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Imagine it’s 11pm on a Thursday night and you’re wrapping up your Friday morning newsletter when you catch a vibe and decide to completely change the topic of the email you’re sending in 9 hours. You just got the keys to your new house and the movers are showing up in the morning, too. It me. Super chill times. Let’s get into Free Smoke:
“All I hear is plug talk comin’ from middlemen,All I hear is tall tales comin’ from little men”– Drake, Churchill Downs
From the trap to the board room
My friend Colin (spells it with one L so we’re good) runs marketing at Ghost Drops, a (formerly) legacy Toronto brand that’s gone legit in Canada. Today they announced The League. The League is a brand platform for bringing legacy brands out of the shadows and into the legal markets seamlessly. I’m in love w/ the concept and it got me thinking about some of these brands here in the states, and their transition into rec markets and the inevitable board room.
I talk a lot about cannabis brands. Brands that have a shelf presence in dispensaries in multiple states and consistent product lines. “Real” brands I say. In fact, the real brands are the ones that never bothered with retail shelves or all the other hoops of legal cannabis, or even a normal business. They’re the brands with unmarked warehouses that pay employees in cash and export product to anyone anywhere. Most of us have been there at some point during our time in this industry, but the consumer brands that could thrive in that environment are as powerful as they get.
Stiiizy has made probably the most successful transition into the legal market of any of these brands and while they don’t meet the national brand criteria I’ve mentioned on LinkedIn before, there’s no denying they built a national brand before blue tags ran our lives. With 17 branded retail stores in CA they’ve leveraged a national black market brand into one of the strongest in recreational cannabis by building a stronghold of flagship retail in California.
Another OG is Packwoods. Prolific in the black market, they’ve quickly made the jump into dispensaries in 8 legal markets. I talked to them about a year ago about co-packing their very labor intensive product and they had hardly left California and if I’m not mistaken they had hardly left CA at point. My favorite thing about the brand isn’t really the brand, it’s packwoods.net. While their .com is a refined consumer brand site, the .net is an outdated ecomm store where you can order Packwoods from anywhere in the country. It has a $200 order minimum and you can pay via Zelle, Cashapp, Paypal, or Crypto. I have no further comments on this, gotta respect it.
The transition from the streets to the dispensaries is not an easy one. I’ve spent the last 5 years straddling these 2 worlds but most of the folks I know from simpler times were just moving weight, not making products. The more of these brands we can pull into the light and bring to legal consumers the better as far as I’m concerned. The brands of the future will come from somewhere, and the world will be a better place if they mostly come from where this all started.
Things That Matter
- 1,066 new dispensaries opened nationally this year, 30% of them in Oklahoma [Link]
- Israeli scientists use virus to boost THC levels up to 17% [Links]
- NYC consumes more cannabis than any other city in the works (Facts) [Link]
- The first ever cannabis (research) related bill may be headed to POTUS desk. [Link]
- Biden says he’s working on freeing cannabis prisoners [Link]
In The Streets
- New Korova Green Habanero just dropped. 9,000 Scoville level, 1,000mg THC [Link]
- My friends at Eastwood have a bunch of CloutKing genetics in the hopper for the fall [Link]
- Pack n Ship store in Southern Oregon busted for long term trafficking and money laundering [Link]
Btw check out my podcast
This week on the Builders Build podcast we had a wide ranging convo with my old friend Espi.
Honestly, who the fuck does Hyundai think they are these days? This 671hp hydrogen fuel cell N Vision 74 is a concept car that’s rumored to go into production. More on this here.
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Photos by GRAS GRÜN