Gavin Newsom Gave the Cannabis Industry Its Mask-Off Moment

You could say that Gov. Gavin Newsom saved the California cannabis industry.

Way back in March 2020, with the mysterious but deadly novel coronavirus spreading like an out-of-control and invisible late-fall wildfire, the governor declared all cannabis dispensaries essential businesses. This meant they could keep their doors open during the strict California stay-at-home order while bars, restaurants, and most other retail shut down. As public-health professionals clutched at pearls, the result was the biggest buying spree in marijuana legalization’s history, a 57 percent increase from the prior year.

You could also say that Gavin Newsom—one of the first prominent politicians with a national profile to come out for weed, who endorsed legalizing cannabis way back in 2012—is responsible for wrecking the state’s marijuana industry we knew it.

Though the state’s legalization ballot measure, 2016’s Prop. 64, promised small growers a head start, rules released in late 2017 allowed Big Weed’s immediate entry. More rules, passed by local governments, shut out most of the state to legal cannabis retail, gifting the traditional illicit market a prime opportunity.

True, that happened when Newsom was still lieutenant governor, with then-Gov. Jerry Brown still handling the reins of state. But since then, Newsom has done little to lower taxes or ease regulatory burdens like steep permit fees.

For these reasons, there was plenty of angst, anger, and fear to propel as much as half of the California weed industry to either support the Sept. 14 recall effort, or at least chime in with their own critiques of the governor ahead of the crucial vote.

A Sacramento-area cannabis lobbyist even went as far as to run as a replacement candidate (while somewhat incoherently also encouraging voters to keep the governor in place).

Weed Power

“I think he completely dropped the ball and overlooked this massive gold mine sitting in his pocket,” said Mark Ponticelli, CEO and founder of The People’s Remedy, a dispensary chain in Modesto, Calif., in the state’s conservative Central Valley.

That said, when Ponticelli faced the choice of kicking the governor out and selecting a replacement—most likely Larry Elder, the ultra-right, Trump-endorsed, anti-vaxxing talk radio host—he found there was no choice at all.

“Really,” he said, “the choices were just the bad and the ugly. There was no real hope, it seemed like.”

Ultimately, the cannabis industry’s complains were irrelevant. Despite some early scares, Newsom easily brushed aside the recall effort by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. As a result, his political career is riding higher than ever.

He has tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash ready to brush aside whomever might try to run against him in 2022. He’s a near-lock to be governor until Jan. 2027 (unless he tries to run for president first).

This means the cannabis industry in California will have to live with the governor—and after their summer of harsh words and support for the recall, some awkward conversations when they ask for the tax relief and other help they say they desperately need might ensue.

Fringe Candidate

Whether the cannabis industry’s boiled-over frustrations with the governor will cause a problem isn’t clear. Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reached Friday, officials from the Department of Cannabis Control said they were busy meeting with small cannabis business owners and were unavailable to discuss (though whom they were meeting with, they did not say).

But not everyone in weed wanted Newsom out. Ryan Bacchas is a Los Angeles-based campaign consultant and lobbyist. A self-described “fiscal conservative” who leans Republican, Bacchas is also president of the California Cannabis Coalition, active in trying to influence statewide drug policy. He estimates “about half” of the state industry wanted Newsom out—and he counted himself firmly in the pro-Newsom camp.

“Everybody else was out of their damn minds,” he said. “I know a lot of folks were putting out false information about the governor and some of the things he’s done as far as cannabis is concerned.”

“He didn’t have to declare the cannabis industry essential,” Bacchas added. “I understand some peoples’ frustration… but if people aren’t so happy with Gavin, we weren’t going to get anything done with a Republican governor.”

“I told people, the only sensible logic is, either we lose him, and we get someone new, or we keep him, and we keep going to work. And if he loses, all the progress is dead.”

“The people who wanted him gone, it was for very frivolous reasons,” he said, adding that some cannabis industry players’ behavior during the recall “made a mockery out of the industry.”

Lines Drawn, (Metaphorical) Masks Off

The real lasting impact of the Newsom recall—and California cannabis’s inability to affect the outcome one way or the other—may be internal. The uncertainty of the recall revealed the schisms and splits within the cannabis movement and industry.

“There’s been a lot said in the last year, about a lot of the racism, bigotry, and homophobia in the cannabis industry,” Bacchas said.

And the recall, “that’s who you saw, not just coming out, but making themselves known,” he added.

The post Gavin Newsom Gave the Cannabis Industry Its Mask-Off Moment appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cockblocked by Corona – COVID-19 and Erectile Dysfunction

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the coronavirus sets its sights on your penis. While it’s still too early to say it’s certain, new research released shows that the coronavirus can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). Keep in mind, no two cases of the virus are the same. Many have caught COVID and had […]

The post Cockblocked by Corona – COVID-19 and Erectile Dysfunction appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Tuesday March 9, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Mexico’s landmark cannabis bill one step closer to becoming law (Reuters)

// D.C. Can Take Steps Toward Legalizing Marijuana Sales Amid Congressional Ban Feds Conclude (Marijuana Moment)

// MindMed Finds One Investor For C$19 Million Offering (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Agilent, a Fortune 500 company known for providing top-notch testing solutions to cannabis and hemp testing labs worldwide. Are you considering testing your cannabis in-house for potency? Agilent is giving away a FREE 1260 HPLC system for one year! If you are a Cultivator, processor, or cannabis testing lab you may qualify for this giveaway. Open up bitly.com/cannabis-contest to answer a few quick questions to enter to win!


// One-third of Canadian cannabis users consumed more during pandemic (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana Legalization Bill Has ’60-40′ Odds Of Passing Connecticut Governor Says Adding He’s Open To Homegrow (Marijuana Moment)

// Hawaii Governor Has ‘Concerns’ About Legalization Bill Advancing In Legislature (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Bill Would Require Schools To Store Cannabis-Based Medicines For Student Use (Marijuana Moment (Colorado Newsline))

// Pot advocates cry foul on Noem using state funds for lawsuit (Associated Press)

// Biden’s USDA Secretary Gives Final Approval To Hemp Rules Despite Ongoing Industry Concerns (Marijuana Moment)

// Scutari Sweeney working on marijuana home grow bill (New Jersey Globe)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Lindsay Fox/Flickr

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// South Dakota judge strikes down state’s marijuana legalization vote (Leafly (AP))

// Virginia lawmakers pass landmark recreational marijuana legalization bills (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Schumer Hosts First Formal Meeting on Legalizing Weed as VA GOP Opposes Legalization (Hill Reporter)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical and adult use marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 350,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Deadline for Murphy to Act on NJ Marijuana Bill Pushed Back (NBC Philadelphia)

// Lt. Gov. John Fetterman enters Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate race (CNN)

// California Clears Up Confusion Over Marijuana Industry Coronavirus Vaccine Eligibility (Marijuana Moment)

// New Jersey Governor Signs Psilocybin Bill To Immediately Reduce Penalties For Possession (Marijuana Moment)

// Wisconsin governor proposes medical recreational cannabis legalization (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana concentrate sales up 40% as more consumers turn to the product category (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Legal Marijuana Is More Popular Than Joe Biden $15 Minimum Wage Or Rejoining Climate Agreement Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Else Olofsson/Flickr

Can masks cause DNA damage prevented by cannabis?

The use of face masks has been controversial during the pandemic considering a lack of adequate scientific study, even though they have been used in hospitals for decades without noticeable issues. However, scientific evidence does suggest masks can restrict a user’s ability to breathe. Respiratory inhibition led us to a link between masks and decreased […]

The post Can masks cause DNA damage prevented by cannabis? appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Friday, December 4, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, December 4, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Congress Begins Debate On Marijuana Legalization Bill With Final Vote Expected Friday (Marijuana Moment)

// Top New York Republican Lawmaker Says Marijuana Legalization Will Happen In 2021 (Marijuana Moment)

// Colombia Is Thinking About Legalizing and Subsidizing Its Immense Cocaine Industry (Mitu)


These headlines are brought to you by All Kind of Portland, Maine, purveyors of fine legal medical marijuana products (and soon adult use!).


// NBA Will Reportedly Not Test Players for Marijuana Next Season (Complex)

// Thanks to ‘Green Wednesday’ Pot Sales Jump Thanksgiving Week (Denver Westword)

// Columbia Care Closes $69 Million California Acquisition (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Los Angeles names 200 social equity marijuana retail license finalists (Marijuana Business Daily)

// CannTrust to resume cannabis sales in Alberta British Columbia and Ontario (Marijuana Business Daily)

// 216 vendors are still waiting to sell recreational pot in Maine (Bangor Daily News)

// Eaze’s Momentum business accelerator invites applicants (Leafly)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Key House Committee Sends Marijuana Legalization Bill To Floor For Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// United Nations approves WHO recommendation to reschedule cannabis in historic vote (New Cannabis Ventures)

// After booming first year recreational cannabis market shows no signs of slowing down (Michigan Radio)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// New Jersey Lawmakers Want To Put Marijuana On The Ballot Again To Steer Revenue To People Hurt By Drug War (Marijuana Moment)

// California Marijuana Sales Are ‘Very Strong’ Despite Coronavirus State Officials Say (Marijuana Moment)

// Premium-priced cannabis products take a larger share of overall flower sales (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Patients caregivers say Ohio medical marijuana prices too high and acquiring it compounded by coronavirus (Cleveland.com)

// Maryland Cannabis Operator to Expand Geographically by Funding Diverse Entrepreneurs with $30 Million Startup Capital (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Oregon Governor Takes First Step To Regulate Psilocybin Mushroom Therapy By Forming New Board (Marijuana Moment)

// CBD Doesn’t Impair Driving Landmark Study Finds While THC’s Effects Fade In Hour (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Friday, November 20, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, November 20, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Mexican Senate Passes Bill To Legalize Marijuana Nationwide (Marijuana Moment)

// New Jersey Senate And Assembly Committee Pass Marijuana Sales Bills Despite Pushback From Equity Advocates (Marijuana Moment)

// Rhode Island Considers Legalization to Solve Budget Crisis (High Times)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// $6 billion question: Which states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in 2021? (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cresco Labs Delivers Another Blowout Quarter (Green Market Report)

// Harborside Q3 Gross Revenue Increases 21% Sequentially to $19.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Ayr Strategies Q3 Revenue Increases 61% Sequentially to $45.5 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// TILT Holdings Q3 Revenue Increases 5% Sequentially to $40.4 Million and Company Divests Blackbird Subsidiary (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Decriminalize marijuana says NC racial justice task force created by Gov. Cooper (McClatchy DC)

// Madison Wisconsin will stop arresting people for marijuana possession (Leafly)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Cannabis taxes save 350 jobs in Chicago (Leafly)

// Colorado summer cannabis sales thrive despite collapse of state’s tourism industry (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Bidens Marijuana Decriminalization Plan Is ‘Not Enough’ Cory Booker Says In New Documentary (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by All Kind of Portland, Maine, purveyors of fine legal medical marijuana products (and soon adult use!).


// Trulieve Continues To Flex With Strong Revenue (Green Market Report)

// Curaleaf Q3 Revenue Increases 55% to $182 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Canadian producer Supreme Cannabis turns small profit in first quarter (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Illinois cannabis industry seeks end to MMJ-recreational retail relocation rule (Marijuana Business Daily)

// C3 Industries Raises $45M To Support Expansion In Missouri And Massachusetts (Benzinga)

// Aurora moves ahead with ‘social justice’ marijuana delivery plan (Sentinel Colorado)

// FDA Is Hosting A Conference On CBD Sex And Gender This Week (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Mia Battaglia/Flickr

The ‘Trick’ and ‘Treat’ of Marketing Cannabis During a Pandemic

The year 2020 was supposed to be a big one for Bhang Corp. The leading adult-use edibles company had spent upwards of $100k and months of planning every detail of their rebrand, scheduled to roll out in March. With the company’s 10th anniversary approaching in August, it would give the team enough time to introduce Bhang’s new look and communicate the brand messaging to licensees in California, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Canada.

When COVID-19 made its way to the U.S. and executive stay-at-home orders were issued in March, Bhang found themselves in a similar position to many businesses: They had to pivot quickly and make big decisions without much information.

We’ll pause here to say that this isn’t Bhang’s glamorous rebrand story (it’s 2020, people). But while the updated brand launch wasn’t exactly what they planned and hoped for, lessons were learned, silver linings were recognized, and the team remained grateful.

When resources are dwindling and revenue plummets, spending dollars on marketing may not seem like such a smart idea. But Bhang shares their story with the hope that you will learn to pivot and reimagine, rather than halt your marketing.

Not Business as Usual

During the U.S. shut down, licensed cannabis businesses were deemed essential services in most states. But this didn’t mean “business as usual” for Bhang – in fact, far from it. In anticipation of the rebrand, Bhang had stopped production as they waited for products with old packaging to sell out before stocking shelves with the new packaging. Even though dispensaries were open, Bhang was unsure if they would be able to get products on shelves due to production challenges resulting from COVID-19.

“We had to make sure we had supply chains set up, guaranteed and secured so that we could get products in new packaging and on shelves in a time when we had no clue what was going to be happening,” recounted Nicole Hanratty, Bhang’s Global Director of Marketing.

This meant some hard, in-the-moment decisions were in order for Samantha Collins, Bhang’s Chief Marketing Officer. “She was instrumental in making sure we didn’t go without product on shelves,” Hanratty said.

With disruptions initially happening in China, Collins explains that they started exploring domestic producers. “But then the pandemic moved on-shore, and our domestic producers were struggling too,” she said. “Ultimately, we had to revise our timelines for production in the short-term as well as order much higher levels of dry goods to ensure we could meet demand and keep our products on shelves.”

However, decisions weren’t only made from a financial perspective. Although Bhang had heavily invested in the rebrand, they wanted to be sensitive to how the country and the world were feeling during such an unprecedented time.

“So much preparing went into this rollout, yet we needed to be really mindful of the current climate,” Hanratty explained. “While we really wanted to celebrate the introduction of our new brand (we also turned ten in August), we had to be mindful that the country is not in a celebratory mood.”

Beyond the initial production challenges, Bhang’s biggest hurdle has been pressing pause on experiential marketing – the launch parties, tradeshows and trainings.

“I really miss the ability to share and educate people on the brand face-to-face,” Hanratty said.

Despite the change in plans that came with 2020, Hanratty continually mentions how appreciative they are for the essential workers who are helping both businesses and consumers.

“We have been very grateful that our business has been considered essential. We know our industry owes those people a debt of gratitude.”

While spending money on marketing may feel scary to smaller companies, Hanratty reiterates how important it is. She offers tips on how to modify strategy in a smart, cost-effective way so retailers and consumers are supported, and business can keep growing.  

MARKETING DURING A PANDEMIC

Nicole Hanratty, Bhang’s Global Director of Marketing, speaks to what she calls the “trick” and the “treat” of marketing during a global pandemic (and just in time for Halloween!)

The Trick

–    Pivoting without panic.
–    Making deliberate decisions.

The Treat

–    Feeling the love from consumers.
–    Hearing back from consumers about how the product improves and enhances their lives, especially in 2020.

For companies on a limited budget, look to creating content and building engagement with social media channels. There’s no substitute for having a compelling brand story that connects with consumers, and if you take the time to build an authentic brand that serves the consumer’s needs, you will ultimately win in the marketplace.

The post The ‘Trick’ and ‘Treat’ of Marketing Cannabis During a Pandemic appeared first on Cannabis Now.