Shrinking Loopholes & Expanding Equity

The latest in weed.

The Broccoli Report 
Monday, April 5, 2021
Time to read:6 minutes, 2 seconds. 1207 words.

Good morning! 

If you’re slow to start this morning—or the wake-and-bake is lasting a little longer—you can tune into the latest episode of the Highly Political podcast, where I joined the gals for a smoky chat about the latest in national politics, pop culture, and pot habits. Turns out, read enough angry Tweets about the Lil Nas X Satan shoe controversy and it does eventually connect to cannabis. Listen and learn why. (Or, go look at Governor Kristi Noem’s Twitter feed, and then listen later when you can light up with us). I admittedly have a personal vendetta; I’m still seething over Noem’s attempts to overturn her constituents’ majority vote to legalize cannabis last November.

I am much more excited about this Friday’s newsletter for paid subscribers: an informative roundtable with dispensary buyers working in adult-use shops in four different states. They share what’s selling right now, what isn’t, the most common questions they get from customers, and the shifts they’ve seen in how and what people buy over the past year. These are people who actually talk to hundreds of customers and vendors every week, who run the numbers every night on what’s moving fastest, who know the rhythms of people who love weed. When it comes to the business of real cannabis product, they’re the only consumer-trend analysts I take seriously. 

Become a paid subscriber to receive both Monday and Friday’s dispatches each week, if you aren’t already. If you are—thank you for allowing the Broccoli Report to bloom. ✿

One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance

  • The Delta-8 THC loophole is shrinking in the U.S. Just a couple of weeks ago, police in South Carolina raided an e-tobacco vape shop (without a warrant 🙄) and seized all products containing Delta-8. This non-regulated, semi-intoxicating cannabinoid that has enjoyed the liberty of being treated like CBD—up until now. Like most states—and the federal government—South Carolina doesn’t have a law specifically addressing Delta-8, but Politico points out that a flood of state-by-state regulations looms on the horizon. Florida is talking about making separate rules for Delta-8, outside of adult-use and medical cannabis and the hemp/CBD markets; Oklahoma may just label it “weed”; and this neighborhood bakeshop in Chicago just keeps making Delta-8 scones for the general public like nobody’s business. Buckle up, y’all, we are not out of the Wild West just yet.

  • An interesting update in the battle for fair banking: Harborside—the long-established California brand co-founded by Steve DeAngelo, who also founded the Last Prisoner Project—secured a $12M revolving credit facility with a commercially regulated bank. It’s the first time a licensed cannabis company has secured a commercial loan of this size with a traditional lender. It sounds like part of the agreement included a huge cash payment upfront and a deal for the bank to obtain shares of the company (Harborside trades on the Canadian stock exchange).

  • Have you seen these COVID-safe, bubble-world Flaming Lips shows? The band just announced a big bubble concert for 4/20 that will coincide with the launch of frontman Wayne Coyne’s line of CBD gummies. The “Love Yer Brain” edibles—actually shaped like little gummy brains—will be available to buy at the show. Though let’s be real—those human-sized bubbles were made for hot-boxing.

  • A new study from the University of Minnesota reveals a drastic difference in the effects of cannabis versus alcohol consumption on the brain. In a population-based sample of 436 24-year-old twins, results showed alcohol misuse was associated with reduced thickness of prefrontal and frontal medial cortices, as well as impacting the temporal lobe and other important areas of the brain. No significant associations between cannabis use and cortical thickness were observed, which—as the doctors point out—“is consistent with literature reviews and large sample studies.” In other words, some fear of cannabis use impacting brain development might be more rooted in Prohibition mythology than scientific fact. That said, it’s important to point out this study was conducted on 24-year-olds, not teenagers.

  • The Chinese government proposed new legislation banning the use of any cannabis- or hemp-derived ingredients in cosmetics, including cannabidiol, “cannabis sativa kernel fruit,” “cannabis sativa seed oil,” “cannabis sativa leaf”—formulations covering all the different ways brands describe CBD extract. They’ve made this move as government-sanctioned hemp farms continue to bloom across the country for foreign exports, an irony that is not lost on Chinese citizens.

  • Rebecca Colett, a medical caregiver-turned licensed cultivator, just launched an organization to support a more diverse cannabis industry in Michigan. Colett founded the Detroit Cannabis Project after attending one too many regulatory meetings where she was the only Black woman in the room. She aims to use her experience getting a license through the state’s new social equity laws to help others get theirs, creating a local incubator for Detroit cannabis businesses.

  • In related news, the National Hispanic Cannabis Council launched at the end of March. The Denver-based organization hopes to empower the Hispanic-American community through education, entrepreneurialism, and economic opportunity. This community remains significantly underrepresented in the legal cannabis industry and has long borne the brunt of cannabis prohibition. I, for one, look forward to seeing a Latinx-owned-and-operated business reclaim the word “marijuana” on their own terms.

  • The SAFE Federal Banking Bill is back on the table, with 30 senators, including seven Republicans, supporting it. The question is whether they’ll end up having time to talk about it after reading that entire infrastructure bill.

  • Jason Mraz, the Avett Brothers, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta headline a virtual benefit concert celebrating Charlotte Figi's legacy this Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Figi’s parents were among the first to talk to the media about how CBD allowed their young daughter to live a more fulfilling life as she struggled with a severe form of epilepsy until her tragic death in April 2020, aged 13. Rock the RoC is hosted by the cannabinoid research nonprofit Realm of Caring (RoC) founded by Figi’s parents.

  • Massachusetts’ Legal Greens, the first adult-use cannabis retail store owned by a Black woman on the East Coast, is officially open for business. Co-founder Vanessa Jean-Baptiste is a Brockton native and first-generation Haitian-American, and to her knowledge, the first Haitian-American to open a dispensary in the U.S.

  • Another moving headline from Massachusetts—in Northampton, a former firearm manufacturing facility is about to be renovated into a cannabis cultivation facility. Can we do more of that? In fact, swapping one gun store for an eligible cannabis business site in every applicable county in the U.S. would probably alleviate the backlog. I know my Southern Oregon hometown has a few to spare.

Off to do legal, green things,
Lauren Yoshiko