Julian Marley's JuJu Royal brand

Julian Marley cannabis brand inks distribution, cultivation deals

Julian Marley’s cannabis products will soon hit dispensary shelves in the Golden State and the Great White North. JuJu Royal completed two separate deals to distribute and manufacture its ganja in southern California and Canada.

Founded by the international reggae star, Juju Royal produces four strains called Lion’s Domain, Jungle Cheese, Juju O.G. and Heavenly Heights. Cannabis users can select from a variety of flower, hash oil and edible products.

With recreational sales in California set to begin in January,  the company signed an agreement with Finka Distribution, which delivers cannabis products to 1,100 dispensaries in southern California.

“We are eager to expand and distribute the most in-demand brands and products the industry has to offer,” said Nicole Gonzalez, Finka Distribution’s founder. “Working with Julian Marley and his team is an honor.”

Gonzalez’s company is a subsidiary of G FarmaBrand, a cannabis company based in San Rafael, California. JuJu Royal president Travis Belcher said teaming up with Finka and G FarmaBrand is part of a strategy to corner the global marijuana market.

“The decision to work with G FarmaBrand was strategic to our goals,” Belcher said. “We are confident that this partnership will benefit all of our companies, but most importantly the patients and consumers of Southern California.

JuJu Royal, based in Denver, Colorado, also inked a deal with Maricann Group Inc. The agreement gives the Burlington, Canada-based cannabis firm the exclusive rights to cultivate, extract and distribute Julian Marley branded products to Canadian medical marijuana patients. The agreement is for three years. But first, Maricann must obtain approval from Health Canada to sell the JuJu Royal line. In addition, Maricann has a right of first refusal to distribute any JuJu Royal products in Europe.

After founding JuJu Royal, Marley signed a licensing agreement with DropLeaf for the brand. DropLeaf merged with another Canadian company, GEA Technologies. The merged firm trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange under the symbol JUJU.




Illinois Inundated With Medical Marijuana License Applications

On Monday, ganjapreneurs of every stripe descended on the Thompson Center, a state government building that was the drop off point for the final day to apply for medical marijuana licenses under the state’s pilot program. The cast of characters who submitted applications included “everyone from Cheech & Chong types to hedge fund guys” said Mark Huddle, an attorney for the group Illinois Grown Medicine who spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Huddle brought 25 boxes of paperwork he hopes will win him licenses for five dispensaries in northern Illinois. He’s got quite a bit of company. The Sun-Times reports the application counter was swarmed with hundreds of applicants who put down a non-refundable $5,000 fee. There were so many applicants, state officials couldn’t tally up the exact number.

Apparently, many applicants procrastinated by waiting until the last day. They are all vying for just 60 licenses that will be issued statewide starting sometime in December.

Another lawyer, Kathryn Ashton, told the Sun-Times the amount of paperwork required for an appication is grueling but necessary to avoid getting rejected.


Employers Are Not Down With Workers Using Medical Marijuana


Employers are still cracking down on marijuana users.

The New York Times reports that sick and disabled workers still run the risk of losing their jobs if they use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Citing ancedotal evidence and opinions from employment experts, the Times found that marijuana users remain persona non grata in most places of employment, even in Colorado and Washington, the two states that legalized pot for recreational use.

Here are the highlights:

  • Paralized since he was 16, Brandon Coats had been using medical marijuana since 2009 to relieve painful body spasms. He was fired from his jobs answering customer calls for a Colorado satellite-television provider after a random drug test came back positive for marijuana.  “Please do not apply if you are NOT drug free or carry a medical marijuana card,” warns one job listing for a mechanic in Denver.
  • A job listing for a mechanic job in Denver warns: “Please do not apply if you are NOT drug free or carry a medical marijuana card.” In Seattle, welders applying with a recycling center are told they are applying with “zero-tolerance company including marijuana!!”
  • A 2012 survey by Colorado’s Mountain States Employers Council, which represents 3,500 companies, found that 71 percent kept their drug-testing policies and 21 percent imposed harsher rules.
  • Another survey, by drug tester Quest Diagnostics, found that positive results for marijuana rose in both Colorado and Washington in the year after legalization measures passed.
  • New Mexico resident and physician assistant Donna Smith lost her healthcare job after failing a drug test. She uses marijuana to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Even marijuana-related companies check employees to see if they are high. Vaporizer maker Open Vape screens workers to see if they are red-eyed and acting hazy.
The Moseley family.

Florida Couple Who Championed Medical Marijuana Bill Form New Company

The Moseley family.

The Moseley family.

A medical marijuana nonprofit group founded by a couple who led efforts to pass a Florida law legalizing a non-psychoactive form of medicinal pot are partnering with a Colorado-based outfit specializing in non-euphoric cannabis treatments. Caring 4 Florida, founded by Peyton and Holly Moseley, has merged with Realm of Caring. The new company, Realm of Caring Florida, will be a statewide resource for families interested in Charlotte’s Web, a strain of medical marijuana that is rich in cannibidiol, or CBD, while having almost no euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The CBD strain has proven to greatly improve the lives of patients suffering from chronic epilepsy, like RayAnn Moseley, Peyton’s and Holly’s daughter. The husband and wife team were instrumental in convincing Florida lawmakers to pass the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 in June. The law will legalize treatment derived from medical marijuana for certain patients when it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

The Moseley’s are teaming up with the Colorado growers who created Charlotte’s Web, according to the Pensacola News Journal. Since Gov. Rick Scott signed the law, regulators have been rushing to put in place the necessary rules and infrastructure so that physicians can begin recommending medical marijuana treatments for patients.

The Journal says Holley Moseley will head the newly formed Realm of Caring Florida. Her main goal is to educate the public and doctors on the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 and the benefits of CBD treatment.

“Number one is education,” she told the Journal. “Our key focus is for the patient, family members and physicians. We just want to help educate the public on this so come Jan. 1, everyone is ready.”

Her husband sold his landscaping business and went to work for Ray of Hope 4 Florida, a for-profit company which will partner with one of five nurseries statewide to cultivate and process the marijuana. The law only grants five licenses for CBD marijuana production and only about four dozen state nurseries are qualified to compete.

Holly explained that she and her husband are following a similar model in Colorado, in which a profit side produces and dispenses medical marijuana, while the non profit side focuses on community outreach.


Denver Company Launches Marijuana Edibles Vending Machine

Stephen Shearin's company developed The ZaZZZ, a marijuana edibles vending machine,

Stephen Shearin’s company developed The ZaZZZ, a marijuana edibles vending machine,

You won’t find a regular bag of Doritos or a Snickers bar inside the new vending machine at Doctor’s Orders, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver. Instead, the ZaZZZ is stocked with Mountain High Suckers, Incredibles Monkey Bars, and other marijuana edible sweet treats.

Stephen Shearin, president of American Green Technology, says his company’s marijuana edibles vending machine provides convenience for dispensary patients who are in a rush or when the budtenders are busy helping other customers.

“We think this is like the self-service line at the grocery store,” Shearin told local station Fox 31. “Our hope is that in time we will be able to sell flower marijuana bags in the machines as well.”

The marijuana edibles vending machine only dispenses the treats after buyers slide their driver’s license verifying they over 18 and slide their medical marijuana cards. The ZaZZZ only accepts cash and Bitcoins. Until the federal government allows marijuana-related companies to freely deposit monies into bank accounts, the marijuana edibles vending machine cannot accept credit cards.

During a demonstration for another television station, Shearin explained the ZaZZZ is equipped with software that looks up department of motor vehicles records and a national database to make sure the identification provided is not fake. Because of Colorado’s marijuana regulations, the marijuana edibles vending machine is only available in medical dispensaries. You cannot find one in recreational pot shops.

marijuana transaction

Banks Still Leery Of Pot Businesses Despite New Marijuana Banking Guidelines

Jennifer Shasky Calvery

Jennifer Shasky Calvery

Since the federal government issued a set of marijuana banking guidelines that supposedly made it easier for pot-related businesses to open bank accounts, less than one percent of all American banks and financial institutions are actually accepting cannabis companies as customers. Only 105 banks indicated they had a banking relationship with marijuana-related businesses, according to statistics cited by the Denver Post.

Still, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, insisted the low number of banks accepting marijuana-related accounts is a sign the new marijuana banking guidelines are working. The Post reports Calvery revealed the statistics in Washington D.C. during an anti-money laundering conference. The guidelines were put in place for states where marijuana has been legalized for medical and recreational use.

Between February, when the marijuana banking guidelines were put in place, and August, the 105 banks filed 502 suspcious activity reports that were “marijuana limited.” That means that the businesses did not violate any of eight rules the February guidance cautioned against, such as selling to minors or trafficking across state lines. A single business could generate more than one SAR.

However, some banks filed 123 SARs that indicated a business had indeed broken one of those ruless. In addition, 475 SARs show banks terminated a relationship with a marijuana-related business during the six months the new marijuana banking guidelines went into effect. As a result, 350 law enforcement agencies have swooped in, running more than one million queries against the SARs database to build cases against those businesses violating the guidelines.


Eaze Looks To Corner Medical Marijuana Delivery Market

Keith McCarthy, Eaze founder and CEO

Keith McCarthy, Eaze founder and CEO

It’s been a whirlwind week for Eaze founder and chief executive Keith McCarty. Since launching an all out media blitz last Tuesday for his new marijuana-related start-up, the tech entrepreneur and his company have generated a lot of buzz.

That’s because Eaze is a free on-demand healthcare delivery service that allows patients to obtain medical marijuana from a mobile device or computer. Based in San Francisco, Eaze can provide this service because medical marijuana is legal in California. In fact, medical marijuana delivery companies are quite common in the state.

Immediately, Eaze drew comparisons to Uber, the on-demand web application service that allows users to hire private drivers as taxis. There were the straightforward business profiles from old media like the San Francisco Chronicle. While new media like Tech Crunch took a Gonzo-style approach by having friends test out Eaze. The company even got some attention in the late night talk show circuit when Jimmy Kimmel brought up Eaze in his opening monologue on Aug. 1. It’s the type of media attention that tickles an investor’s interest.

And that’s key considering Eaze is facing some competition.  A Washington state company called Canary, founded by two students, also calls itself the “Uber of pot” because it uses a smartphone app.

“We’ve gained a tremendous amount of traction,” McCarty tells THC News. “It has exceeded our expectations. We are getting requests for hundreds of deliveries and have received more than 100 inquiries from people who want to be drivers.”

A former executive for enterprise social network Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion, McCarty launched Eaze with his own money and from his apartment, although he says his team is geographically dispersed and that service will one day be available in states that have legalized pot for medical and recreational use. Right now, the company is focused on linking patients to dispensers in the Bay area.

“We are in the process of raising our first round to finance the expansion into other cities,” McCarty says. “We wanted to test out the blueprint first.”

Eaze works by establishing business relationships with local dispensaries as well as dozens of private drivers. Deliveries are free for patients, with driver fees and Eaze paid by dispensaries in exchange for gaining new business. Right now, Eaze is working with an undisclosed number of dispensaries. McCarty declined to name any of them, citing competitive reasons.

How the Eaze application looks like on an iPhone.

How the Eaze application looks like on an iPhone.

Each driver, who is subject to criminal background checks and must have a medical marijuana card, starts a shift by picking up a kit at a dispensary preloaded with eight ounces of pot, the most California state allows a person to carry. Eaze verifies customers’ legal rights to buy marijuana by reviewing images of their doctors’ notes and drivers’ licenses, submitted online. Drivers make $10 per delivery. While that may seem like a pittance, McCarty predicts that drivers could make as many as 64 deliveries in ten minutes. That’s $640.

McCarty says the most effective way to measure his company’s growth is to keep an eye on the number of drivers who sign up and track the time it takes patients to register for the service to the time the medicine reaches their doorstep. “Right now, we are getting people who are saying it is only 13 minutes,” he says.

Still, the company has a lot of work to do. Eaze is waiting for approval from Apple on its iPhone application and its Android application is still in development. For now, patients can only access the service via the company website, www.eazeup.com. There is a huge untapped market among mobile device users. It will be interesting to see how Eaze meets that demand. Another issue is the inability to accept credit cards since federal law still criminalizes marijuana. Banks take huge risks doing business with marijuana related companies and prefer to keep those relationships under the radar. But that is a problem also facing dispensaries and existing delivery services that take online orders.



Leafly Places Historic Marijuana Ad In The New York Times

Part of the Leafly ad in the New York Times.

Part of the Leafly ad in the New York Times.

Leafly, the company that bills itself as the “Yelp of Weed,” today became the first marijuana company to place a full page ad in the New York Times. The advertisement is confirmation America’s most respected newspaper is doubling down on pot. In recent weeks, the Times has been releasing a series of editorials calling for an end to pot prohibition. By accepting Leafly’s ad, the newspaper is also affirming the marijuana industry’s legitimacy.

Leafly, along with competitor Weedmaps, has emerged as one of the top cannabis-oriented tech firms in recent years. The site maintains a database of marijuana dispensaries operating in states where pot has been legalized for medical or recreational purposes. The Seattle-based company developed a web application that allows users to identify specific strains of marijuana that might bring relief to people suffering from specific problems and which dispensaries carry the particular strain they are looking for.

With New York becoming the 23rd state to legalize medicinal marijuana, coupled with the Times progressive stance on pot, Leafly could not have picked a better time to make history. “Our advertisement in The New York Times is a responsible, mainstream message that elevates the conversation about cannabis in the U.S.,” said Leafly CEO Brendan Kennedy in a release.

The full page ad, which can be viewed below, congratulates the state for passing the Compassion Care Act.
New York became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana. The Leafy ad goes on to say: “The first step in benefiting from cannabis is making informed choices. From learning about the right products and strains for you, to finding trusted clinics and dispensaries nearby. We’ll be here to help.”

Marijuana Ad


CannaVest Wins Record Fourth Medical Marijuana Cup

CannaVestImageCannaVest, a maker and distributor of hemp and Cannabidiol-based products, won the CBD concentrate category at the 2014 Michigan Medical Cannabis Cup. The July 27 victory marks the fourth time the pink sheets company nabs first place in that High Times Cannabis Cup category. Previously, CannaVest won at the Los Angeles medical cannabis cup in February, and the cannabis cups in Amsterdam and Seattle last year. It’s strain “CBD Simple” also took top honors at the 2013 Michigan Medical Marijuana Conference “Green Cup” contest for Highest CBD Concentrate.

“Winning our third Cannabis Cup in less than a year is a major accomplishment,” says Michael Mona III, VP of Operations for CannaVest Corp. “We were thrilled to come away with another first place finish over 40 other competitors.”

However, CannaVest has not made CBD Simple available to patients. Instead, the company uses the strain in the development of other CBD-rich hemp oil products.

The win comes four months after the Las Vegas-based firm was featured in a scathing Forbes article that tied CannaVest Chief Executive Michael Mona Jr. to another unrelated penny stock marijuana company’s executives, one of whom facing federal mortgage fraud charges. The article also questioned the effectiveness and production of CannaVest’s products, as well as its web of subsidiaries.

In May, CannaVest released a statement on its website claiming the Forbes article “marred” the company with inaccuracies and false information. The statement said: “Forbes repeatedly and mistakenly categorized CannaVest, a publicly-traded company that legally imports and sells hemp oil and products containing hemp oil, with companies that are commercializing products related to marijuana. The magazine also cast unfair aspersions on CannaVest leadership, which includes a prominent lawyer and respected public policy advocates who have supported hemp for decades. Forbes compared our leaders to marijuana company executives who have spent time in prison and are under investigation by regulatory agencies, that is a complete falsehood.”

CannaVest chalked up the Forbes piece as part of the larger battle hemp and marijuana firms face:

“As pioneers in the next-generation agricultural hemp industry, we at CannaVest have always known two things: (1) public demand for these products, coupled with demonstrable evidence of their value and safety, would eventually lead to public acceptance; and (2) misguided stereotypes about “the drug culture” would linger on even after legal commercial product launches.”

In closing, CannaVest said their products would prove naysayers wrong: “Ultimately, we are confident that our innovative science, the success of our product line, and the satisfaction of our customers will serve as the last word.”

The fact CannaVest continues winning cannabis cups does too.