california Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtApril 13, 2022
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As more states begin selling adult-use cannabis, some states are seeing sales decline or at least plateau. In the case of a mature market like Colorado, sales have actually dropped. Colorado was the OG of adult-use sales, creating an onslaught of canna-tourism. Now, many people can go to states closer to where they live. Illinois and Michigan can service the midwest, while Massachusetts got a head start on the Northeast. Oklahoma has grabbed the central market and likely lots of Texans. 

Colorado Sales Fall

Earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s (CDOR) figures released data showing that cannabis sales of $145 million in February dropped 3% from January’s sales of $151 million. It’s also a big drop of 13% from sales in 2021. For the first two months of 2022, cannabis sales had hit $296 million, while in 2021 the first two months delivered sales of $354 million. The pattern of February sales being lower than January seems to be consistent with previous years. Colorado hasn’t cracked $200 million in sales for a month since July 2021. 

That also means tax revenues from cannabis are slipping as well. Taxes and fees dropped to $27 million in February from $28 million in January. To be sure, these are all still respectable numbers, but it does demonstrate that the cannabis market has limits.

Michigan

Michigan released its cannabis sales figures for March and while the state breaks them into two categories – adult-use and medical, sales have slipped here as well. Adult-use sales in March did rise to $121 million but fell 6% from February. Medical cannabis sales dropped 33% from last year but did increase 23% over February. However, before anyone fears the market is having some sort of green-out phase, overall sales in 2021 were $1.79 billion, and 2022 looks to be on track to beat that. More municipalities are coming on board and more popular products hitting the state. 

 

 

California

While the California market has its fair share of problems, which the Green Market Report covered in a recent series, it remains a huge market. However, even the biggest markets can experience declines. Looking at 2021 figures, the second quarter was the best clocking in with $1.42 billion in sales, but that steadily declined to $1.29 billion in the third quarter and then $1.25 billion in the fourth quarter. This just barely topped the fourth quarter of 2020 that reporting $1.24 billion in sales. The state has not released any sales data for 2022 yet.


Gretchen GaileyApril 6, 2022
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Part 3 of Green Market Report’s series on California‘s war on cannabis.

If you were to ask what the main problem facing the largest cannabis market in the country is, there would be one resounding answer – TAXES.

Cannabis taxes on the state and local levels are choking the life out of businesses across the state of California and cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers are looking for relief anywhere. Currently, businesses are subject to a $161 a pound state cultivation tax for flower, then a 15% state excise tax (which is really 27%, but we’ll get into that later), a 10% state sales tax in most areas, not to mention the varying local cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and retail tax, effectively making the tax rate on the average cannabis purchase about 50%. 

At first glance, these taxes might seem reasonable, but when examined more closely they are not what they seem.  For example, the 15% excise tax is really defined by an arm’s length transaction with a 15% rate being based on 80% of the retail price and not the wholesale price, effectively truly making the rate 27%. These onerous taxes aren’t levied on any other industry except for cannabis and business owners are crying out for mercy.  Legislators on the state and local levels are looking to provide band-aids to the situation, but so far only Senate Bill 1281 is offering long-term solutions.

The legislation introduced by Senator Steven Bradford (D-35) amends the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) would eliminate the cultivation tax altogether and lower the “15%” excise tax to 5%. It would also have the excise tax paid by the retailers instead of the distributers. Currently, retailers are paying the excise tax to distributors for products has yet to sell, this new provision would have retailers pay the tax directly to the state after the product has been sold and they have the money to pay it. SB 1281 just makes sense.

There are other pieces of legislation that have been introduced to help alleviate the tax burden, Assembly Bill 2792 and AB 2506, but all they do is suspend the cultivation tax until 2028.  While businesses could benefit from these suspensions right now, what happens in 5 years? They are all back in the same place where they started, struggling to stay afloat under the crushing tax burdens.

California brought in close to $1 billion in tax revenue last year for the first three quarters, but the illicit market is rampant and legal businesses can’t compete.  A group of cannabis executives banned together and wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom about the situation, “The opportunity to create a robust legal market has been squandered as a result of excessive taxation,” they added. “75% of cannabis in California is consumed in the illicit market and is untested and unsafe.”

Newsom needs to address this massive problem that is paralyzing the growth and stability of the California market. He has promised tax relief but has been vague in how he would actually accomplish it. Eliminating the cultivation tax and vastly reducing the excise tax would be a good start. SB 1281 is the legislation that needs to cross his desk that is chocked-full of long-term solutions and common sense. No other industry is burdened with these kinds of taxes and cannabis shouldn’t be either. Support SB 1281.

 


Andrew WardApril 5, 2022
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Part 2 of Green Market Report’s series on California‘s war on cannabis

 

The troubling trend of regulatory problems persists in California as the state targets legal cannabis but lets illicit businesses thrive. In recent months, operators have warned of an industry on the verge of collapse as regulations and the unlicensed market throttle legal operators. Meanwhile, with high taxes and little incentive to go legal, many operators and consumers remain on the unlicensed side of the supply chain.

On the surface, numbers can be deceiving. California has raked in $3.44 billion in tax revenue since legalizing adult use. Still, many concerns continue to mount in the Golden State, ranging from inconsistent enforcement of the illicit market to raids on tax-paying ventures to alleged corruption and theft from law enforcement.

As it currently stands, the state appears to have few achievements and many shortcomings, leaving the entire supply chain in possible peril. 

Few Pros, Many Cons

Sources tell Green Market Report that law enforcement is the central pain point. Guy Rocourt, CEO of cannabis brand Papa & Barkley, feels that law enforcement isn’t heading in any direction and that it may have an ax to grind against the market.  

 “It seems that law enforcement is so upset by adult-use cannabis that they are not enforcing the regulatory policies and allowing non-compliant dispensaries and vendors to thrive,” said Rocourt.

Eddie Franco, senior compliance manager for California wholesale shipping platform Nabis, said illicit activity enforcement remains a concern. He said Prop 64, which legalized cannabis in the state, aimed to bring the unlicensed market into a regulated space, providing safer access to cannabis. He feels enforcement has not lived up to the measure, noting that illicit ventures outnumber licensed operators

“California still has work to do in finding the right balance between access for legal cannabis businesses and enforcement against illicit operations,” Franco stated. 

Jungle Boys Raid Underscores Ongoing Enforcement Concerns

Legal ventures still find themselves in the crosshairs of state officials. LA-based cultivator collective Jungle Boys found this out in early March 2022 when officials raided company headquarters, seizing $66,000 in the process. The raid had nothing to do with pot production. Instead, the raid and taken sum stemmed from a disputed late fee to the state. The collective already had a court date to appeal. Despite the alleged late payment, Jungle Boys paid $18 million in taxes in 2021.  

Rocourt called the state’s regulation process “fear-based and biased against cannabis.” He felt the raid said “nothing and everything at the same time.” He detailed the disparity between licensed and unlicensed enforcement in the state. 

The Papa & Barkley CEO said, “With hundreds of non-licensed shops throughout the state and tons of cheap, non-regulated cannabis products available to consumers, it is incredible to me that they find the time to raid a licensed producer.”

Brooke Butler, VP of partnerships for compliance software platform Simplifya, feels the raid indicates that state enforcement may be confused.

“Jungle Boys is not even close to one of the primary threats facing licensed and unlicensed cannabis operations,” said Butler. She added, “The state’s vigorous enforcement against the company looks erratic and vindictive, rather than effective and comprehensive.”

Efforts Ongoing

California hasn’t thrown in the towel on the cannabis market. At the start of 2022, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) awarded $100 million in grants. The grant provides local jurisdictions financial aid to help transition operators from provisional to annual licenses. 

Butler feels the decision is “woefully behind” in providing local support, noting that hundreds of municipalities still lack the funds to address unlicensed actors. 

“I think that far more of the municipalities that have not yet permitted cannabis are led by people who, quite legitimately, wonder if the hassle is worth the effort,” she posited. 

Morgan Davis, the owner of state-by-state cannabis law database Cannabis Complete, said lawmakers continue to offer little incentive to go mainstream. She feels that the state’s treatment of licensed operators doesn’t encourage integration into the mainstream market.

“Licensed cannabis operators often complain about theft and are given little to no help by local law enforcement,” said Davis, adding that banking issues, high taxes, and extremely cumbersome regulations all compound the problem. 

Rocourt said that some communities, like Eureka in Humboldt County, could serve as an example. He feels the city has made it so legacy operators “Have become active in building the local community as they are recognized as legitimate businesses.” 

 


Leland RadovanovicApril 4, 2022
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This article is part of an ongoing series from the Green Market Report covering some of the biggest challenges facing the California cannabis market in 2022.

Part 1 – Burdensome Legislation

The first quarter of 2022 has been busy with newly proposed cannabis bills in California, with more than two dozen bills submitted in the California State Assembly and Senate. Lawmakers introduced bills at a dizzying rate addressing a range of issues from insurance (AB-2568) and CEQA (SB-1148) to clearing criminal convictions (AB-1706) and re-felonizing homegrown cannabis (AB-1725).

In the haystack is a needle of a bill, SB-1097, introduced on February 16, 2022, by Senator Pan. SB-1097, which would impose new health warning labeling rules for cannabis packaging and advertising, could drastically change the cannabis brand landscape.

It is an important backdrop to understand that among the many roles Dr. Richard Pan has, he is a pediatrician and chairs the Senate Committee on Health. In the first section of the bill, Senator Pan presents studies of rising adolescent cannabis use, increasing use during pregnancy, and lowered perceptions of health harms with cannabis use, among other stats. It’s his “why.”

The bill would require that by January 1, 2025, in addition to the currently required labels, cannabis and infused products other than topicals include one of a set of warning labels that covers at least 1/3 of the front in 12-point type with a bright yellow background and a pictorial or graphic element. Products must have the rotating warning labels batched and equally divided between the mandated messages. 

While the bill would give operators and brands until 2025 to become compliant, operators with slim margins will still take a bottom-line hit.

Ryan Jennemann, co-founder and CEO of THC Design, a Los Angeles-based cultivator, says that the initial cost of changing out displays is in the tens of thousands of dollars, not including the packaging. “Let’s just say the packaging [cost] increases by 10-20 cents; there’s $5,000-$10,000 a month moving forward conservatively,” Jennemann stated.

Jennemann also makes the case that, in particular, brands with small packaging will need to increase their size to accommodate the proposed health warning labels that “it’s bad for the environment to be pumping out a bunch more plastic packaging.”

Geoff Doran, CEO and founder of Van Doran Brands, a cannabis flower brand headquartered in Los Angeles, points out that “no other industry in the US has warning labels like the ones being proposed.”

“The concerning part is that we are already running out of space on packaging in order to comply with the current regulations,” Goeff Continued.

SB-1097 would also mandate a full-page printed flyer or folded brochure that includes warnings for safer use of cannabis, including starting with small doses, warning of edibles’ delayed effects, and the health warnings required on product packaging mentioned above. All this must be in 12-point type, have no advertisements, use the heading “Health Warning from the State of California,” and be given to a consumer at sale or delivery.

Lastly, the bill would require physical and online advertisements for cannabis or a cannabis brand to include the health warnings that cover at least 15 percent of the ad in the upper right corner and have a bright yellow background. Radio, television, and video advertisements would require the same rotating warnings. 

Tracey Mason, the co-founder and CEO of House of Saka, a California company producing cannabis-infused beverages, thinks the bill is another nail in the coffin of an already struggling industry in California.

“It is punishing and ill-informed in nature, further serving to underscore the outdated and consistently refuted notion that cannabis use is somehow more dangerous or deadly than other intoxicants – like alcohol and prescription drugs – with zero data on which to base those claims,” stated Mason.

The rotating warning label language required on products, brochures, and advertisements is included in SB1097 with additional language for edibles and inhaled products. Only one warning would be required on the packaging at a time.


The ten rotating messages range from telling consumers to buy legal cannabis, not to use cannabis while breastfeeding, or that cannabis is not for kids or teens. 

WHO Guidelines

Eddie Kirby, the communications director for Senator Pan, pointed to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for effective packaging and labeling of tobacco products, used in countries like Italy and Mexico, as established best practices that Senator Pan wants in California for cannabis products. 

The WHO guidelines include packaging recommendations such as using pictures or a graphic for the warning label, bright colors and larger font sizes for visibility, and how much space the health warnings should take up.

Kirby also explained that Senator Pan is trying to create new cultural safety norms about cannabis with the label system, similar to what we have in the U.S. for alcohol. 

“You don’t say chug; you say know your limits, and this new industry needs that,” Kirby explained.

Mason argues that the proposed language is ultimately not helpful to consumers, that “they will not have access to real information about how to best use and enjoy our products because the limited space we have to offer a level of education on our packaging will be lost to hyperbolic language not grounded in reality.”

The bill is set for a hearing on April 4, 2022, and the public can currently comment through the California legislative information website.


Kaitlin DomangueNovember 12, 2021
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The Diversion, Inclusion, and Social Equity (DISE) Committee of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) released a detailed accountability report earlier this week. The report carefully examined California’s social equity program, specifically the state’s initial seven districts that received grant funds from the California Cannabis Equity Act passed in 2018. 

The California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 was designed to empower minority business owners who have been most impacted by the War on Drugs. Children of those incarcerated for non-violent crimes were among the applicants who applied to benefit from the program, which is about as close to “impacted by the War on Drugs” as it gets. 

But many people believe California’s social equity program isn’t living up to what was promised when the bill was passed. The accountability report released by the CCIA proves that to be true. 

Here are some key findings: 

  • In Oakland, 90% of respondents said lack of capital is a major problem plaguing their business 
  • In Los Angeles, as of October 1, 2021, only 28 of the 200 identified social equity applicants have received temporary approval
  • In Mendocino, the County has not yet approved any Equity Eligible Applications

Taking a closer look at Mendocino County’s cannabis social equity program 

Mendocino County was one of the seven initial district’s that received grant funds from the California Cannabis Equity Act, alongside Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Humboldt, and Long Beach. Mendocino County requires social equity applicants to be “extremely low income” or “very low income.” This means entrepreneurs after cannabis social equity grants in Mendocino County need to make between $20,000-$50,000 annually in many households. Social equity applicants Mendocino must also meet one of these five criteria: 

  1. Have lived within a 5-mile radius of the location of raids conducted by the Campaign against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program. 
  2. Have a parent, sibling or child who was arrested for or convicted of the sale, possession, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis (including as a juvenile).
  3. Any individual who has obtained or applied for a cannabis permit in Mendocino County, or who has worked in or currently works in the cannabis industry, and was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense, or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event.
  4. Is a person who experienced sexual assault, exploitation, domestic violence, and/or human trafficking while participating in the cannabis industry. 
  5. Have become homeless or suffered a loss of housing as a result of cannabis enforcement.

At the time of the report’s writing, which was just released this week, Mendocino County hasn’t approved a single Equity Eligibility Application. This is mostly due to the income limits imposed on applicants. Those applicants who meet one of the five criteria above don’t meet the “very low income” or “extremely low income” requirements set forth by the county, hindering successful adults who were harshly impacted by the War on Drugs at some point in their life. 

Mendocino County has accumulated $3,077,978.57 total funds for social equity applicants in 2020 and 2021. 

Oakland, California’s social equity program 

The Oakland Cannabis Commission shared a report just a few weeks ago detailing some shocking facts about the social equity program in that area. It was revealed that the city was sending a percentage of equity operators who have fallen out of compliance with the loan agreement to collections. 

It’s evident there’s a social equity cash flow problem in Oakland, despite a total of $10,668,619.90 raised for the program. The report shared by the Oakland Cannabis Commission said 90% of respondents said the lack of capital is a huge problem in their business, and 82% claimed to make less than $50,000 in gross receipts the prior fiscal year. The CCIA report cites loan repayment as the current cannabis social equity issue to focus on in Oakland, highlighting the data from the Oakland Cannabis Commission’s recent report. 

No transparency or timeliness 

There is no uniformity for tracking social equity-related dollars in cannabis across all jurisdictions in California. This makes finding and analyzing data difficult. The structure, eligibility, and funding implementation are different across each county. 

Testimonials for equity operators in California

“You’re expected to start basically a million dollar a year business, from scratch, not knowing what the budget is, not knowing what the state’s gonna put in front of you in terms of costs. Not having, really, the technical expertise to start the business. But you’re given a piece of paper saying you’ve got a license, start a business without either the proper capitalization and in that case, in our case, and everybody’s case, the consultants weren’t in place at that time, “ an anonymous equity applicant in Oakland said in the report. 

Evelyn and Brandon from Green Paradise, a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles, said “The hardest part about the social equity program, I think, for us, definitely raising capital we’ve experienced. We’ve had several relationships with investors over the period of time of the course of this program and they all fell short, just because of the timing of the entire program. So when we think about the funds, that big issue, the program itself, not a lot of information was given directly from the department.”

How California can improve the cannabis social equity program 

The Diversion, Inclusion, and Social Equity Committee recommends the state create a “comprehensive definition for what constitutes cannabis social equity on the state level in order to facilitate more direct and intentional support of marginalized individuals seeking to enter the cannabis industry.” In other words, create a linear definition as to what cannabis social equity means to the state and entrepreneurs, so those business owners can be equally supported throughout California. The data must also be made publicly available, so people can see where the money is going and who is being helped. The report also recommends greater financial relief for social equity business owners and to simply make more funding accessible to these individuals. 


Kaitlin DomangueNovember 5, 2021
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California-based, vertically integrated Glass House Brands Inc. (NEO: GLAS.A.U) (NEO: GLAS.WT.U) (OTCQX: GLASF) (OTCQX: GHBWF) announced its subsidiary, GH Group Inc., has filed a lawsuit against Element 7 CA, LLC (E7), a California dispensary with multiple locations across the state, and its principals Josh Black and Robert “Bobby” DiVito. The claim was filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court – Central District earlier this week on November 2nd. 

The lawsuit was filed in an effort to enforce the complete transfer of retail licenses GH Group was set to acquire, per a Merger and Exchange Agreement between the two companies dated February 23rd, 2021. E7 was contractually committed to transfer seventeen retail licenses to Glass House Brands. Only three out of the seventeen have been fully transferred so far. Those three licenses are located in Dunsmuir, Hesperia, and Eureka, California. GH Group has also terminated the License Development Consulting Agreement between the two parties, also dated February 23rd, 2021. 

E7 In the News

This isn’t the first time E7 has made the news under less-than-ideal circumstances, with a Change.org petition included, garnering nearly 700/1,000 signatures. Namely, those who are against corporate cannabis. E7 filed an application with the town of Fairfax, California to operate a dispensary and delivery service. The company was accused by Fairfax residents of pushing local business owners out and bringing corporate cannabis in. The cannabis company applied for a storefront location at 1930 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, which is a family-owned acai bowl shop and cafe, Mana Bowls. “We are not a national chain and we don’t use locals as a front,” Josh Black, who was named in the Glass House Brands suit, told Marin Independent Journal. But Mana Bowls private Instagram account links the Change.org petition in their bio, potentially supplying a level of truth to Fairfax residents’ concerns about pushing out local businesses. 

There was also concern from people who didn’t want to make the town a “go-to” location for cannabis. “Fairfax already has the pot store and the CBD store,” said Ed Tilton, Fairfax resident who lives behind Mana Bowls, to the Marin Independent Journal. Parents of young children have also expressed their disinterest, as Mana Bowls is a place where families can be together. “Our town and kids need Mana Bowls. Cannabis can easily be delivered and does not need a storefront in Fairfax,” says one commenter on the Change.org petition. 

Glass House Brands feels confident the remaining fourteen licenses will be transferred. E7 has not yet made any statements about the lawsuit with Glass House Brands. 


Kaitlin DomangueJune 10, 2021
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Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX:TRTC) announced their plan to acquire SilverStreak Solutions Inc. The two companies have executed an agreement for the acquisition to take place. The close is expected to occur within 90 to 120 days. After the close, SilverStreak’s CEO, Sterling Harlan, is expected to consult with the company for a period of six months. 

SilverStreak Solutions is a cannabis delivery service serving California areas like Sacramento, Yuba City, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Elk Grove, Stockton, and others. SilverStreak Solutions has 22 company vehicles and about 42,000 monthly customers. As one of the first direct-to-consumer cannabis companies in their area, SilverStreak is experienced in this space and a good move for Terra Tech. 

Terra Tech’s acquisition 

“We are delighted to continue our expansion with the addition of this high-quality and well-run delivery service,” said Frank Knuettel II, CEO of Terra Tech Corp. “We believe the synergies with Unrivaled’s existing brand portfolio and distribution operation makes enormous economic and operational sense. In addition, we expect to expand SilverStreak’s base of operations utilizing our existing assets in Northern and Southern California, with the intent to develop a statewide delivery operation giving us access to millions of California consumers.”

“This is the next step in our rebuilding initiative, and with our anticipated monetization of our Hydrofarm, we expect to expand our base of operations in the near future. I would like to thank Sterling and his team for the work they have done in building SilverStreak and being the next building block in our effort towards becoming the premier West Coast and Southwest operator of cannabis assets,” Knuettel II continued. 

Terra Tech is a vertically integrated cannabis company with operations in California and Nevada. Terra Tech operates two dispensaries and a cultivation facility in California, with two additional cultivation facilities and a dispensary under development. The company operates in Nevada by way of joint ventures, operating a manufacturing and cultivation facility. 

Terra Tech sold property for $2.6 million 

Terra Tech recently sold a Nevada property on N. 4th Street, as local zoning changes prevent any cannabis activity in the area. The company sold the building for $2.6 million, improving their balance sheet by approximately $900,000, even after paying off $1.6 million in mortgages and other related sale costs. 

“Since taking over as CEO a few short months ago, we have continued to review our operations, divest unproductive assets and drive appropriate cost reductions. The successful sale of our N. 4th Street property is another positive step towards doing just that,” Knuettel said. 

“With the sale, we have now added approximately $900K to our balance sheet and alleviated numerous costs associated with its ownership, allowing us to focus our attention on working to position the company for what we believe is a very opportunistic future, including the upcoming anticipated closing of the transaction to acquire Unrivaled. This mutually beneficial transaction is expected to lead to immediate scale, driven by strong brands and revenue growth.”


Kaitlin DomangueJune 8, 2020
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Leading cannabis manufacturer in California, Procan Labs, announced its victory in a monumental lawsuit against the state of California. 

The Los Angeles Times reported on February 14th, 2020 that Santa Barbara County law enforcement confiscated over $2.6 million in cannabis oil as well as over $620,000 in cash from Barry Brand, a well-known local businessman, and cannabis operator. Brand is a longtime Gerbera daisy grower and shifted to cannabis. Brand is a prominent advocate in the cannabis community dedicated to helping develop marijuana policy, even hiring lawyers, lobbyists, and communication firms to support his efforts. Brand maintained his position that he was operating legally, but the District Attorney highlighted technical noncompliance problems that ignited the belief that Brand was acting criminally. 

The litigation lasted for three months, and Judge T. Anderele ruled in the state of California that criminal laws such as the state Controlled Substances Act do not apply to licensed commercial cannabis activities, such as Brand’s operation. It was also confirmed that there were no illegal cannabis oils of any kind. All substances and products found on the premises were correctly identified with METRC RFID tags and in the system prior to shipment and seizure. 

John Armstrong representing Horwitz+ Armstrong law firm was lead counsel for Eagle Bay Enterprises (d.b.a. Procan Labs). He said, “With millions of dollars at stake, licensed cannabis operators should not be at risk of losing their business because police mistake lawful cannabis operations for illegal black market activities. California established the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and empowered it to support and regulate legal cannabis activities, to the exclusion of heavy-handed law enforcement regulating such activities. This decision shows that our courts will side with the cannabis industry when provided evidence of good faith efforts to comply with state regulations. We would like to thank CREC Compliance for its assistance in verifying legal compliance by Procan. CREC’s help was invaluable in securing the eventual positive result.”

Many cannabis brands came to the defense of Procan, namely longtime distribution leader, HARDCAR. “Mark Unterbach, CEO of Procan Labs, remarked, “HARDCAR’s assistance was instrumental in assisting us maneuver through the legal roadblocks that had been placed in the way of our efforts to simply secure the return of our inventory.”

This is a big win for cannabis businesses not only in California but nationwide. 


Kaitlin DomangueJune 4, 2020
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Businesses across the nation are suffering at the hands of protesters attempting to send a message about the brutal killing of George Floyd. Many protests have been peaceful, but there are many that lead to looting and damaging buildings, and cannabis dispensaries are included. Despite being considered an essential business throughout the pandemic, many cannabis retail stores found themselves in the crosshairs of these looters. 

The protestors describe these acts of violence and damage to their cities as years of pent up rage and unheard voices, stemming from what they believe is a racially biased system against black Americans. The civil unrest has incited the President to release the National Guard across various states. There have been many deaths, arrests, and injuries during this tense time in history. 

According to social media videos, MedMen in Los Angeles had two locations broken into and robbed. The man filming the video can be heard saying, “They are cleaning MedMen out” as protestors o just plain looters leave the store with red shopping bags, filled with the things they stole. 

MedMen did not want to comment on the situation. However one employee of MedMen posted on LinkedIn, “It is not hard for me to empathize with, and I am sensitive to those who view MedMen as a symbol of the inequality that led to the anger expressed last night.” He further emphasized his support for those who feel outraged by the killing of George Floyd, and he himself feels “angry that a group of police officers sat idly by while one of their own murdered George Floyd by standing on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.” MedMen reported Monday that all of their stores will be closed until further notice. They have operations across six US states. 

“Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing all stores and the corporate office to protect the safety of our employees. The safety of everyone in the MedMen family is the most important thing right now, and we are grateful to report that while our stores were damaged, our employees and security guards were unharmed.” The company said in an internal memo, first reported by Marijuana Moment

Jushi Closes Temporarily

Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Cacioppo said in a statement:

We fully support an individual’s right to freedom of speech and the touching peaceful demonstrations that we have seen around the country. We are heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country that we not only work in, but live and love.

Unfortunately, certain opportunistic bad actors have at times manifested unacceptable behaviors. This past weekend, our Center City and Northern Liberties locations in Philadelphia were broken into, making it impossible for us to safely operate. In addition to these two temporary store closures, we have limited our hours at certain locations in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Please check www.beyond-hello.com for the latest details. It is our hope to begin safely servicing our customers soon from the impacted store locations and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our patients and customers.

As committed members of the cannabis movement, we will also continue to fight for equality and work to overturn racially biased laws that ruin lives and unequally target disenfranchised communities and people of color. 

Rappers Berner and B Real both reported robberies at their stores, too. B Real Tweeted on May 30th, “Today as a country we hit a low point.  Rioting, looting  and burning down business all during a pandemic isn’t going to make the change needed. It will only set us back. Protest peacefully and remove the instigators that aren’t there in the name of George Floyd.” 

The Chicago Tribune reported that all of their dispensaries would be closed indefinitely either to prevent looting or to clean up from the damage that has already been done. Kris Krane, president and co-founder of 4Front Ventures, who owns the robbed dispensary Mission South Shore, told The Chicago Tribune, “The store’s been pretty much ransacked. Nothing was going to hold that many people back.” Krane watched 30 to 40 people break into the dispensary on security cameras. 

Most of the cannabis industry seems optimistic that they will rebuild from this, and a lot of them say they understand why this happened. “We can replace windows, we can grow more pot, we can have empathy.” said the MedMen employee. 


Kaitlin DomangueFebruary 13, 2020
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Its time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for February 13th, 2020. 

On the Site

Meet the Weedy Award Finalists 

The founder and Editor of WeedWeek, Alex Halperin, has created the Weedy Awards, with winners being announced on February 28th in Hollywood. Awards will be presented in categories like best grow, the most socially responsible company, the best delivery company, the best edibles, and the people’s choice cannabis celebrity. 

Aurora Cannabis Stock Slides as Revenue Falls

Canadian-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) saw its shares falling in early trading after the company said that revenues fell in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 ending December 31, 2019. Aurora reported that its total net revenue reported in Canadian dollars fell 26% sequentially to $56 million in the second quarter from $75 million in the first quarter of 2020. It was higher than the 2018’s second quarter, which delivered net revenue of $54 million.

Neptune Wellness Delivers Solid Quarter as Sales Increase

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc.  (NASDAQ: NEPT) (TSX: NEPT) announced its financial results for its fiscal third-quarter ending December 31, 2019. Total revenues for Neptune were $9.1 million, a sequential increase of $2.6 million or 41% over the second quarter ended September 30, 2019. This was also an increase of $2.6 million or 40% compared to $6,538 for the three-month period ended December 31, 2018. 

In Other News

SLANG Worldwide Partners with Cali Cannabis Cookie Company 

SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CNSX: SLNG), leading cannabis consumer packaged goods company, has partnered with Cookies, a leading California-based cannabis brand. 

Pursuant to the deal, SLANG will bring Cookies’ products to the Oregon market. 

Cresco Labs Expands C-suite

Cresco Labs will name marketer Greg Butler as its first-ever Chief Commercial Officer. Butler has past supported the brand in a CMO capacity, developing the commercial growth strategy for the brand. He has strong plans to develop Cresco’s market in 2020, as well as promoting diversity and social equity in the cannabis space. 


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