Datrianna Meeks∙ February 18, 2021 7:00 am PST | Updated 22 hours ago
Slap & Tickle, Granola Funk, Cat Piss, these are three strains that have at least one thing in common; their names garner visceral reactions, and that’s kind of the point. On the one hand, weed that “slaps and tickles” might make for an experience not unlike smoking your typical indica-dominant hybrid. On the other hand, cat piss is such an aggressive smell that’s so hard to get rid of that it’s almost unfathomable that anyone would want to smoke it. But as the weed adage goes, don’t trust a strain by its name.
As weed comes into the mainstream, breeders are coming out of the shadows and finding ways to express their unique perspective, stand out, and capture the attention of a variety of smokers. Enter strain names. They’re a breeder’s choice, and are often drawn from attributes like taste, smell, lineage, effects, and color, but can also be based on more hazy things like a random memory the breeder had or something they experienced while smoking.
Naming is a form of branding and self-expression for breeders, and they should retain that creativity and agency; however, novel names can be off-putting, which means people miss out on new experiences and effects they might otherwise benefit from.
Unique strains and the people who name them
Classic strain names like Sour Diesel and Blue Dream tell you what you can expect, and they’ll always be available. Still, these days, breeders are experimenting and perfecting new crosses, many of which might sound like things you’d want to steer clear of, yet the flavors and effects might surprise you. With this in mind, we chatted with four different cultivators about what funny-named strains they’re breeding and why you should try them.
Ethan Woods, co-founder, and CEO of Desert Underground worked to get the best genetics he could get his hands on and spent two years conducting R&D before launching Desert Underground. Today, Desert Underground has forty grow rooms and harvests every three weeks, so they’re continuously learning and perfecting the product.
Parks McMillan, Director of Cultivation at Seed & Smith, doesn’t play it safe when it comes to betting on strains. Seed & Smith’s strain catalog has depth and range because Parks makes sure to cater to connoisseurs, with unique strains, and newer smokers, with strains that have fruitier, sweeter profiles.
The lead Cultivator of Veritas Fine Cannabis, Shane Reynolds, uses his years of experience growing cannabis to acquire quality genetics and uses them to cultivate a number of strains on this list, many of which have names that pack as much punch as the flower itself.
Kenny Powers, aka Powerzzzup, has cultivated strains for a brand that is as close to a household name as you can get in the cannabis space: Cookies. Not only are his strains rapper approved, but they draw long lines of smokers to Cookies dispensaries. The Cookies Fam regularly garners crowds akin to that of a Jordan release day, before there was a SNKRS app.
Here are eight strains with off-putting names as recommended by the breeders and growers cultivating them.
GMO (Garlic Mushroom Onion aka Garlic Cookies)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t start with GMO, a strain that paved the way for a few of the strains on this list. A cross of GSC and Chemdog, GMO has a pungent, funky smell, similar to that of garlic. You might not come for the flavor, but you should stay for the effects which make the garlicky bite worth enduring. It can clear the mind and melt the body, making way for a calm focus without the intensity you might expect from a high THC strain. Find GMO strains
After you’ve tried GMO and are ready to hit the old dusty trail, grab Garlic Road, a phenotype of GMO with a name that’s a bit more on the nose. Garlic Road, a cross of GMO and I-95, named after a highway in Colorado, has a sweet aroma and GMO-like effects that lean more uplifting. GMO leaves most people relaxed yet focused, and Garlic Road tends to do the same — but with an added smile and pep in your step. Find Garlic Road strains
Yuk Mouth won’t ruin your teeth, but it might give you cottonmouth, so you may want to grab some mints before lighting up. This GMO and Dosidos cross has an aggressive nose, and if that’s not your thing, maybe the cerebral euphoria and full-body relaxation are.
Described by Reynolds as an “old school creeper,” Yuk Mouth’s effects might be latent, but when they hit, you’ll be forced into a horizontal position, wondering where the nearest drink is. Find Yuk Mouth strains
Let’s address the unicorn in the room. No, this strain doesn’t smell like poop. Unicorn Poop gives off citrusy, diesel notes thanks to its parents, GMO and Sophisticated Lady. As for the name, it’s a nod to the color and shine of the nugs. Unicorn Poop is a beauty, with a very distinct layer of trichomes that makes it shine.
If you’re still on the fence, please your inner child who probably would have loved to spend a few hours with a unicorn, and while that’s not what’s happening here, the giggly, euphoric effects are a close second. Find Unicorn Poop strains
While the name “Fly” comes from its parents, Florida Kush and The Y, it could also have been foreshadowing how the strain would enter the market: with a lot of buzz and difficult to catch. This Cookies strain, bred by Powerzzzup, hits the body hard, and prepares the mind for takeoff with it’s cerebral effects. The flavor is sweet with gassy notes — a bit more palatable than the name might imply. Find Fly strains
Poon Tang Pie
Come for the pie, stay for the tropical vibes. A cross of Tropicana, Grape Pie, and Papaya, Poon Tang Pie is for flavor chasers. With notes of berry, citrus, and pine, this strain will leave your mouth watering, mood boosted, and ease you into a euphoria that gently washes over the body. The name, believed to be a nod to the comedy film Pootie Tang, references the papaya and grape pie lineage that give the strain its sweet, fruity flavors. Find Poon Tang Pie strains
Who knew weed could taste like a hamburger? We owe a collective thank you to the genius who smoked and thought, “weed should taste like meat.” MeatBreath, a cross of Meatloaf and Mendo Breath, is relaxing yet cerebrally stimulating. It starts behind the eyes but follows up with a jolt of energy, making it perfect for evening creativity or focus time, before easing your eyes closed for the night. This strain is said to be named both as a result of lineage and homage, most notably Lamb’s Breath which had a breakout moment over a decade ago. Find MeatBreath strains
Not off-putting so much as simply unusual. Smoke like multi-hyphenate rapper/businessman Berner, and try Gary Payton. Cookies fam breeder Kenny Powers’ story of choosing the name “Gary Payton” gives us a glimpse into the cultivation process. What is now known as Gary Payton was formerly “strain number 20” of many phenotypes he was testing. Strain number 20 stood out, and it just so happened to be Gary Payton’s old number.
This collaboration is the real deal, folks. Cookies worked with Gary Payton to license and bring this strain to the market. If you’re familiar with Gary Payton’s revered NBA career, then you might expect this strain to feel like a full-court press, but it’s quite balanced. Gary Payton delivers relaxed energy that eases body pain while providing mental clarity. It’s no surprise that Berner contacts Powers for this strain before his studio sessions.Find Gary Payton strains
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Wholesale marijuana flower prices in Colorado have climbed to levels previously seen in 2016, fueled by increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic and growing consumer interest in pricier, premium flower brands.
The Colorado Department of Revenue reports that as of Jan. 1 the average wholesale market rate for a pound of marijuana flower was $1,721, a price not seen since July 2016. Since October, wholesale flower prices are up more than 30%.
The price gains could help to explain how sales of medical and recreational marijuana in the state hit $2 billion for 2020 – even before December transactions had been tallied.
The gains are a welcome turnaround for marijuana cultivators, who were confronting wholesale flower prices in the $700-a-pound range only two years ago.
On the flip side, the more than doubling in the wholesale price means marijuana manufacturers and retailers must pay higher prices for product.
As the cannabis market matures in one of the country’s oldest recreational programs, so too have consumer tastes.
Several cannabis cultivation executives say that more-refined customers are keen on paying more for small-batch, premium flower brands such as Snaxland and Cookies.
“People are willing to pay for the higher quality,” said Zachary York, inventory manager for Denver-based vertically integrated cannabis company Lightshade.
When the pandemic began last year, the initial trend was for consumers to stock up on the most affordable product on the market, which is typically budget flower.
As customers cleaned out the bottom shelves, they worked their way up to higher-quality marijuana.
York said once consumers recognized the difference in the quality of products, they weren’t willing to go back.
That in turn has led wholesalers to set their prices higher knowing that consumer preferences had shifted.
On top of that, the rise of branded flower has driven up prices on the high end. Certain brands can sell for up to $4,000 a pound wholesale, according to York.
“Brand names are really saying our product is of another quality tier and you’re going to pay more for it,” he added.
Those branded flower companies are using advanced marketing techniques such as product drops to build hype and draw attention.
Tim Cullen, CEO of Denver-based vertically integrated cannabis operator Colorado Harvest Co., said these businesses are helping to drive demand for premium marijuana flower.
The brands are easily recognizable and have avid social-media followings.
When these companies announce on social media that a particular strain of flower will be available at a specific location for a limited time, “it gives you the sense that this is a higher-end product and it’s harder to get,” Cullen said.
The buzz these brands are getting is causing retailers to “step up their marketing game” in order to compete, he added.
The quality of the flower in these product drops warrants the attention.
“The whole market is creating small-batch, artisanal products that are really in limited supply,” Cullen said.
Jon Spadafora, partner and head of marketing for Denver-based Veritas Fine Cannabis, which grows flower for the Cookies brand in Colorado, also said the demand has increased for premium flower.
“We’ve enjoyed a really strong market for a while,” he said.
Spadafora attributes that buying behavior to an evolution in consumer taste.
“Consumers have become more mature in what they want,” he said. “It’s a reflection of a market as it evolves.”
As the pandemic continues to rage, tourism to Colorado has declined. So much of the increase in demand for marijuana product seems to be locally driven.
“People are coming to terms with the idea they’re not going on vacation,” Cullen said.
Consumers spending their disposable income on cannabis rather than restaurants, movie theaters or other entertainment is another explanation for the increase in wholesale prices.
Alex Levine, co-founder and chief development officer of Denver-based vertically integrated cannabis company Green Dragon, said the coronavirus pandemic drove demand and prices up.
He said his overall sales are up more than 30% from last year.
“When you limit consumers’ options and people can’t go to concerts, the movies, you have less things to buy and cannabis is still available. So that shapes consumers’ behavior,” he added.
Brooks Lustig, founder of Denver-based vertically integrated marijuana business Seed & Smith, agreed that the pandemic is driving up demand.
On the wholesale side, the company has seen a more than 3o% increase in order size.
Lustig also attributed the increase in buying to the lessening stigma around cannabis, especially after Colorado declared medical and adult-use dispensaries “essential” last March and allowed them to remain open.
The average ticket size at the retail level has grown a little bit during the pandemic, Lustig said. He’s seeing both new and existing customers trying other product types.
“You’ve got a lot of people at home not going out and doing the things they would do,” he said.
Lustig is also seeing a lot of people buying their maximum limit of flower, an ounce of recreational cannabis or 2 ounces on the medical side.
The company had to limit some of the medical ounce sales during July and August because demand was so strong.
Cullen said the upward trend in pricing has saved the state’s businesses.
About 18 months ago, pounds of indoor-grown wholesale flower fell to around $700 a pound.
“We almost lost the whole thing then,” Cullen said.
Businesses were forced to figure out how to dial in their production costs. And as the quality of flower has improved, companies followed with higher prices.
Levine said the larger unknown is what’s going to happen once the pandemic clears up.
“The big question for every operator: Is this a COVID blip?” he asked. “Did it jump more than it should’ve and is it going to go down?”
Bart Schaneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cannabis has been a major ingredient in the winter sports world long before it was legal. Now thanks to Veritas Fine Cannabis and Icelantic Skis, two Colorado startups turned industry leaders, they’re elevating the relationship between cannabis and ski culture through a first-of-its-kind partnership.
“With our collaboration projects, we work with each company directly and their own artists to convey the story they want to present to the public,” explained Ashley Hart of Icelantic. “Joe’s work is hands down my favorite collab to date. Giving a new artist in the ski industry a chance to tell their story and have their creation live on a ski is something special.”
Har added “As the years go on we are seeing more acceptance in a medicine that is clearly working. The reality is that (cannabis) has been a major ingredient in ski culture for decades and is finally getting shown in the light that it deserves. I can’t speak for everyone in the company, but I personally can attribute a great deal of creativity, manifestation, and action to cannabis.”
Veritas’ head of marketing and sales Jon Spadafora said “We are fortunate to have one of the best art directors in cannabis. Sarah Egener has worked very hard to establish relationships with a number of local artists who we call on. We are huge fans of Joe Palec’s art, and love the depth of his work. Every time we look at the skis and the jars, a new scene presents itself.”
The result is the award-winning Nomad 105 is Icelantic’s flagship model, best-selling ski and the foundation of the Nomad Freeride Collection with a custom graphic.
Here’s how to get your hands on these custom Icelantic skis you won’t find anywhere else. From now until February, each eighth jar of Veritas cannabis flower purchased from a licensed Colorado dispensary includes a sticker with a unique code. Each code can be entered online to win a pair of custom Veritas x Icelantic Nomad 105 skis designed by Denver artist Joe Palec, described as Dangerously whimsical. The provocative mind of this young artist pushes the limits on conventional art. Crossing lines with a stream of consciousness approach towards drawing, sketches, and design.
Icelantic started as an idea that Ben Anderson, the Founder of Icelantic Skis had in high school. After a short stint studying Industrial Design at Western Washington University, Ben moved back to Evergreen, CO and started building skis in his parents garage in 2002. After a lot of trial and error and with the help of a few good friends this dream became a reality and Icelantic was born in 2006.
At Veritas cannabis, they want to make sure every consumer can find the strain best suited for them, every time.
They have one goal; quality over everything. They offer the most consistent, terpene rich flower on the market and pride themselves on the unique, labor intensive processes behind cultivation. From seed to sale, the entire process is completed by hand. From the garden to the packaging room, every step has been designed to ensure the freshest, cleanest premium flower experience in the country.
Terpenes are organic compounds, responsible for the scent of many plants. They are also the single most important factor in determining how cannabis will affect a person. Veritas focusses on understanding the terpenes found in each strains, and they cultivate to maximize their presence in the flower
After a difficult 2020 that saw plenty of challenges, how will marijuana growers bounce back in ’21? NEXT ARTICLE
This story originally appeared on MJBizDaily
That’s on top of the inherent obstacles cannabis companies face, including a dearth of banking services and the inability to take standard business tax deductions.
Most marijuana cultivation managers in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state rolled with the punches, staggering their crews and spreading out operations to allow for social distancing.
Despite the setbacks, growers are reporting higher wholesale prices than last year, when prices slumped amid a supply glut.
That’s partly because several established markets – including Colorado, Oregon and Washington state – have weathered the boom-and-bust phase of overproduction and subsequent departure of some growers stung by rock-bottom prices.
The pandemic, meanwhile, hasn’t slowed consumer demand for cannabis – in fact, it’s up year-over-year in many places.
As mature markets consolidate and smaller growers bow out, 2021 will usher in a new set of market dynamics.
“Over the past few years, there has been a trend in Colorado of more independent cultivators shutting down, so it will be interesting to see what happens with these stand-alone grows in 2021,” said Ryan Milligan, director of cultivation for Denver-based Green Dragon.
“Whether or not these cultivators grow more cannabis next year will have a huge effect on the price of cannabis flower going forward.”
Marijuana Business Daily surveyed several growers in four western markets to ask how their year turned out in terms of prices, yields and significant challenges. Here’s what they said.
In Desert Hot Springs, Ethan Woods, founder and CEO of Desert Underground, said his team experienced increased yields by improving processes, sanitation and strain mixes.
That improved quality of flower along with sluggish demand also helped the business fetch higher prices.
The range of challenges was all over the map, from labor shortages because of the pandemic to wildfires to lack of financing and banking. Specifically growers also struggled with pest management, according to Woods.
Wholesale cannabis prices in both the recreational and medical markets have undergone large swings throughout 2020, including some unexpected highs.
“The pandemic has fueled some of the volatility and high prices seen at certain points, but we have also experienced the cyclical increases and declines in price tied to the outdoor harvest in the fall,” said Dan Banks, director of cultivation strategy at Denver-based Lightshade.
Milligan with Green Dragon agreed, saying prices have gone up from last year.
“Probably about a 15%-20% increase from 2019,” Milligan said. “In the summer, when cannabis supplies are typically at their lowest, prices were even higher than that. ”
He attributed the increase to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the early frost in September that damaged many outdoor cannabis crops.
Like the rest of the country, the pandemic forced Colorado growers to prioritize employee safety, stagger workflows and contend with unexpected labor shortages.
“We have seen particular struggles at times on the postharvest side because we, like many others, utilize third-party support for the peak labor demands of harvest events,” Banks said.
He added that wildfires and smoke in the fall were particularly problematic for the company’s greenhouse operation because of the reduction in lighting intensity and air-quality challenges.
At Veritas Fine Cannabis in Denver, Mike Leibowitz, managing partner and co-founder, said that being deemed “essential” by the state government during the pandemic was a big moment for the industry.
But it also created logistical challenges.
“We took flowering rooms offline to allow for distancing on our trim and packaging teams, which has reduced the amount of product we can put out,” Leibowitz said. “But it has allowed us to create a very safe, responsible environment for our teams.”
Massive wildfires were a major factor for cultivators this year, though overall prices have begun to stabilize after market fluctuations driven by overproduction and attrition.
Bend-based Oregrown was able to significantly increase its yields “despite working with terrible air and sun quality during the fire season,” said Hunter Neubauer, co-founder and board chair.
“Thankfully, we cultivate in both an indoor facility and climate-controlled, light-deprivation greenhouses so we weren’t impacted by contaminants falling from the sky.”
But the residual smoke did block some sunlight and affected yields.
“Without the fires, we would have seen an even better year-over-year result in both the quantity and quality of our greenhouse light-deprivation flower,” Neubauer said.
Adding water shortages to the wildfire impacts added up to “environmental challenges that were as extreme as they’ve ever been,” according to Neubauer.
Growers report that crop yields were up from last year.
“Many reported a slow start to spring, but the long summer and late fall made up for it in most areas,” said Crystal Oliver, executive director of the Washington Sungrowers Industry Association.
Joe Feltham, chief operating officer for Arizona-based multistate cannabis company 4Front Ventures, sees prices up as much as 20%-30%, “which is the first real increase in this market in years.”
Overall, wholesale cannabis prices have been trending upward over the past few years, according to Oliver.
One exception: Lower-quality extraction grade flower is seeing a dip in prices, but that’s typical for the end of the year after the fall harvest floods the market.
Oliver also said the pandemic boosted costs for complying with safety requirements – including purchases of nitrile gloves and other supplies.
“So, in order to ensure producers/processors remain profitable, prices need to come up a bit,” she added.
Other issues facing growers in 2020 included labor challenges stemming from the pandemic – in particular, keeping workers safe while they juggled child-care issues such as closed schools and day-care centers.
Oliver pointed out that her organization is thankful the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has temporarily allowed children of licensees to be on business premises.
By Jonathan Rose – Associate Editor, Denver Business Journalan hour ago
Mile High United Way gets $20M gift from billionaire
Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who Forbes says is worth $56.4 billion after receiving a 4% stake in Amazon as part of a divorce settlement with the tech giant’s founder, Jeff Bezos, donated $20 million to Mile High United Way. The Denver-based nonprofit, which is the original United Way, said in a statement that it marks the largest single donation in its 133 year history. Scott said in a Medium post that she’s donated nearly $4.2 billion to 384 organizations this year, and plans to give more.
United Airlines sends Santa to families in need
Pandemic precautions led Denver-based poverty-and-family-focused nonprofit Warren Village to go virtual for its annual Holiday Shop event. Attendees of the virtual Zoom function were treated to storytelling and live music. Santa and Mrs. Clause also made a visit, traveling around the charity’s secured Capitol Hill apartment building on a float provided by United Airlines. Warren Village also recently received a $5,000 donation from AAA.
Lakewood brewery donates crowlers to hospital workers
Old 121 Brewhouse, located in Lakewood, has teamed up with other local businesses to provide a little liquid relief to front-line hospital workers. The brewpub is offering free crowlers, which hold 32 ounces of beer, to any hospital employee that presents themselves at the establishment’s 1057 South Wadsworth Blvd. location with a badge. The business plans to give out 300 crowlers total.
The Home Depot Foundation steps up for hospitalized kids
The Covid-19 pandemic means that hospitalized kids can’t see many visitors, so The Home Depot Foundation partnered with Children’s Hospital Colorado to provide its patients with stuffed animals, games and other interactive toys for the holidays. The gifts will also be used to offer “congratulations” to kids after surgery and as birthday presents for children in need. The initiative was part of the foundation’s larger Operation Surprise campaign.
Wealth management firm launches foster program with $1M raise
National wealth management company Allworth Financial, which expanded into Denver in 2016, rallied its employees to raise $1 million to help foster kids. The money will not only benefit foster-focused Ticket to Dream Foundation, but it also marks the launch of Allworth Kids, which will focus on providing support to kids in the foster system nationwide.
Nonprofit teaches homeless restaurant skills
Denver-based nonprofit Housed, Working and Healthy has teamed up with Emily Griffith Technical College in a three-pronged effort to provide the unhoused real-life skills that could help them find stability. The program is essentially an extension of Emily Griffith’s Culinary Quick Start program, which not only teaches students cooking basics, but also prepares them for work in the hospitality sector. Big names like The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Postino, Village Inn, Ameristar Casinos and Teriyaki Madness are among the restaurants that participate in the job fair that marks the end of the program.
Coors launches new seltzer with conservation angle
Molson Coors has launched a new product — Coors Seltzer — along with a new commitment to restore 1 billion (or more) gallons, much of it in the Colorado River, by year’s end via a partnership with Colorado Water Trust and Change the Course initiative, which is uniting corporations and nonprofits in water restoration and conservation projects. For every 12-pack of the seltzer it sells, Molson Coors says it will restore 500 gallons of water.
Friendsin Weed serves up ‘Meals That Heal’
Friends in Weed, a cohort of several cannabis companies either based in Denver or with a significant Denver presence, and led by Denver-based Veritas Fine Cannabis has teamed up with big names in the restaurant industry to provide meals to the community, including the unhoused and industry workers. Sponsors of Meals That Heal will purchase plates priced between $8 and $10, which will then be prepared by a restaurant like Lola Coastal Mexican, Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar, Centro Mexican Kitchen or Bar Dough. Half of those meals will go to so-far unnamed community organizations and the other will will go back to workers negatively impacted by the Covid-downturn.
HERBERT FUEGO| JANUARY 5, 2021 | 12:14PM
EXPAND A Wildfower Farms employee tends to cannabis plants on a July afternoon during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado’s cannabis industry evolved and expanded in 2020, with dispensaries making sales records during the COVID-19 pandemic and local communities opting into new forms of marijuana businesses. But there’s still work to be done: Many communities are moving very slowly in approving those new businesses, and industry practices could use an update.
As we move into a new year, here are seven resolutions to improve Colorado cannabis:
Cannabis crime expungement
Last year, Colorado lawmakers were on the hot seat for doing little to repair the harms done by the War on Drugs since rec sales started in 2014, when other states newer to the game had included expungement in their legalization language. The Colorado Legislature began to address the issue by approving a bill that gives the governor the right to expunge low-level marijuana possession crimes (on the last day of the 2020 session, no less), and Governor Jared Polis did eventually use that power, automatically pardoning 2,732 low-level marijuana possession convictions on October 1. More can and should be done, though.https://www.hub.fdncms.com/gyrobase/Responsive/Components/Content/TopStoriesVideo?cb=1dba8129&key=548504fd9e87b4314a5a619a07603de0&req=iframe&vrd=null&vri=2
For starters, the pardons Polis issued could only apply to convictions handed down in state, not municipal, courts, hence the relatively small number of records cleared in Colorado, compared to other city and state efforts in California and Illinois. Colorado’s number would also have been higher had Polis used his full power. Instead of pardoning those convicted of pot possession of up to 2 ounces (the limit for medical marijuana in Colorado), he chose to clear possession charges of up to 1 ounce, citing the state’s current recreational possession limit — but in the immortal words of McConaughey, “Be a lot cooler if you did.”
This could be a double-edged sword for Colorado cannabis. The state’s arid climate isn’t made for achieving perfect marijuana moisture, and trying to retroactively add humidity to flower (or maintain it post-harvest) can create mold problems. And none of that excuses some of the dried turds I’ve been receiving from dispensaries. Half of the nugs I bought from pot shops in 2020 disintegrated on contact. Not only does that mean that every bowl is going to suck after the first hit scorches the earth, but the dryness also affects the smell, flavor and potency. Colorado weed may always be a little drier than the rest, but we can still do better.
If it feels like you’ve been reading about pending marijuana delivery and hospitality businesses forever, it’s because you have. Despite becoming legal in Colorado in 2020, both delivery and hospitality businesses gained little ground with local governments, which must opt into the programs first. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic blocked some of that progress last year, but local and state officials managed to allow booze in to-go cups fast enough. Now, with dwindling budgets amid a struggling economy, more municipalities are getting interested, and we’re likely to see more adopt delivery and hospitality in 2021.
Is it time to give up hope on legal weed maintaining the same price tag for longer than three months? Or is that the literal price we have to pay for a local crop? If the latter, fine, but that’s still no excuse for the fluctuation we’ve seen in marijuana prices since retail legalization. According to the state Department of Revenue, the average price per pound of flower reached a four-year high by the end of 2020, up nearly 25 percent from the start of 2020 and nearly 55 percent higher than the beginning of 2019. All of those numbers mean higher prices at the dispensary, which we consistently saw last year. Now that cannabis suppliers have had time to get used to heightened demand during the pandemic, perhaps prices go back down in 2021. Just don’t expect them to stay there.
This is a first-world problem, but anyone who’s spent 45 minutes waiting in line at the pot shop just to buy a couple of pre-rolls or weekly gram of hash will understand. Because of state laws, dispensaries must keep their products for sale behind the counter or glass, so that people can’t grab products and throw them down at the cash register — and this is after getting your ID checked in a waiting room or separate area of the store. This causes a lot of lines, especially if a tourist or first-timer is yapping away at the budtender, who’s probably hoping to get a nice tip for their help. Let them do that, while those of us who know what we want keep moving. This won’t happen for a while — imagine the hysteria of marijuana shoplifters — but it sure is needed.
The marijuana industry could learn a few things from craft brewing, including how to treat its employees, but maybe an easier sell would be more collaboration projects among competitors. Too bad every marijuana business owner thinks they have some magical elixir or technique that can’t be shared, and barely any growers or extractors want to work with their respective counterparts. We’ve had enough time to at least recognize trustworthy peers in legal cannabis, despite the network of shady characters who are still trying to make a quick buck — so why not learn from each other while joining forces every once in a while and let us stoners try out the creation? Collaborative cultivation, breeding or extraction projects between some of Colorado’s best would be a sign of evolution, both in industry and culture.
Most growers avoid ever-changing marijuana characteristics by cloning a favorite strain to achieve more consistency, but those breeding new cultivars typically start from seed, assign numbers for the strain phenotypes, and then choose their favorite to be grown commercially. (So, for example, if a breeder had three phenotypes of Purple Kush, they’d be labeled Purple Kush #1, Purple Kush #2 and Purple Kush #3.) But instead of letting us trying just one, why not sell all three and let the customers pick?
Wholesale cultivation Veritas Fine Cannabis actually started doing that in 2020, selling collector boxes with three different phenotypes of the same strain and polling customers for their favorite. KrystaLeaves and Den-Rec sell numerous phenotypes of the same strain, too, offering five or six versions of their favorite cuts for customers to try. Let’s hope that trend gains more momentum this year.
January 4, 2021
The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down as one of the most challenging years legal cannabis cultivators have seen in recent times. A worldwide pandemic that claimed more than 1.5 million lives and brought the global economy to its knees coupled with wildfires and early freezes made 2020 a tough year for plenty of growers. With the nascent cannabis space already dealing with issues such as lack of access to banking services and a constantly changing regulatory environment, the landscape was already challenging for legal growers.
Despite these issues, the sector has generally seen increased sales, with cultivators reporting higher wholesale prices than in 2019. Most states that allow cannabis deemed the industry “essential” during the pandemic, thereby allowing growers to continue their operations with coronavirus-related health measures in place. Additionally, cannabis saw an uptick in demand in the weeks leading up to the lockdowns and even during the pandemic.
Desert Underground, a company based in Desert Hot Springs, California, enjoyed increased yields after improving its processes, sanitation and the strain mixes it used. According to founder and CEO Ethan Woods, the higher-quality cannabis flower coupled with increased demand pushed up their prices. However, growers in California faced labor shortages, wildfires and no access to banking. Additionally, Woods says, growers had trouble with pest management.
Ryan Milligan from Colorado-based Green Dragon says growers have seen a 15% to 20% increase in prices from last year. Prices were even higher in the summer when cannabis flower supply is lower. The increase in price can be attributed to COVID-19 as well as the early freeze in September, which reduced the ultimate yield for several outdoor marijuana grows, he says. Growers in Colorado faced labor shortages as well as COVID-19 safety restrictions, forcing them to stagger workflows.
Veritas Fine Cannabis in Denver, for instance, had to take flowering rooms offline to provide enough room for its trim and packaging teams, says co-founder and managing partner Mike Lebowitz. While this measure reduced the company’s yield, it kept employees safe as they worked. Dan Banks, director of cultivation strategy at Lightshade, based in Denver, says wildfires and smoke reduced light intensity and caused a dip in air quality, disrupting its greenhouse operations.
In Oregon, cultivators had to deal with massive wildfires and smoke, which blocked sunlight and affected yield. Oegrown, which is based in Bend, Oregon, and which uses an indoor grow facility as well as climate-controlled, light-deprivation greenhouses, was spared from falling ash but had to deal with reduced light intensity. In spite of these issues, Oregon’s cannabis industry made history after hitting $1 billion in sales.
Speaking of cannabis product sales, CannAssist International Corp. (OTCQB: CNSC) currently offers five cannabis creams, all of which contain ingredients that have earned FDA-registered National Drug Codes. Pet drops and tinctures are soon being added to the line of available products from this company.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CannAssist International Corp. (OTCQB: CNSC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/CNSC
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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Now through January 31, you can enter to win the winter promo by buying an 1/8th of weed
- The custom top sheet graphic was designed by Denver-based artist Joe Palec. (Courtesy Icelantic)
- Every 1/8th jar of Veritas Fine Cannabis flower comes with a coupon code sticker to enter online for a chance to win a pair of Icelantic Nomad 105’s. (Courtesy Veritas Fine Cannabis)
- The award-winning Nomad 105 is Icelantic’s flagship model, best-selling ski and the foundation of the Nomad Freeride Collection. (Courtesy Veritas Fine Cannabis)
- The custom top sheet graphic was designed by Denver-based artist Joe Palec. (Courtesy Icelantic)
- Every 1/8th jar of Veritas Fine Cannabis flower comes with a coupon code sticker to enter online for a chance to win a pair of Icelantic Nomad 105’s. (Courtesy Veritas Fine Cannabis)
Soon after moving to Colorado in 2007, I quickly learned that shopping and supporting local was ingrained in the community more so than anywhere else I’d lived before. Venturing out for my first season as a resident on Vokls, the following winter I splurged on my first set of Icelantics after discovering the then up-and-coming, homegrown gear brand through my magazine job at the time.
Five pairs and 12 years later, I realized my skis and I were truly meant to be when earlier this month, I picked up two jars of Veritas Fine Cannabis at Roots Rx and saw an Icelantic logo stamped on the side. The two companies have teamed up for a perfect winter promotion in collaboration with Denver-based artist Joe Palec, who was commissioned for the ski topsheets and cannabis container labels.
From Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2021, every 1/8th jar of Veritas includes a peel-off sticker with a unique code to enter to win a pair of custom Icelantic x Veritas Nomad 105 skis. Every week, Veritas will randomly select a winner from valid entries submitted (entries from the previous week also roll over into the following, unless your code was previously chosen).
Icelantic, which was established in 2006 and has its headquarters in Golden, is known for its seasonal limited-edition artwork by co-founder Travis Parr. But for this partnership, the company turned to an outside inspiration.
“We are fortunate to have one of the best art directors in cannabis (on our team). Sarah Egener has worked very hard to establish relationships with a number of local artists who we call on (for unique projects),” shared Veritas’ head of marketing and sales Jon Spadafora. “We are huge fans of Joe Palec’s art, and love the depth of his work. Every time we look at the skis and the jars, a new scene presents itself.”
“With our collaboration projects, we work with each company directly and their own artists to convey the story they want to present to the public,” explained Ashley Hart, Icelantic’s Mr. Manager (yes, that’s an Arrested Development nod as a title). “Joe’s work is hands down my favorite collab to date. Giving a new artist in the ski industry a chance to tell their story and have their creation live on a ski is something special.”
Having a global ski brand officially working with a cannabis company is also something special. Despite cannabis being legal for adult-use for the past seven years in Colorado, the snowsports industry has yet to make much movement into sponsorships and events. For what its worth, most ski resorts occupy federal forest land, which poses a legitimate risk for publicly endorsing consumption on-mountain until legalization passes at the federal level.
“As the years go on we are seeing more acceptance in a medicine that is clearly working. The reality is that (cannabis) has been a major ingredient in ski culture for decades and is finally getting shown in the light that it deserves,” said Hart. “I can’t speak for everyone in the company, but I personally can attribute a great deal of creativity, manifestation, and action to cannabis.”
With more than 90 varieties in its library (all grown in-house), Veritas drops a rotating roster of cannabis flower every week with an easy-to-navigate strain guide on its website based on experience.
Spadafora recommends any of Veritas’ “Invigorate” strains for an energetic, happy high before hitting the hill and the “Rejuvenate” line to wind down at the end of a ski day, adding, “For many, cannabis has already been a big part of snowsports. We are happy to carry on that tradition by creating a way to bring the cannabis and ski industries closer.”
By Joanne Cachapero -December 21, 2020
Holiday festivities have been curtailed by the global resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its unprecedented social and economic effects. During this turbulent season, cannabis companies all over North America continue to do what they can to support local charities and populations in need.
So, let this 2020 holiday season be lit with the warmth of giving. Here’s a short list of holiday fundraising activities led by cannabis industry members, bringing happiness and help to so many for the season as we all look forward to a new year in 2021:Advertisement
Planet 13, the world’s largest cannabis superstore located in Las Vegas, announced it will donate “50,000 toys and cans of food to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and SafeNest, thanks to the generosity of customers, sponsored vendors, and staff.”
The store partnered with Green Life Productions to host the fundraiser, and thanked cannabis brand sponsors including TRENDI, ROVE, Dreamland Chocolates, Cannabella, Evergreen Organix, MOXIE, OMG THC, MEDIZIN, Nature’s Chemistry, HaHa, and LEAF & VINE, for their contributions.
“This has been an inspiring example of how the Las Vegas community pulls together in times of need. We are moved by the generosity of those who donated to our holiday toy and food drive,” said David Farris, Planet 13 vice president of sales and marketing. “We are honored to be able distribute over 50,000 donations between two remarkable community nonprofits: SafeNest and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission.”
A collective of cannabis companies, called Friends in Weed, formed Meals That Heal to help the hard-hit restaurant industry in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. The program launched in early December and encourages participating cannabis businesses to donate funds for $8–$10 meals, supplied by local restaurants, which are then distributed to local unemployed hospitality industry workers and other in-need communities. So far, the collective donated 1,760 meals. Participating cannabis companies include Veritas, Cookies, Olio, Slang Worldwide, Higher Grade, and Grasslands.
Colorado-based concentrate company Green Dot Labs announced the release of its “new collection of cheekily designed and ultra-affordable holiday gift wrap sleeves for GDL’s Black Label Live Resin Cartridges,” adding that “each sleeve purchased will donate funds to a local nonprofit that provides a safety net to families in need.”
Sleeve designs include “Dabby Holidays,” “Happy Chrismahanukwanzah,” and “F#@k 2020 Happy New Year,” with 100 percent of cartridge sales proceeds benefiting nonprofit Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), which supplies families with a variety of resources to help them escape poverty. The limited edition cartridge with holiday sleeve can be purchased at Eclipse Cannabis Company (Boulder), High Country Healing (Silverthorne), Kind Love (Denver), Simply Pure (Denver), and Twin Peaks (Denver).
Michigan dispensary chain SKYMINT announced last week that its Flint location had begun recreational cannabis sales, and invited Flint customers to donate to its digital donation drive in support of nonprofit Feeding America, to help fight food instability in Michigan. SKYMINT’s ten locations are all part of the effort.
“Core to our ethos at SKYMINT is social justice, uplifting community, and ushering in a modern era of cannabis through an elevated retail shopping experience which encourages browsing, education, and discovery,” SKYMINT’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Radway said. “All of these pillars are reflected in every aspect of our SKYMINT locations, including Flint, where we proudly offer the highest discount in the state of 25 percent to medical patients.”
Multi-state dispensary chain Herbology and parent company Curaleaf, Inc., sponsored “Feed the Block” donation drive at Herbology’s Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo, Michigan locations from November 21 to December 5. Contributions benefited local food charities. The dispensary said it would also distribute $20 grocery gift cards to 100 families in need.
In Oklahoma, cannabis dispensaries and CBD retailers sponsored several fundraisers to help their local communities.
Lotus Gold/CBD Plus retail locations in Oklahoma will be accepting new, unwrapped toy donations through December 22 that will be distributed by the Salvation Army. Stores also have “angel trees,” where customers can choose a donation request to fulfill for a family or individual in need.
“We are literally doing things for the community, nonstop, as we have since we opened. We’ve all struggled—everyone from the owner to the employees. We have fought our own battles. And if we can help someone fight that battle, then we are doing exactly what we are supposed to: helping others, giving back, and being supportive is what Christmas is about,” Lotus Gold/CBD Plus Manager Kandis Correa told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “We have a great group of customers and friends who help us give back to our community. Santa isn’t a man in red. He is a community of people helping to ensure that we are surviving and have everything we need to get through.”
Colorado-based CBD brand Cure Injoy, announced it will donate CBD isolate tinctures to the Weed for Warriors Foundation. Manufacturer the Infinite Product Company and Cure Injoy will provide 1,350 CBD isolate tinctures to veterans this Christmas, some of whom suffer from serious medical conditions as a result of their service, including PTSD.
“We are very excited to be working with Cure Injoy to provide a product for so many veterans’ greatest fear—a tumultuous recovery. This holiday season, together we pledge to help in any way we can to honor the sacrifice these American heroes made for our country, as well as support the ever so important work Weed For Warriors have and continue to do,” said John Ramsay, Infinite Product Company chief executive officer and former U.S. Army medic.
Canada’s Dutch Love Cannabis Company, with nineteen stores located in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta, will carry on the 19-year tradition of parent company the Donnelly Group and give 320 Dutch Love employees $50 gift cards to purchase toys for the company’s annual Good Neighbour Toy Drive. Customers also are encouraged to bring toys, non-perishable food items, and donations into Dutch Love locations. All donations will benefit the Salvation Army.
“In the spirit of giving this holiday season, Dutch Love is excited to join forces with the Donnelly Fund to not only give back, but also bring joy to the people in the communities where we do business,” said Harrison Stoker, vice president at Donnelly Group. “This winter may look very different for many Canadians, and so it is important to us that we come together in support of the thousands of families and kids who look forward to the tradition established through Donnelly Group’s Toy Drive. Through Dutch Love, the Good Neighbour Toy Drive will extend the impact of the Donnelly Fund and the legacy of our annual toy drives. Our dedication to being a good neighbour and supporting community has never been more important than now.”
DECEMBER 25TH, 2020 TAYLOR MCLAMB
The holidays are usually associated with feelings of joy, gratitude, and jubilance.
It’s a time meant to be without tension, where you can celebrate the year over spiked eggnog and nostalgic traditions.
Unfortunately, 2020 has been devastating for many reasons, with COVID-19 cases skyrocketing and, consequently, many losing their jobs, it’s difficult to muster up feelings of merriment when struggling to make ends meet.
Thankfully, there are a lot of cannabis companies doing astounding work to help those struggling during this holiday season.
It is the season of giving afterall, and who better to give back than those passionate about medicinal healing?
While cannabis has been deemed essential during this pandemic, many nonprofits are still wary of accepting cannabis dollars.
Nonprofits refusing to accept monetary donations forced two Colorado-based cannabis companies to shift gears and create unique ways to help out their communities.
Obstacles Faced When Donating To Nonprofits
Named after the goddess of truth in Roman mythology, Denver-based cultivators Veritas Fine Cannabis live up to their namesake by crafting premium cannabis products entirely by hand with the mission to ensure every customer can find the best strain based on recorded science and data.
Jon Spadafora, the head of marketing and sales for Veritas Fine Cannabis, acknowledges the essential therapeutic qualities of cannabis, noting that the plant has helped a lot of people’s mental health during these unprecedented times.
As such, cannabis companies have an obligation to help out their communities.
“We understand and we recognize that we function in a privileged space, and there are a lot of people who have done what we’ve done and didn’t see the same results that we have. They’re sitting in jail. There are a lot of barriers to that. So we feel an obligation to be involved,” said Spadafora. “We feel privileged to have our license, we feel privileged to have our position. We were a little surprised when we first got it, but we certainly feel privileged to have a voice that speaks to more than just the people we’re speaking to. That’s kind of a new thing for us, and we think it’s important that people get involved.”
When joining the company in 2015, Spadafora admits it was the first time he had really been part of a company that had the means to contribute in a meaningful way.
So, it was a bit of a shock when experiencing obstacles to providing donations to nonprofits.
Nonprofits Have Their Own Challenges
Spadafora doesn’t place blame on nonprofits in any way.
Instead, he faults the rules that aren’t set up to encourage people who can actually help.
“There’s a concern on most people’s side that taking any money from us is going to limit their ability to take any other sort of federal money that they’ve historically been depending on. And that’s the pushback we get more often than not. It’s not, ‘Hey, we don’t want to touch cannabis,’ It’s more, ‘We’re afraid that if we touch cannabis dollars, then that’s going to preclude us from any sort of other government dollars,’ and unfortunately we’re not at a spot yet where we’re ready to replace that,” said Spadafora.
In a determined, driven pursuit to make a difference in their hometown, Veritas searched for opportunities where they can make a tangible benefit.
Due to their marketing strategy being based around their actual, intimate interactions with people, they sought a way to remain in contact with their community in the midst of a pandemic.
Spadafora explains that Veritas is very hands-on when it comes to both cultivation and charity work.
They’re not the type of business to just slap their name on a billboard and call it a day.
“We’d rather touch 500 people in a very meaningful way and have you be like, ‘Those guys were really cool and that was a really fun experience, and it was warm,’ as opposed to just everybody seeing our stuff and knowing that we were involved in it,” said Spadafora.
Veritas Fine Cannabis founded the organization Friends In Weed alongside other notable cannabis companies, with a mission to support those in the cannabis and service industries during the pandemic.
Friends In Weed created a program called “420Help” as a way to aid cannabis retailers and provided revenue to local restaurants.
Spadafora said that Friends In Weed originally started with purchasing gift cards from restaurants and sending them to budtenders.
Their new, updated version, called Meals That Heal, is a new program that Spadafora says is better organized.
“We’re working with different cannabis companies to create revenue for restaurant organizations that they are then going to take and create very healthy and delicious meals that will get shipped out to people who need them,” said Spadafora. “So half of them are going back to each restaurant group to feed their staff that might’ve been furloughed or reduced, and for the rest of them, we’re working with local community organizations to get them out to people who need it.”
According to their website, Meals That Heal has already donated 1,760 meals – and they’re just getting started.
Cannabis brands 710 Labs, Verde Natural, Dablogic, and Native Roots have also signed on to help.
“It’s about finding opportunity and finding places where people need us and finding ways that we think we can be effective, and then hopefully creating something that works,” said Spadafora. “I honestly think this version of Friends and Weed is the first time we’ve really created something that’s replicable and where I think we’re going to be able to get others involved in a pretty meaningful way.”
The Importance Of Community-Driven Charity
Ripple by Stillwater Brands is another noteworthy Colorado-based cannabis company using leading scientific techniques to create unique, precision-formulated products.
Their water-soluble, cannabinoid-infused powders are scientifically proven to enter your bloodstream and take effect within 15-20 minutes.
Their edibles provide customers with a fast-acting, discrete, and reliable way to get the dose they want every time.
Ripple is also familiar with the challenges of trying to create successful partnerships with nonprofit organizations.
Similar to Spadafora, Coree Schmitz, who is the general manager at Stillwater Brands, also doesn’t place blame on the nonprofit community and respects the fear that organizations harbor over potentially losing grant money or funding, should they accept dollars from a federally illegal business.
As a company passionate about contributing to their community, they’ve worked to diligently overcome these obstacles by thoroughly researching nonprofits and charities that align with their values.
“I would never want to work with someone who feels like they’re jeopardizing themselves or compromising any of their own beliefs and ethics by working with cannabis. We make sure that we’re having comprehensive conversations, that it’s a relationship that both sides are very confident and happy with,” said Schmitz.
Recently, Ripple was thrilled to partner with Chicano artist Tony Ortega, who helped pick the Redline Contemporary Art Center as their charitable partner in October.
Schmitz said that they were passionate about working with their local art and Chicano community, especially in the time of COVID-19, when those involved with the arts and music industry have been exceptionally impacted by the shutdowns.
“For any and all of us who love art and music, and who have friends who work or depend on their livelihood in those industries, it was really important to us, as we looked for our October charity, to give back and to find a partner that we could continue a relationship with that was most hard hit by COVID, those who really needed some uplift and some assistance,” said Schmitz.
In 2019, it was announced that Colorado has surpassed $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana since it was legalized for recreational use.
Schmitz recognizes that cannabis brings a lot of money to their state and wants people to know that Ripple would be thrilled to invest it back into their community.
For example, in July, Ripple partnered with Youth Seen, as part of their initiative to be involved with the local LGBTQ+ community, and donated MacBook computers to help keep their operations moving.
Schmitz emphasized the fact that Ripple would be proud to partner with their community to help advocate for other groups.
“I want to be a contributor. I want to be part of what makes Colorado pioneers in pushing this industry forward and pushing outdoor health forward and pushing access to the arts forward. We want to keep Colorado a pioneer and we’re proud to be part of that,” said Schmitz.