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.

Weedmaps Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

Doug Francis steps aside as CEO to serve as Chairman;
President Chris Beals to Assume Role as CEO

CALIFORNIA: Weedmaps today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has appointed Chris Beals as Chief Executive Officer, effective March 6, 2019. In addition to assuming day-to-day leadership of Weedmaps, Beals will serve as a member of the Company’s Board. Since joining the Company in August 2015, Beals has served as Weedmaps’ President and General Counsel and has led the growth of the Company’s government relations, finance and compliance functions. Weedmaps announced that co-founder and previous CEO, Doug Francis, has been appointed Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors.

“Ten years ago, my co-founder Justin Hartfield and I set out to bootstrap a marijuana technology company that not only aimed to be commercially successful, but also endeavored to promote freedom through the repeal of marijuana prohibition. We have built a special company and left a positive mark on society. To my Weedmaps family, it has been an honor to lead you through these changing times,” said Francis.

“We have exceeded our dream goals, and it is time for the next chapter,” Francis continued. “Chris has spent the last four years immersed in our industry and culture. He developed a dichotomy that gives us an advantage; an enterprise executive that knows the complex tribal knowledge and history of the weed business. Chris is a visionary and has already done an incredible job navigating the regulatory and growth challenges of a nascent and nebulous cannabis landscape. The Board and I are quite confident in his ability to lead the Company forward.”

“I am incredibly excited to assume this new role and for the future of the Company,” said Beals. “We have an exceptionally talented team at Weedmaps, that is focused on scaling our technology and data platform to provide interconnected solutions for the entire cannabis business and consumer spectrum. Our position as a leading technology company servicing the cannabis industry combined with our amazing leadership team puts us in an incredible position to succeed. In addition, building upon the original vision of Doug and Justin, Weedmaps continues to expand its role as a leading voice for cannabis legalization and decriminalization across the country.”

Aside from Board duties at Weedmaps, Francis will be focusing his time on legalization efforts with the Company as well as advising and managing other cannabis brands around the world.

Farmer Tom Travels To Spain

Last fall Farmer Tom had a chance to take an international trip to Spain to participate in Spannabis.  I have a long history with one of the private cannabis social clubs in Barcelona, Greenardos.  I first met them when they stayed with us on the farm for about a month, four years ago. During their visit, they got ahold of one of my seeds — a cross between Amnesia Haze and our Power Kush– and it turned out to be an amazing phenotype.  The club has carried it at their location for the last three years, and it has been one of their top strains.

Farmer Tom Spain

 

Spannabis was a blast.  I got to connect with cannabis enthusiast’s from around the world — all the top players were there. During my stay in Barcelona, I was warmly welcomed — not just because my strain had won many competitions throughout Europe — the locals are just genuinely very nice, gracious people.

 

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One of the highlights of my trip was seeing BC Barcelona play football. We watched them win, and Messi score the winning goal.  I spent a day making high quality solvent-less hash with the Dank Duchess and Blue Eyes. I learned a lot and had a wonderful experience with these great people. The best thing about Spain was the food.  I had some of the most amazing, high quality food I’ve ever eaten. From the seafood — fresh from the Mediterranean Seat and North Atlantic — to the fresh fruits and veggies.  My favorite was Hamon — a kind of ham made 100% from Ibérico pigs who are allowed to feed and roam completely free range.  The stuff you live for.

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After Spannabis I spent a day touring LaRambla, where we stopped by Weedmaps Spanish headquarters, and also went to visit Sensi magazine’s Cannabis and Hash Museum.  I was warmly welcomed at both locations.  We sat on the roof and smoked fatties at Weedmaps, and I got a personal tour of the cannabis museum by the curator and manager — it was quite an experience.

 

LA City Council To End Public Commentary On Draft Cannabis Regulations

Hundreds of Angelenos will gather at the Los Angeles City Hall Tuesday, August 15, hours before the City Council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee meeting

CALIFORNIA: The people of Los Angeles made their voices heard loud and clear last November when they voted to legalize adult-use marijuana in the State of California. In March, more than 80% of Angelenos overwhelmingly voted to fairly license, tax, regulate and enforce the cannabis industry in the city. They also did it during LA’s 60-day public commentary period on draft cannabis regulations, which is coming to a close.

Now, as the Los Angeles City Council works to craft cannabis regulations to implement the law, Angelenos are once again making their voices heard, and the message to their Los Angeles City Council members is simple and direct: “We want a responsible, robust, safe and accessible marijuana marketplace in the City of Los Angeles!”

Hundreds of Angelenos will gather at the Los Angeles City Hall onTuesday, August 15 hours before the City Council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee meeting, where councilmembers are expected to take final public commentary on the city’s draft cannabis regulations. Before the meeting even starts, members of the community will press councilmembers and their staff on a variety of concerns, including:

  • maintaining the market for the immediate and future economic prosperity of the city through an immediate and fair licensing process;
  • zoning rules that are in line with the state, and not more restrictive;
  • ensuring safety and combating the illicit marketplace;
  • broadening access to banking services;
  • establishing a viable social equity program in the city; and
  • abolishing job-killing regulations that cripple small businesses.

And since it’s Tuesday, free tacos will be provided to any Angeleno who calls their councilmember from outside Los Angeles City Hallsigns a postcard urging the Council to take appropriate action, or visits their councilmember’s office before the meeting begins.

WHAT: Taco Tuesday with a Cause: Rally & Lobbying Action before the Los Angeles City Council Meeting

WHO: Angelenos, patients, advocates, and the Los Angeles cannabis industry

WHERE: Urban Park across the street from Los Angeles City Hall Main Street Entrance (Corner of Main and Temple), Los Angeles, CA

WHEN: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (The Rules Committee meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.)

Taco Tuesday with a Cause is a project of the Southern California Coalition and Weedmaps.

Weedmaps Partners With MJ Freeway to Provide Real-Time, Online Cannabis Inventory Menus

COLORADO: Weedmaps, the oldest and largest technology company in the cannabis space which operates the dispensary, delivery, doctor and deal finder site Weedmaps.com and the media site Marijuana.com, has partnered with industry-leading compliance and seed-to-sale tracking software solution, MJ Freeway, to provide a valuable menu integration for operators to easily display their products to consumers and patients.

Operators that manage their day-to-day inventory through MJ Freeway’s seed-to-sale tracking platform can benefit from a direct integration to Weedmaps, eliminating the need for manual, double-entry of data. When a product’s price changes, or inventory is low or out-of-stock in the point-of-sale system, MJ Freeway seamlessly updates the data on the corresponding Weedmaps dispensary profile in real-time.

“Dispensary staff should be focused on serving patients and customers, not distracted by the constant need to manually update an online menu. Our partnership with Weedmaps, one of the most trusted online resource for dispensary and product reviews, is a testament to our commitment to improving efficiency for our clients by providing relevant technology solutions,” said Ike Hull, Director of Technical Operations for MJ Freeway.

Cannabis operators can choose to display some or all of their live inventory on their Weedmaps profile page, ranging from marijuana flower to edibles, topicals, concentrates, and more.

“Members of Weedmaps that take advantage of this integration will be able to gain an advantage by displaying the most accurate menus that show the breadth and variety of products and pricing. We’re excited to offer this functionality in partnership with MJ Freeway to help save our clients’ time and ensure accuracy of information for consumers,” said Chris Beals, President & General Counsel from Weedmaps.

420 Games: Ganja Olympics

CALIFORNIA:  One of the biggest blows to the credibility of cannabis users is the stereotype that they are all nothing but lazy stoners. The image is clear in dissenters’ minds: a bummed out person sprawled out on a couch, hitting a bong, watching cartoons and devouring all of the snack foods and pizza in sight. Thankfully, as the new era of cannabis legalization spreads across the country, cannabis users are becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that this image is not only incorrect, but damaging to the image of cannabis use as a whole.

Now, this image is about to get turned on its head thanks to the 420 Games, a multi-city fitness event taking place in cities across the nation in states where marijuana is legal. The event, cosponsored by the popular medical marijuana dispensary locater Weedmaps and Harborside Health Center, will feature a number of cannabis themed physical events to prove that the predetermined image of the “lazy stoner” is nothing but a misconception caused by years of damaging propaganda movements.

Jim McAlpine, the founder of the event and an executive businessman for the McAlpine snowboarding company, is out to prove that cannabis use and physical fitness don’t have to be two different worlds incapable of commingling.

“We’re coming off of decades of negative propaganda stigmatizing cannabis use,” McAlpine said in an interview with a local paper. “We’ve all been lied to, it’s a bad rap and we need to change the dialogue. There are millions of people who use marijuana in effective, healthy and productive ways. We plan to show this to the world via athletic achievement.”

 

Pot Web Site Puts $1 Million Into Possible California Initiative

CALIFORNIA:  A popular marijuana dispensary mapping website has contributed $1 million to a campaign committee for a possible November 2016 pot legalization ballot measure.

Irvine-based Weedmaps Media, LLC, which runs Weedmaps.com, put the money into the company-sponsored “Californians for Sensible Reform” to support a possible 2016 initiative.

What that measure will be remains unclear. Earlier this week, marijuana proponents filed two proposed measures to qualify for next year’s fall ballot, with possibly more to come.

The more substantive of the two, the “California Craft Cannabis Act,” was submitted by “cannabis freedom lawyers” Omar Figueroa and Heather L. Burke.

These Weed Snobs Show Why Pot Can Be Just As Snooty As Wine

CALIFORNIA:  Weedmaps, a Yelp-like service focused on pot, wants to show that marijuana can be just as sophisticated as alcohol. But it’s hard for a company named Weedmaps to buy ad space, and it had to get a little creative with its marketing.

That’s why it hosts Weedmaps TV on YouTube where it has more than 100,000 subscribers, and it just put out its latest video. It’s a bit of content marketing from a company that can’t buy ad space on Facebook or Twitter because its mission is to rate all the legal places to buy pot in the country, which is slowly embracing the weed industry with pro-marijuana laws.

The new video, produced by Los Angeles shop Prior 98, is part of a Web series called Weed Snobs, which turns the table on conventional wisdom. It’s a parody with two men at a fine restaurant ordering from the weed menu and discussing the dangers of drinking.

“We cannot do paid advertising on Facebook so that leads us to be creative and come up with alternatives through social media,” said Kyle Peterson of Weedmaps, which posts its videos to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “We do content marketing and create fun stuff that’s sharable.”

These People Left Respectable Corporate Jobs To Work In The Booming Marijuana Industry

COLORADO:  In late 2010, Derek Peterson was fired from his job as a vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he had been managing a $100 million fund.

But instead of looking for another job on Wall Street, Peterson decided to dive head first into the marijuana industry side project that had gotten him fired in the first place.

Nearly four years later, he says it’s working out.

By operating his own dispensary in northern California and selling hydroponic equipment to marijuana growers as CEO of his company Terra Tech, Peterson says he’s helping people get a product that actually makes their lives better, a feeling he didn’t necessarily have during his time on Wall Street.