Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seniors Citizens’ Pot Shop Planned for Berkeley

by David Downs
Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Senior wellness advocate Sue Taylor. - SUE TAYLOR
  • Sue Taylor
  • Senior wellness advocate Sue Taylor.
Senior citizens could get a medical marijuana dispensary of their own, under a new proposal that advanced at the Berkeley City Council meeting last night.

The council agreed to move forward with six different proposals vying to become Berkeley's fourth dispensary. Among them — something of a unicorn in the industry: a dispensary to be owned and operated by a senior, African-American woman.

In an industry dominated by young white males, Berkeley resident Sue Taylor’s proposal stands out. 

Taylor is a former senior outreach coordinator for Harborside Health Center, who was featured in our 2011 story “No Cannabis For the Sick and Dying” about medical cannabis access issues for seniors.

She’s authorized by the State of California to teach the state’s medical cannabis program to nursing home directors and staff. 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Watch: US Justice System Hits Rock Bottom, Admits It Has Problem

by David Downs
Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:14 PM

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Addiction specialists often say admitting a problem is the first step toward recovery. Well, VICE magazine, in conjunction with HBO, released on Monday for free an hour-long bombshell documentary that depicts the US criminal justice system hitting rock bottom, with both President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder saying the system is broken.

The president says it could be anyone’s family that can be shattered by this system, which Senator Cory Booker says is set up to “crush” low-income Americans. The criminal justice system is institutionally biased according to race, “particularly when you think about non-violent drug offenses,” Holder says. “It’s not normal.”

In related news, the FBI released new data yesterday showing US marijuana arrests rose to more than 700,000 in 2014. Almost 90 percent of those arrests were for simple possession. One person will be arrested for marijuana about every minute, which means while you read this, someone just got cuffed. Blacks are up to thirty times more likely as whites to be arrested for pot in the United States, despite similar usage rates.


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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pot Union Organizer Dan Rush Pleads Not Guilty to Corruption, Attempted Extortion, and Money Laundering

by David Downs
Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:59 AM

Dan Rush, the long-time face of union efforts to organize America's cannabis industry, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges of corruption, attempted extortion, and money laundering. Rush, an Oakland resident, faces up to twenty years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.

A federal grand jury in Oakland indicted Rush on September 17 with charges of taking illegal payments as a union employee, honest services fraud, and other crimes.

That indictment came after a bombshell affidavit in the case became unsealed in August. Rush was arrested on August 11 and posted bond for $500,000. The affidavit, and indictment contain a litany of charges.


Leading labor organizer in the cannabis industry Dan Rush says he is not guilty of federal charges. - DAN RUSH
  • Dan Rush
  • Leading labor organizer in the cannabis industry Dan Rush says he is not guilty of federal charges.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Drug War’s End: Oregon Is Expunging Pot Records

by David Downs
Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Oregon has taken the lead in righting some of the wrongs of the War on Weed. On Monday, The New York Times reported on Oregon’s leadership in expunging marijuana violations from citizens’ records.

Even simple pot tickets can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life, sabotaging job hiring and other milestones. So Portland’s Metropolitan Public Defender’s office is running “expungement clinics” to forever seal records of past pot crimes.

The Times interviewed a 43-year-old mother dogged by a pot ticket from her twenties. She handed a bong to a cop more than two decades ago, and it has disqualified her for jobs and she couldn’t volunteer at her kid’s school. Now, no one will see that conviction ever again.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Californians Might Sell $2 Billion in Legal Weed In Year One

by David Downs
Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:01 AM

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Californians might sell about $2 billion per year in legal cannabis under full legalization. That back-of-the-envelope estimate comes from the latest data out of Washington, where fifteen months of legal marijuana has resulted in $357 million in sales of pot products, reports indicate. California is 5.5 times more populous than Washington. Californians are almost certain to vote on at least one legalization initiative in November 2016.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Best Thursday Event This Week? Our World-Class Cannabis Author Showcase!

by David Downs
Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 12:36 PM

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We're proud to announce that our world-class Cannabis Author Showcase IV is one of the Bay Area's best free events to attend Thursday night.

SF FunCheap has dubbed the free night of author talks, book signings, refreshments and fun a Top Pick for Thursday, and it is. 

Listen to the event description with our new spot on The Hash podcast, or read below:

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Historic California MMJ Bills Head to Governor Brown's Desk

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 11:15 PM

With a midnight deadline looming, California lawmakers passed a series of bills to regulate the country’s oldest, largest medical marijuana system for the first time.

Assembly Bills 266 and 243, and Senate Bill 643 passed both the Senate and Assembly before midnight Friday — all but guaranteeing their signature by Governor Jerry Brown.

You can read details of the vote here, and analysis of the bills here, here, and here, as well as learn about the legislation's road to the Governor's Office here.

See you Monday with more analysis.

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California Medical Marijuana Regulations — What’s in SB 643?

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 10:14 PM

On Friday evening, both the California Senate and Assembly are expected to pass amended versions of Assembly Bill 266, AB 243, and Senate Bill 643 — the three bills containing California’s historic new medical cannabis regulations.

What precisely was in those amendments had been anyone’s guess, right up until they dropped.

Here is the latest text of SB 643, which passed the Assembly Friday evening to be voted on by the Senate by midnight.



In summary:

— The governor, under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, appoints, subject to confirmation by the Senate, a Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation inside Department of Consumer Affairs.

— The Department of Food and Agriculture regulates cannabis cultivation. The DFA will also create a track and trace  program for reporting the movement of medical marijuana items throughout the distribution chain.
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— The State Department of Public Health regulates manufacturing and testing of medical cannabis.

— The rules around doctors recommending cannabis aren’t really going to change.

— A qualified patient “does not provide, donate, sell, or distribute cannabis to any other person is not thereby engaged in commercial cannabis activity and is therefore exempt from the licensure requirements of this chapter.”

— Primary caregivers can have up to five patients.

— All non-personal, non-caregiver activity is considered commercial, and requires licensing.

— All licensees will have to submit a full set of fingerprints for the purposes of conducting criminal history record checks.

— You may be denied a license for breaking the regulations, a felony conviction for the illegal possession for sale, manufacture, transport, or cultivation of drugs, or a violent or serious felony.

— We’re going to get certified Humboldt appellations, and growers will be able to sue for trademark violations.

— SB 643 authorizes counties to impose a tax on medical cannabis.

— Cannabis businesses of twenty or more employees must get a “labor neutrality agreement”.

California Medical Marijuana Regs: Here's What's Inside AB 243

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 6:45 PM

Jim Wood.
  • Jim Wood.
On Friday afternoon, both the California Senate and Assembly are expected to pass amended versions of Assembly Bill 266, AB 243 a nd Senate Bill 643 — the three bills containing California’s historic new medical cannabis regulations.

What precisely was in those amendments had been anyone’s guess, right up until they dropped. Here is the latest text of AB 243.

Assemblymember Jim Wood's part of the regulations focus on cultivation regulations and licenses.

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Here’s What’s Inside California’s Historic Medical Cannabis Regulations - AB 266

by David Downs
Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 5:51 PM

On Friday afternoon, both the California Senate and Assembly are expected to pass amended versions of Assembly Bill 266 and Senate Bill 643 — the two bills containing California’s historic new medical cannabis regulations.

What precisely was in those amendments had been anyone’s guess, right up until they dropped. Here is the latest text of AB 266.


Bottom line: The laws call for a robust, modern, fully functional medical cannabis industry, subject to stringent regulation. The days of the Wild West are coming to an end. A massive underground industry is set to begin a historic, years-long reckoning with regulators, and it's going to be a bumpy ride. 

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