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Potcast: Connecting 'Cannaseuers'

The next wave of marijuana businesses specialize in connecting investors and entrepreneurs. One San Diego startup hopes to build a social network both offline and online.

Sumeet Harish

Sumeet Harish is one of the partners behind the new Culinary Cannaseur Club. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Many industries have places where professionals, both young and old, can hobnob and break bread. Weed is no different.

And since San Diego crafted a system for adult-use marijuana businesses, there’s been a wave of private clubs offering to connect investors and entrepreneurs who might not know one another but whose interests are the same. They want a piece of the new and limited regulatory system.

“It’s really in the beginning stages, but there’s a lot of fight over who gets what and how can I claim my ticket,” said Sumeet Harish, a marketing executive with the startup Culinary Cannaseur Club. “You need a lot of money and a lot of connections.”

On this episode of the Voice of San Diego Potcast, Harish gave me and Kinsee Morlan a sense of the high-end parties that the company hosts. Spoiler: There’s Michelin-quality food and “a level two som.” You know, short for sommelier.

In the same way that a credit card company or an airline might celebrate its best vendors, players in the marijuana industry can gather in a physical place and trade cards and talk about their collective challenges — like flying in the face of federal opposition. But it’s more than a special event. Members can communicate offline and online.

“Eventually we’ll be able to communicate just like any kind of network, like LinkedIn,” Harish said.

Also on the show, Morlan and I stopped to appreciate more confusion over Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound with medical benefits that’s manufactured in oil, vape and edible forms (we went over a bit about the science, or lack thereof, in a previous episode).

Turns out that while similar-looking CBD products may be regulated by different agencies, only one may require a license because it derives from marijuana and not industrial hemp. I thought that was a needlessly complex way of governing, but Morlan set me straight: Hemp and marijuana come from the same species, but they’re distinct plants.

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