Weed Election Wins

The One Thing We Have In Common?

The Broccoli Report 
Monday, November 16, 2020
Time to read: 5 minutes, 30 seconds. 1103 words.

Good morning!

Last week, I celebrated Broccoli Talk’s first birthday with a fresh episode, basked in the glory of this nail + weed collab, and especially enjoyed this episode of The Daily sharing reactions to the election from the streets of Georgia and beyond. Unexpected turnout from specific communities in red and blue areas have been the focus of election result analysis, as has the shattering of multiple glass ceilings by future Vice President Kamala Harris. And then there are the sweeping successes of cannabis legislation across the country, which we’ll dive into today. But what may be getting lost in the shuffle is the bigger message these wins say about the shifting values and priorities of Americans today. 

I’ll be back on Friday with a special Trend Report on monthly subscription boxes in cannabis and hemp—the ones that are working, why this profitable channel has such potential, and where we see opportunity for new brands to emerge.

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Weed Election Wins: The One Thing We Have In Common?

Above: Radio City Fantasy (OAV), 1984. Irrelevant to elections, but cool.

Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota just legalized cannabis for adult use. Mississippi and South Dakota approved medical cannabis legislation. Once these ballot measures go into effect, one-third of the U.S. population will have some access to legal cannabis. Factor in the ease of driving to an adjacent state to legally purchase and enjoy product, and it is easier than ever for most Americans to buy legal cannabis. So when will federal laws catch up to the sentiments of the states and the people?

During the Vice Presidential debate, Vice President-elect Harris mentioned that federal decriminalization of cannabis is a priority for the Biden administration. Still, time will tell just how important the issue is for an incoming administration facing a variety of crises. Democrats like Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer remain optimistic, suggesting in an online press conference that even if Republicans maintain their majority, “There will be less resistance overall.” Blumenauer continues:

“These are not warning signs for Republican politicians to stay away from the issue. These are strong indications that they ought to embrace it. This is something that is no longer controversial. This is something that has broad public support in red and blue states. We’ve watched this evolution take place, and I think we’re on schedule to be able to finish the job this next Congress.”

“Evolution” is exactly the word that comes to mind when looking at how these laws were voted on and the ways they will be implemented. Faced with two dueling medical marijuana initiatives, Mississippi voters favored a measure placed on the ballot by patient advocates, rejecting a more restrictive measure placed on the ballot by state lawmakers. 

In New Jersey, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission tasked with hashing out details of the adult-use market will be led by Dianna Houenou, a criminal justice advocate and Policy Counsel for the ACLU of New Jersey. Unfortunately, NJ is following a problematic pattern of enacting cannabis legislation that neglects equity provisions and directs substantial tax revenue to law enforcement agencies. 

Only one week after Arizona legalized cannabis, the district attorney of Maricopa County dismissed all pending and all unfiled charges of possession of marijuana and any associated paraphernalia charges. That kind of cannabis-related prosecution reform took years to roll out in other states

The Arizona weed vote is particularly interesting, and not because of demographics or progressive verbiage. The 1.8 million+ votes in favor of Proposition 207 exceeded the vote totals for both presidential candidates. If a traditionally red state is more supportive of legalizing cannabis than electing a Republican president, can we finally agree that everyone is cool with/can benefit from legal weed?

In a previous newsletter, I posited that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, weed looks a lot less scary to U.S. lawmakers. An actually scary public health crisis is forcing them to acknowledge that the notion of legal cannabis business operating in cities everywhere is maybe not that big of a deal. I think the 2020 election reflects the same effect on the general U.S. population. Look at Oregon’s decriminalization of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other hard drugs, and Washington, D.C.’s move to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics. Ultimately, I believe COVID-19 has given U.S. citizens some perspective—a perspective that includes a bigger-picture understanding of the important role alternative wellness practices can play when traditional clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed; of the economic support legal cannabis can bring to locked-down communities; of the fact the world doesn’t end when we reform drug laws. 

One-Hitters: Cannabis News At A Glance

Above: Still from the new Greens Girl Co website

  • People not only voted for weed on Election day—they literally bought more of it. A lot more. Jane (an online ordering platform used by over 100,000 customers) saw a 60% increase on November 3, 2020, from the usual Tuesday sales average.

  • Tetra drops a dreamy batch of custom lighters with Japanese brand Tsubota Pearl. 

  • New Zealanders didn’t pass a referendum to legalize cannabis for adult-use, and the involvement of conservative anti-drug groups based in the U.S. may be to blame.

  • Ready to upgrade your stash kit to fill an entire piece of furniture? Forti Goods recently launched with furniture made for cannabis enjoyers. App-enabled lockable drawers and cabinet doors are designed with children’s safety in mind.

  • Greens Girl Co, a new e-commerce website and resource founded by writer/activist Leah Thomas, launched with a very cute set of limited edition pipes and a mission to contribute to a more equitable cannabis space. Stay tuned for news about a grant fund to support Black-led grassroots reform organizations and Black innovators in the space.

  • New, all-female law firm Plant Medicine Law launches with legal services aimed at helping entrepreneurs in the psychedelic and cannabis sectors succeed in complex and emerging industries.

  • In California, allegations of “questionable licensing practices, which included paying as much as $250,000 cash in a brown paper bag to Baldwin Park city officials” have led to FBI raids on the homes and businesses of a city councilman and the city attorney. In a single day, federal agents can raid weed farms in one state and protect legal weed licensing processes in another—what a time to be alive.

  • Echoes of the La Chingona controversy: Headlines about the first Black-owned dispensary in Seattle opening turned out to be nothing more than a marketing ploy. However, in reaction to the backlash against the false claims, Shawn Kemp is now getting a percentage of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis Store. You read that right—a majority white-owned dispensary intended to use the former NBA player’s name without granting Kemp any equity. A sobering reminder of why it’s vital to read between the headlines and go deeper.

Have a great Monday,
Lauren Yoshiko