Special Coverage: Cannabis Commerce

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.

Cannabis ads banned on SF buses

The decision in the Bay Area city revereses it current policy

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.

Nevada’s cannabis supply woes

Laws regulating distribution are contributing to the problem.

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.

1st Sonoma Co. cannabis business permit applications filed

Karen Kohley was one of about 30 who took an important step Wednesday toward bringing their Sonoma County marijuana growing operations out of the shadows by becoming the first to apply for a county business permit.

Draft rules out for medical cannabis in Santa Rosa

City staff consider the draft ordinance one of the state’s most lenient, allowing most types of operators to locate in the city with as few restrictions as necessary.

Cannabis advocate leaving her post

‘Now, it’s time to evolve and embrace our position as a trade association,’ says Tawnie Logan of Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

Applications for cultivation permits open July 5 in Sonoma County.

Officials estimate the county has 7,000 cultivators.

Industry study on cannabis and car insurance claims

The study comes as California and other states prepare to legalize adult recreational use.

Cannabis deliveries to homes OK with state

State lawmakers and governor preparing regulations after voters approve recreational use.

Cannabis phoenix: Meet a change leader in North Coast commerce

Imprisoned and raided for his cannabis ventures, Dennis Hunter now is heralded as leader of CannaCom Valley’s shining business model at multiple operations in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Writing the rules for California’s cannabis industry

The chief of California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation speaks in Santa Rosa about the roadmap to regulate adult use by January.

Cannabis investing attracting much interest

‘We’re getting referrals from investment-banking firms, hedge funds, sophisticated investors,’ says a Marin County-based cannabis-focused angel investor at a conference in Santa Rosa on the emerging industry.

How to overcome cannabis-regulation challenges

How does government regulate an emerging industry, especially if the industry deals in a product that was once illegal? Here are pathways through the uncertainty.

Cannabis growers overcome the powerful scent

The smell of marijuana during harvest time and in processing has been one of the major complaints. Here are how modern building systems are being employed to control it.

Citigroup unit fined $97M over suspicious transactions

Some wonder if the federal deal with Banamex USA, inked today, is a harbinger of coming action against the cash-fueled cannabis industry.

Citibank subsidiary to pay $97 million in suspicious-activity-report failures

Banamex USA had 18,000 suspicious-activity alerts but filed only 9 reports

North Bay hospitals to weigh medical cannabis

Unusual proposal to use the facilities of local hospitals as dispensaries for medical marijuana may be gaining momentum.

Appeals court ruling on cannabis

Prisoner ran a medical dispensary under California law.

SSU offers second cannabis course

Sonoma State University will hold a workshop in cannabis regulation, policy and tax compliance in June.

Do cannabis businesses limit future housing projects?

Should cannabis-cultivation companies be allowed in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square district? Housing developers fret over an issue headed to the City Council.

CannaCom Valley banking crisis

Bankers scramble to serve a cash-based industry that is reshaping North Bay business.

Cannabis conference raises business issues

Leaders in the cannabis industry gathered in Santa Rosa for a conference on investing and permitting.

Cannabis industry rules are out: Here’s what we know so far

The draft California regulations would force Santa Rosa’s CannaCraft to pull a line of cannabis-infused chocolates called Satori.

Cannabis-banking group to meet in Santa Rosa

California Treasurer John Chiang formed the working group to address conflicts between federal and state laws governing cannabis.

Cannabis wealth rolls into construction

Cannabis cash flows to architects and contractors as Sonoma County projects emerge.

Sonoma makes way for cannabis wine

The open secret is out: Winemakers might be cultivating more than grape varietals in Sonoma Valley’s vineyards.

CannaCon is ‘heaven’ for the pot industry

Businesses ranging from heating and cooling to graphic design and extraction systems are among the exhibitors at the three-day Sonoma County Fairgrounds event.

Can cannabis and wine co-exist?

The emerging legal cannabis industry will have ‘substantial synergies in the long run’ with the fine-wine business in the North Coast, says a local booster of bud who came from the world of wine.

CannaCom Valley: Rise of the cannabis commercial cluster

Santa Rosa carves huge new business terrain for North Coast cannabis commerce.

Marin rejects medical cannabis dispensary requests

County Administration acts on 10 applications to set up medical cannabis dispensaries.

One more Sonoma County town may ban outdoor cannabis cultivation

Sonoma County town also plans to prohibit retail sales.

Brown moves to change cannabis regulations

California’s governor proposes cannabis law changes intended to clear up regulatory conflicts.

Cannabis business incubator closes after 3 months

BRIC Hive near Sonoma County’s Petaluma did not have proper permits.

For sale: Land to grow cannabis

Agents in Mendocino and Sonoma counties report getting calls every day for land to grow cannabis.

Santa Rosa delays outdoor-cannabis vote

Hours before a City Council vote, staff at Sonoma County’s largest city sent the proposed temporary outdoor-cultivation ban back for more review.

Santa Rosa may ban outdoor pot growing

The City Council on March 28 is poised to ban outdoor cannabis cultivation before backyard growers get too invested in gardens that could become illegal later this year.

California to feds: ‘Hands off our pot’

State lawmakers aren’t waiting for Washington to make the first move against California’s multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.

‘Green rush’ driving recent property buys

“A lot of people from all over are interested in Santa Rosa,” said attorney Joe Rogoway about purchases of property by those with cannabis-based businesses.

Sonoma County industrial real estate: Cannabis, investors, owner-users propel demand

2016 was a robust year for Sonoma County industrial real estate, and all indications are that the strong market will carry over into 2017, write Mike Flitner and Jim Sartain of Keegan & Coppin.

North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference focuses on regulation, finance

Registration opens on North Bay Business Journal’s first North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference on May 9 with speakers on finance. regulations and other marijuana-related issues.

Sonoma County pot tax passes

Voters approved by nearly 3-to-1 a cannabis business tax Tuesday, with no push by supporters but opposition from local marijuana growers.

California’s top pot regulator to speak in Santa Rosa

North Bay Business Journal’s first North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference on May 9 will include California’s regulatory chief for the industry plus speakers on finance and other marijuana-related issues.

Santa Rosa to weigh cannabis tax

The Sonoma County city’s proposed cannabis ordinance, which would go before voters June 6, is getting a mixed reaction from the industry.

Cannabis growers now qualify for reduced PG&E rates

PG&E will offer marijuana cultivators the same discounts on energy that it provides almond and tomato growers.

Cloverdale ponders pot business rules

Cloverdale, the only city in Sonoma County to have a tax in place on commercial cannabis businesses, is close to deciding where such marijuana operations should be located.

Cannabis tax snitches?

Will Sonoma County cannabis businesses turn in competitors who don’t pay the proposed new taxes?

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