Week in Review: Roy Choi’s New Infused Snacks; The Case for Making 420 a Paid Holiday
ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis spectrum.
In this week’s cannabis news round-up, lawmakers in the Constitution State ramp up its post-legalization program; a cultivation company makes 420 a paid holiday for its multi-state teams; educators join forces to further unify the sector; PAX announced limited edition sneaker collab with international artist Stan Birch, and celebrity chef Roy Choi releases delicious new infused savory snacks.
Chef Roy Choi and TSUMo Snacks Make New Savory Edibles
Legendary chef Roy Choi has teamed up with TSUMo Snacks to create two delicious new chef-driven edibles for the Californian market: Spaghetti & Meatballs and Spicy Cheesy Ramen snack bags, both infused with 100mg of THC.
“It took me a long time to get into the cannabis-infused edibles game because I wanted to honor the cannabis plant that I love so much,” Choi said. “It was important to me that if I developed a cannabis edible, it be authentic, inclusive, thoughtful, delicious, and most of all, fun—the same approach I take with all my other food projects. The opportunity had to feel right and not rushed. As luck would have it, the timing finally lined up, and I met the team at TSUMo Snacks, who I knew were the right people with the right spirit.”
Caroline Yeh, co-founder and CEO of TSUMo Snacks, says the partnership brings a sense of humor and a blended identity that’s an homage to Los Angeles food culture.
“Partnering with Choi was the perfect opportunity to experiment with new flavor profiles and stretch the notion of what an edible could be—a more fulfilling snacking experience,” Yeh says. “As a proudly diverse and AAPI-led company, we partnered with Choi because we share a passion to represent the underrepresented in this industry. It’s about food, culture, community and reflecting that anyone can be a part of that community.”
The new products will be available in California MedMen locations starting today, before rolling out statewide on May 1.
PAX Launches Limited-Edition Sneaker Collab With Artist Stan Birch
Calling all sneakerheads! Popular cannabis brand PAX has announced its latest creative collab that elevates cannabis culture with a limited-edition custom collaboration with international sneaker artist and designer Stan Birch, of FLOU Customs.
The collection ties in with the newest lineup of PAX Plus flower vaporizer devices. Each pair of handmade Nike Dunk Low sneakers features custom stitching, lacing and gold-stamped foil and aims to highlight the intersection of cannabis, design and fashion and celebrates modern cannabis culture, Lauryn Livengood, senior director of brand marketing at PAX said in a press release.
“PAX supports artists, because artists have always supported us — from fashion to music to art and beyond, which are all core pillars of our brand,” Livengood said.
Designer Birch brings a global perspective to the intersection of style, street culture and art under his flagship brand FLOU Customs.
“Street culture in its globality represents everything for me. From shapes to fabrics, to technology, the sneaker itself has been evolving non-stop since the creation of vulcanized rubber. Cannabis has always had an inevitable crossover with that culture,” Birch said.
“For this collaboration, I drew inspiration from the harmonious PAX device colors, which coincidentally were exactly the kind of subdued colors I usually use in my creations. I wanted to add something that truly made it a luxury product given the premium nature of their devices, so we engraved the PAX logo with 22-karat gold leaf, and added a beautiful golden cannabis leaf on the toe box.”
The limited edition sneakers will drop on April 20, making their debut at the 420 event, Let There Be Light fashion show at the House of Cannabis in SoHo, New York. PAX is the presenting sponsor of the event itself, which is hosted by cannabis brand Sundae School.
Conception Nurseries Makes 420 a Paid Holiday
In a move likely to be replicated in multiple states, Conception Nurseries, a cannabis tissue culture specialist company with offices in California and Oregon, announced it’s making April 20 (420) a paid day off for all employees.
“The paid holiday is the company’s way of showing gratitude for the hard work and dedication of our employees,” said Kevin Brooks, founder and CEO of Conception Nurseries. “Taking the day also gives us a chance to reflect on what our hard work in this industry is for—where we have come from and where we are going.”
Kristian Andreassen, Conception Nurseries’ VP of product development, says it’s great to see a company celebrating and recognizing how far the industry has come.
“For too long, we had to hide what we were doing, talk in code and fly under the radar. Now we can come together and celebrate the plant out in the open,” Andreassen said. “By taking this day, we are celebrating the freedom we now have to grow and enjoy the plant.”
Connecticut Prosecutors Drop Over 1,500 Cannabis Cases in Expansion of Legalization Relief
As part of the state’s post-legalization criminal erasure program, Connecticut’s state prosecutors have reviewed more than 4,000 pending drug-possession cases and have dropped charges on 1,562 of them, reports the CT Post.
The review and termination of cases follow the 2021 legislation to create an adult-use recreational market in the Constitution State, where local lawmakers are currently drafting a bill that would direct the state Division of Criminal Justice to stop pursuing cannabis-only crimes.
In a report submitted to members of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee on April 7, Chief State’s Attorney Patrick J. Griffin stated that of the 4,248 cases, 1,773 included substances other than cannabis, while 624 cases will be modified, dropping cannabis from the overall charges.
In his submission, Griffin explained to the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee that his staff had to carefully assess each ongoing case since the state statute listed cannabis among other banned narcotics, including cocaine and heroin.
“It has been the shared position of this committee and the division that persons charged with a possession of a cannabis-type substance offense that has subsequently been de-criminalized should not be prosecuted for that offense,” Griffin wrote. “Thus, identifying these cannabis cases could not be accomplished merely by conducting a computerized review of pending cases. The 4,248 cases statewide including 2,139 pending and 2,109 in re-arrest status.”
The legislation was approved by the committee on a 27-10 party-line vote. Still, co-chairman and state representative Steve Stafstrom, a Democrat from Bridgeport, predicted that it would likely be changed in the following weeks before being debated on the House floor.
“This clears up confusion that may have been created under the legalization-of-cannabis process, whereby certain offenses that were pending before cannabis legalization remained pending even after that legislation was adopted,” Stafstrom said.
Educators Create Coalition to Strengthen Cannabis Curriculum
In a move that’s geared towards “strengthening the quality and standards of cannabis educators to drive safer outcomes for consumers and support employment within the industry,” a slew of cannabis educators and institutions, including Oaksterdam University, Stockton University, the Cleveland School of Cannabis and the Minority Cannabis Academy, among others, have joined forces to create The National Association for Marijuana and Cannabis Educators (NAMCE).
NAMCE’s founder Tyrone Russell, who is the president of The Cleveland School of Cannabis, has worked in higher education for more than a decade and believes the move will help strengthen both the industry and the wider cannabis community.
“In traditional higher education from the Ivy League to the Pac 12, you find agreements amongst institutions who bypass this idea of competition in favor of collaboration which strengthens their foundations and upholds standards of education as a unified community,” Russell said in a press release.
Founded in 2022, NAMCE will focus on aligning approaches, language and relevant curriculum of cannabis educators and trainers; reinforcing industry standards for cannabis education that lead to employment pathways; forming a community of practice for cannabis educators to improve their skills in the delivery of cannabis education; and building and legitimizing the industry by helping organizations develop high quality education and partnerships.
“Steel sharpens steel and if one institution falls, the entire foundation of cannabis education is questioned,” Russell said. “We as educators and trainers should understand that we can’t create these standards in a vacuum or allow opportunistic companies to pop up and call themselves cannabis educators if we are serious about industry sustainability.”