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The 'Eaze' app for iPhone.

The 'Eaze' app for iPhone.


The State of Sativa

As Legal Weed Looms, Good and Bad News for California Stoners


A marketing tip for Santa Barbara pot growers getting set for legalization of recreational sales in 2018: Aim some ad dollars at Mother’s Day.

That’s one merchandizing conclusion to be drawn from a new “State of Cannabis” report, based on a survey of 5,000 clients of Eaze — a mobile app and online platform that arranges 20-minutes-or-less-deliveries of legal pot to a claimed 250,000 California medical marijuana consumers.

The “Uber of Weed,” as it’s known in Silicon Valley, does not yet operate in Santa Barbara, where several smaller firms offer online services.

As a financial matter, however, Eaze provides a glimpse of the sleek and sized-to-scale, Big Pot corporate future of retailing in California, forecast as a $20 billion market, when recreational sales become legal next year.

“Every 30 seconds, someone orders marijuana on Eaze,” proclaims the company’s site, which offers clients a detailed menu of product choices, as well as online connection with physicians.

WHAT WERE SMOKING: Entrepreneur Keith McCarty launched the corporation in 2014. To date he’s received more than $20 million in financing from venture capital firms, according to the tech press, in addition to original investor Snoop Dogg.

A major company asset is the huge database it continues to build, which compiles and catalogues the tastes and trends of hundreds of thousands of pot consumers. Some intriguing findings from the second annual “State of Cannabis” survey:

• The most popular strain of marijuana in the 100 cities served by Eaze is the hybrid “Gorilla Glue #4,” with sales equivalent to “30,000 pre-rolls,” according to the report, which also tracked big gains by “Bubba Kush,” “Girl Scout Cookies” and “Jack Herer,” along with declines in demand for “Sour Diesel” and “Blue Dream.”

• The fastest-growing products are manufactured vapor cartridges, which surged 400 percent in sales in one year, at the expense of pot in flower form, which sharply declined in 2016, from 75 percent to 54 percent of Eaze total sales. Sorry, Carpinteria.

• The top three usage holidays, to the surprise of no one, are the traditional 4/20 (April 20) pot celebration; “Green Wednesday” (the day before Thanksgiving) observance, and, of course, Halloween (shout-out to Isla Vista).

Less predictable, however, are several other special occasions that round out the Top 10 list, including Veterans Day (#4), Earth Day (#9) and Mother’s Day (#10).

In a financial world where survival of a small business against behemoth corporate competition often depends on sales to a distinct niche, a wily merchant might consider offering a special holiday package: Get mom baked before a sumptuous Mother’s Day brunch at the Fess Parker.

Plenty of free parking.

ON THE OTHER HAND: In Sacramento, Governor Brown has proposed $51 million in his new budget to establish a legal framework that would align new guidelines for recreational pot, authorized by passage of last fall’s Proposition 64, with existing benchmarks for medical marijuana.

Amid the debate, there remains nagging concern about the possible threat to implementation of the initiative posed by the White House administration of President Hair Boy.

Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, and new Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a long record of opposing legalization.

Among his past statements: “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” and “We need grownups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized ….”

In his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions wiggled around on the issue, saying at one point that enforcing federal law in 29 states where pot now is legal might overtax his budget, but declaring at another that he would “not commit to never enforcing federal law.”

So California’s independent Legislative Analyst has urged lawmakers to go slow, warning them in a new report that “federal policy could change in the future, which might affect the state’s ability to effectively implement regulations on cannabis.”

Sheesh.



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