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Four-letter word to success?
If you want to be successful as a cannabis investor, the four-letter word you need to become familiar with is ... what? Any guesses? Here's a hint from the post: "In order to succeed as a cannabis investor, you're going to have to be patient and allow for the proper amount of time to pass for the industry."

States graded for medical cannabis
A new report is out rating states and how they see medical cannabis deployed against the opioid epidemic. Some examples: Illinois (A-), New York (B-), and California (B+). Oklahoma, Ohio, and Florida all made heartening progress, two Bs and a C (up from Fs in 2015).Texas? F.

California's cannabis industry: we're back
After a rocky transition to regulated adult-use sales in 2018, California's legal cannabis market is currently on track to grow 23% in 2019 to $3.1 billion. That's the gist of a new report released by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics this week.

Cool nugget: the average consumer in California is 44; 39% of Gen Z and millennials and 41% of Gen X reported consumption in the past six months, compared to just 20% of Baby Boomers and older generations.

Headline of the week
Blue Apron meets Chia Pet for growing cannabis

A good headline should make readers click, we certainly did.




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Listen in
Agency co-founder Robert O'Shaughnessy recently appeared on the popular podcast Money Matters where he discusses his experience starting out as a writer who quickly needed a crash course in SEO.

(Trust us, it's helpful to have someone that uses both sides of their brain around here!) Give it a listen!

A new kind of tea
Arizona Iced Tea is getting into the market for cannabis-infused gummies and drinks in the U.S. and Canada, "seeking new avenues for growth after losing ground in its core tea business." Well, of course they are!

Miami advice
Miami Dade College is offering classes and a certificate program that'll "prepare students for jobs in the medical marijuana industry." Courses will include biology and chemistry of cannabis, as well as the plant's historical usage and evolving regulation.

Green real estate
The real estate industry is one that's close to our hearts. With cannabis and CBD becoming multibillion-dollar industries, it was only a matter of time before they teamed up. This piece looks at an LA luxury real-estate agent who recently held a "cannabis open house" at a $3.5 million home. (Spoiler alert: He got an offer three days later.)

Headline of the week
CBD Is More Popular Online Than Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Kale
Kale? Really?




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Mass. rolls out 'social equity program'
Pure Oasis, the first cannabis store in Massachusetts to benefit from the Cannabis Control Commission's (CCC) social equity program, is expected to open this fall. Massachusetts became the first in the nation to include a "mandate prioritizing disenfranchised groups as a way to assist people disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs."

Facebook sued by OK dispensaries
Seven Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries have sued Facebook, claiming the social media giant placed them in "Facebook Jail" for posting about their operations. The lawsuit by the Oklahoma dispensaries is the latest of a flurry of complaints by cannabis companies against Facebook and other social media sites, such as Instagram. This will get interesting.

Speaking of social media...
In Canada, Snap Inc. and Twitter Inc. will begin running ads for cannabis products from licensed Canadian producers, testing restrictive laws in Canada on marketing cannabis. Bold move.

Here comes big alcohol
One by one, the largest beer companies in the world have announced their intention to "create drinkable marijuana products. So brace yourself for an onslaught of alcohol-free weed beers and weed seltzers and weed fruit punches."

Museum of Weed opens this weekend
We reported on this unusual museum a few weeks back and now it's time to open. Running through September 29, the museum features 30,000-square-feet of exhibits on cannabis history, science, and culture, plus a full cafe and merch shop. Bummer: They won't be actually selling cannabis. Admission? $35.




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New crew at NCIA's MAC committee
Our co-founder Robert O'Shaughnessy's tenure as Chair of the NCIA's Marketing & Advertising Committee (MAC) ended this week. Jeanine Moss (AnnaBis), who was vice-chair, becomes chair. Amy Larson (Simplifya) becomes vice-chair. Robert is now chair emeritus and will continue to advise the committee on its mission to educate the community on standards, strategies, best practices, and community advocacy. Kudos to Robert and good luck to Jeanine and Amy, who will lead the charge into 2020!

Cannabis investments are hot
For investors who want to take part in the action without trying to pick "an individual company, there are now multiple funds that focus on this rapidly growing sector." But are there too many options out there?

Oregon tax going ... somewhere else?
According to a new audit, there hasn't been any public reporting on about 94% of the total cannabis tax allocations, which is about $7.7 million across Oregon? What's the deal with that?

What's in a name?
Don't call it the M word. Pot? We're not super in love with the word. Weed? Sure. Grass? What are you a narc? Anyhow, this piece looks at the search for a new name. (Cannabis is fine but...). Anyhow, try not to chuckle reading some of the names used for cannabis agents heard when arresting drug dealers: Bambalachacha, Burritos Verdes, Green Goblin. And our favorite: Smoochy Moochy Poochy.




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California growing pains
The agency overseeing California's legal marijuana market has been overmatched by the job and is struggling to hire sufficient staff and set an overall strategy for the nation's largest cannabis economy, an audit found.

Curaleaf sprouts
Curaleaf Holdings Inc., is pushing into the Midwest to tap potentially lucrative markets by buying Chicago-based Grassroots Cannabis. The acquisition "gives Curaleaf, which has a market value of about US$3 billion, a presence in more states, including Illinois and Michigan, which have legalized recreational marijuana but don't yet have stores open."

Get an MBA in....cannabis
The University of Sciences in Philadelphia is launching a Master of Business Administration option for students looking for opportunities in the cannabis industry. Science rules.

Of course the vikings smoked Ancient cannabis pollen has been discovered near a Viking settlement in Canada, "leading archaeologists to question whether the seafaring warriors were making use of marijuana while they explored North America." We're going with a "yes."

Headline of the week
Christian Book Distributors (CBD) can't help you with your cannabis order, so stop calling

We laughed hardily at this one.




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Where we are mid-year
We're half way through 2019 and many analysts are weighing in on where the industry is headed, and who the winners and losers are so far. The piece also looks ahead: New Jersey, Nebraska, Florida, Idaho, and Mississippi have already taken steps to get a legalization question on the ballot for 2020.

LA opens cannabis cafe
The first cannabis café in the U.S. is opening its doors in LA next month. On tap for the opening will be "bongs, vapes, pipes, dabs and prerolls, accompanied by non-alcoholic cocktails, along with some on-the-market CBD- and THC-infused drinks." If you get hungry, snack on sustainable, organic farm-to-table bites.

99 problems but a bud ain't one
Jay-Z, rapper, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, can now add chief brand strategist for Caliva to his long list of titles. Caliva and Jay-Z will work on "issues surrounding job training and workforce development in communities heavily hit by drug incarcerations."

Book on cannabis etiquette
We've read it and it's a fun, light read written by Emily Post's great-great-granddaughter (so she knows the deal). She covers bogarting, purchasing, and what to call it (we're maniacal about not using the "M" word ourselves). You'll probably know most of what's in the book. However, it'd make a great gift for newbies or your parents getting back into cannabis (it's not called "scoring" anymore, mom).




Illinois is next (and then some)
This week, Illinois signed legislation making it the 11thon the list of U.S. states to legalize cannabis. They're also taking it one step further: reparations. Low-income communities of color will be first in line for direct investment from the new tax revenues cannabis will generate for Illinois.

Where are all the women?
As the industry continues its upward trajectory, many women are hitting that (in)famous so-called "grass ceiling." This piece looks at the factors behind this, including "deeply rooted social conceptions, the continued migration of male executives from men-dominated industries into cannabis, and the clear trend of funding favoring male-founded businesses."

The museum Hollywood needs
The Weedmaps Museum of Weed is slated to be open from Aug. 3 through Sept. 29, and will take visitors on a chronological walk through history - from the early uses of the cannabis plant to the "Reefer Madness" and "War on Drugs" eras through to the present-day legalization efforts. Smart marketing move by Weedmaps!

Get #Weedwise
Speaking of smart marketing, using billboards, hashtags, and a new online canna-business directory, California is launching a new information campaign, Get #WeedWise, to remind Californians that black market cannabis is "not tested for potency, pesticides, mold, or other contaminants, even if it costs a little less."




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Global cannabis market: $15 billion?
Fueled in part by CBD product sales and Canada's recent legalization of cannabis, the world's cannabis market could reach up to $15 billion this year. Industry insiders are forecasting that global cannabis sales could total $14.9 billion in 2019, up 36% from 2018, according to a new report released yesterday.

Did Martha inhale?Despite her gig at the world's largest cannabis company, and the tongue-in-cheek action on her VH1 show with Snoop, Stewart is reluctant to fully associate her brand with cannabis. Interesting turn of events.

How not to do cannabis PR
Great insight from cannabis journalists on how to pitch them your story. We were pretty shocked reading some of the blunders from companies and their PR agencies (offering compensation? Really?). If you're guilty of any these, let's chat. We can help do your PR...the right way.

Environmental hazards of cannabis
This is a touchy and tricky subject but it's important: how can commercial growers do the right thing when it comes to not polluting rivers, destroying native forests or harming wildlife? Sure, many are sensitive but in a (pretty much) self-regulated industry it has to be addressed.

Avoid the summer bummer
Today's the first day of summer. Made your plans yet? This piece looks at how to incorporate cannabis into your summer fun. They're all here: state fairs, road trips (heh), hiking and even cannabis conferences and events.




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Marketing online in 2019? Read this.
The internet--you might've heard of it. Kidding aside, Mary Meeker of Bond Capital does an annual report on Internet trends (like marketing). We read it every year and this year we jotted down some takeaways.

Cannabis: Around forever
There's Woodstock old and 1930s prohibition old as far as cannabis usage but this might be the winner in who used cannabis first: The earliest direct evidence for human consumption of cannabis as a drug has been discovered in a 2,500-year-old cemetery in Central Asia. OK, now that's old.

Santa Barbara: The hills are aliveSanta Barbara County's famed wine region, with its giant live oaks and destination tasting rooms, and the quiet beach town of Carpinteria have become the unlikely capital of California's legal cannabis market.

Biggest 'threats' to cannabis industryAccording to a roundtable of CEOs, some of the biggest threats to our industry include the black market, regulation and public policy, and consistency and execution. Sounds about right.

Take the social justice surveyOur very own Robert O'Shaughnessy has been the chair of the NCIA's Marketing & Advertising Committee (MAC), and his term comes to a close this July. The MAC has several subcommittees, including the Social Justice subcommittee, and they've been doing amazing work. The team is developing an approach to social justice for the cannabis industry, our industry, and we need your help! Make your voice heard. Please take this quick 4-question survey. 

Headline of the weekThe Disneyland of Cannabis Stores Is Set to Open... Near Disneyland
So many jokes, so little time.





Mary Meeker of Bond Capital does an annual report on Internet trends that gets a lot of attention and I found it very interesting, and often vindicating. You will find it interesting too I think.

 It is a long (but very informative) presentation so here are some of my key take-aways:

  • Customer acquisition costs are going way up, which is concerning for many because the high costs are surpassing long-term revenue potential for many new companies. Free and unpaid opportunities, therefore, are seeing big increases in popularity. 

  • Mobile is replacing desktop in ad spend

  • The winning formula for digital spending: precise targeting + frequently updating creative + relevance + landing pages = winning

  • Adding targeted content to newsfeeds helps reach prospects

  • Everybody wants video (but podcast is exploding in growth). After many centuries, the written word is dying.  

    • Using video and imagery is how people share stories

    • More than 50 percent of Twitter impressions now involve posts with images, video or other media (Twitter used to be text-only).

  • People say they are ever more concerned about privacy, but their online choices (including active use of social media) means they actually do not care very much at all about privacy.

  • Use of remote offices, and tools like Slack and Zoom that support remote workers, surging.

  • Americans are spending more time with digital media than ever: adults spend an average 6.3 hours a day, up 7 percent from the year before. Most of that growth is coming from mobile.

 Happy to discuss in more depth if you would like to schedule a call. Get in touch!




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How big is CBD going to be?
CBD is in the spotlight, believed by many to be miraculous, and while the FDA deliberates, entrepreneurs are rushing into the CBD space. So, how high can sales climb? That's the key question facing companies in the CBD game.

Boehner is going to be loaded
Tobacco has always been the smokable plant most closely associated with Former House Speaker John Boehner. But that's changing. Boehner, now one of the nation's most prominent marijuana pitchmen, is poised to make millions from the potential sale of Acreage Holdings. Good for him, we guess?

Fighting Zuck
Nonprofit trade group Hemp Industries Association, has partnered with cannabis industry stakeholders Hoban Law Group, CBD product company Bluebird Botanicals, and farm supplier Bish Enterprises to launch Hemp is Legal campaign addressing social media platform Facebook's current policy of prohibiting hemp promotion and advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. We wish them all the luck!

I would use cannabis to ...
new survey says that one in three (34%) U.S. adults aged 21 and up is interested in using legalized cannabis. Their reason? Pain treatment and other wellness-related reasons. Also of note: A majority of those surveyed said they'd use cannabis for an ailment they're already treating through over-the-counter or prescription medication. (We read this as: possibly skip the pharmacist in the future?)

We'd buy it
Artist Richard Prince has unveiled  "vivid, faux-primitive paintings and drawings" called High Times and a line of branded joints and cannabis vape pens in packaging adorned with his art called Katz + Dogg. We love when art and our industry intersect.




Beer bites back
Oregon brewer Deschutes Brewery has released a campaign that features a Martha Stewart-like TV cannabis host that whips out a six-pack and claims that "it's the super dank refreshment when you're not toking the reefer." Funny ads. (We'll see how effective they are.)

Cannabis the new coffee?
Interesting (and pretty powerful) take: Cannabis won't become the next alcohol (you're safe beer!) but the next coffee. Here's a snippet: "The future of cannabis will be for artists. It will be for PTA presidents. It will be for the corner office. Cannabis will be for everyone when it becomes as gentle and comforting as a morning cup of coffee." 

The 'O' word
We're talking organic. As legalization drives down the prices, cannabis companies are "increasingly marketing premium products with the same kinds of language used by Whole Foods or winemakers, invoking sunny fields of plants tended by smiling famers." But will consumers buy it?

The 'Bacardi of cannabis'
Fact: Cannabis entrepreneurs hoping to succeed need to understand the power of brands. For Vertical Cos., a California-based cannabis company with some big ambitions including a plan to take its wellness unit public, it's a no-brainer: it's like every other packaged-good category.