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Cannabis Briefs for May 25, 2021

May 26, 2021

•Eric Sklar, cofounder and CEO of vertically integrated cannabis company Napa Valley Fumé and board member of the Napa Valley Cannabis Association, will join Straight Talk with Wine Spectator on Instagram Live, today at 3pm ET, hosted by Wine Spectator senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Sklar and his family have grown grapes in the Napa Valley for four decades. In 2006, he cofounded Cabernet-focused Alpha Omega winery, and in 2017, shifted to cannabis production.

•Denver, Colorado-based Keef Brands has named Travis Tharp as CEO. Keef produces a range of cannabis beverages under the Keef Classics and Keef Mocktails lines, as well as other cannabis products including vape cartridges and tinctures. Tharp joined the company in 2017 as COO and was named president in 2019. Prior to joining the cannabis industry he was head of city operations for Handy, a home services marketplace. Tharp takes the reins from co-founder Erik Knutson as part of a long-planned succession that will see Knutson remain on Keef’s board of directors. Tharp will oversee Keef’s push into additional markets as well as the development of new beverage formulations, among other initiatives. We’ll have more with Tharp next week.

•California-based Lively Spirits has unveiled its first offering, Purejuana, a soluble cannabis powder meant to be enjoyed in a traditional cocktail or experienced “neat,” dissolved in water, seltzer or soda. Purejuana is launching with five strains—Venom OG, Blue Dream, Super Lemon Haze, Purple Punch and XJ-13—sold in 10-count boxes at three color-coded potency levels, with each shotpack comparable to a single alcoholic drink. Purejuana’s Green Label pack, including ten 2.5mg packets, is positioned at $19; Yellow Label, with ten 5mg packets, is at $20.50; and Red Label, which has ten 10mg packets, is at $22.50.

•New York has banned Delta-8 THC, a minor cannabinoid derived from hemp that has been legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Delta-8 has been making headlines lately as a cannabinoid that’s billed as having similar psychoactive effects to the more well-known Delta-9 THC and is already legal federally. A number of states have now moved quickly to ban the cannabinoid, however, with New York last week prohibiting the use of Delta-8 “created through isomerization in the processing of cannabinoid hemp products.”

•San Diego-based cannabis brand Weed has partnered with Herbl on an exclusive distribution agreement. Herbl, part of the cannabis industry’s rapidly multiplying middle tier, will leverage its extensive network of retailer relationships to increase Weed’s brand exposure and retail opportunities throughout California. Weed currently offers a variety of indica, hybrid, and sativa strains available as packaged flower in 1 gram, ⅛-ounce and ½-ounce sizes, as well as 1 gram pre-rolls. All Weed branded flower is grown in northern California and packaged in-house in San Diego. Herbl boasts a network of over 850 retailers and 1,000 SKUs throughout its home state of California.

Cannabis sales surged in Canada in March to reach a new monthly record, according to data from Statistics Canada, a government agency. March sales totaled C$298.1 million ($247.5m), which beat the previous record of C$297.5 ($247m), set in December 2020. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, accounted for more than one-third of the figure as it drew in C$103.4 million ($85.9m). Canadian sales have totaled approximately C$839.6 million ($697.2m) through the first three months of 2021.

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