The Broccoli Report
Monday, June 21, 2021
Time to read: 5 minutes, 29 seconds. 1097 words.
Good morning—and welcome, summer!
It’s our favorite plant’s favorite season, with the longest hours of light exposure all year. I invite you to be like weed today, too—take all the extra moments you can to stretch, recuperate, and replenish yourself in the sun.
Summer’s arrival also marks one year since many cannabis companies posted multi-slide Instagram apologies, acknowledging their lack of representation or meager participation in social justice efforts; one year since all those commitments to do more and do better. So why are Black-owned businesses still struggling to get onto dispensary shelves?
This Friday’s newsletter delves into that disconnect between performative posts and actual business decisions. To understand what’s happening, I spoke with the co-founder of Our Academy, a nonprofit, volunteer-run mentorship program for social equity applicants and independent BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs. Our conversation reveals so much about the work it takes to make equitable space—even when the intent is there—as well as the ways small businesses can have a more tangible, direct impact on the communities most negatively affected by the war on drugs. Donating tiny percentages of profits just isn’t enough.
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One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
The Drug Policy Alliance released new polling data [pdf] showing that most Americans—83%—believe the “war on drugs” to be a regrettable mistake. In a bipartisan poll of 800 registered voters across the nation, 66% support eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services. Next month marks 50 years since President Nixon’s infamous speech to Congress designating illegal drugs “public enemy number one.” Unfortunately, the war he launched is not over yet—not until the last person imprisoned for a cannabis-related offense is free, and all the records are cleared. Let these statistics inspire us to work harder and more visibly to make that happen; most of us are on the same side.
In Japan, on the other hand, it’s one step forward and two steps back. The country’s Cannabis Control Act will be revisited next year, following health ministry recommendations to allow medical use but double-down on criminalizing nonmedical use. Although cannabis is already very illegal in Japan, there aren’t specified punishments laid out for use, only possession. The report advocated establishing punishment for use, in addition to the current possession penalties (imprisonment with work for five years or less; add two years if it’s cultivation). Notably, three of the panel's 12 members objected to establishing new criminal penalties, pointing out that "it cannot be said that cannabis use is causing social harm, and there are no factual grounds for implementing (criminal penalties)." Any revision to this law is a huge deal—in Broccoli Talk’s “Cannabis in Japan” episode, author Yumiko Sakuma explained how rarely established laws are amended there. Listen here.
West coast cultivators, distributors, and anyone working on or near sungrown farms: Are you prepared for fire season? It’s not a fun question, but it’s one that everyone—everywhere—should be asking themselves. I heard the owner of Moonmade Farms talking about clearing all the brush or vegetation for a several-yard perimeter around every plant and fencepost back in April; Villa Paradiso Farms just set up 30 fire extinguishers around their grounds. Did I mention that both of these farms are located in Humboldt, the wettest part of California? Shit is real, y’all, and all reports indicate that 2021 will be more fire-prone than 2020.
Remember that newsletter about small cannabis business accounting with Alice & Fran? Anyone doing their own bookkeeping ought to keep an eye on their blog. They post helpful articles like this recent one on best practices to follow when setting up a new vendor for your business.
The entry window for the 2021 Clio Cannabis Awards is open. It’s the third year that the advertising award has included a cannabis-related segment, which now features expanded options for mediums—the juries are divided into Marketing & Advertising, Brand Design, and Film & Video categories. The entry window lasts through the summer, with judging commencing in the fall.
Beyond delighted by this New York montage of interviews with the New York mayoral candidates on their weed use. More specifically—”how much weed they smoke.” It feels truly radical to hear a range of aspiring politicians answer the question honestly, even if their answer was a sheepish, chuckling “none.” Just seeing their faces break into a smile instead of recoil in puritanical shock is a welcome, refreshing experience.
Full-time cannabis job openings of note: Los Angeles indie hemp company Dad Grass is looking for a marketing manager, and Green Light Law Group (with outposts in OR and WA) is hiring a marketing coordinator. Both gigs include benefits.
Hemp fashion brand Afends joins Plastic Free July, a global campaign encouraging people to refuse single-use plastics, and they invite you to join, too—I did! I may not sustain a perfect record all month, but if I maintain my new habits beyond July, that means I’m responsible for less single-use plastic entering the waste stream. I’m going to start by aiming for no takeout orders unless I know it comes in compostable materials. If you missed my interview with their co-founder, catch up here.
Last week, a rare, variegated, monstera-looking houseplant sold for a whopping $19k in a New Zealand auction. We may have gotten into the wrong plant business.
Go Easy—a very cute weed-friendly boutique in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas—opened a second location in Houston. Sea glass pipes by Yew Yew, Field Trip’s cheetah-print rolling papers, CBD chamomile sheet masks by Hugs, and those yummy, gummy Rose Delights can be spotted on their shelves—IRL and online.
Not Pot drops Banana OG Hemp Body Crème. The vegan formula contains banana extract, niacinamide, magnesium, and hemp seed oil—and they made a fragrance-free version for those of us who aren’t wild about the at-times divisive scent. I will say that banana-based moisturizers were among the top South Korean skincare trends I noticed when I was there at the end of 2019. 👀 Not Pot just might be ahead of the game with this one.
CBD brand Stevie delivers another next-level weed fashion moment with their latest collab: an oversized long sleeve tee featuring an image of the hemp bud panties designed by Vanille Verloës for the brand (using Stevie hemp, of course).
Allume drops a new scent of santal incense sticks called Mellow Mary—an earthy, gently sweet fragrance that “smells like chill.” If you’ve forgotten how to do that (it’s ok, happens to all of us), I happened to have conducted a class on the art for Allume’s Study in Chill series.
See you in study hall,