NCIA Expo Oakland: Day Three (Plus Mini Cup Results!)

Following a night of festivities across the cannabis industry’s spiritual home in Oakland, the final day of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Summit & Expo hit on emerging issues like tax reform and industry-wide packaging standards.

Things started fast on the final day of the NCIA expo: Harborside Health Center’s CEO and co-founder, Steve DeAngelo, and the dispensary’s lead attorney, Henry Wykowski, (one of the top pot tax attorneys in the business) talked about section 280e of the tax code, which prevents legal lot businesses from deducting basic business expenses like rent.

Last November, following Berkeley Patients Group’s victory over the Department of Justice, Wykowski told Cannabis Now that Harborside’s own 280e case is a big domino waiting to fall— the results (either way) will set precedent for the entire industry.

Read more at Cannabis Now

NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo in Oakland: Day Two

4,500 participants at the fourth annual NCIA mega-conference woke up in Oakland — a newly rechristened city of champions following the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Finals victory — and embarked on a day filled with industry leaders, celebration of the past year’s success and excitement for the future.

The first full day of panels and workshops at NCIA was opened by Executive Director, Aaron Smith, who explained the purpose of the business organization; to advance business interests —the NCIA is made up of 1,300 member businesses in 13 different states — but also to promote cannabis decriminalization as a social justice and freedom movement.

“Believe it or not cannabis is still illegal under federal law,” he said, adding that the roughly $7 billion industry is uprooting “criminal drug cartels here at home and south of the border.”

Read more at Cannabis Now

NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo in Oakland: Day One

The National Cannabis Industry Association kicked off its annual mega-conference in Oakland to the backdrop of Game 5 of the NBA Finals and lots of great cannabis.

Once again, professionals from around the globe converge on the Marriott conference center in Oakland, California for the fourth annual NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo to get their view on the next year in cannabis, embrace the latest tech and chum it up with colleagues.

In this microcosm of America’s fastest growing industry (from $6.7 billion in 2016 to an expected $22.6 billion in 2021 according to a recent Arcview Group report) people are either refining their processes or trying to figure out how to tie themselves to the rocket.

Read more at Cannabis Now

EXPOSED ROOTS: The Soilless Science Alternative

Although it sounds like science fiction, it is possible to grow plants with their roots suspended in mid-air. In 1997, NASA began a series of experiments growing adzuki beans, a high-protein Asian food crop, using a technology known as aeroponics. Aeroponics can be best explained as growing plants in an air and mist environment with no soil, and very little water. The process is the same in zero gravity as it is here on earth; the plants are grown in specially-designed containers, the roots suspended above nozzles that mist the roots with a mixture of water and nutrient-rich fertilizer. Despite the lack of soil or growing medium, this mixture of nutrients and water is all the plants need to thrive.

GrowX, a startup based at Oakland’s Gateway Incubator, has developed the technology to bring aeroponics to cannabis. The space connection runs deep at GrowX; co-founder J.P. Martin was previously an engineer at SpaceX, the Elon Musk-owned company with ambitions to colonize Mars. Despite aeroponics having an out-of-this-world pedigree, the advantages as a growing system are more down to earth. J.P. explains: “Aeroponics is cheaper, cleaner, less labor intensive than any other growing technique. Ninety-eight percent reduction in water consumption over traditional soil outdoor farming, and a 50 percent reduction in water use when compared with hydroponic systems. A 200-300 percent increase in growth rate over outdoor soil farming, and about 50 percent increase in growth rates compared with hydroponic.”

Ultimate control

Read more at Dope Magazine

Why Cannabis Needs a Civil Rights Act

Why does the cannabis industry need to be forced by government to stick to its social justice roots and give non-white people a chance to rake in the billions coming after legalization? And what will happen in places where elected officials don’t create a “marijuana affirmative action” program, giving out “drug war reparations?”

For an industry borne out of a freedom movement that still carries an air of righteousness, marijuana has had a hard time sticking to its social-justice roots — even when directed to do so by government, which, so far, has been the only guarantee for a cannabis industry run by anyone other than white people.

By now, it’s an undeniable and well-known fact that cannabis prohibition and the drug war have hurt black and brown people much more than whites. Even as marijuana legalization enjoys record support among all American voters — 85 percent of whom can access legal marijuana in some form — nonwhite people still account for upwards of 70 to 90 percent of marijuana-related arrests in some jurisdictions, despite white people using cannabis at similar or greater rates. And as black people continue to sit in prison for nonviolent marijuana crimes, white people are taking an even more disproportionately unfair share of the legal marijuana market’s tens of billions of dollars. Roughly one percent of the country’s legal cannabis dispensaries are black-owned, according to a widely-cited figure first published by BuzzFeed, and cursory glances around marijuana business conferences reveal a similar lack of minority participation in cannabis investor circles, cultivation, and everywhere else cannabis is sold for a profit on which taxes are paid.

Read more at Cannabis Now

The One City in America Where Drug War Reparations Are Real

In terms of population, Oakland, California, is just about as equal a place as you’ll find in America. Of the roughly 400,000 people who call the “Brooklyn of the San Francisco Bay Area” home, about 34 percent are black, 34 percent are white, 25 percent are Latino and 17 percent are Asian. If you are about to helpfully point out, “Hey, stupid, that’s 110 percent,” let’s pause for a moment while we direct you here, while the rest of us marvel at the amazing equal-parts-each melting pot! What a social experiment.

When arresting Oakland citizens for drug-related crimes, Oakland police, however, have been not so equal.

They’ve been above average—which, in an America where the drug war has seen almost four black people arrested for non-violent marijuana crimes for every white person (despite equal rates of use) is a bad thing.

Read more at High Times

Hood Incubator: Empowering People of Color with Cannabis

The militarized law enforcement of the Drug War has wreaked havoc on countless communities across the United States, and its impact has been especially devastating in low-income, majority-Black neighborhoods. As cannabis becomes a multi-billion dollar industry, one Oakland-based pre-seed accelerator is working to make sure the communities that bore the burden of the hard times don’t get left out of the good ones.

Leo Corley is a farmer actively working towards transforming the industrial landscape of East Oakland: the dream is a community garden and collective gathering space, and to fully achieve this dream, Corley’s taking a bet on cannabis by establishing a unique delivery service and dispensary that would offer both ganja and groceries.

As a fellow in the Hood Incubator, Corley is learning the skills to succeed within an industry that, in California alone, saw $2.7 billion in sales for 2015. Corley’s also organizing a network that will help him navigate an industry still struggling to live up to the Golden State’s reputation for racial diversity. 

Read more at Cannabis Now