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How Will The California Wine Industry Be Impacted By The Growing Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis Consumption?

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Image by  Stay Regular  from  Pixabay

Image by Stay Regular from Pixabay

It’s an exciting time to be someone who uses cannabis, whether you fancy yourself a connoisseur, or whether you’re a casual recreational user, or whether you mainly use cannabis for explicitly medicinal purposes. The political climate right now is more favorable towards cannabis than at any point in decades, nearly a dozen states have legalized it, and with more research and innovation, there are a simply staggering number of different products hitting the market.

Basically, as an increasing number of states have embraced legalized recreational cannabis in recent years, that’s created myriad new opportunities for collaboration and intersection with the food and beverage industries. The cannabis wave has also, however, raised some questions and uncertainty over what impact it might have on the alcohol business, particularly the wine industry, which needless to say is a major economic force in the state of California.

The Current State of Legalization

Today, 33 States and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Another 11 states have legalized recreational cannabis, and 15 states along with the U.S Virgin Islands have moved to decriminalization. 

It’s also clear that cannabis grows on both sides of the political aisle, with a strong majority of Democrats supporting legalization, and nearly half of Republicans supporting it too. In short, after decades of political intractability, this is an issue that seems primed for rapid, widespread progress in the next several years.

With cannabis on the rise as a legal consumer good, it’s piqued interest from some big players: notably, Constellation Brands, the Arizona Brand, Marlboro/Altria, Lagunitas Brewing Company/Heineken International, and The Family Coppola, who have all invested in the industry to varying capacities. 

3rd Annual Wine and Weed Symposium 

With so many parallel industries so clearly getting ready to join in on the cannabis action, it’s no surprise that many people are wondering what’s next. After all, cannabis and wine do seem like a natural pairing; whether you’re searching for the perfect finish on a Pinot Noir, or looking for that perfect terpene profile, there’s a lot that wine-lovers and cannabis aficionados can share in common.

It was in service of finding those common causes that the 3rd Annual Wine & Weed Symposium took place in Santa Rosa, CA on August 8th. The event brought together industry professionals from both sides to explore the impact cannabis is having on wine, and to explore what might be ahead.

The event kicked-off with a keynote from Corey Beck, the CEO of Francis Ford Coppola Winery, who shared “experiences from his twenty-plus years in the wine industry and his unique insight into the collaborations that are possible between wine and cannabis.” Specifically, as the Wine Industry Network noted in its coverage of the event, Beck touted the winery’s recently launched “The Grower’s Series, a cannabis lifestyle brand with a limited edition collection featuring three unique 100% organic cannabis flower strains.”

Throughout the day over 500 attendees enjoyed a wide array of discussion topics covering the impact on wine sales in legal states, beverage industry’s investment in cannabis, cannabis consumer purchasing trends, marketing lessons learned from cannabis, and a talk about women finding their way into the cannabis space, a crucial element of forming a representative industry. In fact, our own companies — Nice Guys Delivery and Nice Guys Distribution — were co-founded by Monica Gray, a leader at the forefront of the local cannabis industry.

Monica Gray and other panel members at the 2019 Meadowlands Cannabis Event

Monica Gray and other panel members at the 2019 Meadowlands Cannabis Event

Drilling Into Consumer Buying Trends

The symposium’s discussion on consumer trends, given by BDS Analytics Vice President of Consumer Insights Jessica Lukas, drew a lot of attention. Her talk was titled “The Cannabis Impact on Wine,” and she used her platform to reveal some interesting data tracking how marijuana is affecting the beverage industry. And while cannabis is a booming, nascent industry, she gave some useful perspective on just how big a market gap still exists between the two. Namely, as the Wine Industry Network detailed in its coverage of the event, while the US cannabis market is huge, it still pales in comparison to the U.S. alcohol market, which is almost 14 times larger.

In the states with the longest history of legal adult-use cannabis sales, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, alcohol sales don’t currently seem to be affected by the legalization of recreational cannabis. “In most cases, it would appear that both alcohol and cannabis sales are growing together.” Whether this coexistence would be impacted  by nationwide legalization, however, remains to be seen.

Cannabis Beverages Are On Everyone’s Mind

When thinking about the different ways cannabis could impact wine, it seems that the most direct form of competition comes from the cannabis beverage category which is part of the larger edibles category. Edibles currently comprise 15 percent of the overall legal cannabis market, and beverages are 6 percent of that. One impediment to beverage sales has been flavor, which can be a challenge given the distinct and at-times overpowering scent and taste of cannabis; although plenty of people grow to love it, it’s not necessarily an instant crowd-pleaser for newcomers. 

According to Lukas, these taste concerns are the “number one consumer driver for this category.” It will be interesting to see what new products are rolled out in the years to come, and whether consistently palatable to exceptional flavors begin to thrive in the market.

Lukas also said there was a “large percentage of people, who presumably used to think of a particular social or recreational occasion as purely a wine occasion, but now consider that it could be either a wine or cannabis occasion.” It’s key to understand that cannabis is currently burdened by additional regulations hindering people from consuming it in public places like bars and restaurants, even beyond the kinds of open container laws that prohibit alcohol consumption in public spaces.

As cannabis grows and integrates into society it will continue to shed its stigma, with more states turning online, it will no doubt have an impact on alcohol. 

Instead of worrying about the market share cannabis could take from the alcohol industry, it seems more pragmatic to seek ways to align with the marijuana industry. After all, the potential for competition is obvious; as more and more people learn about the potential benefits of cannabis on health and society, momentum behind legalization will build even further. The question is how well these two industries might coexist with each other, or even in some ways complement each other.

There are some interesting parallels within the cannabis and wine space from a regulatory perspective, too . Both industries know what it’s like to endure prohibition, they’ve each been heavily regulated, and just like wine appellations, cannabis is working with the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) to establish its own set of appellations. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, cannabis cultivators can look forward to a system in place no later than January 1st, 2021.

How do you feel about the intersection of wine and cannabis? If you have any thoughts or comments, please leave them below! We love to hear from our readers!

Written by: Dan Osterman


Cannabis News In Marin County and Across the Country | Nice Guys News

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Nice Guys | Cannabis News

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Illinois Legislature made history today becoming the second state legislative body to pass a bill repealing cannabis prohibition, joining the great state of Vermont. But, they went one step further by also legalizing regulated cannabis commerce.

Once Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signs the bill, Illinois will officially be the 11th State to legalize cannabis in the US. This move gives more strength to the common sense decision to end Federal prohibition on cannabis.

On January 1, 2020 adults in “Illinois will legally be able to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of concentrates and 500 milligrams of cannabis-infused products. These things won’t actually be available on New Year’s Day though.” As seen in many other states, the regulatory hoops usually take a bit of time to get through.

Read the full story by clicking here

Historic FDA Hearing Today! Cannabis Companies Lobby the FDA to Fully Legalize CBD.

Concerns over exaggerated health claims prompt FDA hearing on effects of CBD products. Read the full article by clicking here. 

Today, the FDA held its first hearing on whether companies can add CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis compound, to food, beverages and dietary supplements.

“In 2018, the Farm Bill removed hemp and derivatives such as CBD from the federal list of controlled substances so long as THC percentages don’t exceed .03%, but the law gave the FDA the authority to regulate all cannabis compounds, including CBD. The FDA has had a relative hands-off approach so long as companies haven’t made exaggerated claims about curing Alzheimer’s or cancer, but it would be good for the cannabis industry and consumers to have clarity, so long as the FDA doesn’t unnecessarily stifle the market.”[3]

The FDA is not likely to make any decision on the first hearing. The regulators will more than likely collect data on safety and effectiveness of CBD and see how it can regulate the industry. The process will go a step forward if majority opinion goes in favor of CBD. One thing we’ve learned from walking through the licensing process and dealing with the local government is that it is really important for people to show up at public events, workshops, and hearings to help mold the industry in the way you want to see it develop.

Get the full scoop


Marin County | Local Cannabis News:

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Have you ever considered working in the legal cannabis industry?

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Novato Cannabis Status:

At their May 14, 2019 meeting, the City Council held a Cannabis Community Workshop to receive public comment and discuss the option to tax cannabis businesses or activities. Council provided feedback to staff, and staff will continue this process at a future Council meeting. Learn more.

It’s really important for the public to show up to these events.

Fairfax Cannabis Status

Marin County doesn’t currently have any brick-and-mortar recreational cannabis storefronts. Fairfax Town Council heard public comment as it moves toward a local ordinance and permitting process recently, and it’s possible they could become the first city in Marin with a retail storefront for the recreational cannabis market.

Learn more about the Fairfax cannabis discussions. Click here

San Rafael Cannabis Program
In July 2019, the City of San Rafael will be opening a second round of licensing for the following cannabis licenses:

  • Cannabis Testing Labs: 4 licenses available. Process opening July 2019

  • Infused Product Manufacturing MIPs: 10 licenses allowed, 3 licenses available. Process opening July 2019

  • Non-storefront  Delivery: 5 licenses allowed.  All licenses allocated.

  • Distribution: 4 licenses allowed, 2 licenses available. Process opening July 2019.

    *Nice Guys have a license for delivery and distribution in San Rafael, CA.
Cannabis Gross Receipts Tax Rates
  • Cannabis Testing Labs: 1%

  • Infused Product Manufacturing MIPs: 3%

  • Non-storefront  Delivery: 4%

  • Distribution: 1%

Learn more about the San Rafael Cannabis Program. Click here


If you haven’t seen “Weed the People” yet it is now available on Netflix.

Stream “Weed the People” on Netflix.

Stream “Weed the People” on Netflix.


Watch Mara Gordon give a recent TEDx talk on cannabis. *She is featured in “Weed the People,” along with her products made by Aunt Zelda’s.




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Episode 007: Not Your Average Nice Guys Podcast

Special guest: Heath from Bloom Farms

Have you listened to the “Not Your Average Nice Guys” Podcast yet? It’s produced by our team as a way to remove the fear out of marijuana. They interview industry members and talk about what it’s like to work in the legal California Cannabis industry. It’s a lot of fun and it’s really informative. I recommend giving it a listen.

Listen to us interview Heather who is an Account Manager for Bloom Farms in our latest episode. She is a wonderful example of a woman who’s growing with the industry.


Show Notes: #005 Cosmic View | A Mother and Daughter Cannabis Company

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Show Notes: #005 - Cosmic View | A Mother and Daughter Cannabis Company | A company founded on integrity | San Rafael, California


Meet  Nicole  and   Christine  Skibola  from  Cosmic   View  - A San Rafael Cannabis Company!

Meet Nicole and Christine Skibola from Cosmic View - A San Rafael Cannabis Company!

Tags: Cosmic View, Nice Guys Delivery, San Rafael, California, Marin County Cannabis, Topicals, Tinctures


“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” — CARL SAGAN

Cosmic View was founded in 2017, as a marriage between science, art and California lifestyle. Their line of products mirrors an obsession with pure earth products that honor our role as caretakers of this planet and the cosmic order of nature. 

Christine Skibola:

Christine Skibola is a former UC Berkeley professor and a leading international cancer researcher.  Semi-retired from academia, she is pursuing her passion helping those with cancer and other chronic illnesses through lifestyle and dietary changes and holistic approaches.  Using her scientific background, Christine produces Cosmic View’s topical and supplemental cannabis formulations aimed at helping individuals with health conditions. 

Christine was a Professor of Epidemiology and an Endowed Chair of Oncology in the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama, Birmingham until 2016.  She received an MS and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences with an emphasis in toxicology and genomics at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where she remained as a faculty until she was recruited to UAB in 2012. Her main research focused on the study of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that influence cancer risk and disease. She is considered an international leader in the molecular epidemiology of lymphoma and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Emory School of Medicine.  Dr. Skibola is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed science journal articles in prestigious publications such as Nature Genetics, Blood, Lancet Oncology, and JAMA Oncology. Before she (mostly) retired from academia, she worked with doctors from the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Memorial Sloan Kettering and UCSF to name a few. 

Dr. Skibola is interested in the role of diet, lifestyle and mind-body practices in the prevention and treatment of cancer, as well as exploring how cannabis may be used to treat cancer symptoms and disease. Dr. Skibola is passionate about directly empowering patients regarding their health.

NICOLE SKIBOLA

Once trained as a lawyer, Nicole Skibola is a cancer survivor and artist. Nicole is a recent Brooklyn transplant and lives in Marin County, California. Her passion for holistic health deepened after surviving a rare endometrial cancer at a young age. Nicole has been interested in cannabis products, particularly CBD extractions for her ongoing physical health, notably for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties.

Nicole is the author of Wakeful Night, published with Dottir Press in the fall of 2018. Wakeful Night is an illustrated exploration of cancer-related loss she developed to lead readers through their own stages of identity, fear, and metaphorical thinking associated with a cancer diagnosis. Through art -- the book also contains a series of Skibola’s abstract linocut prints and India ink paintings -- and some narrative storytelling, Wakeful Night aims to support readers to understand their experience of cancer and develop a creative practice.

Nicole brings business savvy and a love for beautiful packaging and modern aesthetic to Cosmic View and is in love with the holistic health practitioners in her life she feels fortunate to call friends.  She is interested in the role of diet and lifestyle, such as Ayurveda, juicing and meditation in her ongoing physical and mental health, as well as the role of personal storytelling in making sense of life's unexpected turns. She has worked with the USC Norris Cancer Center, the Brooklyn Cottage, and will expand her creative grief work in relation to cancer with the publication of her book in the fall. She is a regular contributor for A Women’s Thing, a print and online magazine based in New York where she writes about entrepreneurship, feminism and finding your path.

Wakeful Night:  An illustrated memoir

Wakeful Night: An illustrated memoir


Additional Show Notes:

- Listen to what it means to have a "cosmic view." 

- Get to know why they believe cannabis should be used as a daily medicine and isn't the monster many people believe it to be.

- All of their products are cut with high-quality Tuscan blend Olives - learn about Olive Oil's health benefits 

- Get to know their vision for the companies future.

- Learn about CBD and its interactions with other drugs

List of Products:

Viva la V! Vaginal Health Balm

Deep Down Deep Tissue Balm

Psori-Assist Skin Relief Balm

Cycle Soothe Women's Pain Balm

20:1 Tincture

3:1 Tincture

1:1 Tincture

All of their are products made with love and integrity

All of their products are made with the highest quality ingredients that are certified organic or grown with sustainable/organic farming methods, including their Sonoma County olive oil which is currently undergoing Oregon Tilth certification. Their full sun California cannabis is made with a low-pressure CO2 supercritical extraction process to retain the full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids. Their herbal formulations are infused with wildcrafted or organic herbs in heirloom Northern California extra virgin olive oil from Sonoma County.

No hemp, isolates, added terpenes, additives, preservatives, flavorings, sweeteners. Only the purest ingredients for the purest medicine. Their products are science-based and made by hand with love in San Rafael, California.

Purchase Nicole’s Book: Wakeful Night



Find Cosmic View online

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Music created by Nice Guy: Joifulnoiz 🎧

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Which Cannabis Strain do you prefer?

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Do you prefer Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid cannabis flower? Does it matter to you?

And what feeling are you seeking when consuming?

Cannabis is an extremely unique plant. No two people have the same experience, and even if they could biologically-speaking, they still couldn’t, because each cannabis strain and each harvest is different. Cannabis is alive and constantly evolving.

At Nice Guys, we recommend tracking your experience. It means you should take ownership of your cannabis use by becoming interested in what you’re consuming and tracking how it makes you feel (actually write it down).

Become curious. Ask your licensed cannabis provider questions and reach out on social media to start a dialog with others. Prohibition will end when more of us begin to open up and talk about all the ways cannabis helps our lives.


Find us online!

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Have any questions? Send us an email!

Originally posted on Medium ***