Discover more from Sticky Bits by Lauren Yoshiko
Aspergillus Angst & Exotic Haze
Plus: A modular pipe to love.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, August 7, 2023
Time to read: About 6 minutes. Contains 1,125 words.
This Friday, paid subscribers will receive a deep dive exploring the strange void of cannabis products targeting seniors. Despite the numbers that show this demographic’s increased spending in this sector and hype like last night’s episode of Anderson Cooper’s The Whole Story highlighting seniors turning to cannabis in higher numbers, there’s an ongoing lack of products made for and marketed to them. I’ll be discussing how this population is developing their relationships with cannabis, how some retailers are reaching out to them, and some high-value, easily coverable blind spots we keep missing.
Sign up as a paid subscriber to stay tuned and help me keep this Report in motion. You’ll also receive monthly podcast drops further exploring trends in the space with experts in the know and access to the vast, informative archive of past deep dives.
Now, onto the news.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
We need to talk about Moldgate, a.k.a. The Aspergillus Affair; a.k.a. the most buzzy concern for Oregon cultivators this summer—one that may prove more bark than bite. This all started when a new round of testing rules was enacted in March, including stricter limits on a type of mold called Aspergillus. There are 100+ species of Aspergillus—Oregon decided to start screening for four of its most concerning varieties: pathogenic aspergillus flavus, fumigatus, niger, and terreus—all of which are fairly common. The CDC states that “most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus.” Because of its ubiquitous presence in most indoor and outdoor gardens, fail rates were reaching an average of 23% of tested product, further straining a struggling population of growers, and some major farms were considering throwing in the towel in the face of this new obstacle to getting pounds to market. On July 28, the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon and others filed a lawsuit challenging the OHA’s new Aspergillus testing rule. The petitioners seek to stop the OHA from enforcing the rule and contend they will suffer enormous financial losses if the court does not act. Numerous petitions and calls to action have arisen.
Here’s the thing: California has the same Aspergillus testing requirements Oregon just adopted. Colorado began mandating Aspergillus testing in 2022, and any Aspergillus content will result in a failed test result in Michigan. It’s looking like more of a nationwide standard than a pointed problem in the Oregon scene; just one more growing pain on the path towards normalization of legal cannabis cultivation. The beloved farm that thought it’d be shutting down over this has since changed its tune and are back in the swing of things.
It came as no surprise to see New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago at the top of the cities that consume the most cannabis, but there are some less-expected cities mentioned on this list. Phoenix, AZ made the top five. 👀
Threads may not be fulfilling its dream of becoming the New Twitter anytime soon, but there’s still some action on the platform: Cannaclusive dropped some heat last week with a Thread discussion pointing out the issues with the narrative of legal cannabis as a path towards generational wealth for communities of color. The overall gist—that’s yet to prove possible.
One particular thing Cannaclusive addresses is the disconnect between equity efforts and programs that help Black and Latino entrepreneurs; how many of them don’t qualify for the programs supposed to support them. I agree that we could be creating stronger, more effective regulations at this point in the game. That’s why I’m stoked to see Cannabis Noire getting together an Equity Roadshow, a gathering of experts, advocates, community leaders, and organizations from multiple states to explore and better understand recent cannabis legalization laws in the hopes of informing a successful and equitable rollout of adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania and beyond. Over 15 states have written out laws at this point—it’s high time states share their notes more comprehensively. Interested folks based in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Maryland markets can head here for more information.
Rachelle Gordon attempted to find a clear definition of “exotics” for Greenstate and ended up having just as difficult a time as I did trying to do the same a while back. While the word first caught my attention for different, more personal reasons, it’s being used in the exact same way two years later, as in describing many totally different things, depending on who you ask.
RAW Rolling Papers made a $100,000 donation to the JUSTÜS Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to lowering the barriers of entry for legacy cannabis operators into the legal cannabis market. The Foundation will be doling out that dough in 3 $20,000 chunks and a handful of smaller grants to eligible operators—you can head here to learn more and apply for a grant before the deadline of August 31.
September 9 and 10 in Eureka, CA, Cannifest will light up the Halvorsen Waterfront Park with live music, a cannabis lounge, and marketplace, a seed swap for cultivators, a flower and rosin competition, a parade, and a lot more.
High Finds: Lifestyle Goods I Like
Barbari partnered with Xula Herbs on a new smokable and steep-able herbal blend called Period Daze. Formulated to help take the edge off of menstruation days, it contains raspberry leaf, mugwort, chamomile, pink rose, and cramp bark.
A new modular accessory brand I’m geeking on right now: Weeday. Tricky as that brand’s name is going to be for SEO, they’re onto something with these thoughtful designs that combine glass mouthpieces, bowls, and downstems with airtight, travel-friendly silicone components. Bonus points for the pipe coming with a poker that slides securely into its silicone body.
Rose Los Angeles announced the THC version of their gummy Delights is now shipping nationwide. No, they’re not getting into the illegal gummy game. They dropped THC content to range from 1 to 2.5 mg “respectively,” which I’m assuming keeps it under the THC threshold outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill (the legislation that liberated hemp—defined as products containing less than .3% THC—to cross state lines freely).
Barbie has had her moment—let the Troll Doll Lighter have her turn.
Dazed and Confused, the iconic 1990s movie set in the 1970s, turns 30 this year. To mark the anniversary, NBC (which somehow owns this cinematic property now) dropped a very weed-friendly merch collection on their site. There is a “grass-scented” candle, but disappointingly no partnership with a cannabis-adjacent brand on custom smoking paraphernalia. Be a lot cooler if they did.
Back to browsing the worldwide weed,