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Weed in 2020
The year in review & musings on the future.
The Broccoli Report
Monday, December 28, 2020
Time to read: 5 minutes, 53 seconds. 1178 words.
It’s the last Broccoli Report of the year!
What a year it was for weed. Record sales. Big legalization progress. Major shifts in public perception. Cannabis and hemp played a huge role in helping people cope through extremely trying times, and it’s kept the industry in motion while other businesses slow to a halt. We only started this newsletter in September, and it feels like so much has happened within the industry since then. It’s never felt more valuable to have a space to share the news and opportunities that matter to our community.
Today I’ll be highlighting what we found most significant for cannabis this year, sharing some thoughts on what’s to come—and, of course, the usual One-Hitters.
Allow me to take this time to say, from the bottom of my bud jar, thank you for reading the Broccoli Report. Contextualizing industry trends, magnifying the fine print of big news, sharing stories that matter to small businesses—this is what I and so many others needed when we entered the cannabis realm, and it’s a privilege to help bridge that gap. We couldn’t do it without your support. ✿
Weed in 2020: The year in review & musings on the future.
In the face of a global pandemic, cannabis became much less scary. State governments classified it as an essential business that could safely adopt preventative health measures for continued service. Many legislators loosened red tape to make doing business easier for licensed cannabis companies. Four more states legalized cannabis for adult use, and Mississippi and South Dakota approved medical cannabis legislation. A couple of us even got PPP loans!
As cannabis gained legitimacy, the active need for a better, more equitable industry strengthened. This year made consumers care more about how businesses do business. Among the new states to join the legal weed space, Arizona and New Jersey already have social equity elements written into the rules for implementing adult-use programs. Consumers are looking for improvements on flawed equity programs so far. They are demanding receipts that prove companies are walking the walk when it comes to supporting criminal justice reform, social equity, and doing the overdue work to free those still burdened by the effects of cannabis prohibition. In the coming year, we see the line between true allies and clout chasers becoming more clear.
As consumers continue to live most of their lives at home, home is where they’re smoking all their weed. Maybe you shared a puff with a parent over Zoom for the first time, like one of our Broccoli editors. Maybe you’ve had a couple of confrontations with your property manager, like I did. The recent debate about a smoking ban in San Francisco apartments brought the very real issue of at-home consumption to mainstream conversation. As long as the weather is incompatible with outdoor seshes and smoking lounges remain on hold or not yet legal, smoking at home will continue to be the norm in 2021, and one that may grow increasingly contentious.
The upside to this: virtual smoke seshes. From the dedicated Sesh-Ins to adaptations like Tokeativity, they provide a fantastically intimate way for people who enjoy cannabis to connect. For a product that you can’t try on or sample in-store and that can mostly only be consumed at home, virtual smoke sessions are a way to create an experience and foster community—and they don’t require any liability insurance to host. It’s a unique way for brands to interact with consumers and give a much-needed boost to the mental health of socially-starved stoners. It’s an opportunity that remains underestimated and underutilized and will still be much-needed as the pandemic’s social restrictions stretch into 2021.
The West no longer owns weed. Within the past year, Maine’s adult-use stores opened for business, and New Jersey legalized adult-use. The robust medical markets of states like Ohio and Arkansas are drawing multistate adult-use brands from California and Colorado. Hubs for the cannabis economy and culture are being established in every region, and it’s terrifically exciting.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
A new study from the Medical College of Georgia demonstrated that CBD improved oxygen levels and reduced inflammation related to adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can be a symptom of COVID-19. While, yes, this is interesting evidence of cannabis/hemp playing a real medical role in supporting lung health, it’s a single study conducted on thirty mice. The last thing we hope for the sticky CBD space is more opportunities to capitalize on the pandemic with hyperbolic claims.
What do Texas, Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and New Mexico have in common? All of these states could be on the path to adult-use legalization in 2021.
In Los Angeles, the deadline for licensed cannabis businesses to submit annual renewal applications and fees for 2021 was November 2, 2020. 57 businesses failed to meet that deadline, and there isn’t any venue for an extension. If city legislators don’t act fast, those businesses will be forced to cease operations in the new year and start from square one if they want to stay in the weed biz.
LEUNE drops their first-ever seasonal flower: A sun-grown Mimosa (Clementine x Purple Punch) cultivated in Northern California and packaged in eco-friendly jars and lids.
Kate Hudson’s drink of the holiday season? A vodka cranberry cocktail made with her King St. Vodka and cannabis brand Cann’s Cranberry Sage Social Tonic.
Tokeativity released a stimulating collaboration with Maia Toys in the form of a pot leaf-emblazoned bullet vibrator. Available for pre-order through January 2021, a portion of the sales will go towards the Tokeativity scholarship fund and The Last Prisoners Project.
Women.Weed.WiFi—a collective dedicated to supporting women through explorations in ancient wellness practices, art, commerce, and weed—is accepting zine submissions for their 6th issue. Womxn and femme-identifying artists are invited to submit work that navigates intersections of nature and the body in any medium.
Only a few months after joining the medical market in Oklahoma, 1906 launched in Illinois. For the first time, the brand can provide mini sample-size packs for customers at dispensaries, allowing customers to try the product at a reduced price, or receive the sample as a free add-on to their full-size product purchase. This is a great way to hook consumers who might not be ready to spend the cash on a box of edibles that they’ve never tried before, though many states laws prevent samples of any kind, free or paid.
Speaking of Oklahoma—Politico did a deep dive into why exactly the state’s medical market has boomed, so much so that the red state has earned the nickname, “Toke-lahoma.” Tl;dr: With a <$3k cost of entry, a lack of any caps on licenses, and the inability for cities to enact local bans, the state’s thriving weed economy makes absolutely perfect sense.
For December, the Floret Coalition supported Black Feast, a culinary experience that celebrates Black artists and writers through food. In founder Salimatu Amabebe’s words, “Black Feast was created as a way to not only make space at the table for Black artists, but to design a whole new table for us.” Want to join other cannabis and cannabis adjacent brands in giving back to Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities? Learn how here.
See you in 2021,