Real Talk & Jail Cats
Plus: a pod drop this Friday.
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Time to read: About 5 minutes. Contains 1,049 words.
I cannot believe we’re here, the last Monday newsletter before Christmas (yes, arriving on a Tuesday). I’m sending productive vibes and reminding everyone to get enough sleep and eat an orange today—I doubt any of us can afford to get sick right now! Keep that immune system strong.
This Friday, I’m dropping an audio dispatch to add to travel playlists. My unedited convo with esteemed cannabis advocate and Cannaclusive co-founder Mary Pryor includes a little recapping of 2023 and a little predicting for 2024, mostly focusing on some really real talk about the state of working in cannabis, her issues with current wellness culture, and what inspired her to launch her own brand, Sheba Baby! Friday content is only available to paid subscribers—sign up to catch a rare interview with this cannabis luminary.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Last Friday’s deep dive into the truth about hemp-derived THC broke my PR for a new subscriber bump (thank you to everyone who forwarded/shared!), spurred interesting follow-up convos, and inspired a few folks who had been using misinformation to their advantage to show their true colors. In the comments on my LinkedIn post and in my inbox, I got messages like “Wow, could you not?” Here’s the thing: normalizing cannabis includes well-rounded media coverage, which will include reporting the unbiased truth. And the truth is that hemp-derived THC is just as real as the THC in licensed dispensaries, and there should be testing and labeling requirements. Those operating in the hemp D8 and D9 space are able to get away with a lot right now. Some are going further than others to ensure their product is as safe as the best in the adult-use market, and those are the only ones I recommend working with/consuming.
I recognize why this “don’t be a snitch” mentality endures in the cannabis industry, but I don’t believe it applies here. If you’re going the “hemp-derived” route purely to avoid red tape and use intentionally confusing language to fast-track profit, I really don’t care if I’m creating an inconvenient obstacle in the form of truth-telling. Don’t get me wrong—I have immense respect for legacy operators who are talented, caring cultivators, and I take their rights to privacy and reverence seriously. But there is a huge difference between betraying the trust of the cannabis community and equipping consumers and legislators with honest, accurate information.
A similar dynamic is playing out in the fallout of the LA Times story on the Stiiizy founder’s connections to various properties where unlicensed dispensaries have operated. Some call it a “hit piece;” others chastise the paper for shaming one company for something everyone in the industry is doing (finding alternative routes to profit/survival). I recommend reading the entire piece before putting anyone on a legacy pedestal. One thing that stayed with me was the mention of the potential use of budtenders’ identities to set up business licenses and lease agreements without their knowledge. Legal representatives of the people connected to Stiiizy’s team claim they were not aware of such practices (and deny all allegations), which means, at the least, we’re talking about some problematically absentee landlords.
A big round of applause for Missouri for successfully expunging the records of more than 100,000 cannabis-related cases within their first year of legal weed.
Missouri will be an interesting one to watch moving into 2024 and beyond. It was the only state that launched an adult use program this year and exceeded MJBizDaily’s predictions for first-year sales, and regulators are setting high standards for ethical conduct off the bat. After carefully reviewing the first round of approved social equity program applications, 11 are being rescinded due to connections to out-of-state investors who had submitted hundreds of applications to Missouri’s lottery with names from random people of color from all over the country to game the system.
A refreshingly progressive move in Arizona: In a landmark decision, the state’s Department of Child Safety (DCS) will “no longer probe cannabis exposure in newborns when a parent holds a medical marijuana card, absent other child risk allegations.” This is related to the case of Lindsay Ridgell, a woman who used medical marijuana for severe pregnancy nausea and faced a child welfare case post-delivery. Despite retaining custody, Ridgell had to fight against a 25-year placement on the Central Registry for child abuse and neglect.
Seth Rogen’s Houseplant is branching out in the vice realm with Houseplant Sake, made in partnership with Nova Brewing Co. In 2018, an alcohol-based venture like this would’ve been considered a step against the cannabis movement. Today, this feels like a logical expansion as a vibe-y, host with the most brand.
Favorite marketing move of the week goes to accessories shop Burning Love for this Kitty Clink Instagram campaign. Referencing the untimely losses of so many glass pieces at the hands (paws?) of mischievous cats, the brand invited anyone to email them with a picture of the culprit and the damage, “in turn, we will book him in the slammer” (send you a picture of your cat behind bars) “and offer you a coupon code for your next purchase.” Brilliant UGC, email gathering, and IG engagement opportunity.
I am also obsessed with the breath mint-inspired packaging on The Pharm’s frosty new infused pre-roll packs, Diamond Dusties.
High Finds: Lifestyle Goods I Like
It doesn’t get more resort-ready than Tombolo’s terry cloth Cabana shirts. The matching set of their weed lead-emblazoned 'Cabannabis' Cabana Shirt and Shorts is the apex of Cannabis CEO vacay fashion.
I’m partial to rubber-sealed stash jars that allow me to easily open a container with one hand while packing a bong, no twisting required—love to see Yew Yew’s milky glass contribution to this category.
Want a beautiful new ashtray for Christmas but don’t feel comfortable asking your family for weed things? This stunning ceramic spoon rest from Cloud 9 Clay could easily do double duty. (They make intentional ashtrays, too.)
Off to clean all my pieces for cousin seshes,