Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

NBA stars John Wall, Carmelo Anthony invest in cannabis company LEUNE

National Basketball Association stars John Wall and Carmelo Anthony are new investors in a cannabis company.

The pair helped California-based LEUNE raise roughly $5 million in a round that includes NBA agent Rich Paul, entertainer La La Anthony, music manager Anthony Saleh (clients include Future and Nas) and venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital.


LEUNE said it would use the funds for marketing and expanding its products as it looks to capitalize on more states legalizing marijuana.

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Torrey Pines Community Planning Board, local residents condemn proposal for new cannabis business


The retail cannabis business under consideration, Cookies, would be located at 11330 Sorrento Valley Rd., near three existing cannabis businesses.

The community plan doesn’t prohibit cannabis businesses, but planning board members and residents who spoke during public comment said they don’t fit with the biotech and industrial character of the area. Some said the community plan should be amended to more unequivocally define that character for future projects.

To read more:

Looking For Marijuana Stocks To Buy? 2 Analysts Expect To Have Upside In 2021

Looking For Marijuana Stocks To Buy? 2 Analysts Expect To Have Upside In 2021

Looking For Marijuana Stocks To Buy? 2 Analysts Expect To Have Upside In 2021 | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:10:34 +0000

Making An April 2021 Watchlist? 2 Top Marijuana Stocks Right Now

Making An April 2021 Watchlist? 2 Top Marijuana Stocks Right Now

Making An April 2021 Watchlist? 2 Top Marijuana Stocks Right Now | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:10:32 +0000

Jushi Holdings Announces Update on Expansion Project at Pennsylvania Grower-Processor Facility

Jushi Holdings Announces Update on Expansion Project at Pennsylvania Grower-Processor Facility

The SAFE Banking Act is back in Congress, and political momentum is swinging in favor of the cannabis industry’s need to normalize its relations with financial institutions.

Safe Harbor Services’ credit union banked $3 billion in cannabis funds last year, part of a vast but fairly under-the-radar ecosystem where businesses are building rapport with smaller independent financial institutions like regional credit unions. There’s a lot to know to make sure that it’s a productive relationship, and federal reform is only one piece of the puzzle. Much of the work falls to the cannabis business, of course.

Here, we spoke with Safe Harbor Services Vice President Amanda McComb about some of the recent trends and changes that she’s seen in banking the cannabis industry.

Eric Sandy: Could provide a bit of a biographical sketch of Safe Harbor, as of early 2021, and the scope of how the business is interacting with cannabis businesses?

Amanda McComb: We started our cannabis banking program in 2015 and have since gone through 15 state and federal exams. So, it’s been a long haul, most specifically just for the cannabis program to make sure that we were staying in compliance and doing it in a safe and sound way. We also started a national [cannabis] program back in 2017. A lot of our clients that we bank here in Colorado were going out of state, and we wanted to follow them out of state because it’s really important for us to see all of their business—to be able to stand in front of the money and say that they’re legitimate businesses and that they’re operating within compliance, within their regulations. So, we started following them out of state and realized really quickly that we couldn’t be the only financial institution to bank the nation as a whole. We started working with other financial institutions to give them a compliance program that had obviously gone through multiple exams and had feedback from our regulators that we’d really tried to fine-tune.

So, we have about seven or eight different financial institutions that we work with throughout the nation. Here in 2021 we’re actually consolidating all of our cannabis-related initiatives into a new company called Safe Harbor financial. It’s combining those relationships with financial institutions and our relationships with cannabis clients and putting it all together in one company and then expanding the services that we offer to the industry. We’re working on lending and other initiatives to support the industry and bring them more normalized banking, because, as I’m sure you know, they just haven’t had a lot of normalized banking or lending or investments. The CEO of [Safe Harbor’s] credit union is essentially stepping down from the credit union and running this new company, focusing all of her efforts on all things cannabis-related and then moving into other ventures like virtual currencies and things that might be of use to the cannabis space at some point.

ES: What are some of the common misconceptions that Safe Harbor has run into? Are there certain banking-related questions that cannabis businesses are bringing to you that they haven’t fully grasped yet?

AM: As the cannabis industry gets more normalized and more states pass regulations surrounding cannabis, there’s the misconception that it could just be a regular bank account or a regular business account. Unfortunately, like we saw with the 15 state and federal exams, it just can’t be a normal business account at this point. Even if the SAFE Banking Act were to pass, it’s still so close to that black market history. There is still a pull because it’s so expensive to be in the cannabis space—especially places like California where they had cannabis before they really had regulations.

Trying walk that back and put regulations on these companies that have been selling for some time is expensive and labor-intensive for the companies. When they go to get a bank account, we’re very intrusive and we always consider ourselves the nosiest bankers around because we have had to ensure that they are legitimate businesses. There’s just so much compliance that has to happen on our end in order to protect the financial system as a whole, that it is more expensive. We can’t offer the variety of products that we could offer, quote unquote, normal businesses or normalized businesses.

ES: On the due diligence side of the conversation, what are some ways that these cannabis businesses might help prepare to work with a financial institution?

AM: We collect a lot of the same data that they would provide to get their license with their state. If they’re very organized and keep all of that together, it’s a good place for us to start. Having sophisticated or at least up-to-par bookkeeping and accounting [helps], so that we can look through their financials—specifically if they haven’t been banked. That’s one of the hardest parts: trying to prove that the funds that they’ve earned when they were unbanked are legitimately earned in their state. Having solid records so that we have something to rely upon when our regulators come in and ask, “How do we know that these are legitimate funds?” is important.

ES: Going back to those 15 state and federal exams, could you elaborate on what that looks like? And do those exams differ from state to state in any substantial way?

AM: Typically, a financial institution will be on a 12-month to 18-month exam schedule, and when we started our program, it was a lot of education for us and the regulators. It was a lot of discussion of what cannabis banking looks like. Not a lot of our regulators had experience in financial institutions that banked cannabis. The exams were very collaborative in us trying to figure out the safest way to bank this and to not make it impossible for the cannabis industry to bank—but also to ensure safety and soundness for our institution and for the financial system as a whole. It was a lot of back and forth, collaborative efforts that actually prompted us to develop our own compliance software in-house that we, from all of the feedback that we were getting from regulators, were able to streamline and male as easy as possible.

ES: One of the questions we’ve gotten pretty frequently over the years is from cannabis business owners trying to find credit unions who are willing to work with them in the cannabis space at all. So, how can credit unions signal to the cannabis industry that they’re open to this business, and how do these relationships start?

AM: At this point, what I’ve seen is it’s a lot of word of mouth. A lot of financial institutions are hesitant to come out publicly and say that they are banking cannabis because it does bring additional scrutiny. It can also be a reputation risk with our peers and with vendors that we work with. In my world, cannabis is more normalized just because I’ve had a front seat to it, but in talking to other financial institutions, they tend to be a lot more conservative with their risk. A lot of times it’s word of mouth between clients, which can be difficult because a lot of them are under NDAs with financial institutions. Some of it is just seeing the checks, if you’re getting checks from [financial] institutions. That’s not always super reliable, because the institution might not know that they’re banking cannabis necessarily.

There are some things to keep in mind, though, as the cannabis industry is looking for bank accounts and really investigating the financial stability of the institutions. Most of that is publicly available information. A lot of institutions, especially smaller institutions, think that cannabis will be the solution to their financial problems or the recessionary possibility. Sometimes, those are the ones that go out of business quickly because they just don’t have the capacity to handle all the compliance that’s necessary. So, it’s on the cannabis industry to do a little research on the financial institutions that they start to work with.

ES: Given that, what were some of the prime movers for Safe Harbor, years ago, to be willing to step into this space?

AM: The biggest one was community safety. When we started talking to the industry, a lot of Colorado was unbanked. We were hearing stories about these entrepreneurs who hadn’t been in a cash-intensive space. Working in a financial institution, we understand the risks of cash. We go through robbery trainings. A lot of my coworkers have been through robberies. So, we understand that level of risk. And when you’re talking to the industry and they’re going to ATMs late at night, shoving cash in ATMs and doing payroll in cash, the risk that we saw was very intimidating. We wanted to help in the sense of providing a place to put their cash—and they wouldn’t have to manage it. The other thing is, credit unions were really founded to bank the underbanked and serve the underserved. There didn’t really seem to be a more modern version of that than the cannabis industry, especially as they were being shut out of financial institutions and having to operate in cash. Those two are large driving forces for why we got into the industry.

ES: From your perspective, what sort of trends are you watching out of Washington—or what sort of aspects of federal reform, maybe in the SAFE Banking Act, are you looking for that would be legitimately helpful for the industry?

AM: The SAFE Banking Act will be helpful to institutions that are still willing to take on something that would be high-risk. FinCEN [The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] is our ultimate regulator. I’m hoping that if something federally passes like the SAFE Banking Act, then FinCEN can respond and give us more detailed guidance on what they’re specifically looking for in cannabis banking. They do have a guidance for us. It’s from 2014, so it’s a little outdated, especially with how fast the industry is moving at this point. It allows for institutions to come in and bank [the industry] without being prosecuted, just because it’s cannabis. Right now, with anti-money-laundering rules and BSA, what we’re doing could be determined as money laundering since it’s federally illicit funds.

So, a lot of working with our regulators was really being able to stand in front of that money and say, “No, this was legitimately earned in my state, and we are doing the best effort or a good faith effort to ensure compliance and ensure that it’s all legitimate.” That side probably won’t go away. While it does open the door for institutions to get in, they still are going to have to have the compliance resources to still stand up and say, “This isn’t from the black market. It is legitimate money,” even if the SAFE Banking Act passes.

It’s an interesting discussion to have with financial institutions, because most of us are federally insured and it is a complicated conversation to have. It’s not just the cannabis space where we’re looking for money laundering and things like that, but it does have those close ties to the black market. We’re just a few years outside of it, you know?

ES: California and Colorado have come up, but, just in terms of geographic scope, are there any major differences in how banking regulations are playing out in newer cannabis markets, like an Ohio or a Florida?

AM: With a lot of the newer states coming up, it’s an interesting change in banking because a lot of our initial due diligence changes. We aren’t trying to show legitimacy to their funds, because a lot of times it’s just investment funds or owner contributions to get these licenses off the ground. With the newer markets, the initial due diligence is typically a bit easier because they’re going through the licensing process, so they have all the documents handy. There isn’t a lot for us to go in and validate. A lot of the states have learned from some of the mistakes that California and Colorado and Oregon and Washington and all of us made initially getting into it.

A lot of the newer states are a little bit easier. It’s funny, though, because a lot of [the new cannabis businesses] are the ones that think that it should be normalized banking because they just haven’t had that history of not having banking. What’s also interesting is new states like Florida and Michigan and others, they have very sophisticated backing. There’s Fortune 500 and there’s a lot of this sophistication in their management and control. It’s different from some of the mom-and-pop shops that we saw initially, and it’s very fascinating to see where the industry is going as far as being publicly traded in Canada and all of the international aspects that are coming into the cannabis industry.

Published at Thu, 01 Apr 2021 18:28:00 +0000

2 Marijuana Stocks Investors Are Keeping On Their April Watchlist

2 Marijuana Stocks Investors Are Keeping On Their April Watchlist

2 Marijuana Stocks Investors Are Keeping On Their April Watchlist | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Wed, 31 Mar 2021 12:00:16 +0000

Best Marijuana ETFs For April 2021

Best Marijuana ETFs For April 2021

Best Marijuana ETFs For April 2021 | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Mon, 29 Mar 2021 19:30:59 +0000

Byers Scientific, Iowa State University & Odor Experts Identify Volatile Chemical Compound Responsible for Cannabis Odor Complaints

Byers Scientific, Iowa State University & Odor Experts Identify Volatile Chemical Compound Responsible for Cannabis Odor Complaints

Reliable heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment can cost upward of $300,000 or more for a 5,000-square-foot growing facility in the cannabis space. Proper lighting might cost just as much.

But those environmental controls become less effective for an ideal harvest if they are not complemented by the intelligent application of air distribution through engineered ductwork, which isn’t overly complicated nor expensive in the grand scheme of a productive room, according to Geoff Brown, vice president of technical solutions for Quest.

Often an afterthought, airflow is currently the biggest hump for growers in relation to environmental controls, but it doesn’t have to be, Brown said. Through Quest’s partnership with Hawthorne Gardening Company, growers now have access to the Airflow Mapping service, a computer-aided analysis that calculates or predicts where a diffuser’s air will travel. In turn, growers have access to custom solutions to their specific facilities without making major changes to those facilities.

Featured here, Brown shares more about Airflow Mapping, the importance of intelligent air distribution, working with manufacturers, return on investment and other pertinent knowledge to help avoid oversights associated with environment controls.

Q: Why is airflow so important in cannabis cultivation?

A: Ultimately it just comes down to building productive plants. TIP 1 Good air circulation at the leaf is what allows the leaf to breathe, to get rid of the oxygen around the leaf and to absorb more CO2 to make sure that the transpiration is happening and that you don’t have a locally deficient vapor pressure deficit (VPD). It’s really how the system needs to work. In my opinion, airflow is the single most overlooked thing in cannabis right now, or at least it is the next hump to get over.

The hump 10 years ago was, “Oh, shoot, we’re going to put cooling units in these rooms and hopefully they’ll do enough for dehumidification.” And then there was a dehumidification problem. Now there’s a notion, “We’re putting cooling units and dehumidifiers in, so we don’t have to think about airflow.”

So, how has that been addressed? Well, people have thrown in rotation fans in the space to move air around, but there’s no real concerted effort at managing airflow, or at least thinking intelligently about how airflow works in your room. It’s an afterthought at best.

TIP 2 Proper engineered ductwork is relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of indoor grow rooms. A 5,000-square-foot, which is a big room, and a productive room, might cost $20,000 in ductwork. And properly designed ductwork reduces the need for air-rotation fans in the space.

TIP 3 Air-rotation fans, although they’ve been used successfully, are actually a really bad thing for an efficient growth. For one, every watt they consume is an additional watt that needs to be removed from the space by a cooling system. So, you pay to run the fan and then you pay to cool off the fan. And most of those fans are also relatively inexpensive, open-pole motors. They can’t be cleaned properly between grows. So, you end up with either a vector for infection in your space or a fan that’s a pain to clean. The bottom line is it’s not a good use of resources, it’s not sustainable, and there’s a better way to manage it.

Q: What exactly is the Airflow Mapping service that Quest and Hawthorne have partnered to offer indoor operators?

A: Airflow Mapping is basically using computer-aided design to calculate or to predict where each airflow stream, or where each diffuser’s air will go. It uses things like internal duct pressure and velocities and volumes to predict or map out very accurately what the airflow in the space is going to look like. It truly creates an airflow map in the space. Typically, those are presented as velocity maps.

TIP 4 Roughly 5 feet per second is the ideal speed through the canopy, and Airflow Mapping shows very easily what your duct concept is going to give you in terms of overall rotation in the space. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to do your duct design and to test your duct design without needing to sacrifice a million-dollar room.

Q: Is Airflow Mapping a one-time analysis, or are there certain components installed that provide continual, live readings?

A: Airflow Mapping is a completely computerized analysis. The Quest IQ systems are designed as constant velocity and volume systems. So, Airflow Mapping day one versus day 50 versus harvest day, the only change is the height of the canopy. TIP 5 There are only a couple of different models that need to be done to accurately reflect what’s happening in any given room.

Typically, you’ve got an engineer who has designed ductwork systems, who has laid out his or her best estimate or best experience of what that ought to look like. We run it through the Airflow Mapping tool and then are able to either tweak the engineer’s design or strategically apply air-rotation fans to hit trouble spots instead of relying on them for the entire room.

TIP 6 That’s typically what we’re doing, is we’re looking at that design and saying, “Yes, this is reasonable. It’s not going to cost too much money to fix that particular corner. So, let’s apply in our rotation fan, but let’s de-stratify that one particular problem area and move on with our lives.” It allows us to do that without sacrificing a plant, or having a bad harvest, or having powdery mildew developed in the corner because it’s a stratified air mass. These are the kinds of things that we can determine in the computer, and map out in the computer, prior to a grower running the facility.

Q: The Airflow Mapping modeling software is the same software used by NASA engineers to design space shuttles—is that what makes the service groundbreaking to the industry?

A: Absolutely. Software like that has existed for a long time, but it has typically been reserved to agencies like NASA using it to determine the heating of individual tiles on a space shuttle at reentry, or velocities over individual parts of the ship. So, the technology itself is not new, but its application in anything other than specialized military projects or NASA is new and has become more of a commonplace in the past few years among high-performing organizations that have brought the software to the prosumer market.

Q: The Airflow Mapping basically helps indoor growers with custom solutions to their specific facilities without making major changes to those facilities, correct?

A: Exactly. TIP 7 Airflow Mapping is able to quickly identify potential problem areas that are much easier to change in the design phase than after everything is installed and after you’re stepping on the master grower to make ductwork changes in a space.

Q: What’s the importance of good ductwork to achieve an ideal airflow?

A: It’s not just a matter of putting up whatever ductwork happens to be cheaper or fell off your sheet metal guy’s truck. TIP 8 Real ductwork with good diffusers, getting the right flow, and getting the right throw out of your diffusers and out of your duct design is crucially important. So, it really does need to be an engineered system to do that properly.

Right now, there’s a lot of interest in things like fabric ducts because they’re quick and easy to put up. They’re quick and easy to take down and launder between grows, if you ever need to. TIP 9 But even something like that duct, you can get real air devices in it. You can get real diffusers with long-throw devices or high-velocity patterns that get air in the right spot. That is very important.

TIP 10 That’s only useful if you have enough airflow out of your HVAC system to make it work. That’s where with Quest IQ handling the entire needs of the space, the heating, cooling and dehumidification of the space in one unit, we run a higher than typical airflow than you would out of a rooftop package cooling unit, for instance. The extra airflow plus good duct design means that we’re able to get the canopy movement and get the penetration into canopy to get the real leaf movement that we’re looking for without requiring the use of some of the band-aids that have been put in previously, like air-rotation fans.

Q: When it comes to tracking the canopy velocity, is it ideal for airflow to be moving horizontally, vertically or both?

A: Like anything, it depends. TIP 11 It’s going to depend on the type of grow, the type of lights and the tiering of it. We’re seeing a lot more multi-tiered rows—two, three, four levels sometimes—particularly with LED lights being more common and not dealing with quite as many heat issues as the market has previously. That’s going to affect where air distribution is effective.

Also, getting the air in the right spot is important. It can be difficult sometimes with a typical grow room, 14 feet tall, and you’ve got a supply grill on the roof and your return is up top, because your equipment is on the roof. It can be hard sometimes to get the air down low. TIP 12 That’s where a good air device with the right amount of throw to get the air to the canopy matters.

In my perfect world, TIP 13 I would love to see supply and return happen opposite each other. So, if you’re going to supply high and pull air down through the canopy, your return would be low to help that, to not have as much opportunity for stratification, or vice versa, right? If you’re going to supply low, which some people do, they supply into the under-table ductwork or something like that, and then pull or draw air up through the canopy to have a high return, that’s going to be situational. Sometimes it’s just growers get shoehorned into things because they’re retrofitting an existing building. They’re not building a facility from scratch; it’s what is available to them.

Regardless of what is available to them, the Airflow Mapping can help them determine the best way to lay out that airflow pattern. Whether it’s a high supply, low return, or whether they’re forced to do a high supply, high return and would naturally have some stratification problems, we can help mitigate that through the Airflow Mapping.

I’m not sure that I’m comfortable putting my hat in the horizontal versus vertical versus both. TIP 14 I think all of them can be applied properly with some intelligent thought.

Q: What other oversights do cultivation facilities make when it comes to airflow?

A: One is that example of high return, high supply. If you were to look over your head right now, if you’re in your office, you’d probably see one of those four-way supply grills. They have no throw and they’re not designed to, because they’re designed to get air from a 9-foot ceiling down to a 6-foot breathing space.

We often see rooms that have those same style of diffuser in a 14-to-16-foot-high room and high supply. TIP 15 Issues like that are going to naturally cause stratification, where you’ve got a high supply, you’ve got high return. You don’t have a good air device. You’ve got your lights that sort of naturally create a bit of an umbrella or barrier to the air dropping down low. You may have horizontal air-rotation fans giving you a bit of an air curtain. And you’ve got a space that’s always going to be stratified as a result.

TIP 16 Reducing air-rotation fans can reduce your overall HVAC demand costs by something like 8% to 10% a year. So, if you’re talking about a typical room that would easily spend $50,000 a year in energy, you’re going to save $5,000 a year by doing ductwork properly. It pays for itself very quickly.

Q: Do taller or bushier plants play a factor in dead-zone considerations for facilities?

A: They absolutely can, as well as moving racking. Between the two we can often end up with situations with a bit of an aisle effect, where air doesn’t penetrate well into the canopy and will naturally go where there’s less air resistance. TIP 17 If you’ve got moving racking where you’re no longer working in the room and your rack home position changes on a daily basis, or changes versus where the ductwork was designed, you can end up with a situation where the air isn’t going into the canopy the way it ought to and instead is finding the easy path.

That can happen as well with bigger or bushier cultivars, or cultivars with thicker canopies. It absolutely can be harder to get air into the canopy. TIP 18 That’s where an intelligent application of under-canopy ductwork may make more sense, where you draw air up through the canopy in a vertical way instead of trying to push it from the side on an angle. But that’s quite application-specific. It’s really going to depend on the cultivar that you’re trying to grow.

Q: How can a grower with movable racking avoid airflow problems?

A: Movable racking is becoming very common, of course, TIP 19 but home positions for that racking are not always well-respected and can absolutely cause problems if you’ve got an engineered system and then you change some aspect of the system, like where the plants are. You can certainly have a negative impact on your airflow there.

There is an education piece in ensuring that the person in the room who’s working on the plants understands the impact of maybe not quite following standard operating procedure and not returning the rack to the right spot because, “Who cares if it’s a rack in the same room; what does it matter?”

I’m a big proponent of process improvement overall, TIP 20 but a big part of process improvement is knowing the why and having everybody know and understand why something is being done, not just, “Those are the rules, so do it.” Understanding why the racks need to be in the right spot when you leave the room matters.

Again, I just think air distribution generally is the biggest problem facing this industry. It’s the one that’s most ripe for some good education right now.

Published at Fri, 26 Mar 2021 14:05:00 +0000

2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before April

2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before April

2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before April | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Sun, 21 Mar 2021 20:43:57 +0000

Aphria Inc. (APHA) to Host Special Meeting of Shareholders on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Aphria Inc. (APHA) to Host Special Meeting of Shareholders on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Aphria Inc. (APHA) to Host Special Meeting of Shareholders on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Mon, 15 Mar 2021 13:19:47 +0000