Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/19/18

In case you didn't know, Canada, after 95 years of prohibition, has legalized cannabis.  Here's a quick rundown on what you need to know.

So, what's legal?Pre-rolled, fresh or dried flowers, and cannabis oil are all permitted under the law. Cannabis edibles - like pot-infused jelly beans, peanut butter and coffee - won't be legal for another year. 

It's a free-for-all, right?Well, no. There are several aspects of cannabis consumption that are still illegal. Users must be 18 or 19 (depending on the province) to purchase, and there are strong penalties for those caught selling to minors. Canadians will be limited to the number of plants they can grow themselves, and can only hold 30 grams (one ounce) on their person in public at a time.

I'm going to Canada...right nowHold off. For now, what tourists can find on shelves is going to be "pretty restrictive."  Difficulty buying cannabis as well as lack of variety makes Canada an unlikely destination for cannabis tourists for the time being.  

Who are the players in Canada?
Plenty! Here's a quick breakdown of the most prominent brands, the products they are linked to, and who makes them. Our hot take about Canada? You can now openly invest in cannabis (such as buying stocks) and we're going to see a lot of Canadian dollars coming into the US. 

Non-Canada news: Join us at NECANNHey New Englanders! Our own Robert O'Shaughnessy will be at NECANN this weekend, on Saturday from 3-4 p.m. He's moderating the Second Annual PR & Marketing Roundtable: Standing Out in an Increasingly Crowded Cannabis Industry.The panel will cover topics like how to get the attention of media, how to review data to maximize ROI, how to manage social and marketing in an era where Google and Facebook are oppositional, digital tips like web do's and don'ts, and brand building guidelines. Stop by. Listen in. Say hello!

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/12/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Facebook stops blocking search results
Less than a week ahead of the legalization of adult recreational marijuana sales in Canada, Facebook will end a block on cannabis and related search results for pages on its platform. Our own Robert O'Shaughnessy is the current chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association's Marketing and Advertising Committee (MAC) and the group is actively working on advocacy around this very issue. 

While more details will be shared about the MAC team's efforts in the coming weeks, Robert said today that, "We hope this indicates an opened-mindedness from Facebook that will also apply to states in the US who choose to end the old prohibitions against this amazing plant."

Survey says: Yes, we'd try it if it was legal
If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself? Maybe. But if cannabis was legal in the U.S. would you try it? Most definitely. According to a new survey of 1,000 US consumers, more than half of the survey's respondents said they would likely try recreational cannabis if or when it becomes legal.

(Yet another) huge corp set to make billions
It's not our imagination that there's a beer/wine/coffee meets cannabis story every week. The latest? One of the biggest producers of alcohol in the world is investing in the growing cannabis industry. Constellation Brands is set to buy a massive $4 billion worth of Canopy stock, boosting its ownership stake in the company and could make billions of dollars. Heartwarming. 

For the love of all that is good, register!
In November's midterm elections, voters in Michigan and North Dakota will vote on ballot initiatives that would legalize cannabis for recreational purposes in those states. And voters in Utah and Missouri will vote on medical marijuana. Do you live in one these states? You're registered to vote, right? And really, eligible voters across the US just MUST register to vote. November is a make or break moment people. Listen to what Taylor Swift says if you won't listen to us. VOTE!

Next-level retail
MedMen recently rolled out its luxury brand in Las Vegas and offering a high-touch retail experience for shoppers. Its products will sit alongside check-out and multilingual touchscreen menus in an Apple store-like environment. This, we think, is the first salvo in how cannabis and retail will complement each other (in legalized states, natch).

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 10/5/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Who's making money with cannabis?
That's a loaded question and this piece by the Guardian goes deep on how marginalized groups like patients, disabled people, veterans - early champions of legalization- are finding "themselves ill-equipped to compete against well-capitalized corporate refugees looking to jump on the bandwagon."

Advertising cannabis = minefield
We're a cannabis marketing agency (in case you hadn't noticed). We love it when trade pubs write about the industry, or in this case, talk about it. Adweek's latest podcast discusses regulations around advertising cannabis products (that are determined individually by states) and how brands have to be extra creative (and extra careful) with their marketing efforts. Do they ever.

Tour de Toke
Breweries have had great success in doing tours of their facilities then handing out samples. Well, the city of Ontario is proposing new rules for recreational cannabis that would allow licensed producers to sell marijuana to consumers at cultivation facilities. We're so down with that.

FDA loosens reigns on CBD?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears to be softening its stance on CBD. It seems some officials believe that CBD should not be included in the DEA's list of banned substances at all. Call us cautiously optimistic?

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/28/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Jumping on the cannabis bandwagon?
Congrats! We love new businesses and the spirit of it all. Here are some caveats and solid tips before you jump in though. 

And you said we were being paranoid
Not a newsflash: the country's largest tobacco companies (and pharma, too) are eyeing the cannabis industry. The question becomes how much control these corporate giants will have over the industry, what they will do to cannabis products, and how these changes will occur. (See: large beer brands swooping in and buying up successful regional and local breweries.)

Cannabis-infused drinks officially a thing
It's pretty much all Canada news all the time what with the upcoming national legalization. There's also a lot of buzz floating around about cannabis-infused beverages, from beers to sodas, and what's going to happen up north.

Are you a cannabis expert?
Most people aren't, but this piece looks at those that are experts who have spent years researching the latest trends and reports about cannabis. Here are six things they look out for when researching.

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/21/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Things go better with Coke
You probably already heard that Coca-Cola is eyeing the cannabis market. The behemoth company says it's "interested in drinks infused with CBD." Hot take: People will buy it if it happens. But? We predict to see smaller "craft" soda makers finding their own space, just like local breweries or coffee roasters.


Go forth and vote and get involved
There's an election on the horizon this November. So many races to watch. So, so many. There are also numerous races with cannabis on the ballot. Leafly breaks them all down here. And, you're registered to vote, right? Right? Go here to check (and to register).

Also, if you're in the Bay Area on Monday and you want to get more politically active, sign up for A Road Map for Revolutionaries: Tools for Everyday Activists.

CBD face masks? 
Yeah. The cannabis beauty business is booming. And the latest company to hop on board is Origins, who are launching a new celadon green face mask that contains cannabis sativa seed oil from hemp. The move isn't totally being embraced (for good reason) either.

A win for small growers (finally?)California's other famous crop (take a wild guess) could get a designated appellation of its own (like "Napa" grown). A process for designating cannabis appellations was actually written into state law back in 2016 and is supposed to be completed by 2021. The state is now holding forums, getting input as to what the official California cannabis appellation map might look like. 

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/14/18

blog masthead.jpeg

CBD and the legality of selling it
CBD is being added to everything from gumdrops to beverages, and includes benefits such as pain relief and stress reduction. But is it legal? As more people are using CBD, it's becoming a more gray area.

F is for 'failure'
Nearly 20 percent of marijuana products in California have failed tests for potency and purity since the state started requiring the checks on July 1. The testing has been especially tough on cannabis-infused cookies, candies and tinctures. About one-third have been blocked from store shelves, says the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. Yikes.

Older adults like cannabis, too
new study published suggests that increasing numbers of middle aged and older adults are using marijuana - and using it a lot. In fact, 5.7 percent of respondents ages 50 to 64 said they'd tried it in the past month. The drug is also gaining popularity among people in their 70s and 80s.

Botany bonanzaWe love infographics as much as we love botany. Grab a beverage (or whatever) and check out this infographic that breaks down the anatomy of a cannabis plant, the differences between types of plants, and also the basics around cannabis cultivation. Very cool stuff.

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 9/7/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Airbudnb
File under, "what took so long?" There's now a cannabis-themed version of Airbnb, where tourists can search for places to stay around the world that will let them smoke weed. Budandbreakfast.com calls itself "the largest collection of cannabis-friendly rentals anywhere on the web."

Cannabis radio in Portland
A new radio show is airing in Portland: This Is Cannabis.  It's super legit, too. Hosted by Lee Henderson of HiFi Farms and cannabis science educator Emma Chasen, each week they'll discuss with guests "their place in the industry and what challenges they face."

This Bud's for you?
Anheuser-Busch InBev might be getting in the cannabis game. Forbes is reporting that Anheuser-Busch is "interested in selling THC-infused products. In fact, it is investing in the essential infrastructure for such an endeavor."

SF neighborhood digs in its heels
There are states where cannabis is legal and where counties and cities have voted to ban sales or dispensaries. But what about neighborhoods? It appears that SF's Sunset district falls in the "nope" camp. And with an election coming up, candidates are continuing to drive the no cannabis NIMBY message to the polls.

Huge grow space near Palm Springs
Cathedral City actually and it's going to be the home to Sunniva, a Canada-based medical cannabis company that plans to grow, process and sell cannabis. When both buildings (yes, there are two) are finished, they'll cover 489,000 square feet, or more than eight football fields. And it's going to create local jobs (at least 100).

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 8/31/18

blog masthead.jpeg

White House cannabis smear campaign?
More than one media outlet is reporting that the White House has "secretly amassed" a committee of federal agencies meant to "combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light" while also "attempting to portray the drug as a national threat," based on interviews and documents acquired by BuzzFeed. Too little, too late, in our opinion. That train has left the station. 

The slippery slope of cannabis marketing
So many rules, so much ambiguity. This piece takes a look at how marketing and ad agencies have to jump through hoops (sometimes undefined hoops) to get approval on an ad campaign (or even an ad). The piece also lists reasons why a specific ad was denied. 

Here's our favorite:

"There is a rocket ship in the packaging design and the word 'rocket' relates to something being high, and that is too fun and could appeal to children."

Wow.

Cannabis cafes in Portland?
Not yet, but there's a local group encouraging local lawmakers to get some sort of law rolling. If that doesn't work, the same group might begin gathering signatures for a 2020 ballot measure. Like the article says, it's easy to buy cannabis products in Oregon, but nowhere in public to smoke it.

Co-working space just for cannabis
It looks like any other co-working space that have popped up around L.A. in recent years but if you look closer, it's more. The new space, called ParagonSpace, will become the city's first shared workspace for the cannabis industry.

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 8/24/18

blog+masthead.jpeg

R.I.P. California cannabis banking bill
Last week, the California State Assembly effectively killed a bill that would have paved the way for state-chartered banks to handle finances for the expanding cannabis industry. Now what?

Canna tourism booming
Cannabis tourism is growing at a fast clip, drawing millions of dollars to states where adult use of cannabis is legal. In Colorado alone, cannabis tourism has grown 51% since 2014. Interested in participating? Sadly, probably cash only (see above blurb).

Oregon cannabis prices drop
Oregon wholesale cannabis prices hit an all-time low last week at an average of $398 per pound. Oregon prices are "the lowest ever observed for that grow type in any market." Why? A massive oversupply of recreational marijuana since last fall's harvest--a glut that's putting growers out of business.

Headline of the week
Mass. Cannabis Commissioner Tells Critics to 'Chill'
Yeah, really dudes.

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 8/17/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Harborside goes public
In case you missed this huge news: Harborside announced earlier in the week it's going public, having been acquired by Canadian company Lineage Grow Co. The reverse takeover will allow them to trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE). The Toronto-based company is acquiring all outstanding securities of Oakland-based FLRish (which manages Harborside's retail and dispensary operations). One wonders if the inevitable financial arguments that are being whispered into the ears of your elected officials by Wall Street lobbyists will be more effective than the ethical arguments that compassionate activists have been making for decades.

Cooking with cannabis
Spices are integral to cooking. The usual suspects include basil, oregano, and thyme. And now cannabis is quickly entering the cooking world, or as one chef calls it, "experiential seasoning" and a "melding of the senses."

Compliance isn't an option you can skip
We're huge fans of compliance. It's necessary and it keeps everyone on the same page. When you purchase your edible or flower or whatever from a dispensary it made it there from a long journey. Compliance makes sure your product is legit, both in its potency and its legality. And thanks to new tech, it's getting easier to track from seed to sale.

Well, hello, North Dakota
Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana in North Dakota have succeeded in bringing the matter to a public vote later this year. Proponents submitted more than the required 13,452 valid petition signatures to get a measure on the November general election ballot. You betcha!

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 8/10/18

blog masthead.jpeg

Tiny territory goes big
The tiny US territory known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI) just took a big step toward ending marijuana prohibition. With a margin of 18-1, a new bill will create a legal framework for the sale and purchase of recreational cannabis in the Pacific islands, which lie just north of Guam.

Luxury branding
As the cannabis industry grows, there's going to be new markets that form within the marijuana industry, most notably, luxury cannabis products. Here's a pleasant side effect: companies that specialize in cannabis packaging and design could experience a boom in sales, too.

California (Il)legal cannabis sales
California's legal cannabis first quarter sales and tax revenues were lower than forecast. Why? A new survey by Eaze thinks California has a "long way to go in making it easy to get safe, legal and affordable cannabis." The survey found that 1 in 5 Californians purchased cannabis from the illicit market in the past three months. And, 84% of those are highly likely to repeat that behavior in the future due to the illicit market having cheaper products and no tax.

HR, payroll and cannabis
Wurk announced the launch of its new website designed to help cannabis businesses of all sizes discover the technology they need, while learning about Wurk's updated offerings to provide managed HR and payroll services.

Headline of the week
'Red Shark' car to be displayed at new Las Vegas cannabis museum

The iconic "Red Shark" Chevy Caprice, mentioned in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," will be on display to the public for the first time. The 1973 convertible is at Cannabition, the new cannabis museum inside Neonopolis, for the next six months. Huh.

Comment

Comment

CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 8/3/18

blog masthead.jpeg

The 'Shark Tank' of cannabis?
It's called the "The Marijuana Show," described as "Nine savvy and engaging entrepreneurs pioneering a multi-billion dollar marijuana industry compete for mentorship and investment." Got a cool ideal? This might be the place.

This is your brain on...
Who doesn't remember the 80s commercials with your "brain on drugs"? The egg being fried in a pan? Now there's a gentler PSA for cannabis. The new one shows an egg not frying but being prepared ... into a healthy delicious omelet.

When Starbucks met cannabis
And it makes perfect sense. What the former Starbucks manager learned at Starbucks is easily translated into a cannabis dispensary. Lots of cool products and accessories, a comfortable space, identifiable branding, friendly staff.

Oregon: Too much cannabis?
It knows all about cannabis. It was legalized for medical in the 90s. Three years ago, recreational came on board. The problem? It might not know how much cannabis it has, because it lacks regulatory oversight of the industry, particularly growers. What's the end game here? It's anyone's guess at this point. 

Comment