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Cannabis Briefs for March 19, 2019

March 19, 2019

Colorado-based Ceria Brewing, led by former Blue Moon brewmaster Keith Villa, has partnered with Growpacker Inc., a contract manufacturer of cannabis edibles and beverages, to enter southern California. Growpacker will receive the non-alcoholic base for Ceria’s THC-infused Grainwave IPA and finish the infusing process. Ceria is the first client in Growpacker’s new Brand Incubator and Accelerator Program, which will allow Ceria to place Grainwave throughout the southern California market this summer—in part using Growpacker’s online sales infrastructure.

•Alaska will become the first state to codify statewide regulations allowing on-site cannabis consumption. Cannabis retailers will be allowed to establish a section of their store as the consumption lounge, provided it is either a separate room from the main purchase area or outside. Participating retailers may sell food and non-alcoholic beverages, but are explicitly prohibited from offering “all-you-can-eat” deals. The rules are comprehensive, with provisions for ventilation, monitoring patron intoxication, and barring outside cannabis products from an establishment. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed the plan, developed over the past two years by the state’s Marijuana Control Board, and it will go into effect April 11.

•Aurora Cannabis has brought on Nelson Peltz, CEO of Trian Fund Management, as a strategic advisor. Peltz has been given $20 million in stock options; once vested, he would become the firm’s second-largest shareholder, if those options were exercised in full. Aurora, though widely considered to be well positioned against its Canadian rivals, continues to lack the kind of partnerships that Canopy Growth has established with Constellation Brands and Cronos has with Altria.

•Ottawa’s CannaRoyalty Corp. has launched Continuum, a new California-based distribution platform, through its North American branch Origin House. Continuum is the operating name for two distribution companies—RVR Distribution in West Sacramento and Alta Supply in Oakland—coming together to cover the entire state through three licensed facilities in Alameda, Yolo, and Orange counties. The new distributor is building its portfolio and is the exclusive distributor for producers including Henry’s Original, Utopia, Humboldt’s Finest, Viola, and Kurvana.

•Irvine, California-based Weedmaps—billed as a “Yelp for marijuana” site that lists dispensaries and their inventories for delivery—has made two changes to its executive leadership. Former CEO and co-founder Doug Francis has become board chairman, where he will concentrate on legalization issues and advising and managing other cannabis brands. Chris Beals, formerly Weedmaps’ president and general counsel, has been promoted to chief executive. Founded in 2009, Weedmaps competes with other cannabis delivery platforms like Leafly and Eaze.

•After passing the State House of Representatives, New Mexico’s legalization effort has died in the State Senate. The Senate Finance Committee reportedly had been ready to pass the bill to the Senate floor, but the committee chairman decided there was insufficient support for passage, and declined to hold a vote. Barring a dramatic reversal, the Cannabis Regulation Act will languish on the Committee’s docket for the rest of the legislative session. Sponsoring Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino told SND, “We have to face the reality that the bill is dead this year, and start working to change some minds (or senators) in the future.”

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