Special Coverage: Cannabis Commerce
California opens cannabis industry final rules for comment
Thus starts a 45-day comment period on 315 pages of regulations that are set to become law before the end of this year. But North Coast rules remain "Byzantine and Kafkaesque," says an industry attorney.
Cannabis company buys two Sonoma County firms
Santa Rosa’s Zack Darling Creative Associates and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Hybrid Creative, were purchased for $1.45 million in cash and about $1.8 million in company stock.
Cannabis startup raises $22M to expand Mendocino County site
The money will help Flow Kana increase its ability to process marijuana and move into producing bulk cannabis oil.
Got cannabis business insurance?
California debuts CannaBOP, a policy for marijuana business owners that contains property and liability coverage. Here's what Santa Rosa's CannaCraft, a major player in legal pot, thinks about it.
Cannabis dispensaries in 'fire sale' as July 1 deadline looms
Deep discounts on everything from edibles to joints reflect the last days of the heady first phase of legal recreational pot in California as strict quality standards kick in this weekend. Shortages could follow as shops restock.
Lagunitas wants to expand your mind with this cannabis-infused sparkling water
With THC and CBD versions, Hi-Fi Hops initially will be available at California marijuana dispensaries. But like Lagunitas's other brews, you'll have to be over 21 to imbibe these bubbles. CannaCraft pitched in on this project.
Women in Business: Tiffany Devitt, CannaCraft
Tiffany Devitt of CannaCraft Inc. in Santa Rosa wins a North Bay Business Journal Women in Business award.
Santa Rosa marijuana law firm opens LA office
This is the second expansion for Joe Rogoway's 7-year-old cannabis-focused firm to markets beyond Sonoma County.
Cannabis businesses are on a hiring spree. Here’s how much the jobs pay
Job creation in the fast-growing marijuana industry isn’t limited to growers and trimmers. White-collar work also is exploding, with businesses scrambling to hire scientists, attorneys, accountants, technicians and marketing experts.
California cannabis temp rules extended
The rules will be in place for at least 180 days while officials in Sacramento create permanent regulations.
Vine Notes: Cannabis may battle wine for consumer attention
In a recent national poll, those planning to increase cannabis use with legalization was especially significant among women and older, wealthier consumers — core demographics of wine consumption, writes columnist Charles Day of Rabobank.
Businesswomen break through ‘grass ceiling’ of cannabis
As marijuana has become more mainstream, women-centric groups focused on business networking or providing a space for women curious about cannabis have proliferated too.
Marijuana growers turning to hemp as CBD extract explodes
A glut of legal marijuana is driving Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn't come with a high.
Crackdown needed on unlicensed cannabis ops, says California regulator
"The state needs to be protective of the licensing process and to say, 'Get a license, or we put them out of business,'" says Lori Ajax, Medical Marijuana Regulation Bureau chief, at an industry conference in Santa Rosa.
Opinion: Minimum cannabis business insurance often insufficient
As the North Bay cannabis industry continues to grow, the need for insurance coverage becomes paramount, but significant coverage gaps remain, write Shanti Eagle and Jackie Menendez of law firm Farella Braun + Martel.
New rule for drug testing? Bill would protect medical cannabis users at work
A proposed law that would protect California medical cannabis patients from losing their jobs after failing a company drug test has overcome its first legislative hurdle.
Renting to a cannabis operator? Insurance is now available
California approves a carrier to write policies to insure property owners that lease space to legal marijuana companies. Lack of such coverage has been an oft-cited impediment to real estate deals.
Formerly anticannabis California lawmakers now work to improve industry
California lawmakers — some of whom hail from careers in law enforcement — slowly embrace a product and marketplace that remains federally illegal.
Sonoma County seeks compromise on site of cannabis operations
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, in a nod to cannabis growers, indicated they could revisit where commercial marijuana is grown outside city limits. Neighbors could get a greater say over some proposed operations.
Cannabis industry faces threat of cultivation curbs, says major North Bay producer
Ned Fussell, co-founder of CannaCraft, which plans to open a huge indoor cannabis-cultivation facility in Santa Rosa, talks about growth past $100 million and community opposition that spurred a hearing Tuesday on more cultivation rules.
Sonoma County supes to discuss where legal pot should be grown
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss neighborhood concerns about cannabis and whether to allow adult-use businesses.
US seizes 100-plus California homes used to grow cannabis
The Northern California raids culminate a monthslong investigation focusing on dozens of Chinese nationals who bought 106 homes in seven counties.
California cannabis regulator to keynote Santa Rosa conference
California's top cannabis regulator, Lori Ajax, is leading an effort to license cannabis operations. She is set to be the keynote speaker at North Bay Business Journal's North Coast Cannabis Conference on May 9.
One vintner parlays wine experience into the world of cannabis
With recreational marijuana now legal in California, some winemakers like Zack Crafton of Flora & Candor are exploring the synergy between pot and wine.
California take note: Nevada law still hazy on cannabis users’ rights at work
Here’s a sobering employment law dilemma for California: After three years of legal medical cannabis and a year of legal recreational sales, Nevada legal experts say there is no clear guidance or protections for employees who use it.
Petaluma: Cannabusiness arrival tightens industrial market
“There is definite upward pressure on industrial-space pricing, and we still struggle for supply,” writes James Manley of Keegan & Coppin’s Petaluma office.
Free cannabis-cultivator licensing workshops in Humboldt, Mendocino
Three months after launching its legal cannabis market, California is struggling to get more than a small fraction of cultivators ready to grow legally. Less than 1 percent have that license.
Cannabis jobs: 5 companies hiring in Northern California
Have a passion for cannabis and want to work in the industry? Three months into California’s recreational cannabis market, a fresh crop of cannabis-related businesses are blooming — and hiring.
CannaCraft settles with Sonoma County DA
The tentative settlement reflect cannabis’s transition from illegal to legal.
Hundreds of California cannabis cultivators in backlog limbo
With hundreds of cannabis cultivators waiting for approval to do business in Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Solano and other California counties, officials are trying to revamp the process and clear the backlog.
Cannabis tourism: Welcoming travelers behind the Redwood Curtain
Amid worries that California's new regulation system for marijuana will push smaller producers out of business, some are diversifying their business interests into tourism. Here's what they're doing.
Weedmaps cites social-media law in defense of listing pot retailers
Responding to a demand by California’s cannabis czar to stop advertising unlicensed marijuana retailers, Weedmaps says it’s also protected by law that shields tech companies that host consumer-generated content.
Cannabis critics call for tighter rules after home invasions
Critics want the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to restrict commercial cultivation to industrial zones and to stop issuing commercial growing permits.
California tribes may go their own way in marijuana market
The California Native American Cannabis Association warned state officials before legalization kicked in Jan. 1 that tribes “may engage in commercial cannabis activities through our own inherent sovereign authority.”
California’s cannabis regulator warns 900 shops to stop operating without state license
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control also sent a cease-and-desist notice to an online marijuana-location service, telling it to stop advertising sellers that lack a permit.
States mull 'sanctuary' status for marijuana businesses
Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, California and some other states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.
Sonoma County official: ‘We have failed’ to open cannabis industry to all
California is falling short in its effort to bring existing cannabis growers into the legal market, say state regulators and officials from North Coast counties.
Petaluma approves cannabis business zones
The ordinance maps out areas in the city’s business parks and industrial zones where cannabis businesses will be allowed.
New cannabis cryptocurrency aims for social impact
The Cannabium marijuana-backed token, which trades like bitcoin, hopes to be the “first-ever financial contract that you can buy, trade and redeem to get physical CBD.”
Report: Less than 1% of California pot growers are licensed by state
California marijuana growers are lagging in getting licenses, according to a new report by a cannabis industry group.
Who grows your pot? Sonoma County startup seeks organic cannabis labels
A Sonoma County startup, launched by part of the Straus dairy family of Marin County, sees value in organic marijuana certification.
Cannabis debit card comes to California
Colorado debit-card company CanPay works with a Denver credit union that handles cannabis transactions.
Convicted of a pot crime in California? You can fix that
Prosecutors in Sonoma and Mendocino counties say they don’t have San Francisco’s resources to wipe out old marijuana convictions reclassified by California voter-approved legalization of recreational cannabis.
Emerging pot business attracts Mendocino County’s new ag chief
“I was drawn to work for Mendocino County as it begins the process of merging a traditional agricultural community with the emerging cannabis industry,” says Joseph Moreno, the county’s new agricultural commissioner.
What California can learn from Washington’s challenges testing pot
It would be a shame if California repeated Washington’s mistakes in verifying marijuana product safety, says one of the leading watchdogs of Washington’s cannabis labs.
Small pot growers file lawsuit
“Approving large cultivation operations in 2018 will significantly reduce the ability of small and medium cultivators to compete economically in the regulated market,” the lawsuit says.
CEO shifts from business school dean to cannabis keen
Former SSU business dean William Silver is now CEO of Santa Rosa cannabis manufacturing firm CannaCraft. It could mark a turning point as the marijuana industry seeks recognition as a mainstream business.
Online cannabis dealer gets nearly 7 years in prison
Federal prosecutors say he did his business on the “dark web,” which swirls with online deals for drugs, weapons and stolen bank-account data, often conducted in bitcoin.
Former SSU business dean now CEO of cannabis company
William Silver, former dean of Sonoma State University’s business school, has been picked to lead CannaCraft as the fast-growing Santa Rosa cannabis manufacturing firm continues to expand.
New SF-based US Attorney to set cannabis prosecution
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made recent appointments, including an acting U.S. attorney in San Francisco on Monday, that suggest stricter enforcement of federal laws that prohibit cannabis use.
The fuzzy science behind nabbing stoned North Bay drivers
Law enforcement can arrest people for driving high, even with no set chemical limit for marijuana impairment in California.
Cannabis distribution system up to the task?
California says its newly legalized marijuana market is ready for a surge in demand, but Mendocino County-based Flow Kana says the slow rollout of licenses has limited cannabis distributors.
Renewed dread ripples through North Coast cannabis trade
California just opened for recreational use of cannabis, but fear of arrest and seizure of property has returned to plague the fast-growing marijuana industry in the North Coast, from cultivator to dispensary.
Sessions’s cannabis action ripples through North Bay industry
Legal cannabis operators in the North Coast and throughout California worry that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s action on prosecutions leaves the industry exposed.
Attorney general reopens federal cannabis prosecution
A new memo from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds the Cole Memo of 2013 that deferred to states’ cannabis laws.
Mendocino County vows to review big pot bust
Old Kai Distribution had a valid local marijuana license, but California Highway Patrol seized its truck and 1,875 pounds of cannabis. Mendocino County officials got an earful from an outraged industry and vow to investigate.
What to expect now that weed is recreational in California
Here’s an in-depth look at the first day of legal sales of recreational marijuana at several North Bay retailers. It’s a barometer for what to expect from the emerging industry this year.
Opinion: Will legal pot wipe out small cannabis farmers?
To avoid Big Weed domination, California should help cannabis growers of all sizes, creating tax incentives for small producers, cultivation caps and value-added labels, writes Chiah Rodriques of grower group Mendocino Generations.
Testing for tainted cannabis vexes regulators
California’s cannabis rules kick in with the new year, but regulators in states that have legalized pot in recent years still struggle to ensure the safety of a bewildering array of products on dispensary shelves.
Legalization to hit medical cannabis revenue
With recreational marijuana set to become legal Jan. 1 in California, some will be tossing their state-issued cards and sending medical cannabis revenue up in smoke.
Need your medical marijuana card after Jan. 1?
Starting New Year’s Day, a doctor’s recommendation won’t be required to legally buy cannabis in California. But don’t throw out that medical marijuana card just yet.
US, California pot laws collide at border
California legalizes marijuana for recreational use Monday, but that won’t stop federal agents from seizing it on busy or backcountry highways.
Concentrates propel cannabis craft revolution in Washington state
Concentrates are the fastest-growing segment of Washington state’s young legal cannabis market. Here’s a primer on the burgeoning ‘craft revolution’ among processors led by these potent substances.
Why Florida’s marijuana banker is closing accounts
Banking for cannabis commerce in states that have legalized it, such as California and Florida, remains a problem. Federal uncertainty is behind the closing of such accounts by the Sunshine State’s only marijuana banker and stopgap measures in the Golden State.
Unions eye growth from California cannabis workers
Unions have caught a whiff of a rare opportunity to organize a whole new set of workers as recreational marijuana becomes legal in California at the beginning of 2018.
Q&A: California’s top cannabis regulator on legalization
California’s legal cannabis market opens for business on Jan. 1. Lori Ajax, the state’s top pot regulator, answers key questions on what will happen next.
North Bay business briefs: Dec. 26, 2017
The California Secretary of State Office launches the Cannabizfile website for cannabis business e-filings. Petaluma’s Beeline Bikes has a new owner. Arrow Benefits Group of Petaluma launches a Spanish Language Division. Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital is named a Top Teaching Hospital. Tony Magee of Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma will keynote the Seed to Sale Show cannabis trade show in Colorado.
2017 Big Stories: Cannabis commerce buds in Wine Country
Here's one of 2017's biggest North Bay stories that will impact local business in 2018: Dozens of cannabis entrepreneurs set up shop in Santa Rosa as the January 2018 launch date approaches for adult-use sale of cannabis, but banking issues persist.
State issues first cannabis licenses
The 20 temporary licenses — some of which were for the previously existing medical marijuana industry — represent a fraction of the thousands of licenses expected to follow as the state embraces legal weed in 2018,
Cheech Marin teams with state to register pot businesses
In the PSA, Marin sits behind a computer at the Secretary of State’s office and urges a would-be cannabis business owner to register and obtain information through the state website cannabizfile.
Cannabis’s past, future honored at Emerald Cup
Sunday's Emerald Cup cannabis awards ceremony capped a two-day gathering at Sonoma County Fairgrounds that attracted thousands of attendees. It gave a look at marijuana’s history and promise.
Pot for pets?: Exploring cannabis for treatments
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy-making body wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug ‘to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.’
Cannabis permit No. 1 issued in Sonoma County
Sonoma County began accepting applications in July and is currently processing 127. It issued its first cannabis cultivation permit Monday.
Cannabis, a conundrum for lawyers
With California allowing recreational pot retail sales Jan. 1, interested investors are reaching out to attorneys to find out how to safely finance the potentially lucrative industry.
Rush of pot grows splits rural California before legal sales
Authorities this year have cut down close to 30,000 plants grown without permits in a California county that is reconsidering its embrace of marijuana cultivation ahead of statewide legalization.
Attorneys say casual-cannabis market rules to take months to clarify
Though California rules for recreational cannabis kick in Jan. 1, the regulatory process for businesses serving this newly legal market likely won’t become clearer until spring, according to legal experts.
State issues cannabis regulations
Smaller operations in the North Bay could be harmed by no limit on size, say some in the industry
California offers cannabis banking plan
California Treasurer John Chiang on Tuesday announced a series of proposed strategies to help the newly legitimized recreational and medical cannabis industry manage large amounts of money and pay taxes.
Major wine company invests in pot business
One analyst said the investment would likely help Constellation Brands, which has a number of California North Coast wineries and vineyards, understand the cannabis business from the inside.
Fires destroy marijuana crop at harvest time; millions in taxes at risk
The Northern California fires affected all sectors of the burgeoning industry including cultivators, manufacturers and distributors.
More workers failing drug tests in Northern California
Marijuana is the most common culprit. A growing number of employers in Sonoma County are thinking about scrapping their drug tests.
Cannabis harvest heats up
The outdoor cannabis harvest has begun across the North Coast, marking the first year when the state will attempt to measure and tax the crop within a new regulated system.
Sonoma medicine man: Wine pioneer looks to cannabis, farming for healing
Mike and Mary Benziger find healing in farming Biodynamic food and marijuana.
Marin County adds time to cannabis ordinance
Prop. 64 already allows cannabis cultivation and consumption by private individuals.
Cannabis industry leads Santa Rosa industrial property boom
Since 2016, there have been 18 industrial property transactions worth more than $40 million, a real estate rush transforming warehouses and building space across the city.
Cannabis tour company offers industry highlights
Mercedes Sprinter vans will tour cannabis-cultivation sites.
Cannabis businesses get extension on permit deadline
By Oct. 31, operators must apply for relief from hefty land-use fines Sonoma County has delayed enforcing in order to entice marijuana growers to come out of the shadows.
SSU launches cannabis business series
An October event on investment in the cannabis industry marks the school’s foray into a new professional development field.
Popular downtown gym closes as relocation options go to pot
The building at 515 Fifth St. in Santa Rosa is being sold, purportedly to a furniture retailer, and Powerhouse Gym was said to have trouble competing with cannabis companies for space.
Pot pairs with passion fruit
Sonoma County startup Garden Society sells cannabis edibles to women consumers through home-based parties.
Wine and weed: An economic match made in heaven?
Wine professionals attended a one-day conference in Santa Rosa to explore ways to capitalize on the $7 billion cannabis industry.
Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group forms
Meet 20 Sonoma County residents who are advising lawmakers on the future of the cannabis industry.
Wine and weed leaders collaborate on Biodynamic Sonoma Valley pot farm
Sonoma Valley vintner Mike Benziger and San Francisco’s SPARC, which purchased Sonoma County dispensaries, are teaming on a Demeter-certified cannabis farm.
Wineries and weed: Friend or foe?
The North Coast’s wine and cannabis industries find themselves facing a common question: Are they competitors or collaborators? The answer is complicated and depends on who you ask.
Cannabis ignites Sonoma Co. industrial real estate; Marin office market slows
The call of Santa Rosa as a hub for legalized cannabis commerce is forcing longtime players in Sonoma County industrial real estate to adjust to the rush. And in Marin County, office lease renewals that have been driving market activity have slowed.