Big Weed Drama & News

Plus, hidden gems and launches.

The Broccoli Report 
Monday, March 1, 2021
Time to read: 6 minutes, 14 seconds. 1248 words.

Good morning!

Personally, my week is off to a great start after a crossing of grass-related wires resulted in me receiving this extremely creative press release from a landscaping company; what I wouldn’t do to get a peek at the tags I’m filed under at mainstream PR agencies.

If you could use a little lift to start the week, there’s a new Broccoli Talk episode up now! My co-host Mennlay Aggrey chats with Yogi Maharaj, founder of Luv Kush Co, a community platform for Desi weed lovers. Yogi shares the story of how Hindu deities created bhang—the original cannabis edible—and teaches us about early weed cultivation in India, touching on the plant’s deep roots there across social, spiritual, and geographical spheres. 

Before we get to the news, a preview of Friday’s newsletter: the ins and outs of virtual seshing. Connecting digitally is still as close as brands and communities can get to hosting consumption-friendly, experiential events. More and more brands are trying out virtual ways to engage with consumers, whether it’s IG Lives, Zooms, or Clubhouse. What we want to know: is it working? We’ll chat with the women behind Sesh-Ins, a regular virtual smoke sesh approaching the one-year mark to learn what it really takes to host a successful virtual gathering, what “success” even means in this format, if a community platform can be sustainable without revenue, and more. Become a paid subscriber and never miss a Friday newsletter again.

Thank you for making the Broccoli Report possible. ✿

One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance

  • Someone coined the term “calmtainment” to describe shows like Netflix's new animated series, Headspace Guide to Meditation. Though it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it feels good to have something more precise to use when trying to explain the allure of British baking shows and the content we need more of for stoned baths!

  • The latest round of the National Business Institute’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars includes a course on Drafting Agreements in the Cannabis Industry. The seminar is all about contracts: issues and case law in enforceability and illegality, risk assessment, compliance provisions, indemnity provisions, severability provisions, etc. It’s a sure sign of the increasingly litigated realm of cannabis and a good reminder to take even the smallest business agreement seriously. (Preferably signed in ink and notarized.)

  • Producers of hemp and vapor products have learned that last December, lawmakers made an enormous change to how they can do business. Buried 5,000 pages deep in the federal stimulus bill, the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (the PACT Act) bars the U.S. Postal Service from delivering hemp vapor products directly to consumers starting April 26, 2021. However, due to the interconnected nature of the postal system, this affects all shipping services. UPS already issued a statement that starting April 5, 2021, they “will not transport vaping products to, from, or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products.” FedEx will end shipments on March 1, 2021. Shit’s about to get real—really delayed, at the least. Since the new rule kicks in after Lunar New Year, when many Chinese manufacturers of vape components take long vacations, we may see some empty shelves as vape supply chain finds a new rhythm.

  • Thirty-seven lawmakers signed this letter calling for President Joe Biden to pardon all former federal, non-violent cannabis offenders in the U.S.

  • The Association For Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM [pronounced ‘ay-kem’]), a new nonprofit association for BIPOC licensed medical professionals and students, aims to be a reliable, robust resource of cannabis health knowledge through combining evidence-based science, sharp critical thinking skills, continuous interaction with new scientific information, and equitable ethics.

  • I don’t think anyone reading this has missed the hundred-million-dollar credit card lawsuit descending upon former Eaze Technologies Inc. CEO Jim Patterson. But just in case—here’s the latest: Patterson was charged with attempting to deceive banks into processing more than $100 million worth of credit and debit payments for cannabis-related purchases, which the delivery service accepted until 2019. Patterson resigned from Eaze in 2019, and the company is not a defendant in the case. While many cannabis-related businesses decide to fly under the radar on payment-processing platforms (people do love to use those credit cards), this was a much grander effort in deception, involving shell companies that supposedly sold carbonated drinks, green tea, face creams, and other products. Patterson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, indicating he’s probably taking a plea deal. The interesting thing here is that unlike the legal drama with Medmen and Ignite, Patterson's situation is uncomfortably relatable to many small businesses in the space forced to negotiate the gray areas between established (and conservative) financial structures and a newly legal and still stigmatized industry.

  • In my latest for Thrillist, I caught up with Megon Dee of Oracle Wellness, a company making CBD products and providing ritual tools for spiritually-driven cannabis experiences. We talked about how cannabis helped her tune in with ancestral traditions, and she shared advice for anyone seeking something more sacred through their sessions. 

  • When the Colombian government signed a Peace Agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Columbia (FARC) in 2016, the country also legalized growing and exporting medical cannabis. That same year, PharmaCielo, a Canadian corporation whose subsidiary company is located in Rionegro, got the first license to do so. At least eight other large Canadian operations have since opened licensed farms in the region, and Indigenous nations such as the Misak people are speaking out about the negative ways these corporate enterprises impact their traditional way of living. Ancestral authorities are reportedly worried about the social disruptions caused by cannabis monocrops and how they jeopardize endangered lands protected as important ecosystems and sacred areas.

  • The National Bureau of Economic Research published research on the effects of legalization on “work capacity”—the ability to productively engage in paid employment—of people ages 40-62. The numbers reveal that a little weed does indeed do a body good. Findings show that as cannabis use rises after the passage of adult-use laws, prescription refills of pain medications drop, and there is about a 20% decline in workers’ compensation benefits claims among older adults. 

  • Crestone, a documentary centered around a group of SoundCloud rappers living, making music, and growing weed in the Colorado desert, debuts on VOD. The film, an official selection of SXSW 2020, is scored by the band Animal Collective and features artful cinematography of dynamic natural surroundings captured with the help of drones. Looking forward to this one. 

  • Kin Slips donated over 65,000 cannabis-infused sublingual strips to Sweetleaf Collective, a dedicated medical cannabis group providing free medical cannabis for HIV/AIDS and cancer patients throughout California. Highway 1 Distribution, California Street Cannabis Company, The Higher Path, Cornerstone Wellness, and Padre Mu came together to make the distribution and donation possible. 

To a chill week,
Lauren Yoshiko