marketplace that sells CBD products, but without Mr. Eastwood’s knowledge or permission. The complaint also stated that Eastwood has a long-standing history of rejecting third party licenses and has never been associated with any CBD company.

The complaint described the method by writing, “By using Mr. Eastwood’s name in hidden metatags, Defendants have figuratively posted a sign with Mr. Eastwood’s trademark in front of their online store to attract consumers and caused the consuming public to believe that Mr. Eastwood is associated with and/or endorsed the CBD Online marketplace and/or the CBD products sold thereon, when no such association actually exists.”

Make My Day

This is the second time Eastwood has won a case of this sort. In October 2021, a judge ordered a Lithuanian company called Mediatonas to pay the actor $6 million for publishing a fabricated interview with him to promote and sell CBD products. the actor apparently asked for $30 million, but the judge awarded $6 million saying it was roughly the amount of money he would make if he did do an endorsement.

 


StaffJuly 12, 2022
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4min2720

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has launched four episodes of “How to Change Your Mind” based on the Michael Pollan book of the same name. The four-part docu-series was executive produced by Alex Gibney and directed by Alison Ellwood. The series is based on The New York Times best-selling book and it dives into the science of psychedelics while touching on consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. Each episode targets a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline.

Pollan told Deadline, “The current renaissance in psychedelic research has been the most compelling and hopeful story I’ve covered in thirty years as a journalist. But it’s one thing to describe the powerful effects of these substances in a book, and quite another to evoke that experience, and its incredible potential for healing, on the screen, as the Netflix adaptation of How to Change Your Mind has masterfully done.” Deadline wrote, “With Pollan as a guide, viewers will journey to the frontiers of the new psychedelic renaissance – and look back at the almost-forgotten historical context – to explore the potential of these substances to heal and change minds as well as culture.”

Mainstreaming Psychedelics

Pollan also wrote the books This Is Your Mind On Plants, Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of DesireCooked was adapted as a TV series that is also streaming on Netflix and The Botany of Desire and In Defense of Food premiered on PBS.

It is this literary pedigree that has given Pollan’s book a lot of weight within the psychedelics industry. However, a recent podcast called “Cover Story” from New York Magazine delved into the dark side of the psychedelic industry and one episode featured a conversation with Pollan. Episode 8 titled “Who AmI Fooling” questioned whether Polan’s cheerleading of psychedelics ignored the downsides of these powerful drugs. The podcast hosts fear that the book will make the psychedelic experiences entice many people without any warning of the negatives.

Host Lily Kay Ross said,

Michael listened to the people who called him, he forwarded their letters and put them in touch with key people. They all told us that. And he’s also included more footnotes of caution in his interviews and talks.But it doesn’t compare to the roar of celebration.

 

Netflix Trips

Pollan’s show isn’t the only psychedelics program on Netflix that cuts from the mainstream. Gwyneth Paltrow’s series “The Goop Lab” features an episode on a magic mushroom retreat in Jamaica. It’s lighthearted and cheerful with lots of laughter in a beautiful setting. Then there’s “Have a Good Trip” which features numerous celebrities discussing psychedelics in an original documentary with live-action and animation. So, Pollan’s is just the latest to feature psychedelics on Netflix.

 


Debra BorchardtJune 29, 2022
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6min1811

Broadcasters have been notorious for their refusal to air cannabis ads. Even in states where the product is legal, advertisers found themselves being turned down as the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) took the stance that a federally illegal product could not be advertised.

Law360 reported that “House lawmakers tacked language onto a Federal Communication Commission spending bill for next year to block the FCC from trying to prevent broadcasters from running ads for cannabis products in states with legalized marijuana.” Editor & Publisher Magazine reported, “Under the language, the FCC could not use any of the funds appropriated to the agency for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to deny broadcasters a license renewal or station sale application, or require an early license renewal application to be filed, in reaction to a station’s taking cannabis ads in legal jurisdictions.”

According to the National Association of Broadcasters, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill which included language that would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state or jurisdiction in which the station is licensed.

NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano said, “We are pleased to see that this bipartisan language has advanced in the House today. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years. While we welcome today’s progress, local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.”

2023 House Bill

The 2023 House bill that covers financial services and general government spending cleared the full Appropriations Committee last Friday. Law360 wrote, “Appropriators in the House hope to see the mandate on the FCC attached as a policy rider to a $390 million operating budget for the fiscal year starting in October, which would also raise the agency’s budget by $8 million over this year. The FCC has asked for a $16 million boost.”

Cannabis companies typically advertise on billboards, print media, some social media (depending on the company and platform) and cable or internet streaming channels. However local television and radio companies have been prevented from running these ads. Cannabis advertising is projected to total $18.5 billion in the U.S. this year.

The New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan said, “We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley and members of the Committee for recognizing the unfairness of the present situation with respect to cannabis advertising. The provision in this House appropriations bill is a major step forward for leveling the playing field for local broadcasters. We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the Administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.”

He added, “We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the Administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.”

Just the First Step

While the move is seen as a positive one, it must still pass through the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill will then move to the House floor for consideration in July and then goes on to the Senate. The NYSBA said that the Senate poses additional problems, not just for its language but the entire appropriations process. “The appropriations process is notoriously complex, which means the bill may get stalled. Congress is likely to adopt an interim budget through a continuing resolution. At some point, perhaps after the mid-term elections, there will be a final vote. Even if it passes, the legislation is not a “silver bullet.” This is because appropriations bills apply for a one-year period and would only last for FY 2023, which is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2022, and run through September 30, 2023. It would have to be renewed next year for FY 2024 and every year thereafter. As a practical matter, once it is included, it is like to be renewed every year.”


Debra BorchardtJune 21, 2022
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7min2770

High Times has sold its LGBTQ publications to Equal Entertainment for an undisclosed amount. The publications include Out.com/ Magazine, Advocate.com/ Magazine, Out Traveler Magazine, Plus Magazine, and Pride.com and given a new name for the company Equal Pride. According to the press release, “The acquisition returns the company to LBGTQ+ majority ownership and creates the largest LGBTQ+ – owned media, digital, TV, and entertainment company in the country with the majority of Equal Pride employees also identifying as LGBTQ+, women, and/or people of color.” The newly named Equal Pride will be run by Mark Berryhill who becomes Chief Executive Officer.

“Our combined company will be the premier home for LGBTQ+ people — and increasingly women and people of color creators, storytellers, journalists, and business people who want to have an impact through their work with one of the most diverse group of media and digital brands in the world,” CEO Mark Berryhill said.

Troubled Ownership

Technically, it was Oreva Capital, the Los Angeles-based investment firm that owns High Times that backed a management-led buyout of Here Publishing, which owned the titles “The Advocate” and “Out” in 2017. The price was not disclosed at that time and the group of titles was rebranded as Pride Media. 

Then the trouble began. Out found it difficult to retain editorial staff and a revolving door of executives came and went. Staff cuts began and amid the layoffs, more freelance writers came on. However, they began getting stiffed and filed a lawsuit in order to get paid. The writers wrote at the time, “OUT.com saw a spike in traffic from 691,000 unique views in September to about 1.5 million in December 2018. OUT’s digital ad revenue has grown 48% year over year. All revenue for Pride Media was estimated to be at just under $5.8 million for 2018 and projected to increase 26% this year. Pride Media and its investors have plenty of money to pay the outstanding sum of invoices — a drop in the bucket compared to the projected $7.2 million in ad revenue Pride Media is projected to earn this year, according to the WWD story. Clearly, profits were and are being made.”

Then the company was accused of not paying a publishing partner PinkNews in 2019. That case finally got resolved by Judge Analisa Torres who awarded PinkNews $49,998.84 on May 21, 2021. In January 2022, PinkNews asked for its legal fees to be covered but was denied the request. 

In addition to problems paying its bills, Oreva and High Times owner Adam Levin was outed for supporting Republican politicians who had opposed gay rights. Levin countered with his support of politicians who voted in favor of gay rights, but nonetheless said he would stop those contributions.  Despite those promises, LGBTQ Nation reported that Levin continued to support anti-gay politicians and couldn’t verify his financial support to pro-gay politicians. 

High Times recently lost a court case regarding back rent owed on a planned dispensary space in San Francisco to the tune of $5 million. So no matter how much the company received for this sale, it likely came at a good time.

Looking Ahead

The magazine titles may have struggled to find an audience as gay and trans rights seemed to bloom under the Obama administration. However, the community is back under attack in the culture wars. Most recently the Texas GOP called homosexuality abnormal, sparking fresh fears of discrimination. The gay community may begin seeking out these publications again in order to inform of new legal attacks. 

In addition to the other named executives, Michael Kelley will become Chairman and President of Global Growth and Development reporting to Berryhill. Diane Anderson-Minshall, the first female CEO of Pride Media, will retain C-suite responsibilities as the Chief Global and Development Officer of Equal Pride focused on editorial brands and international audience expansion. Rounding out the leadership, Joe Lovejoy, will become Chief Financial Officer and Stuart Brockington has been upped to EVP of Sales and Partnerships, effective immediately. Equal Pride 2022 clients include: General Motors, Google Pixel, Gilead, Capital One, Disney/Hulu, TikTok, McDonald’s, Molson Coors, NBCU, J&J and many others.

“We could not be more excited about the opportunity to join forces with Equal,” Diane Anderson-Minshall said as she assumes a role in leadership with expanded duties on global content growth. “This combination will not only create an unparalleled scale with the most diverse and engaged audiences for advertisers as well as other strategic revenue opportunities, but it will also bring together some of our community’s top talent, the most popular media brands, and the most impactful content in the world. This is the beginning of our most exciting chapter.”


Video StaffMay 16, 2022

1min1820

On April 28, 2022, the Green Market Report hosted its first Women’s Summit in New York City. This panel was titled “Media and Cannabis.” Public Relations can make the difference for companies getting attention or fighting to be noticed. But PR is expensive and often the first line item to be cut when money gets tight. How can emerging companies afford PR? How can companies assess and pick the right PR company for them? What can you do on the cheap and when do you know it’s time to level up? How to make advertising decisions. this panel featured Gia Moron – Founder GVM Communications, Cynthia Salarizadeh – Founder Salar Media Group, Ann Donohoe – Managing Partner KCSA, Shawna MacGregor – Founder Maverick PR and was moderated by Elana Frankel – Founding Editor-in-Chief, Women and Weed Magazine Thank you for watching the Green Market Report! Be sure to subscribe to our channel and our newsletters.


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