Search Results for: California

California Cannabis Licensing Authorities File Civil Action Against Vertical Bliss (Kushy Punch) For Unlicensed Activity

CALIFORNIA:  The Bureau of Cannabis Control and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today the filing of a complaint seeking civil penalties from Vertical Bliss, Inc. also known as Kushy Punch and related people for unlicensed commercial cannabis activity. The complaint was filed on September 23, 2020 by the California Office of the Attorney General in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The complaint alleges that Vertical Bliss conducted unlicensed operations on an undisclosed premise in Canoga Park, California, and inverted illegally manufactured product back into the regulated market. On October 2, 2019, in response to tips about illegal manufacturing and distribution of cannabis goods, the Division of Investigation executed search warrants at the unlicensed Canoga Park location. The search revealed significant quantities of cannabis concentrates, edibles, vape cartridges and raw materials. Seized records document the production of more than 3.3 million Kushy Punch brand gummies during an 18-month period, with an estimated value of $64 million.

Vertical Bliss simultaneously held cannabis manufacturing and distribution licenses for a premises located in Chatsworth, California. These licenses were revoked, following the discovery of the unlicensed operations.

The Medicinal and Adult-Use Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) establishes strict requirements for the cannabis market and products, including requiring a state license and local approval for every premises where commercial cannabis activity is conducted. Manufacturing, distributing or selling cannabis goods without a state license or at a location that is not licensed is a violation of state law. A person engaging in commercial cannabis activity without a license is subject to civil penalties of up to three times the amount of the license fee for each day of operation.

To file a complaint regarding illegal cannabis activity, click here – Enforcement Online Services.

California Cannabis Licensing Authorities Unveil New Unified License Search Tool

CALIFORNIA:  California’s three cannabis licensing authorities – BCC, CDFA and CDPH announced today the launch of a unified licensing search platform, the culmination of a collaboration between the California Department of Technology, the California Health and Human Services Agency Office of Innovation, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the licensing authorities.

The unified license search tool allows the public to search for cannabis license information from all three licensing authorities by using one search tool. The need for a unified search was identified through conversations with, and surveys of, licensed businesses, local governments, and law enforcement conducted in late 2019 and early 2020.

“This unified license data search tool will make it easier for the public to access cannabis license information without having to inquire with each licensing authority separately,” Bureau Chief Lori Ajax said. “This will also help consumers identify licensed cannabis retailers near them.”

Some features of the new license search include an interactive map and geolocation tools. There is also a survey where users can submit usability feedback to the licensing authorities as they continue to refine the search tool. The unified license search tool can be accessed at https://search.cannabis.ca.gov/.

The unified license search will be updated every 24 hours; however, the most recent data will still be available through each licensing authority’s existing search tool on its website.

In January 2020, Governor Newsom announced plans to consolidate the three cannabis licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control, in an effort to improve access to licensing and simplify regulatory oversight of commercial cannabis activity. Today’s announcement is part of that overall plan.

CDFA Launches Cannabis Industry Education & Outreach Campaign – “This is California Cannabis”

CALIFORNIA: The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today launched a statewide public education and outreach campaign, “This is California Cannabis,” designed to promote the state’s legal cannabis cultivation market and highlight the support and guidance CDFA provides to help cannabis growers secure and maintain their legal cultivation license. “CDFA is committed to the success of our state’s commercial cannabis cultivators,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “‘This is California Cannabis’ celebrates the passion and hard work of licensed cannabis growers and highlights how we’re all working together to protect and promote the health, safety and quality of the industry.”

CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division is managing the campaign, which profiles the wide range of licensed California cannabis farmers, from legacy outdoor farms in rural Humboldt to high-tech, vertically-integrated operations in urban locations. “This is California Cannabis” will feature comprehensive outreach and education efforts, including community events and workshops to highlight the technical assistance and support that is available year-round to licensed growers and new applicants seeking commercial cannabis cultivation licensure.

“We’re proud of California’s vibrant cannabis cultivator community,” said Richard Parrott, director of CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division. “California is known for growing the best cannabis in the world and our licensed cultivators are leading the way with innovative practices and environmental sustainability.” California cultivators who are interested in seeking a license can begin the application process online at calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov or by contacting a licensing specialist by calling toll-free 1-833-CALGROW (1-833-225-4769) or sending an email to calcannabis@cdfa.ca.gov.

CDFA provides year-round support and technical assistance, including updated services for commercial cultivators during the pandemic. For more information about the campaign, please visit growwithCA.com to view the videos, farmer profiles and other outreach materials.

Weedmaps’ New Docuseries Digs Into The Challenges California’s Cannabis Industry Faces Four Years After Legalization

‘Uprooted’ explores how excessive regulation, escalating taxes, flawed social equity programs and NIMBYism have stymied the promise of legal cannabis

CALIFORNIA: When it comes to the legalization of cannabis, is California a model to follow or a cautionary tale?

California-based Weedmaps, the leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, has produced a three-part docuseries titled Uprooted that explores that question. It premieres today on Weedmaps.

Governors across the country have deemed dispensaries essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once proudly and loudly anti-pot, many mayors and city councils in California are now considering the public good that comes from cannabis tax revenues, especially as they scramble to cover budget shortfalls from the pandemic-devastated economies. And with the election on the horizon, voters in several states will head to the polls where medicinal and adult-use cannabis is on the ballot, potentially legalizing in their jurisdictions what the federal government still lists as illegal and considers as dangerous as heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.

Cannabis legalization is at an inflection point. As states serve as innovation hubs of legal implementation, California, the proverbial cannabis capital of the world, is the super laboratory, but has their great experiment been a success?

That story is told by those Californians still fighting the unanticipated and unintended consequences of Proposition 64 – the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized adult-use cannabis. Sewing together interviews from experts, as well as the extraordinary leaders and change-makers of the industry, Uprooteddetails the complex history of legal cannabis in California. But more than that, it reveals the barriers to entry still faced by entrepreneurs of color, many of whom built the industry before it legalized, and were incarcerated as a result. The series also sheds light on the unanticipated roadblocks that continue to stifle medical access, hinder legitimacy and fair competition within the industry, and thwart the realization of much-needed tax revenue. Patients, entrepreneurs, veterans, workers, advocates and consumers share the personal and financial heartache inflicted on them by a law that was intended to help them. And still, their belief in the industry and in themselves is unwavering, and they offer practical, sensible solutions to move the industry forward.

“Today, more than 70% of California municipalities prohibit cannabis business, and the people who should be first in line for business opportunities in this industry are too often told to wait somewhere else. That’s not what legalization should look like,” stated Juanjo Feijoo, Chief Marketing Officer at Weedmaps. “Our goal with this film project is to put a human face on the industry and on its history, and remind everyone that policy issues directly impact the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.”

Uprooted features interviews with experts, advocates and licensed shop owners, including John Entwistle, Jr., Author and Political Activist; Joe Airone, Sweetleaf Joe Founder & Director at Sweetleaf Collection; and Alphonso “Tucky” Blunt Jr., Owner, Blunts and Moore. The docuseries is presented in three separate episodes:

Episode ONE: “California’s Complicated”
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and has been globally recognized for having some of the best cannabis on the market. So few Californians were prepared for the unintended consequences that resulted from the passage of 2016’s Proposition 64. From people who were there at the beginning, to those fighting for access today, Episode ONE looks at the impact of change, reveals lessons learned along the way and explores the path that lies ahead.

Episode TWO: “Patients Left Behind”
Proposition 64 “decompassionized” cannabis in California. Cultivators and collectives were no longer allowed to “gift” cannabis to patients. Inadequate licensing along the supply chain left patients with limited options and inconsistent supply, while retail prices skyrocketed. But advocates fought back and the Dennis Perone and Brownie Mary Act was signed into law in 2020. This legislation provides a pathway for compassionate cannabis to once again enter the legal marketplace.

Episode THREE: “Inadequate and Inequitable”
Those with the most to lose in an overtaxed and over-regulated cannabis marketplace are disadvantaged communities negatively impacted by the failed War on Drugs. The great promise of legalization is social equity. Everybody talks about how important it is, but it never seems to be high on anyone’s “to do” list. The community is demanding accountability and action. In addition, lawmakers and regulators are working to create a more functional framework for cannabis in their communities. Prohibition persists and the fight for legalization in California is not yet won.

All three episodes can be viewed free of charge on Weedmaps.com beginning Wednesday, September 2.

California: Willow Creek Cannabis Alliance Launches, Showcases Local Businesses

CALIFORNIA:  The Willow Creek Cannabis Alliance (WCCA) has launched as a voluntary association of local cannabis businesses to support the community and enhance awareness of the exceptional cannabis products crafted in the Willow Creek region and surrounding mountain communities.

The WCCA is made up primarily of cannabis farmers, along with supportive allied businesses. Nineteen members have founded the WCCA, including Aloha Humboldt, Ambrosia Willow Creek, Bridges Academy Farms, Chronic Creek, Dragon with Matches, Emerald Family Farm, Emerald Queen Farms, Fresh Off The Hill, Full Cup Farmstead, Golden Gardens, Grouse Mountain Green, Humboldt Edge Farm, Humboldt Seed Company, Nasha, New Earth Farms, Outlaw Mountain Ranch, Rambling Rose, River Day Farm, Sol Spirit, Sunrise Mountain, Talking Trees, The Emerald Kid and Trinity Sungrown. Jill Forman, CEO of Golden Gardens and Founding Member of the WCCA, notes that “in total, our current membership holds cultivation licenses allowing for 667,832 square feet of outdoor, mixed light and indoor Humboldt County cultivation, which amounts to $2,315,778 in taxes from 19 cannabis businesses given back to the community through 2019.”

Linsey Jones, CEO of Aloha Humboldt as well as WCCA Founding Member, emphasizes that although many members have their own branded farms, “our goal to support all of our members including the other farmers in our community that sell their flower in bulk. We want to showcase northern Humboldt’s beauty and support our community in and out of the cannabis realm.”

The WCCA is planning for a large “Taste of Willow Creek” event in summer 2021 to celebrate the terroir of the region and its product offerings. The aim is “to share our bounty and beautiful community with a revived- craft flower consumption event, Taste of Willow Creek!” says Hannah Whyte, WCCA Founding Member and CEO of Emerald Queen Farms

The WCCA is proactive in the policy realm advocating on behalf of local voices on issues of common interest, and is a proud member of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) and the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA). “It is wonderful to see and support the development of place-based organizations like the Willow Creek Cannabis Alliance,” says Natalynne DeLapp, Operations Director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “There are incredible cannabis ambassadors in the Willow Creek and surrounding Trinity River area who are able to show how cannabis farming, business development, and land stewardship go hand-in-hand to improve the entire community.”

Members gain voting rights on the Alliance propositions, access to its internal forum, invitation to member meetings and networking events, social media and website visibility, logo placement for events, and leadership opportunities. Businesses interested in getting involved with the WCCA can learn more at www.willowcreekcanna.com/join.

High Times Announces Acquisition Of 13 California Retail Assets From Harvest

The World’s Most Recognized Cannabis Brand Expands Portfolio into the World’s Largest Cannabis Market

CALIFORNIA: Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of High Times, the most well-known brand in cannabis, announced the execution of a definitive agreement to acquire certain equity and assets with respect to 13 planned and operational California dispensaries from Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. . The mostly stock-based transaction, upon successful closing, will allow Hightimes Holding Corp. to enter the retail sector and enable Hightimes Holdings to become one of the largest branded cannabis retailers in California overnight.

Hightimes Holdings intends to fully transform the cannabis retail stores to become High Times® destinations. Hightimes Holdings plans to revamp the existing design and rebrand each dispensary to fit the High Times® aesthetic and experience, rebranding them with the iconic High Times logo which consumers have grown to recognize over nearly five decades.

Consummation of the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including the receipt of certain regulatory third-party consents. The parties are aiming to close the acquisitions no later than June 30, 2020, subject to the parties’ mutual agreement to extend the closing date.

“We’ve long supported Harvest and the other cannabis-retail-trailblazers as they pushed forward despite changing legislation, insurmountable licensing fees, political stigma and, frankly, through a process that was designed to be difficult,” said Adam Levin, Hightimes Holding Corp.’s Executive Chairman. “We have enormous respect for the Harvest brand and look forward to ushering in the next generation of retail experience with Harvest as a significant shareholder in our company. We look forward to finding a myriad of ways to work with Steve and the team at Harvest.”

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc is a vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator in the U.S. Since 2011, Harvest has been committed to expanding its retail and wholesale presence throughout the U.S., acquiring, manufacturing, and selling cannabis products for patients and consumers in addition to providing services to retail dispensaries.

“This transaction allows Harvest to invest in one of the most iconic brands in the industry,” said Steve White, Harvest’s Chief Executive Officer. “As one of the pioneers of the regulated cannabis ecosystem, we have always admired the work of High Times and are excited to watch the High Times brand flourish, as they poise themselves to enter the cannabis distribution and retail spaces.”

The deal comes in the final days of Hightimes Holding Corp.’s Regulation A+ IPO campaign. Investors interested in becoming a shareholder are encouraged to visit hightimesinvestor.com to view the High Times offering circular.

Cresco Labs Launches California Advertising Campaign, Marking Its Most Significant Marketing Push To Date

Campaign touting the brand’s high quality and consistency supports new packaging and products in the market as Cresco strives to become one of the leading cannabis brands in the country’s largest recreational state

CALIFORNIA: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today debuted its largest advertising initiative created to bolster consumer awareness in California of its namesake cannabis brand, Cresco. Called “Excellent Everyday Cannabis”, the multi-channel campaign spans cannabis and mainstream media and features break-through branding that highlights the importance of quality and consistency for everyday cannabis consumption—a marketing message that closely aligns with Cresco Labs’ mission to normalize and professionalize cannabis use. The campaign supports the market introduction of updated packaging featuring an elevated look and feel for Cresco’s portfolio of products that include flower, cartridges and solid concentrates.

As Cresco quickly moves to solidify its position as one of the largest cannabis brands in California, this initiative comes at a particularly significant time. Cresco has historically operated in medical markets such as Illinois and Pennsylvania, and the brand is making its first marketing push in a recreational market where cannabis companies can advertise and speak directly to consumers. Cresco aims to set itself apart from other brands with straightforward messaging that demonstrates its quality and consistency.

“We’re focused on delivering the most consistent, high quality products for consumers who use cannabis to complement their daily rituals. Whether it’s to relax, focus or sleep, people are looking for a cannabis brand they can trust,” said Cory Rothschild, SVP of Brand Marketing at Cresco Labs. “At a time when many brands are focused on the most exceptional moments in life – the parties or the unattainable – we’re proud to deliver excellent everyday cannabis that Californians can count on to help enhance their lives. The new campaign will live in many of the channels where you would expect to see traditional CPG products, helping to destigmatize cannabis use at a time when so many people benefit from thoughtful, responsible consumption.”

“Excellent Everyday Cannabis” aims to captivate consumers through straightforward language that favors product attributes over the occasion and a modern approach to content creation and media placement. Cresco Labs worked with Steelworks, a Los Angeles-based studio specializing in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), to develop high quality, visually stunning imagery that highlights the refined aesthetic of Cresco’s new packaging. Imagery positions Cresco products to pop off bold, colored backgrounds, with straight-forward and straight-on angles that cast a big angular shadow garnering attention. Copy placed behind the product uses striking fonts and repetition to underline the campaign’s primary message, “excellent everyday cannabis,” with other copy variations to reinforce quality, consistency and everyday usability.

The company tapped digital advertising company Centro to implement a programmatic strategy leveraging algorithmic learnings and machine buying to reach target audiences in the right mindset and environment in real-time with precision and efficiency. High-impact digital displays in cannabis websites, such as Leafly and Weedmaps, as well as in best-in-class media partners Penske Media and Condé Nast, enable the company to reach target audiences consuming high quality content in these premium and rich contextual environments. The advertising initiative also includes digital out-of-home ads in elevator and lobby areas throughout Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco; print advertising in daily newspapers, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and two custom, hand-painted wall murals in Santa Monica by artist Lefty Out There, a celebrated Chicago-based artist known for his intricate pattern work, contemporary aesthetic and attention to detail.

The “Excellent Everyday Cannabis” campaign coincides with a national packaging relaunch and rebrand of Cresco. The new brand launches first in California, with plans for a nationwide expansion in the coming months.

California Cannabis Advisory Committee To Hold Upcoming October Meetings In Burlingame

CALIFORNIA: The Bureau of Cannabis Control announced that the Cannabis Advisory Committee will hold two subcommittee meetings on Tuesday, October 22 and a full committee meeting on Wednesday, October 23 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame.

Meeting Notices and Agendas for these meetings have been posted to the Bureau’s website and may be found at the following link:

BCCA OCTOBER MEETING

 

LIVE WEBCAST: The Bureau also plans to webcast the full committee meeting. To view the Cannabis Advisory Committee meeting webcast, visit the following link on October 23: (Please note, the two subcommittee meetings on October 22 will not be webcast.)

SEATING LIMITED: Meeting attendees are encouraged to arrive early as the Bureau cannot guarantee seating in the event the room reaches capacity. The Cannabis Advisory Committee advises the Bureau, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Department of Public Health on the development of regulations that help protect public health and safety and do not perpetuate the illegal market for cannabis.

California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Executive Order To Confront Youth Vaping Epidemic

Governor directs public awareness campaign to focus on educating youth about the harms of vaping tobacco or cannabis products

CALIFORNIA: Governor Gavin Newsom signed today an executive order to confront the growing youth epidemic and health risks linked to vaping. The executive order directs the Department of Public Health (CDPH) to launch a $20 million statewide digital and social media public awareness campaign to educate youth, young adults and parents about the health risks of vaping nicotine and cannabis products. CDPH is also tasked with developing recommendations to reduce smoking among young adults and teens by establishing warning signs with health risks where vaping products are sold and on product advertisements.

“We must take immediate action to meet the urgency behind this public health crisis and youth epidemic,” said Governor Newsom. “As a parent, I understand the anxiety caused by the deceptive marketing tactics and flavored options designed to target our kids. With mysterious lung illnesses and deaths on the rise, we have to educate our kids and do everything we can to tackle this crisis. There is a broad and bipartisan coalition of legislators seeking to protect our youth, and we are committed to working with the Legislature and stakeholders to build on these executive actions and put forward a strong tobacco reform package in 2020.”

The Governor also announced that he signed SB 39 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) today, legislation which will impose stricter age verification requirements for tobacco products sold online or by mail.

Vaping devices are the most commonly used tobacco product in California and more than 80% of high-school teens who consume tobacco use a vaping device. Of the California teens who consume tobacco products, 86.4% report using a flavored tobacco product. There are over 15,500 e-liquid flavors, some of which have proven to cause significant health effects.

From 2016 to 2018, vaping among California high school students rose 27%. In 2018, 10.9% of California high school students reported using e-cigarettes and 14.7% reported using cannabis.“As a state, we can no longer stand by as a new generation falls victim to big tobacco, with vaping products that directly target our children,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “The Governor’s action will raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco products and the risks associated with e-cigarettes and vaping, as well as look at enforcement actions that show Californians the gravity of targeting young people and their health.”

CA Gov NewsomThe Governor’s executive order includes:

Increased enforcement of e-cigarettes: The Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) will develop recommendations to remove illegal or counterfeit vaping products from stores and reducing youth vaping consumption through increased enforcement and incorporating nicotine content into the calculation of the existing tax on electronic cigarettes. CDTFA shall consider revenues currently derived from taxation of electronic cigarettes and the revenues that may be collected from a nicotine-based tax, the potential for evasion and the feasibility of instituting a stamping requirement to maximize compliance. CDTFA shall submit its recommendations to the Governor’s office by October 29, 2019.

Warning signs at retailers and on advertisements: The CDPH is directed to develop recommendations to reduce the availability of vaping devices to persons under 21 years of age, which includes the establishment of warning signs about the health risks of vaping at retailers where any vaping product is sold and in any vaping advertisements. This includes increased enforcement regarding sales of vaping products and specifically e-liquid flavors, to youth. In addition, the CDPH shall make recommendations regarding the establishment of standards for nicotine content and uniform packaging for purposes of including nicotine content in the calculation of the existing tax on electronic cigarettes. The Department of Public Health shall submit its recommendations to the Governor’s Office by October 14, 2019.

Program Funds for Vaping Awareness Campaign: The CDPH is immediately directed to allocate a total of at least $20 million in tobacco and cannabis program funds for a vaping awareness campaign, including digital and social media messaging focused on youth, young adults and parents. This will build upon the award-wining and longest running anti-tobacco program in the nation.

A copy of today’s order can be found here.

Innovative Industrial Properties Acquires California Property Portfolio And Enters Into Long-Term Leases With Licensed Operator

Acquisition Represents IIP’s Second Investment in California, Expanding Footprint to 18 Properties in 11 States

CALIFORNIA: Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc., the first and only real estate company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IIPR) focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry, announced today that it closed on the acquisition of a five-property portfolio in southern California, which comprises approximately 102,000 square feet of industrial space. This acquisition marks IIP’s second investment in California, following on IIP’s acquisition in Sacramento earlier this year.

The purchase price for the southern California portfolio was approximately $27.1 million in the aggregate (excluding transaction costs). Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease at each property with a licensed operator, which intends to continue to operate the properties as licensed cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, processing and distribution facilities in accordance with California regulations.

As the pioneering real estate investment trust (REIT) for the medical-use cannabis industry, IIP partners with experienced medical-use cannabis operators and serves as a source of capital by acquiring and leasing back their real estate assets, in addition to offering other creative real estate-based capital solutions.

“We are excited to forge this new tenant relationship with one of the preeminent licensed operators in southern California,” said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. “This operator is a true innovator in the industry, developing a strong brand that is recognized for its consistent high quality, and we are thrilled to team with them as their long-term real estate partner. The California regulated cannabis market is poised for explosive growth in the coming years, as the regulated program continues to roll out and a focus is made on transitioning illicit sales to the regulated marketplace.”

The operator is licensed for cannabis cultivation, nursery, manufacturing, processing, delivery and distribution. With its advanced growing techniques, state-of-the-art facilities and research and development for the creation of new proprietary genetics, the tenant has developed a distinguishing brand in the southern California market, including botanicals, concentrates and accessories.

As of April 16, 2019, IIP owned 18 properties located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, totaling approximately 1,230,000 rentable square feet (including approximately 159,000 rentable square feet under development/redevelopment), which were 100% leased with a weighted-average remaining lease term of approximately 14.9 years. As of April 16, 2019, IIP had invested approximately $191.3 million in the aggregate (excluding transaction costs) and had committed an additional approximately $34.7 million to reimburse certain tenants and sellers for completion of construction and tenant improvements at IIP’s properties. IIP’s average current yield on invested capital is approximately 14.9% for these 18 properties, calculated as (a) the sum of the current base rents, supplemental rent (with respect to the lease with PharmaCann LLC at one of IIP’s New York properties) and property management fees, divided by (b) IIP’s aggregate investment in these properties (excluding transaction costs and including aggregate potential development/redevelopment funding and tenant reimbursements of approximately $34.7 million).