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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 12/8/17

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$10 billion dollars
That's a "b." A new report from Arcview Market Research says retail cannabis sales will jump 33% over 2016's totals to hit $10 billion this year. They also say next year's numbers could increase by an even greater percentage.

LA joins the party
This week LA voted to approve a package of three ordinances that will govern the city's medical and adult-use cannabis industries when the state's legal market launches next year. California's state-regulated cannabis market begins Jan. 1. This would make LA the largest U.S. city for legal recreational marijuana.

SF and a cannabis public bank?
San Francisco cannabis businesses may soon benefit from a public banking system thanks to two SF supes' idea of creating a municipal bank that would both curb the city's use of large commercial banks and provide cannabis business owners with a safe banking option.

Meanwhile in Michigan
As applications for medical marijuana licenses become available in less than two weeks, the state finally released rules this week to govern cannabis across Michigan. There are many rules, it goes without saying.

The city that weeds (finally)
Dateline Baltimore... News from back home being that Maryland is tepidly joining the party. We're all in this together and we love to take a bath!

 

Headline of the week

U.S. pot industry: High tech, high finance, and high times

 

OK, we get it. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 12/1/17

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We liked Rick Steves before it was cool
TV travel guide Rick Steves was in Chicago this week to speak about legalizing marijuana. "This is not a pro-pot movement. This is an anti-prohibition movement," Steves said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Chicago, where he appeared with Illinois lawmakers who are pushing a state legalization bill.

Hey there, fancy brand
Having a strong brand is crucial in today's cannabis market. Most high-end artisanal chocolates and celebrity-endorsed product lines all have beautiful branding. But now? Talk of honest labeling. Does the product you're buying match the fancy brand? 

High fashion
Since we're talking about branding, cannabis fashion has also seen a metamorphosis. Are tie-dye shirts and Birkenstocks on their way out? Nope. Never. But as cannabis consumption becomes fashionable, the world of high fashion is embracing the plant in subtle and bold ways. (Case in point? Our client, Bindica, manufacturers some of the coolest bags around.)

The data is in the details
MassRoots has entered into a technology-sharing arrangement with New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research and analytics firm. No details yet but it's worth watching.

Blast from the past!
This nug from two weeks back keeps coming up in our conversations. With Baker acquiring Grassworks, lots of opinions being heard from the perspectives of tech, capital, and the law. How this plays out is anyone's guess. 

 

Client kudos

Shout-out to our client, GrowDirector, the only controller to turn plant cultivation into an automated process for all home growing needs. They launched their Indiegogo campaign this week and have (as of this writing) hit their goal. Congrats!

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 11/17/17

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California announces cannabis regs
California released its cannabis regulations yesterday and if you're anywhere close to producing, promoting, or selling anything cannabis related it's going to affect you. Read more here. 

Must-see TV  
Meet the founders behind Toke.TV, the first live-streaming video platform and social community built for cannabis enthusiasts and the cannabis curious. 

Washington or Oregon: who's winning? 
Each have brought in millions in tax dollars for cannabis, but one state seems to be making more cash from their cannabis sales. Or is it a tie?

Nice meeting you at MJBizCon
The show wraps up today and we're all (sadly) leaving Las Vegas. I met tons of cool people, saw some great products, and forged new friendships. If we didn't trade info, feel free to email me here to follow up!

Headline of the week!
Budweiser's ex-marketing chief sees cannabis as the new craft beer

And (surprise!) he's getting in on the action.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 11/10/17

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Cannabis scored big in the elections
There were numerous cannabis-specific ballot measures across the nation that voters approved this week. Here's a solid round-up.

Gov-owned bank in Cali?
A government-owned bank in California that could serve cannabis businesses? Whoa. California's treasurer wants the state to study the idea.

Meet me at MJBizCon!
Who's attending the show this year? I'll be there. A client has a booth so I'll be on the floor a bunch otherwise just meeting people and learning the latest and greatest. Let's meet up. Email me here.

Grab your golden ticket
Surely you've been on a vineyard or brewery tour (you know where this is going, right?). Well, now cannabis companies are taking the helm with behind-the-scene tours. Case in point: a new venture in Denver is "giving tourists and interested cannabis consumers a sneak peek behind the process of growing and processing cannabis for consumption in various forms." And the facilities and displays? Scrumdiddlyumptious.

Maryland mayhem
Being from Baltimore, watching the rollout of Maryland's cannabis program has been...disheartening. Patrick Jameson took over the commission while it was reviewing applications to obtain lucrative licenses, and in the process found himself in a racially charged controversy. Poor Maryland: We're rooting for you. 

Welcome new clients!
We're excited to welcome three new clients: Banana Bros, Sage Analytics and GrowDirector. Sage Analytics will be at MJBizCon next week (see me if you'd like to meet) and both Banana Bros and GrowDirector will be announcing their products soon. We look forward to helping in a shared success.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 11/3/17

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A mainstream cannabis beer? 
Something is brewing with Constellation Brands, maker of Svedka vodka and Corona beer. They just dropped $191 million for a 9.9 percent stake in Canada's Canopy Growth. Does this mean a cannabis-infused Corona on the horizon?

Sportsball softening to cannabis use
Suddenly, the National Basketball Association appears to be opening up to the use of cannabis among its players. In recent days several league stakeholders have spoken out in support of both medical and recreational cannabis.

Cannabis and wine country, Oregon style
We've written tons on California wineries, cannabis and the challenges and opportunities. This piece looks at how Southern Oregon is responding to some great opportunities. Said one winery owner, "Cannabis is just another crop... You can't keep cannabis down."

FDA launches warning
The Food and Drug Administration this week warned four companies to stop making "unproven claims and to stop selling cannabis-based hemp and marijuana products that claim to treat cancer or any other medical condition." We're watching how this one plays out.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/27/17

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Washington state sales soar
Cannabis sales in Washington state continue to grow at a steady rate, with total 2017 sales topping $1.1 billion at the end of September. The state's nine-month sales total of $1,101,853,539  fell just short of Colorado's sales from the same time period, which totaled $1,118,207,832.

What's in a name?
Well, plenty. Take marijuana. Around here we avoid using the word. It's got a bad history and bad vibe. This op-ed piece asks: Does it matter if we call it pot, or weed, or cannabis? Absolutely. We agree.

Headline of the week

A Record High 64% of Americans Say Cannabis Should be Legal

We see what you did there.

Empowering women
Between the deep-rooted stigma of cannabis-friendly motherhood and the longstanding trope of using women as sultry props in pot culture, it can be difficult for women to find their voices in today's ever-expanding cannabis narrative. That's where companies like Van der Pop come in.

The heartbreaking, devastating NorCal fires
Now that the fires are smoldering and close to being out, the disaster has been dropped off from the headlines. Homes, businesses and people's lives have been destroyed. Cannabis growers and their crops suffered major damage. And, though not talked about much in the press, many in the industry are struggling to come back.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/20/17

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Here comes Pennsylvania
A medical marijuana grower/processor in western Pennsylvania has become the first state licensee to receive the go-ahead to begin production. Let the floodgates open. And speaking of Pennsylvania, the ACLU is making the case for legal marijuana there. 

And...Michigan checks in
Michigan officials are expecting a rush at the end of the year when the state begins offering applications for those wanting to start a medical marijuana business. The license applications for five categories of medical cannabis licenses: growers, processors, testers, transporters and dispensaries. 

Cannabis and careers
Karson Humiston wants to bridge the gap between workers interested in cannabis careers and companies looking to grow their business. She's the founder of online career platform Vangsters, which provides a central location for cannabis employers to find potential employees. Humiston isn't even thirty. Exciting times for our industry.

Help growers from the wildfires (redux)
Remember that crowdfunding campaign we told you about last week to help out cannabis growers wiped out by fires? It's been canceled. The crowdfunding site rejected money since, well, you know, marijuana. Even though no product was being sold. Lame. No fear, though. A new campaign has been set up. Donate away.

New client: Banana Brothers
We're very proud and honored to be helping Banana Brothers bring to market a revolutionary and top-secret new product. Shhhhh. For now. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/13/17

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California wildfires continue
Wildfires continue to spread in Northern California and the toll is heavy, not only for its residents but for growers. The losses for farms is staggering. The California Growers Association has started a wildfire relief fund to support its membership. If you'd like to help, go here.

Space is the place
Our school science experiments were never this cool. A group of-let's just call them-researchers recently sent a pound of cannabis into space. What happened to it? Well, it fell back to earth. There's more to the story, though.

Oregon distributes cannabis dollars
Oregon's Department of Revenue has distributed nearly $85 million in state marijuana tax revenues. After three years of being legal in Oregon, the money from the sales of cannabis will benefit schools, alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, other public health efforts, law enforcement and local governments. 

Headline of the week

Bad Cannabis Headlines Dangerously Misinform Readers

Meta, right? But, the article does make a good point: a bad headline can frame a cannabis story the wrong way. And that's a problem with legalization issues. 

Welcome aboard, Bindica!
Higher Ground is very pleased to welcome a new client to the family: Bindica. They design stylish (like Paris runways stylish) storage accessories that reduce cannabis (and other) odors. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/6/17

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Growers innovate to lower energy usage
For many growers, the business comes with high energy bills and a heavy, carbon footprint. Read how farmers are starting to address the issue by innovating and experimenting.

Women of color find their niche
In 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union found that black people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people - even though the two groups use marijuana at roughly the same rate. Read how women of color are helping to change that.

Right-wing activists block access to medicine in San Francisco
In San Francisco's Sunset District, an epic battle for safe access to medicine has reached an unhappy conclusion. The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative activist organization who has recently set their sights on fighting safe and legal access to cannabis, slyly argued that the highly respected Apothecarium is “no different from a street-level crack dealer” and, miraculously for a city many people think is progressive, the argument sadly won the day. Read more here.

SF legend goes legit
If you've been in San Francisco for any amount of time you probably have heard of Truffle Man and his long-running cannabis chocolate edibles devoured by Dolores Park-goers.  Well, he's leasing space in Oakland. For a storefront. Changing times, man.

Cannabis is ready for its close-up
A Washington photographer has spent the last three years capturing cannabis for major publications and agencies, all in the hope of painting the plant in the "positive light" it deserves. And, yes, the photos are gorgeous.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/29/17

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The interesting, fascinating 'gift economy'
In DC, instead of storefronts and dispensaries typically found in legalized states, Washington has developed a thriving "gift economy" marijuana industry. These businesses--many offering delivery--sell everything from coffee cups to artwork--all overpriced and all "coming with a little something extra."

Snoop Dogg, performer, investor
Rapper Snoop Dogg is investing in Toronto-based Trellis, a cannabis inventory management software provider. Snoop's venture capital firm is leading with a $2-million seed round.

Wine & cannabis, in perfect harmony
We love podcasts! Here's one from Wine Enthusiast magazine talking with Leafly.com as they discuss the cultural impact of legal cannabis. What are the similarities between how wine and cannabis are produced and enjoyed? And where does recreational use of cannabis fit in with wine?

California? Booming (no surprise there)
According to BDS Analytics, Californians spend most of their cannabis dollars on flower-- a whopping $375 million in just the second quarter of 2017 alone. And if that wasn't enough, there are an estimated 1,100 dispensaries and 2,000 delivery services flourishing across the state with no end in site. 

Headline of the week

Study: McDonald's Is A Big Hit With Cannabis Smokers

Maybe even the year.

 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/22/17

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Vegas cannabis lounges? Not so fast
Just last week we were discussing the potential for Nevada lounges. Things were rolling. Turns out there might be a longer wait for Vegas-type cannabis lounges or places to publicly partake. 

Sustainable farming gets lit
We keep reading more and more about sustainable farming for cannabis. It's certainly no easy feat. This profile looks at two brothers who are trying to put sustainable agriculture first--and change the way people think about sun-grown cannabis.

No bank account? No problem
A new company, Paragon, aims to build a blockchain (via tokens) for recording transactions in the legal marijuana industry. This could help cannabis companies that have struggled to get business bank accounts (because of that whole "federally illegal" thing). 

Former winemaker dips toes into cannabis
Mike Benziger sold his family's 85-acre winery in 2015, beat cancer (twice), started to focus on his health and is now back--growing produce--but also biodynamic cannabis. Cool story.

Headline of the week
Tailgating With Cannabis: 10 Strain and Product Must-Haves for Football Season
Hope you and your team score. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/15/17

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Crabcakes and cannabis - at last!
With props to my home state, here's your introduction to the shakers and movers in Maryland's budding cannabis industry, hon.

A new kind of Vegas lounge
And not just lounges. Consumption at lounges, festivals, concerts, and one-off events would be allowed under state law.

Cannabis media website launches
A new website launched this week saying it wants to be the "cannabis industry's preeminent source for in-depth financial reporting." Called The Green Market Report, the site will publish news briefs on all facets of the cannabis business, including banking issues, investment, cultivation and extraction, as well as cannabis stock prices and wholesale prices. 

Who's going to rule cannatourism?
No surprise - it's probably going to be California. Here's one reason: Washington State and Colorado pretty much outlawed any form of meaningful cannabis tourism. And that leaves California to fill the gap.

California university launches professional cannabis series
Speaking of California (when are we NOT talking about California), Sonoma State University wants to offer a certificate program serving all aspects of the cannabis industry. They've already held a couple of seminars that are leading them on that path.

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