MJBizDaily released a report on October 4 called “Women & Minorities in the Cannabis Industry,” which reviews new statistics about female and people of color executives and business owners in the cannabis industry.

According to MJBizDaily’s findings, the percentage of women and minorities in executive level positions in the cannabis industry have dropped between 2019-2021. The national average of women who hold executive positions in the industry throughout the country is 29.8 percent, but over the past two years, women in those positions in the cannabis industry has fallen to 22.1 percent.

In 2019, approximately 36.8 percent of executive positions in cannabis were held by women. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the percentage of women in higher level positions in other industries is significantly higher, around 30 percent (in 2018, it was 21 percent).

Likewise, the percentage of people of color in executive positions decreased as well. Currently, only 13.1 percent of those positions are held by people of color, compared to 28 percent in 2019.

In the report’s introduction, MJBizDaily author Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier shares that in this third iteration of this report, much has changed in the industry. “However, racial and gender diversity in the marijuana industry is still lacking—especially in ownership and executive positions,” she wrote. “So too is the amount of hard data by which to benchmark the current state of diversity in the marijuana sector, understand the obstacles standing in the way of a more equitable industry and contextualize the initiatives states are putting in place to address the issue.”

These are curious days in Europe on the recreational cannabis question. On one hand, the stated intentions of both Portugal and Luxembourg to establish recreational markets as early as next year and certainly by 2023 has been on the drawing board for the past three years. On the other, as the clock ticks down to the final quarter of 2021, politicians in both countries are suddenly pushing the pause if not long-term delay button.

Luxembourg has the longest track record outside of Holland as a country committed to a recreational market, theoretically by 2023. That said, it is suddenly being reported as of the last week of September that the ruling coalition here is now also considering the delay of the same, citing concerns about the legality of the same given current policies at the EU level. This is a little strange given the fact that the Dutch seem to have no issue with the EU policies as they go about implementing a national recreational infrastructure for the first time. Regardless it also points to a need for at least a fig leaf of legitimacy at a regional level so far missing from the discussion.

Beyond the stalling now seen in Luxembourg, for those who were hoping that at least one country in the EU will commit to a recreational market before the end of the year, Portugal had remained a beacon of hope. Portugal has long had one of the most tolerant drug policies generally because of a reaction against the policies of the late dictator Antonio Salazar which ended four years after his death in 1974.

However, the parliament in Portugal has dragged its feet this year and as of last week, began delaying discussion on a bill, which was supposed to go into effect late this year or early next.

Indeed, the timing of both decisions may have everything to do with the German elections in however backward a manner. Namely, that other countries in the EU on the verge of real reform are now stalling to see what Germany will do.

Pop superstar Justin Bieber has made a foray into the legal marijuana industry through a partnership to produce a line of pre-rolled joints with California cannabis company Palms Premium that was announced on Monday. Meanwhile, however, cannabis advocates are weary about the number of celebrities waltzing into the industry without paying their dues first.

Sold under the brand name Peaches, a reference to a song by the same name in which Bieber famously mentions “weed from California,” the music artist says the new venture is an attempt to address the stigma associated with cannabis.

“I’m a fan of Palms and what they are doing by making cannabis approachable and helping to destigmatize it—especially for the many people who find it helpful for their mental health,” Bieber said in a statement. “I wanted to make sure that I was doing something with them that felt genuine and Peaches felt like a good place to start.”

Peaches Pre-rolls Available in Four States

The Peaches line of pre-rolls will be available in California, Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts, according to a report from Forbes. Packs of seven half-gram joints will be available in a choice of sativa, indica, or hybrid premium cannabis, all grown indoors and expressing fruity and citrus-dominant terpene profiles. Each pack will retail for $50 to $60, depending on the market.

Tyler Breton, co-founder of Palms, said that the brand’s products are for “not only experienced users, who will appreciate the quality and attention to detail, but first time and casual consumers exhibiting the approachability and benefits of our products.”

High as a Kite: A Guide to Marijuana is not, as its many co-authors have stressed, “a guide to growing marijuana” but “a collaborative effort by creatives to showcase the beauty of cannabis through tattoos.”

Here’s another way of putting it: High as a Kite, a collection of cannabis-related tattoo art collected from across the country, is an extremely dope must-have new coffee table book born from the passion—and imagination—of a Houston-based tattoo artist named Danny G.  

Courtesy Danny G.

For most of his early life, Danny, who was born in Colombia and raised in Texas, didn’t know how to draw and had never picked up a paintbrush, but he was so obsessed with the look of and ideas behind tattoos that he reverse-engineered the process.

After putting his mom under considerable pressure from the rest of the family when he convinced her to buy him a tattoo kit at 14, Danny discovered an extensive and supportive community hidden in the tattoo industry.

This community stretched from New York to Los Angeles, with stops like Chicago, Denver and Ohio in between—and Danny explored them all as a traveling tattoo artist taking on freelance assignments.


Wisconsin representatives upped the ante on punishments for cannabis extraction, comparing dangerous manufacturing practices to the meth-making process. In some Wisconsin lawmakers’ eyes, extracts are entirely different from cannabis flower, and the use and manufacturing of them should be punished accordingly.

Wisconsin Examiner reports that on September 30 Wisconsin’s Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention held a hearing on a bill, Assembly Bill 440,  that would enhance felony penalties surrounding butane hash oil and related products. 

Hash oil—a concentrated THC extract that has been around for generations—was cited as one of the concerning forms of concentrates. Other popular forms of concentrates that have gained considerable popularity over the past few decades include wax, shatter, live resin, rosin, and the list goes on. But forms of butane hash oil (BHO) is what they’re really after.

Representative Jesse James (R- Altoona) testified on the bill’s particular focus on butane extracts but the measure also covers several facets of the manufacturing process. James emphasized throughout his testimony that certain methods of manufacturing extracts using butane can cause a risk of a chemical reaction and explosion. James cited “the open-loop system,”—a cheap, risky way of making concentrate. 

“Growing marijuana in your home is not going to cause an explosion,” James said. “It could cause a fire if you don’t properly take care of your lamps and everything like that. But this process in and of itself, it’s almost similar to a meth lab.”

Trulieve just acquired Harvest Health & Recreation, officially making them the largest cannabis company in the nation.

Trulieve finalized this purchase today for $2.2 billion. The company, based out of Tallahassee, and founded to be a medical cannabis entity, the largest legal cannabis company to date.

“Trulieve is primarily a vertically integrated, ‘seed-to-sale’ company in the U.S. and is the first and largest fully licensed medical cannabis company in the State of Florida,” according to a press release. “Trulieve cultivates and produces all of its products in-house and distributes those products to Trulieve-branded dispensaries throughout the State of Florida, as well as directly to patients via home delivery. Trulieve is also a licensed operator in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.”

Separately, Trulieve and Harvest Health & Recreation reported a combined income of $317.6 million in the second quarter of the year, not a small chunk of change. Truileve also gained a major cash acquisition with their $350 in debt financing back in June, and Harvest received $55 million recently from a licensing sale in Florida. Trulieve brought in $289 million in cash and cash alternatives as of June, and Harvest brought in $71 million.

Trulieve brought in $215 million in revenue during the second quarter, with income of almost $41 million. Harvest reported more than $102 million in revenue, for the combined $318 million.

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

In a move that is further expected to shore up new calls for comprehensive cannabis reform at a European level, Czech President Miloš Zeman signed a law in the last week of September that allows industrial hemp grown in the country to have a THC level of 1.0 percent. 

This exceeds the current limit set by the European Parliament last fall as a regional guide (up from 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent), but that change will not take effect at the EU level until 2023.

Regardless, such a change comes at a very interesting time for the entire cannabis, if not hemp, discussion across Europe. Other provisions in the new Czech law are also going to shake up the discussion when it comes to access to cannabinoid drugs. Licensed, private groups will be allowed to manufacture medical cannabis products. 

This in turn will potentially affect not only the Czech Republic, but every country across the EU now in search of lower priced cannabis products (starting but not limited to flos and extract). Indeed, with this move, the CR may well position itself as the main competitor to North Macedonia in terms of pricing—and certainly whatever is on the way in Portugal. It will also create an alternative and much lower cost labour market than Denmark.

For countries starting with Poland, this may also be a boon to the entire discussion of access where patients just cannot access medicine they can afford.

Enter a long, strange trip into the mind of a genius. Elon Musk—who on September 27 became the world’s richest person, surpassing Jeff Bezos—said people should be “open to psychedelics” at a CodeCon event on Tuesday.

Ronan Levy, executive chairman of Field Trip Health hosted conversation with Musk during an interview at CodeCon 21, a celebrated tech development event, confronting him about whether or not he supports psychedelics for therapeutic purposes.

“I think generally people should be open to psychedelics,” said Musk. The session continued. 

“You’ve spent a lot of time talking about outer space, and I want to ask you about inner space. What role do you think psychedelics may have in addressing some of the more destructive tendencies of humanity?” Levy asked Musk.

“A lot of people making laws are kind of from a different era,” Musk replied. “As the new generation gets into political power, I think we will see greater receptivity to the benefits of psychedelics.”

Two Pennsylvania state lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday that would legalize recreational cannabis for adults and create a regulated market for adult-use marijuana. The legislation from Democratic state Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel, House Bill 2050, also includes social equity provisions to encourage participation in the legal cannabis industry by members of communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.

“I’m once again championing the effort to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. We’ve heard from residents across the state, and the overwhelming majority agree it’s time to pass this initiative,” Wheatley said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “Not only would it create jobs and generate much-needed revenue, but it contains important social justice provisions that would eliminate the aggressive enforcement of simple marijuana possession laws in marginalized communities.”

House Bill 2050, which shares the designator of a 2020 cannabis legalization bill that failed to gain the support of the GOP-led legislature, would decriminalize, regulate and tax adult-use, recreational marijuana, making it legal for purchase for those 21 and older. The legislation would also establish multiple grant programs funded by cannabis tax revenue that would benefit small, minority and women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania. Frankel said such measures were necessary to address the harm caused by decades of cannabis prohibition.

“Failed cannabis policies of the past have resulted in the worst of all possible worlds: insufficient protection of the public health, aggressive enforcement that disproportionately harms communities of color and zero revenue for this commonwealth,” said Frankel, who serves as the Democratic chair of the House Health Committee. “With this legislation, Pennsylvania can begin to repair the historical harms and reap the benefits of a fact-based approach to regulating the cultivation, commerce and use of cannabis for adults over 21 years old.”

The legislation would also establish a regulatory process for cannabis growers, processors, and retailers and levy a 10 percent tax on wholesale transactions. License fees for cannabis businesses will be based on gross revenue, with larger companies paying higher fees. Consumers will pay a retail tax of six percent for the first two years, increasing to 12 percent and then 19 percent over the following two years.

The German national election is over, and the results are in. The Cliff’s Notes version of the same is that there has been an upset in the German electoral map in a way that is still reverberating in political circles as coalition talks about which parties will form the new government get underway. 

There are a few issues that most of those parties, which saw the greatest gains this time around all agree on. And the good news for the industry, patients and those who want a recreational market is that this inevitably spells more cannabis reform.

It is for precisely this reason that the German cannabis question is currently all abuzz in the industry domestically because everyone knows that the status quo will not stand. The medical industry has been hamstrung by quality and production issues. Beyond this, there are numerous burdensome insurance requirements and the general refusal of doctors to engage with the same—just on a financial level—let alone matters of efficacy.  

Then, of course, there is the famed German common sense that has begun to filter through the debate, starting with the fact that there have been a few too many high-profile flubs of late—including one of the largest German grocery chains (and one of the top grocery retailers in the world) being raided in August, by the police. All developments are signs that the status quo will not stand much longer. 

There is already a lawsuit now pending, and from the business community, about the classification of CBD—and the need to remove it from the German Narcotics Act to bring this into line with the decision on a European level last year that this cannabinoid is not a narcotic.

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