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2018...too soon, too soon..

January 1, 2018 marked an important landmark for the cannabis industry in California.  As early as 6 am, legal dispensaries started selling cannabis for adult ("recreational") use.

I woke up early and visited Mankind Coop.  They were bringing in the new year and the new rules with some music, T-shirts, photo booth, and other tokens of appreciation for this moment in time.

Already, we are seeing the positive and negative ramifications of the modernized regulatory paradigm.  Every customer that purchased product in California starting 1/1 received their purchases in child proof packaging.  "Adult Use" customers purchases included additional taxes that their state and local governments will deploy to improve their communities, provide drug education, etc.  

The new regulations bring quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty to the industry as well.  For example, even as local municipalities are still working through their final licensing plans, retail outlets are only all…
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Waking up in Vegas

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Las Vegas for some big industry events.

The first half of the week was the Arcview Las Vegas Investor Forum.  At this event, cannabis operators have 15 minutes on stage to pitch their company in a "Shark Tank" style event.  The pitches are delivered to several hundred accredited investors and the presenters field live questions from the "Sharks".

We learned about what some of the political organizations have been focused on at the state and federal level to help move our country towards decriminalization of cannabis.  There was a lot of great networking opportunities and fascinating people to meet.

I had the opportunity to mentor Koushi Sunder, the founder of Stemless, a platform that enables dispensaries to easily offer online menus, delivery, and accept payments.  Her pitch was amazing and I wish her great success moving her company forward.

Later at the event, I had the opportunity to "Shark" for three company pitches.  I…

How we #duediligence

About a year ago, when I entered the cannabis industry as an investor and professional, there was no shortage of questions from my friends and family. One of the most common questions was about how to navigate the noise and make informed investment decisions.  Specifically, with the hundreds of deals that are out there, how does a prospective investor separate the good deals from the bad to make prudent investment decisions? Due diligence on investment opportunities in the cannabis industry takes a different flavor than in a mainstream industry. However, some of the same basic principles apply.  Investment decisions should be made based on the expected risk-adjusted return on your capital. Several topics should be considered when evaluating a potential cannabis investment.  In general, as fundamental economic valuations are not readily available in this industry, investment decisions tend to rely more heavily on intuition and qualitative aspects of the opportunity.  As the industry matur…

More Dangerous than an H Bomb

Does anyone remember this Ronald Reagan quote?  
“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast."
Much has been written about the origin and evolution of the War on Drugs in this country.  Most people don't realize that the War on Drugs actually dates back to the nineteenth century, when states enacted broad measures to protect consumers from dangerous medicines and poisons. However, there is a theory that racism was often at the heart of the motivation to criminalize these substances.
Heroin was the first pharmaceutical to fall from favor.  Chinese immigrants came to the United States for jobs in railroads and mines.  These immigrants brought a tradition of smoking opium-basedproducts (such as heroin) in the evenings to relax.  Settlers accused the Chinese of stealing their jobs and the resentment evolved into false claims that Chinese men were luring white women into opium dens and c…

San Diego moves forward!

Yesterday was the long anticipated San Diego City Council meeting to discuss the city's position on licensing for adult use cannabis.  The official docket was to vote on the following:

Amendment to the Municipal Code and Local Coastal Program to Address the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. - The project provides two alternative amendments to the Municipal Code to address the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. 

Option 1 allows testing of marijuana and marijuana products in testing labs in industrial zones and commercial zones that prohibit residential uses. 

Option 2 includes option 1 and also permits cultivation, distribution, and production of marijuana and marijuana products with approval of a Process Three Conditional Use Permit in light and heavy industrial zones. Marijuana production facilities will be limited to a maximum of two per City Council District. (Rev. 9/8/17)

Suffice it to say that it was a well attended meeting.  There were close to 100 speakers from the general public with imp…

Mother of the Year? Not this year.

From the City of Oceanside website:

The Medical Marijuana Ad-hoc Committee was created by the City Council on April 19 to specifically address the possibility of new medical marijuana regulations for the City of Oceanside. All work will be completed within six months per City regulations regarding ad-hoc committees and the committee’s report will be presented to the City Council for review and possible action in November, 2017.

The meetings are open to the public, and typically feature a couple speakers, followed by questions from the committee and comments from the public.  I've attended a couple. The cultivator that I work with has been very active at these meetings and has made an incredibly positive impression on the Oceanside officials, as evidenced by the commissioner's request for a site visit and for the operator to speak at one of the committee meetings.

The most recent meeting was yesterday at 4:00.  I picked Riley (my 7 year old, first grade, daughter) up from schoo…

I think it's OK to start with anecdotes

The medical benefits of marijuana have been under-researched and cast in the shadows of the war on drugs, particularly in the United States.  However, at many of the industry events I attend, I hear incredible stories of cannabis business owners that entered the industry professionally because of a transformational, often life-saving experience with the plant.  As such, since there are no large scale clinical studies, I wanted to dive a little deeper into #whyicannabis item #4 and share some incredible stores of the curative nature of this plant.  This list is only a tiny sample of anecdotes.  There is so much to learn and discover about what this plant can do.

For now, I'll leave aside the plants benefits of reducing anxiety and stimulating appetite.  Anyone that has tried cannabis can likely attest to those side effects (I seem to remember someone making a butter-finger quesadilla when I was in business's that for appetite stimulation?).  However, these seemingl…