NBA Icon Chris Webber Unveils Detroit Cannabis Facility

NBA Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Chris Webber on Tuesday broke ground on Players Only Holdings, a $50 million cannabis production and training facility in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Once completed, the new facility sitting on nine acres near the Detroit River is expected to create hundreds of jobs over the next three years.

Co-founded by Webber with fellow entrepreneur Lavetta Willis, Players Only is a Black-owned business focused on cannabis cultivation, real estate development, brand partnerships and creative content development and management. The 180,000 square foot Players Only facility, dubbed the Webber Wellness Compound, will include a 60,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation operation, an 8,000-square-foot cannabis dispensary and a private consumption lounge. 

At Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Webber announced the creation of a distribution partnership for Players Only branded products with Gage Growth Corp., a leading, Michigan-licensed cannabis operator headed by CEO Fabian Monaco.

“This will be the shining jewel of Michigan. Everything great in Michigan starts in Detroit, and I am excited to collaborate with Gage to bring our premium line of Players Only products to this community,” former Detroit Piston star Webber said in a statement from Players Only. “Gage is the HOF of cannabis operations. With Fabian Monaco as a teammate, this relationship is a winner on every level.”

Courtesy of Players Only Holdings

Cookies U Comes To Michigan

Webber also took the opportunity to reveal the Detroit expansion of cannabis training program Cookies U, founded by rapper and cannabis mogul Berner in partnership with The WebberWildWillis Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on uplifting and enriching Black and Brown communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. In a statement, Berner characterized the state of Michigan as “one of the most important markets in the cannabis industry.”

NBA
Courtesy of Players Only Holdings

“Detroit is the first city we opened a flagship store in, outside of California. I have to salute Chris Webber, Jason Wild and Lavetta Willis for supporting our vision to build out Cookies U in Humboldt California and extending the program to Detroit, which happens to be Chris’s hometown,” said Berner, co-founder and CEO of Cookies. “Michigan has always been an advanced and educated market, and we couldn’t be more excited to offer underrepresented people an opportunity to learn the industry from seed to sale.”

Cookies U is a hands-on, fee-free training program that will recruit students from underserved communities and prepare them for jobs in the cannabis industry, including access to a GED program with a financial literacy component. In addition to the educational curriculum, a job-placement program will help graduates find employment in Michigan’s booming legal cannabis market.

“This Detroit training and operations facility is only the first step in bringing tangible opportunities to the people of this city—one that means so much to me—while eliminating barriers to an industry with unlimited economic potential,” Webber said. 

“We will create, foster and provide a cannabis ecosystem that celebrates diversity, creates jobs and benefits this community—focusing intensely on those who are being left behind. As social equity programs struggle in many states, we are here to support legacy operators who created the foundation for this industry so that they are included in future iterations of it while we wait on the politics to catch up.”

Construction on the first phase of the Webber Wellness Compound is expected to begin this fall, with work slated to wrap up by March 2022. A $125 million second phase, which as of yet has no announced timeline, will expand the cultivation area by 80,000 square feet.

“This is my biggest priority in life,” Webber said. “I’ve seen who (Willis) and I have helped across the country and the lives that have been disrupted by cannabis. Hopefully, we can do a little bit of repairing. Hopefully, we can help the city.”

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Jon’s Stone-Cold Quarantine Cop List: 14th Edition

I’ve run out of fun intros for the cop list features, so let’s just go with what’s up y’all—back again with the latest and greatest to get your spirits lifted out of the dumps of whatever the hell dystopian future we’re living in. Seriously, have y’all been feeling this dark cloud, too? Feels like the last few months, it’s been a chore to try and get that serotonin in, but never fear—new drugs ALWAYS help! (For the five of y’all that will get mad at me for calling weed drugs, I’m sorry, but it’s fun.) Let’s get you laced up.

Although we’ve already run 13 of these cop list features, number 14 has a surprising number of firsts—ALL of which are worthy of your attention and adoration. We’ve got new experiences, new flavors, and even home goods—since, vaxxed or not, you’re likely still spending a great deal of time at home. Oh well, while the world burns, the industry moves forward—c’est la vie! As per usual, I’m always hungry for more, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line when you find something that excites you—I’m here for it! 

Cop List #14:

Courtesy of Holy Water

Holy Water

It’s rare I include an extractor in this list, but I couldn’t let this discovery pass up without a mention. While there’s a lot of excellent work being done in labs right now, few are focused on creating an EXPERIENCE out of dabbing—save, of course, the product guys. 

That said, Holy Water is definitely worth delving into if you’re interested in the art of extraction. With split containers that hold two different types of small batch craft extracts, sometimes half is Live Rosin and half is BHO Badder, and other times, they’re splitting diamonds on one side and their ‘holy water’ sauce on the other. 

And, in case you needed another reason to check them out, these guys just took home the crown at our most recent NorCal Cannabis Cup with their Pina Açaí UNHOLY collaboration with Grandiflora. This ain’t just my praise; they’re winning trophies.

Courtesy of Avant

Avant’s 123

A new supergroup has officially hit the scene. Comprised of expert breeder Deep East, seasoned exotic producer Wizard Trees and Joey Colombo, the currency artist behind Money Trees, the Cookies’ Cheetah Piss design and much more, the new brand Avant has hit the legal market with its first proprietary genetics, dubbed ‘123’ after its pheno number from the hunt in true head fashion. 

Another first-at-Cookies drop, and crossed with one of the hottest cultivars of 2020, RS-11, this Sherb BX1 cross is a heater. With dark nugs that will surely turn on the purp fiends, in true Wizard Trees fashion, this is some of the cleanest smoke on the market. Expect a nice white ash and your head in the clouds.

cop list
Courtesy of Dodi Blunts

Dodi Blunts

I’ll admit, I kinda slept on this one. The brand was founded at least in part by Marshawn Lynch, and while I 100 percent know dude smokes heavy, you know how it can be with celebrity brands … you just never know if it’s just a cash grab. Well, friends, allow this to serve as my official ‘I was wrong on this’ statement—Dodi’s blunts smack! 

Aiming to provide a smoke that’s ‘always right for an afternoon of watching football or playing Madden’, Dodi’s diamond-infused tobacco-free blunts ARE a great afternoon smoke that will take you way up without putting you out, if you’re a seasoned vet. Capable of chilling Beast Mode, it’s worth noting that this definitely isn’t an entry-level product—this one had me couch-locked, so while I’m not questioning your tolerance, I would encourage football fans new to the giggle bush to hit light and slow.

Courtesy of Kapow Berries

KaPow White Berries

This one’s not easy to procure, but if you’ve got the plug, don’t sleep… I have a feeling these guys are going to be bubbling to the surface more and more the next few months and years. The White Berries is the latest release from the Berries family, and boy is it clear from the nose that these plants were properly cared for. 

I’m told these guys are super small batch, adding to the exclusive allure, but in true traditional fashion, you can grab your Berries by the seven, which is a quantity much more manageable for us lifers than the 3.5s that have somehow become the norm. Keep an eye out at local events across CA, or at designer events across the country, and I’m sure you’ll hear the legend of Kapow before long.

cop list
Courtesy of Potli

Potli Cannabis Infused Shrimp Chips

I’ll be honest, I was really scratching my head about these at first. I’ve been down for prawn crackers in the past at restaurants, but the bagged snacks never really interested me, so when I saw these naturally I thought, ‘Oh, that’s cool for other people,’ as I understand the allure this snack has, especially abroad, but, ‘not for me.’ 

Well, sports fans, you know how they say you should just try it? Turns out they’re right sometimes because it seems I actually really like these Potli jawns. Upon further investigation, it seems the market does, too, because these things have been flying off the shelf. If you’re like me, and are over the sweet edibles that seem to be the current market leaders, grab a bag of these low dose delights. You may not feel the high (only 11mg per package, 0.7mg per chip), but your tastebuds will thank you for the new flavonoids!

cop list
Courtesy of Cure Co

Biscotti Fritz

I know at this point I’m a Cure Co stan, but trust me, go try the Biscotti Fritz. The taste of this smoke is the best I’ve had this year, by far. So good, in fact, it’s got my ass driving across LA to cop more on the regular, and I’m not one who leaves home often let alone goes out during traffic hours. 

I promise I will try not to repeat entries on here or give too much love to any one brand but truuuust, you want this. Even if you don’t think you do, even if you’re not a Biscotti fan, even if you’re like, ‘Oh they must be paying him’—they’re not and you will be, you do. I take these lists seriously—many people are very mad at me that I haven’t included them or their products here—but I will still 10 times out of 10 put the products I believe you need to see and try because I love you, and I want you smoking the best.

cop list
Courtesy of Ben Baller

Ben Baller Did The Strain

The jewelry design genius behind some of the most iconic chains in the world has officially entered the industry. It’s worth noting, as this is a celeb launch that my homie and seasoned lifer Joel (Designer Weed) is the guy who helped set them up, so I was immediately more confident in this brand than most celebrity-founded ventures, but here’s another salute (two in one post!) to a celebrity brand doing it right from the get go. 

It’s not surprising that Ben Baller, a man who made a career off of high-end luxury products, has come to market with some tops, but these buds are stand-out even compared to legacy brands, which never happens with celeb plays. Coming to market with Cat Dicc (lol) and Jonas B, already available at dispo’s across the state, both of these packs belong on your top shelf.

cop list
Courtesy of Heirloom Rituals

Heirloom Rituals

So I don’t think this one actually gets you high, but these are candles that not only smell incredible—they actually make special ones that have a THC count! Sometimes infused with THCa diamonds, real buds, crystals, dried flowers and more, Heirloom Rituals also make regular, beautiful candles for your normie friends, but honestly, when else are you going to get the chance to have a weed candle? Or sneak weed into your normie friends’ houses and have it end up on their mantle?? I might even send one to my mom. 

I just got mine a few weeks back, and it smells so good just sitting there, I honestly haven’t even felt inclined to light it yet, but I’m going to have to hotbox a room with it and find out if it will get you high, one day, for science. Or at least before I start giving them out as holiday gifts … or, actually …

cop list
Courtesy of Cann

Cann Passion Peach Mate

Y’all know how low-dose products affect me, but I’m definitely a fan of Cann’s new Passion Peach Mate flavor. Now combining caffeine with low doses of cannabis in their beverages, this flavor is, in my opinion, the brand truly living up to the “social tonic” tagline it’s coined. 

Providing a buzz that only brings you up, this is the mocktail the space has been waiting for. Delicious, light, and packing a nice energetic kick, without trying too hard to be different, I definitely see this becoming a staple behind the bar at industry events going forward, and eventually, once regulations change, at actual bars as well.

cop list
Courtesy of Vibes

Cali by Vibes

I’m not 100 percent sure if these have hit shelves just yet, but they’re on their way, and I have a feeling the new papers from the Vibes team are going to be crowd-pleasers. Leaving behind the traditional cone and moving toward the bigger, cylindrical cigarette shape, the new Cali tubes have already become a staple in my routine. 

While I’ve always loved rolling my own, it’s been more about ensuring a consistent smoke over the pleasure of an added task to complete. The new Cali tubes alleviate much of the frustration I’ve found from pre-wrapped cones in the past—these pack easy; they stay lit, and they smoke evenly—what more could you ask for? It’s also worth noting that they come sized by the gram, so packing up one, two or three grams for a session is as easy as picking the size you want, as opposed to eyeballing or weighing out how much you’re about to, or would like to, consume.

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Nevada Gives Green Light to Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Cannabis consumption lounges will be coming to Nevada next year under a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak earlier this month. The measure, Assembly Bill 341 (AB341), was signed by Sisolak on June 4 after being passed by lawmakers in both houses of the state legislature in May. Currently, onsite cannabis consumption is only allowed at the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on Las Vegas Paiute tribal land north of downtown.

The legislation permits two types of cannabis businesses. Retail cannabis lounges will be operated by licensed marijuana dispensaries, while independent cannabis consumption lounges will not be connected to a retailer. Both types of businesses will sell ready-to-use or single-use cannabis products for onsite consumption by adults 21 and older. Live entertainment is permitted, but alcohol will not be allowed.

“You can think of it like a bar, except obviously there will be no alcohol,” Assemblyman Steve Yeager, the sponsor of the legislation, said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing, as quoted by Forbes. “It could be a joint, an edible, it could be an infused food or infused soda, whatever the concept might be.”

Yeager added that more original concepts would also likely arise, noting that ideas such as fine dining restaurants serving cannabis-infused dishes, cannabis-friendly yoga classes, and comedy clubs offering marijuana products could all become reality. 

“Whatever you could think of could be possible,” Yeager said.

Ben Kovler, the CEO and founder of multistate cannabis operator Green Thumb Industries, said that the company is planning a lounge for the dispensary opened on the Las Vegas Strip by GTI in May under a licensing deal with the founders of the brand Cookies, rapper Berner and his cultivation collaborator Jai.

“When people come to Vegas for a bachelor party, a wedding, or just to see friends they haven’t seen in 15 months, they’re going to want to get together and consume cannabis and pretty soon there will be consumption lounges and they’re going to want to come to Cookies,” Kovler said. “What better place than Las Vegas? It’s an experience city in the middle of the desert.”

Consumption Lounges And Social Equity

Nevada’s foray into cannabis consumption lounges will bring a measure of equity to the state’s efforts at marijuana policy reform. Before AB341, cannabis consumption was legal under state law only in private residences with the owner’s permission, leaving renters and visitors open to the disparate enforcement of drug laws that has been repeatedly documented. Consuming cannabis in hotels and casinos is not allowed.

“Consumption lounges are important because they help protect people from prejudicial law enforcement or being fined or sanctioned in a way that causes real harm, that perpetuates the War on Drugs,” cannabis and social equity advocate and Las Vegas resident Noel Gordon told Filter.

The legislation also has social equity provisions built into the licensing regulations for cannabis consumption lounges. Nevada’s legalization initiative, passed in 2016, is lacking in robust equity measures. Such oversights are likely to doom or delay legalization proposals today, a fact seen in recent and eventually successful reform efforts in New Jersey and New York.

Qualified social equity applicants who wish to open a cannabis consumption lounge will receive up to a 75% reduction in application fees, which can cost as much as $30,000. Under the bill, a social equity applicant is a person “who has been adversely affected by provisions of previous laws which criminalized activity relating to cannabis, including, without limitation, adverse effects on an owner, officer or board member of the applicant or on the geographic area in which the applicant will operate,” according to the legislation.

Additionally, the number of independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses will initially be capped at 20, with half reserved for social equity applicants. But despite the efforts, Gordon is uncertain the social equity provisions will work as intended.

“I’m not all that optimistic we will still deliver on the social equity pieces,” Gordon said. “We still live in a prohibition lite version of legalization here in Nevada whereby you can purchase and consume cannabis in your home, but short of that, if you were to consume it on the sidewalk, in a hotel room, at a friend’s place, you will still be subject to some kind of criminal penalty or sanction.”

AB341 goes into effect in October, and state regulators are expected to begin accepting applications for cannabis lounges in July. But with regulations still being drafted, it is likely to be next year before the first consumption clubs open.

“The Cannabis Compliance Board is continuing to review the bill and its requirements in establishing consumption lounge licenses in Nevada,” said Tiana Bohner, public information officer for the agency. “The Board will aim to promulgate regulations and begin issuing licenses by early 2022.”

Bob Groesbeck, the co-CEO for Planet 13, a 112,000-square-foot Las Vegas dispensary billed as the world’s largest, said that his company has been planning a cannabis lounge for the site since AB341 was introduced two years ago.

“Our SuperStore is one of the only dispensaries with the space on site and the proximity to the Las Vegas Strip to create a truly Vegas style club,” Groesbeck said in a statement from Planet 13. “As with the rest of our dispensary we look forward to setting the bar and showing the industry what is possible when your goal is to Out Vegas, Vegas.”

The post Nevada Gives Green Light to Cannabis Consumption Lounges appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cooking With Cannabis 101 – Critical Kushmas Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas is only four days away so for this week’s segment we’re going to be making some delicious holiday treats! For this special holiday segment of Cooking with Cannabis 101, we’ll be making critical kushmas gingerbread cookies using cannabis oil. For this recipe of critical kushmas gingerbread cookies we’ll be using Organigram’s cannabis oil. Alternatively, […]

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Cooking With Cannabis 101 – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In this week’s episode of Cooking With Cannabis 101, we’ll go over how to make cannabis-infused peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. For the infusion, we’ll be using cannabis-infused butter. Click here for our guide on cooking with cannabis concentrates, including how to make cannabis-infused butter. Follow the instructions above, here’s your list of ingredients to […]

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A look at the new BC Government Cannabis Programs before BC elections

No question, we live in unprecedented times, and in many ways, it’s changing the social landscape. The focus has shifted from celebrities to health care and for a politician, a positive public opinion can unlock new doors, for good or ill. From the CERB benefit to increased surveillance, COVID-19 has brought about all sorts of […]

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Promising Pot before an election – A look at the new BC Government Cannabis Programs

No question, we live in unprecedented times, and in many ways, it’s changing the social landscape. The focus has shifted from celebrities to health care and for a politician, a positive public opinion can unlock new doors, for good or ill. From the CERB benefit to increased surveillance, COVID-19 has brought about all sorts of […]

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California to Kenya: Dr. Norms Partners with Cannabis Now to Support Project Bake Initiative

Siblings Roberta Wilson and Jeff Koz never planned to get into the cannabis business, but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. 

Wilson and Koz’s edibles brand, Dr. Norms, started as an offshoot of Wilson’s non-medicated cookie company, Audrey’s, named after their mother. With the addition of cannabis to their mom’s cookie recipes and plenty of hustle, the duo made their mark in California’s early medical marijuana market and quickly transitioned to the state’s booming adult-use industry. 

True to its familial roots, Dr. Norms is named after Koz and Wilson’s father, who worked for years as a Los Angeles physician. Interested in more than just baking cookies with cannabis, in 2018, Dr. Norms expanded into the hemp-CBD wellness market following the legalization of low-THC hemp products in the U.S. Farm Bill

Dr. Norms founders Roberta Wilson and Jeff Koz as children.

“Audrey’s Cookies honored our mom and her amazing healing ways through pharmacology and cookies and Dr. Norm’s honors our dad, who was an old school medical practitioner with generations of families as patients,” Wilson told Cannabis Now. “We literally use our mom’s recipe for our flagship chocolate chip cookie.”

Keeping in line with both of their parents’ past work in healthcare, the siblings behind Dr. Norms are carrying the patient-first mindset that made them successful in the medical marijuana market to the adult-use and CBD industries. With a focus on precise dosing, close-knit customer relations, and of course, great-tasting baked goods, Wilson and Koz have shaped their edibles brand in their parents’ image.

“A doctor wouldn’t say, ‘take however many Tylenol you think is right,’” Koz added. “Consumers understood proper dosing with medicine and with alcohol – and Dr. Norm’s wanted to do the same for cannabis.”

Cookies & Philanthropy

With streamlined manufacturing and distribution, access to high-quality cannabis distillates and a growing customer base, the Dr. Norms team has been able to expand their horizons beyond baked goods and into philanthropy. 

Just one year transitioning into the hemp-CBD wellness market, Dr. Norms partnered with Cannabis Now and anti-poaching nonprofit, The Elephant Cooperation, to start a new charitable endeavor called Project Bake. With the assistance of the Kenya-based Elephant Cooperation, Project Bake will help fund the Vinmark Bakery and Amson Education Centre, located in the Mathare area of Nairobi, Kenya.

Project Bake Dr. Norms partners with Cannabis now cookie

“Dr. Norms is one of the top brands in the edibles space,” said Eugenio Garcia, Publisher and Founder of Cannabis Now Magazine. “Their commitment to community and quality made them the perfect partner to not only provide a yummy new product, but to do some good for others at the same time.”

To help support the initiative, Dr. Norms and Cannabis Now released a brand new Pecan Shortbread cookie in Project Bake-branded packaging in both THC and hemp-CBD varieties. A portion of every sale goes towards Project Bake. 

Vinmark Bakery and the Amson Education Centre currently serve 281 students in Mathare. Through a close symbiotic relationship, the bakery feeds the children and uses profits from community sales to support and supply the school. With additional financial injections from Project Bake, Vinmark will be able to upgrade their facilities and install new baking equipment that will hopefully create more efficiency and ramp up profits. This will lead to more opportunities for new infrastructure and instruction expansion for the children at the primary school.  

Wilson and Koz are already laying the groundwork for a visit to Mathare. If all goes as planned, they will deliver the Project Bake funds by hand, share some of their family cookie recipes, and with luck, pick up a few baking pointers of their own.

“The idea was to earmark funds from the sales of this cookie to help refurbish the [Vinmark Bakery’s] kitchen,” Koz said. “Our hope is to go down there for a visit, bring them a nice check, and share each other’s baking secrets. We want to help them create a sustainable revenue model for their area.”

You can find the Dr. Norm’s and Cannabis Now Project Bake THC cookies at licensed dispensaries across California. You can also order the equally delicious CBD version in all 50 states from the company’s direct-to-consumer website, Dr. Norm’s CBD.

The post California to Kenya: Dr. Norms Partners with Cannabis Now to Support Project Bake Initiative appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Candyland Is the Daytime-Friendly Child of Granddaddy Purple

Purple, according to Ken Estes, is more of a taste than it
is a color. “When you smoke Granddaddy Purp, the taste is so unique,” Estes
says over the phone.

“I don’t call it sweet. I used to call it dank. It’s not so
much sweet as it is kind of tart, but not sour,” he says. “I used to say,
‘That’s what the flavor is — purple.’”

This explanation may not satisfy terpene hunters looking for exact numbers of myrcene and limonene content, but before you judge, it’s well worth considering Estes’ resume.

The original and legendary GDP, once and for a very long time the signature strain in medical cannabis collectives in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, is his strain. He (and his genetics) survived a federal raid way back in 2008, as well as a half-decade’s worth of city-level red tape woes in order to grow and sell it, along with a small family’s worth of crosses.

Candyland is a strain that was developed by Ken Estes by crossing his Grandaddy Purp with a Bay Platinum Cookies.

For Estes, the work is a labor for which he’s been rewarded with a literal armload of cannabis breeder awards: cups, trophies, plaques and cred. Post-legalization, when many medical-marijuana era titans are fond memories and not much else, Estes is still here, still cracking seeds.

But sometimes, the original is still the best. Other times, even when the original is what you’re pretty sure you mostly want, it’s not quite the right fit. That’s when you get to crossing.

A Purple Star Is Born

Back in 2011, before the Cookies craze became the cannabis world’s runaway marketing success and took over menus from San Diego to Seattle, Estes was looking for a daytime-friendlier version of the heavy, sedating GDP that also had better resistance to mold.

GDP “had so much moisture in it,” he explains. “I was just
trying to find a good mixture.”

At the time, Cookies and its many varieties were known to
breeders but had yet to take over the market. Estes picked Cookies not for the
name, but for its traits: a lighter high than GDP, better mold resistance and
friendlier in the grow room.

Candyland is the daytime-friendly offspring of the heavily sedating Granddaddy Purple.

Crossing a male GDP plant with a
female pheno of Bay Platinum Cookies yielded a sweeter, easier-to-grow,
lighter-on-the-head plant striped with “nice, deep veins of purple” that clocks
in at about a consistent 23-24% THC.

And so, Candyland was born — almost by mistake, at least in the name. “I did a bunch of phenos, and I really fell in love with it,” Estes says. “I really liked the way the plant grew. It’s real branchy.

“I had so many crosses, I just called that one Candyland,”
he adds. “I wasn’t crazy about the name. I was trying to find [another name]
that nobody could say was attractive to children. We just called it that due to
a lack of names. But it was the best strain that evolved, so we stuck with the
name.”

“Be careful what you name them,” he says, chuckling.

Candyland grows out deep purple leaves.

A grower’s delight, Candyland consistently yields up to 5
pounds outdoors, according to Estes, who cultivates both greenhouse and outdoor
in the Emerald Triangle. Under the lights — the only place Estes grows GDP
these days — it’s a quick finisher, ready to cut and cure at eight weeks.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery?

So where can you get some? Candyland is available all over much of the West Coast, including at TreeHawk Farms in Washington state — that is, the real Candyland is available there, which is no guarantee other places.

“They got the Candyland seeds from me,” says Estes,
bestowing the official seal of approval, without which someone unfamiliar with
how purple is supposed to smell and taste could be taking home a purple-colored
impostor.

“A lot of stuff on the shelf that says GDP or Ken’s GDP or
Candyland are not the real McCoy. It’s just people using the name,” he says.
“You can’t stop the real McCoy.”

But eliminating pretenders might take a while yet. Estes says he’s patented the name “Granddaddy Purple” and is working towards mapping the strain’s unique genetics so that once strains themselves are readily patentable, he can lay claim to all true GDP cuts as well as ownership of the name he created.

A sugar concentrate made from the Candyland strain.

“The names of the strains are more important than before,”
he says, identifying one of the main paradigm shifts in modern cannabis. This
condition is a stark contrast to the state of affairs a decade ago, when nearly
every dispensary could be counted on to stock a purple, an OG and maybe not all
that much else.

Soon, Estes says, dispensary patrons will be able to load up
on strains sold under the umbrella of Ken’s original GDP, Ken’s Kush, the
CBD-rich Sandman, and Candyland, the sweeter, less stoney and easier to grow
progeny of a legitimate medical-marijuana era legend.

Cannabis Now had just one more question. What does purple —
flavors of which run through Candyland, GDP and every other child of the
granddaddy — really taste like? “I really haven’t found the words to describe
it,” Estes says.

Sometimes, it seems, it’s a color that’s worth a thousand
words.

TELL US, have you ever tried Ken Estes’s Candyland?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter are reshaping America. How will cannabis retailers rebuild?

Dozens of cannabis shops across the country have suffered a one-two punch. First COVID-19 forced many to close down and then came the damage from what most owners have cited as people taking advantage of the recent protests against police brutality.

Boston-based Pure Oasis, the first adult-use, Black-owned cannabis shop in Boston, originally opened on March 9, 2020.

Two weeks later it closed for two months due to COVID-19 then reopened on May 25, the same day George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis. Less than a week later the shop was ransacked by looters who made off with nearly $100,000 in cannabis and other products on June 1.

“They didn’t destroy the property, like other shops, they were just after the weed and they took it all,” said Kobie Evans, who owns Pure Oasis with comedian Kevin Hart.  “The robbery occurred at 1:40 in the morning, well after the streets were cleared of protestors and the police were elsewhere.”

Pure Oasis, which opened as part of Massachusetts’ social equity program, is one of the few dispensaries to employ people with prior drug convictions.

“Our shop, after all, was created as a solution model to address discriminatory police policies in drug enforcement, and we’ve got a long way to go,” Evans said. “Naturally we stand in solidarity with the protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and around the nation.”

Pure Oasis was lucky enough to open the very next day after the looting occurred, thanks to the generosity of the cannabis community.

“People started calling right away and offering their help – a pound of weed here, a few pre-rolls there. It was amazing. Folks in the cannabis community seem to embrace each other,” Kobie said.

‘We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…’

Two other dispensaries outside Boston were also looted and not all cannabis shops have been as fortunate as Pure Oasis.

In California, among the Los Angeles-area dispensaries vandalized was Cookies on Melrose, which is co-owned by rapper and weed entrepreneur Berner. 

Shortly after his shop was robbed, Berner released a video in which he made it clear that he was more concerned about the injustices being highlighted by protestors than stolen cannabis merchandise. “I can’t expect anything less until justice is served.

“We can rebuild our store, but you can’t bring someone back to life…we stand with what’s going on in the world. A statement needed to be made,” Berner said in the video.

MedMen temporarily closed all of its locations, according to Marijuana Moment, after several of its Los Angeles stores were totally cleaned out. 

In the Midwest, the Chicago Sun Times reported that the city’s Mission Dispensary South Shore was destroyed and three others were targeted.

Kris Krane, Mission’s president, said the shop’s staff, 90% of whom are people of color, closed the dispensary when they saw that neighboring stores were starting to be ransacked.

He and his team got out safely minutes before it was “targeted by 40 to 50 men and women, some armed. Everything of value was taken, and the store was mostly destroyed,” Krane wrote on Facebook.

“Despite the sadness and destruction, my support for the protests and the underlying goal of ending police brutality, systemic law enforcement reform, and societal recognition of the fundamental humanity of people of color in this country remains undeterred,” Krane wrote.

Shops in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Ohio, and Oregon were ransacked or robbed, according to THCNet.

“What’s happening is that the protests were so huge that looters insulated themselves within those large groups,” said Eugenio Garcia, founder & CEO of online publication Cannabis Now. He opened the Cannabis Now CBD shop in Los Angeles in May 2019. A year later the shop was ransacked and robbed of nearly $100,000 worth of products.

“It was very difficult to watch how criminals embedded themselves with the peaceful demonstrators who are seeking justice and an end to the murder and police harassment of African-Americans,” he said.

Garcia arrived at his shop after reports of looting. He said he was then physically threatened and assaulted when he couldn’t remember the combination to the safe. Once he escaped from the 15 or so looters, it was heartrending to watch, via the store’s cameras, as his shop got torn apart.

“For the entire decade since our publication began, Cannabis Now has been all about building an all-inclusive community knowing full well that Blacks and Latinos, of which I am one, are constantly and indiscriminately targeted by law enforcement for weed violations. We also know that racial injustice has been a part of this society forever,” Garcia said. “Still, our efforts to help change all that are as strong as ever.”

And now the efforts to rebuild

Many, like Cannabis Now’s shop, have opened their own GoFundMe pages to raise money for reopening.

The owners of hemp farm and retailer The Botanical Joint are hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser for Black-owned CBD and cannabis companies that they’ve worked with in the past.  

Most cannabis businesses are unable to purchase insurance coverage on their property or protection against robbery. Hence, the GoFundMe campaigns.

This, in addition to a lack of access to banking and financial institutions, has kept cannabis businesses in a consistently vulnerable situation for years. Even credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa refuse to code cannabis sales, forcing dispensaries and cannabis events to operate on a cash-only basis.

Cannabis dispensaries across the country suffered significant losses from which they may not recover. Most owners vowed to rebuild. The question now is how.


Featured image by Josh Chapman

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