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The Broccoli Report
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Time to read: 6 minutes, 7 seconds. Contains 1225 words.
As we whip through January, the first commercially-celebrated holiday of the year looms on the horizon: Valentine’s Day. Say what you will about cheesy, one-dimensional depictions of romance—I love it. I love wearing a garish combination of pink and red, making time for chocolates and indulgences, doing a little something to make loved ones feel loved. Yes, these things can and should happen any time of year, but there’s something special about millions of people celebrating affection on the same day. And many of this year’s celebrations will include cannabis.
This Friday, look forward to an update on the love and lust section of our industry. I’ll share interesting trends, products, and observations of the telling shifts in sexual norms set in motion by Gen Z. Be my Valentine by becoming a paid subscriber. 💕
Before we get to the news, we need to talk about that COVID-19 study re: cannabinoids—as well as the response to it.
Fact-Checking & Fiction
The weed-y part of the internet was ablaze last week over a study demonstrating CBGA, THCA-A, and CBDA’s ability to block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from replication in lung cells. The problem? This study has nothing to do with smoking or eating products containing CBD, so no, CBD will not protect you from COVID-19. Broccoli’s science editor Zoe Sigman posted a clarifying explainer on IG, pointing out that the study was conducted in Petri dishes, not in humans. She also noted that the scientists examined acid cannabinoids, meaning they were not decarboxylated (heated). “This study is an initial step in the scientific process,” Sigman wrote. “It shows that these compounds could be interesting for further research. It does not show that consuming these compounds in any capacity (or in any quantity) would have the same effects.”
Pharmacologist and neuroscientist Dr. Adie Poe posted similar contextual commentary on the much-hyped study and pointed out that it may have a wider benefit: “I’m very hopeful that this study will successfully convince funding bodies like the NIH [National Institutes of Health] that cannabis-derived chemicals have powerful and useful clinical effects.”
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
After browsing predictions on what states are likely to legalize cannabis in 2022, I see one glaring exception: Hawai’i. The state is unlikely to legalize cannabis this year—or next, for that matter. On paper, it’s bizarre that this relaxing, tropical tourist destination would take so long to join its West Coast relatives in legalizing pakalolo. Hawai’i has all the elements to host a thriving cannabis program, and the state could use that additional tax revenue. It’s already decriminalized cannabis, there’s a medical program in place, and it’s common to catch a whiff near the locals’ beaches. In early 2021, bills to legalize cannabis gained momentum in the state legislature, but opponents like Democrat Ryan Yamane, chair of the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Homelessness, kept hearings off the calendar until their deadline passed. Hawai’i’s Democratic governor David Ige isn’t prioritizing the plant, either. My take: The meth and opioid epidemic has wrought such destruction in the state that easing up on substance regulation feels misguided. I recall seeing cars sporting bumper stickers that read something like “End The Ice Age in Hawaii” on a family visit a while back—that anti-meth campaign must’ve kicked off over ten years ago, and things have only gotten worse since. It’s a reminder that working in weed is not an excuse for checking out of the wider drug conversation and that it’s in the cannabis industry’s best interest to actively support efforts to end the opioid epidemic.
A ton of recent headlines have highlighted California cannabis businesses' struggles under the state’s onerous regulation system. The New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association is lobbying hard to avoid the same situation in their state. In recent legislative sessions, the group—which has grown to 250 members—successfully pushed legislators to act on issues like lowering tax rates and including distressed farmers in social equity cohorts.
One silver lining to constant coverage of small cannabis businesses’ financially-stretched reality: Legislators are starting to get just how many cards are stacked against us. From Sacramento to New York, we’re seeing announcements of regulators throwing money at flawed licensing programs.
California brand Garden Society announced a $7 million Series A funding round led by RJ Primo LLC, including something called a “Ladies Slate SPV comprised of female and BIPOC angel investors.” The funding will be used to scale product offerings, modernize manufacturing, and expand into other states in 2022.
A new Philadelphia-based cannabis business accelerator kicks off this spring. Organized by Philly Startup Leaders, the 10-week program equips growth-stage founders with knowledge, funding channels, and business development skills, with a focus on promoting equitable entrepreneurship in the industry. Everyone from founders in cannabis-related tech and industrial hemp to infused beverage consumer packaged goods and ancillary companies are invited to apply for one of the ten spots. Head here to learn more and apply.
One way to get people vaccinated: Require proof-of-vaccination at liquor and cannabis stores. Starting tomorrow, residents of Quebec will need to show proof of vaccination to enter any liquor store or dispensary.
Powerful evidence that when it comes to founders, personal experiences matter: Rose co-founder Nathan Cozzolino’s vulnerable essay on his experiences after a Stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis amplified the significance of the launch of Rose Caps—the brand’s potent little capsules of CBD flower rosin.
Massachusetts set a new standard for organizing statewide cannabis data. With their Open Data Platform, businesses licensed through the state’s Cannabis Control Commission submit information about things like ownership and business size, which is then quantified into helpful, regularly updated data sets.
At Bustle, writer Arya Roshanian takes issue with the casual way Sara Ramirez’s character lights up in public in And Just Like That.
And here’s something I take issue with: the lack of licensed cannabis, hemp, and ancillary brands talking to people older than millennials. That’s why I’m intrigued by Canadian cannabis brand MADGE AND MERCER. Their high-CBD and low-THC product line is thoughtfully designed for women over 40. Their edible CBD oil was made in collaboration with Chef Ted Corrado, and they worked with dermatologist and skin allergy expert Dr. Sandy Skotnicki on a formula for more experienced skin for their face oil.
Off to earn some laugh lines 💨,