Tags Posts tagged with "California"

California

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Lawmakers in California have taken a page from laws establishing sanctuary cities for immigrants to create a bill aimed at protecting marijuana from a federal restriction. Similar to laws defending undocumented immigrants, the recently introduced Assembly Bill 1578 would bar cooperation by police in the state with federal authorities seeking to bust marijuana growers and sellers operating legally under California law.

The proposed legislation would prohibit state and local agencies from using local money, facilities, or personnel to assist a federal agency to “investigate, detain, report, or arrest” any person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical marijuana activity that is authorized by law in the State of California, and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”

Authorities in California would also be restricted from responding to requests by federal authorities for the personal information of anyone issued state licenses for a marijuana operation. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D), the lead sponsor of the bill, said the measure would protect “one of the greatest businesses” in California amid fears of a crackdown by the Trump administration.

Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML said, “This is the equivalent of noncooperation on deportation and environmental laws, part of the larger California resistance to federal intrusion.” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association stated, “It really is quite offensive. Legislators want to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”

The first state to make medical marijuana legal was California, and last year it passed a referendum making recreational marijuana legal as well. Currently, medical marijuana use is legal in 28 states and the nation’s capital. Recreational use is legal in eight states and Washington, D.C. States are now girding for a fight with the feds. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has warned of “greater enforcement” on recreational marijuana use. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last year that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

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What will local dispensaries do with the cash once they can sell marijuana legally to any adult? Businesses are going to have to hide it because most of the major banks won’t accept it. In spite of the passing of Proposition 64 the sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so it is mostly a cash-only business.

Concerned about the financial future of California’s growing marijuana industry, state treasurer John Chiang and the 16-member Cannabis Banking Working Group recently met at Oakland City Hall to hear testimony about the industry’s obstacles and find a solution to the state and federal conflict.

Chiang stated, “We hope to find some field within this deep forest where people can have a sense of what the rules and standards are, so they can decide how much risk they want to take on, what practices they choose to engage in.”

Joe DeVries, assistant to Oakland’s city administrator said an all-cash economy is not only dangerous, but stunts the growth of the cannabis industry and is inefficient, causing city governments to lose tax revenue. He said, “This is the only industry that is begging to pay taxes, the only industry that is begging to be regulated. The safer it becomes, the safer for consumers and the better for governments.”

To pay taxes, DeVries stated, “people are coming in with backpacks full of cash. This is not only unsafe but it takes time to count. We have to hire additional staff to sit and count the money. That is what cities will have to deal with” if the state doesn’t make the pot business as legitimate as other industries.

It’s not an entirely new challenge. For years, medical marijuana dispensaries and growers have been forced to use cash to pay their employees, rent, utility bills, taxes, and other expenses putting themselves at great danger. The concern will be magnified once licenses are issued for recreational sales in 2018. California’s marijuana industry is anticipated to bring in an estimated $1 billion in new tax revenue, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Larry Thacker, CEO of Caliva, San Jose’s largest dispensary said, “We can’t take credit cards. We can’t get access to capital. We can’t get credit lines. We can’t normalize our banking relationships. Every bank we talk to doesn’t want to talk to us. I implore you to help us come up with a solution that dramatically lowers the risk to our business.”

Debby Goldsberry of Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland-based medical marijuana dispensary recently said, “I have been kicked out of our finest banks, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Our local credit union kicked us out.”

Growers face similar problems. Grower Kaiya Bercow, CEO of a Santa Cruz-based farm, which is paid for its product by dispensaries entirely in cash, said, “Banking is a nightmare. We do currently have bank accounts, but the vast majority of our finances are handled in cash. Numerous local and national banks have closed our accounts once they discover we are a cannabis company and are ‘high risk.’ “

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San Diego became the first major urban area in the state to prepare for the recreational marijuana sales allowed under Prop. 64, the cannabis legalization ballot measure approved by voters in November, as reported by The San Diego Union Tribune. It is legal for all adults 21 and over in California to consume, grow, and possess cannabis, but the only places where it can be bought legally are existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Retail pot stores may open as early as January 1, 2018. Cities and counties need to allow dispensaries, and state legislators need to create statewide guidelines for recreational cannabis farming, sales, and testing.

January 1st as the first day of sales is now looking vague, as some state legislators have called for a delay in order to have more time to create guidelines. However, as San Diego’s City Council proved, less than two months is plenty of time to get it done. All 15 of San Diego’s current licensed medical cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana as well, once the state proposals come through, the newspaper reported. Any future dispensaries will also be able to sell to all consumers over the age of 21.

Later this year, the council will deliberate legalizing commercial cannabis farming, distribution, and lab testing. Police had recommended that all of the above be banned “based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.” The basis for those worries was judged and believed to be weak. Particularly weak, considering 62% of San Diego voters approved Prop. 64, and the city could rake in almost $30 million per year in tax revenue. San Diego is the first major city in California to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana, which means the city is ahead of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento in getting ready for pot’s legal future.

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California farms, sells, and consumes billions of dollars worth of cannabis. For more than ten years, medicinal cannabis cardholders have been able to purchase marijuana over the counter in licensed dispensaries, who remit taxes to the state and federal governments. Still, figuring out how to do the same with recreational cannabis retail stores, something four other states have figured out, is turning out to be too complicated for the world’s seventh largest economy.

When a big majority of California voters were in favor of Prop. 64 and legalized recreational cannabis use and growing for adults 21 and over, they also set a date for when retail sales would be able to start, January 1, 2018. Sometime in between that day and Election Day, lawmakers would have to come up with a set of rules. That’s the same time frame legislators in Colorado had to set up the nation’s first legal sale. However, according to legislators in California, including those for whom cannabis is supposed to be a problem, it just is not enough time.

“Being blunt, there is no way the state of California can meet all of the deadlines before we go live on January 1, 2018,” state Senator Mike McGuire told the Sacramento Bee. “We are building the regulatory system for a multibillion dollar industry from scratch.” Even if Colorado, then Washington, then Oregon, and then Alaska had not provided California with a model to follow, the state in 2015 passed regulations for medicinal cannabis. Prop. 64 was specifically modeled after the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in fall 2015. Legislators like McGuire, who represents a cannabis-growing region, and yet opposed Prop. 64, were on the hook for finalizing a host of details before licenses to grow, transport, test, and sell medical marijuana were issued.

And in over a year, they haven’t gotten around to that so they can’t possibly be expected to figure it out in less than a year. This heel-dragging is being seen all across the United States. Legislators in Massachusetts want to set back the start of recreational cannabis sales thereby as much as two years. It is common as lawmakers really have no incentive to delay.

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Co-founder of Vapium, a Canadian marijuana vape-maker states, “If you have a passion, any passion, we need advocates and allies. If you’re a baker, we need bakers. If you’re a lawyer, we need lawyers. Anyone who has empathy for people who need weed, and is driven, is welcome in the marijuana industry. There’s still so much opportunity.” The cannabis industry seems like it’s ready to take off. In 2016, the legal weed market in North America Generated $6.7 billion, up 30% from 2015, Arcview Market Research announced.

Washington DC has passed laws allowing medical cannabis use. Recreational marijuana is currently legal, and has been decriminalized in 13 states. In total, more than 20% of adult Americans have access to marijuana, both recreationally and medically.

Harun was manufacturing robotic toys before she thought about marijuana as a business. She was living in Hong Kong in 2012 and she gained passion when her partner, Vapium co-founder Michael Trzecieski, an engineer, was called into a factory they worked with to assist on an e-cigarette fix. He suggested they switch their business model from toys to e-cigs. “But we’re anti-tobacco. Canadians have had a medical marijuana program since the 1990s. I grew up knowing adults who smoked weed. It’s medically recommended for 200 conditions, and it could help a lot of people who are popping pills right now,” Harun stated.

Harun thinks the developing acceptance of marijuana as therapy makes it even easier to get into the industry. She recommends that anyone who is interested think about applying an existent passion to the developing marijuana market. Harun stated, “Think of a problem you want to solve and the people who suffer from it, even something simple like stress, or menstrual pain, and consider how cannabis could be or is being used to address it.”

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California was already known as a major cannabis producer well before it legalized recreational marijuana in November. The state’s marijuana crop is not only the most profitable product in the nation’s biggest agricultural state, it is much farther ahead of the next most popular crop, according to the Orange County Register. California’s mild climate made Central Valley the breadbasket of the world at one time and provided the United States with fruits and vegetables that grew in very few other places. However, the biggest crop in California’s assorted bounty is currently marijuana.

The Orange County Register places the value of California’s marijuana crop above the top five best agricultural goods combined using data from the State Department of Food and Agriculture: Marijuana at $23.3 billion, Milk at $6.28 billion, Almonds at $5.33 billion, Grapes at $4.95 billion, Cattle/Calves at $3.39 billion, and Lettuce at $2.25 billion. The figure of $23.3 billion for the marijuana crop is almost three times what Arcview Market Research predicted that California’s legal market would be after legalization of recreational marijuana.

According to the California Protected Area Database, the total area of protected land in California is 49 million acres, which is a large amount for the most populous state in the country. This includes 1.3 million acres of state park land and more than 20 million acres of national forest.

California marijuana producers are clearly growing billions of dollars worth of pot in these areas that are not being accounted for by the state’s legal market. However, with most of the marijuana on the U.S. market coming from California, as Alternet pointed out, the phenomenon of growing on protected land won’t stop until people in states like New York and Florida can grow their own.

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In case you missed it this New Years the citizens and tourists got a wonderful welcome when they looked up at Mount Lee in HollyWood, or should we say “HOLLYWEED!” The Iconic Hollywood sign was given a hilarious, yet impactful redesign given that the state of California now has recreational marijuana after a November 8th vote in favor of the law change by its illustrious citizens.

A Vandal, scratch that, a HERO, climbed Mount Lee under the cover of night to change the landmark with some tarps and huge balls to signal that 2017 marks the occasion of “HOLLYWEED.”
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The captured security footage recorded at 3 a.m. Sunday displayed a “lone individual” scaling up the mountain, climbing the sign’s ladders and hanging tarpaulins over the O’s to switch them to E’s, said Sgt. Guy Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services division.

It could have been a New Year’s Eve prank, Juneau said, or the work of “a thrill seeker.”

The surveillance footage displays a person dressed in an all black outfit, along with tactical-style gear. One of the tarpaulins was decorated with a peace sign, and another with a heart. Because the sign was not damaged, the prank will be investigated as misdemeanor trespassing. The police have currently no suspects.

Some Angelenos joked that the alteration reflected California’s recent vote to legalize recreational marijuana. The New Year’s Day change is far from the first time the Hollywood sign has been edited by artists and pranksters.

The sign was built back in 1923 as an advertisement for a housing development, originally read “Hollywoodland.” Mother Nature became the sign’s first editor, knocking out the H in a violent storm way back in 1949. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce restored the letter but removed the “land” the same year.

On New Year’s Day of 1976, the sign became “HOLLYWeeD” for the first time — this was due to the works of Cal State Northridge student Daniel Finegood, who climbed Mount Lee with $50 worth of curtains. The alteration was his project for an art class assignment on working with scale. Needless to say, he earned an A!

So to this Cannabis Advocate, activist or enthusiast we atf MarijuanaStocks.com Salute you!

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Hope for legalized cannabis in California began in 1996, when voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, that enabled physicians to recommend marijuana to their patients. This November, voters approved Proposition 64; a measure that legalizes cannabis for adult recreational use and could signify hope for the end of the federal government’s war on marijuana.

For almost twenty years weed has in-a-sense been available to individuals over the age of 18 who are willing to pay for a medical recommendation which can be obtained without leaving their bedroom. It is as simple as logging onto a website, paying a few dollars and Skyping with a doctor. Dispensaries opened everywhere in cities like Los Angeles, which struggled to develop regulations.

Despite the fact it is simple to obtain; cannabis is still listed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug (with no accepted medical benefit), officially considered as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. And medical literature, though research has been limited in this country by the federal ban, is rife with studies showing potentially beneficial uses for the drug.

Marijuana has been proven to be effective with certain types of intractable childhood epilepsy. It helps with nausea for chemotherapy patients; stimulates the appetites of people with AIDS. It is believed to assist with certain types of neuropathic pain. Many combat veterans experiencing PTSD use cannabis to ease symptoms. Professional athletes have preferred the benefits of cannabis over prescription drugs for chronic injuries.

There are some cannabis activists who reject the idea of marijuana being used recreationally. They feel it has medical use, even if that use is relaxation following a hard day’s work. In any event, following the legalization of cannabis, many Baby Boomers who used marijuana in high school and college, picked it back up. In various affluent circles, marijuana is as commonplace as chardonnay and carries about as much stigma.

For teenagers, low-income African Americans and Latinos, pot still functions as a gateway drug … to the criminal justice system. For police, the whiff of weed offered an excellent opportunity to stop, search, run license plates and arrest. The new law no longer allows this.

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Voters in California approved the legalization of cannabis a month ago— to date. However, before counting even a single vote, officials in San Diego County’s law-enforcement division were preparing in advance to get former weed “offenders” out of jail. California has long been one of the country’s most pot-friendly states. Currently, (due to the approval of Prop. 64 on Nov. 8) all residents ages 21 and over can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants in their private residence legally.

Although retail marijuana shops will not be open for operations until 2018, the current possession laws became effective at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9th. That is when individuals incarcerated for a prior “crime” could petition for release.

Criminal justice officials were prepared.

As per San Diego-based KPBS; long before the vote, prosecutors and court officials reviewed court records with defense attorneys to locate individuals “in custody, so we could accomplish [their release] that much faster,” stated Rachel Solov with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.

Approximately 20 prisoners in San Diego County have been released from custody, the station reported. “Dozens more” are to have reduced sentences and about 300 more will get off of probation early, KPBS reported.

Similar releases are occurring across the state. Prosecutors in Sacramento, San Mateo as well as San Francisco rounded up a total of about 375 cases where sentences will be reduced or prisoners released outright. The impact of Prop. 64 will stretch far beyond jails. Many more individuals can finally be relieved of convictions for petty marijuana offenses. Public defenders in San Diego said they still get phone calls from clients whose prior pot charges keep them from getting a job. The majority of people whose lives were ruined by cannabis prohibition are black or Latino.

Approximately 2,000 individuals in county jails or state prisons in California are eligible to have lessened sentences as per Prop. 64, the Drug Policy Alliance said to the San Francisco Chronicle. Lawmakers in the state said that legalization will save them tens of millions of dollars in incarceration and enforcement costs. It is ironic that the counties who have benefited the most are the ones with the strictest policies on marijuana and who also opposed legalization. Before the vote, these anti-pot folks stated that Prop. 64 was not legalization at all and would actually lead to more marijuana consumers in jail.

Considering the fact that growing even a single cannabis plant was a possible felony before the vote and is now legal— and considering that penalties for sales, production and transportation have all been significantly reduced; it is not clear where that logic began, but the discrepancies are easy to see. Legalization opens the door for pardoned offenders to enter the cannabis market. The state’s licensing guidelines require state permits to be denied to certain felons, but allows exceptions for individuals convicted of a cannabis crime—the same former “crimes” that may soon be expunged.

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Even though currently there is no way to effectively determine marijuana impairment, a California lawmaker is attempting to pass a law in the upcoming legislative session which would give the state’s highway patrol permission to test every motorist they think is driving high. Tom Lackey, a veteran with the California Highway Patrol, introduced a piece of legislation (Assembly Bill 6) in the beginning of this week, in hopes of giving police officers the right to utilize roadside testing devices on drivers they think are under the influence of pot. The proposal was created to fight the rise in marijuana consumers that Lackey assumes will be driving in the streets now that California voters have made marijuana completely legal.
“California cannot wait any longer to take meaningful action against drugged driving now that voters have passed Proposition 64,” Lackey stated in an emailed statement to HIGH TIMES. “Using new technology to identify and get stoned drivers off the road is something we need to embrace.”
Much like administering a breathalyzer for alcohol, Assembly Bill 6 would give cops permission to swab the saliva from individuals they consider stoned. This would be bad for the state’s medical marijuana patients and recreational users considering these roadside testing methods are not effective in determining actual impairment. The bottom line is that this proposal gives the police an open door to harass the average cannabis consumer.
“The bill does not prescribe a ‘per se’ legal limit as California has done for blood alcohol content measured by alcohol breathalyzers nor does it change the rules for obtaining a drugged driving conviction,” reads a legislative summary. “Law enforcement will still be required to prove a driver was impaired based off of field sobriety tests, blood or urine tests and other additional evidence. A positive oral fluid test will simply confirm to the officer that a drug is present in the driver’s system.”
It is very unfortunate that officials such as Ken Corney; president of the California Police Chiefs Association, do not appear to be concerned that this law could cause a significant rise in the amount of arrest as well as loss of driving privileges for innocent people because of an unjust DUI conviction. The idea that a saliva sample; which can only determine whether or not an individual has used marijuana within the past month, is enough to pursue charges is absurd.
“The ballot initiative passed this year to legalize marijuana will result in more marijuana consumers on our state’s highways and roads,” Corney stated. “It is imperative that we invest in a broad spectrum of technologies and research to best identify marijuana-impaired drivers. Our federal partners have demonstrated the efficacy of oral fluid testing, and we look forward to utilizing the technology at a state level.”
During the last several years, marijuana experts have been attempting to sway state officials all over the nation that a better tool for gauging cannabis impairment is required in order to properly police the issue in a manner similar to alcohol. As of this time no one has had the ability to bring an effective test to market, although there have been many groups claiming to be on the verge of a breakthrough in breath test technology. A similar bill was introduced last year in the California General Assembly but failed to pass. We can only hope the same happens in 2017.

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