As state law enforcement played whack-a-mole with illegal marijuana
fields, local communities protested the "invading army."
Driving through Humboldt County last winter, I heard radio ads for
help harvesting and selling cannabis crops, as well as for products
geared toward commercial cultivation. But less than 40 years ago, the
same area was one of the main battlefields of California's war on pot
By the late 1960s, the three counties of the Emerald Triangle had
developed a reputation for growing a high-quality product. Demand grew
rapidly, and prices skyrocketed, fueling greater production. In 1983,
after several unsuccessful attempts to cut down production, the state
started the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP.
[continues 704 words]
SACRAMENTO - Alarmed that unlicensed cannabis sellers continue to
dominate California's pot market, state lawmakers are moving toward
imposing steep new fines on businesses that provide building space,
advertising platforms and other aid to illicit operations.
Those who provide assistance to illegal pot sellers would face civil
fines of up to $30,000 per day under legislation approved unanimously
by the state Assembly that is now pending in the Senate. A final vote
on the proposal is expected sometime after lawmakers return to
Sacramento this month.
[continues 903 words]
SAN FRANCISCO - As the novel coronavirus rages on, few industries have
experienced quite as many highs and lows as California's cannabis industr=
Just a month ago, it looked like California's weed trade was headed
for a shutdown, which would have landed a devastating blow to many
businesses that are already struggling. Then, state officials deemed
pot "essential," and many stores reported the biggest days of sales
since recreational marijuana became legal. Now, a more sobering
reality is setting in: The marijuana industry is unable to tap into a
federal stimulus package or bank loans.
[continues 1377 words]
Largest such move in California comes amid nationwide push for
criminal-justice reform and relaxing drug laws
Los Angeles County will vacate nearly 66,000 marijuana convictions
dating back to the 1960s, part of a growing national effort to reduce
The move, announced Thursday by Los Angeles County District Attorney
Jackie Lacey, will dismiss convictions for tens of thousands of
individuals, the majority of whom are black or Latino.
"As a result of our actions, these convictions should no longer burden
those who have struggled to find a job or a place to live because of
their criminal record," Ms. Lacey said in a press conference Thursday.
[continues 532 words]
Three years after recreational marijuana was legalized in California,
it still casts a cloud over most job applicants.
Many employers in the state still require drug screening as a
prerequisite for hiring someone, experts in the hiring field say. And
while recreational use and possession are allowed for people 21 and
older, failing a drug test can still prompt an employer to toss a
resume into the reject pile.
But with 11 states now legalizing recreational marijuana use, there
are new perspectives that might be giving workers something of a break.
[continues 517 words]
For years, Richard Manning knew what he needed to cope with his
physical pain, rage and PTSD - much of which he traced to a
career-ending knee injury he suffered while on a domestic security
detail with the Marines.
Cannabis may not have been a cure-all, but it was the closest thing
he'd ever had to one.
Manning, a resident of Elk Grove, Calif., didn't have enough money to
buy the daily amount of cannabis he needed, but he was able to get it
through a network of charitable donors spawned by the Compassionate
Use Act, a 1996 California law that allowed marijuana to be used for
[continues 992 words]
As California enters its third year of legal recreational cannabis
sales, many expect upcoming new laws, high-profile court cases and
major criminal justice reforms to shake up the industry.
Marijuana advocates are wary after a challenging second year, but most
also are hopeful that changes in 2020 will put them in a better
position a year from now.
"We always knew it would be an uphill battle," said Robert Flannery of
Dr. Robb Farms, a cannabis cultivation company based in Desert Hot
Springs. "But there are very few people who are not generally
optimistic about the cannabis industry."
[continues 971 words]
LOS ANGELES - Every Sunday, about two dozen people gather at a green
cabin along the main drag of Big Bear, Calif., a small mountain town
known for its namesake lake. They go there for Jah Healing Church
services, where joints are passed around.
April Mancini, a founder of the church, said she was drawn to the idea
of cannabis as a religious sacrament back in 2013, after she met a
Rastafarian who was running the place as an unlicensed medicinal dispensary.
[continues 2224 words]
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Gavin Newsom led the campaign to legalize marijuana in
California three years ago but has since angered some in the industry by
refusing to allow pot in hospitals and outlawing its use on tour buses and
Newsom took the action on tour buses and hospitals as he signed
several other bills in the last few weeks that will ease pot
restrictions, including measures waiving taxes on cannabis provided
for free by charities to people with serious health problems and
allowing parents to provide medical marijuana products such as oils,
creams and pills to their sick children on K-12 school campuses.
[continues 918 words]
SACRAMENTO - Three years after California legalized the sale of
recreational marijuana, most voters want municipalities to permit pot
shops in their communities even though the vast majority of cities have
outlawed them, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of
Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times.
According to the poll, 68% of Californians say legalization has been a
good thing for the state, an increase in support since 2016, when 57% of
voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized growing, selling and
possessing cannabis for recreational use. The poll results come as city
and state leaders are battling in court and the Legislature over control
of California's pot market, including a dispute over efforts by
California lawmakers to force cities to open their doors to cannabis shops.
[continues 953 words]
The Lowell Cafe is a new restaurant and bar in West Hollywood that
will allow diners to smoke marijuana inside and out thanks to a new
license issued by the city. It's slated to open Oct. 1 and when it does,
it will be the first of its kind.
If you're imagining a giant smoky room filled with bowls of weed,
couches and lots of pizza, think again. Imagine instead a functional
restaurant with servers, plus a special air-filtration system that sucks
up and filters the smoke from people smoking weed, everywhere.
[continues 504 words]
CARPINTERIA, Calif.-On a recent sunny morning in this beach town near
Santa Barbara, realtor Gary Goldberg ran into Das Williams on the
street and raised a concern: A persistent skunky aroma had required
him to knock $18,000 off the sale price of a condo.
"It smelled like marijuana," said Mr. Goldberg, adding that buyers
threatened to pull out because of the odor.
Mr. Williams, a Santa Barbara County supervisor who helped craft
regulations for large cannabis farms here, assured the realtor that he
was doing everything he could to tamp down the smell. The argument
over odor is part of an acrimonious debate over how to regulate the
region's growing marijuana industry, pitting farmers against some residents.
[continues 595 words]
Southern California immigrant with DACA status travels to Mexico so he
can become a legal permanent resident. But instead of getting the OK
for a green card, he's prevented from re-entering U.S.
Jose Palomar packed only a small suitcase because he thought his trip
to Mexico would be brief.
Seeking legal permanent residency, he had no choice but to go. But
now, nearly two months later, he's still in Mexico and barred from
returning to his home in the United States.
[continues 1567 words]
In the next few weeks, Nicholas DiPatrizio's lab at UC Riverside will
receive a shipment of marijuana.
DiPatrizio, a professor of biomedical sciences, then will begin giving
mice precise doses of cannabis oil to see how marijuana impacts their
weight and a host of serious health conditions often linked to obesity.
The study marks the first time UC Riverside has received federal
approval to conduct research on marijuana -- or any other substance in
the Drug Enforcement Administration's strict Schedule I category. It
also marks the school's first cannabis-related grant, with $744,000
from tobacco taxes being used to finance this three-year research
project on how marijuana affects metabolic health.
[continues 1049 words]
Planet 13 in Las Vegas has attracted international attention since it
opened perhaps the world's biggest marijuana store last fall, with
3,000 people shopping each day for newly legal cannabis products while
surrounded by light shows and interactive art displays that feel
natural a few miles off The Strip.
Now Planet 13 has announced that its second location - and likely the
largest cannabis shop in California - will open early next year. And
since it's being billed as the "Disneyland of dispensaries," it's
fitting that it's opening just six miles from the theme park, in an
industrial stretch of Santa Ana.
[continues 734 words]
The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that
decriminalizes certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, a
move that makes Oakland the second city in the nation to do so.
The resolution instructs law enforcement to stop investigating and
prosecuting people using the drugs. It applies to psychedelics that
come from plants or fungi, not synthetic drugs like LSD or MDMA, also
known as ecstasy.
After the vote, nearly 100 supporters rose from their chairs, clapped
and cheered loudly.
"I don't have words, I could cry," said Nicolle Greenheart, the
co-founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. "I'm thrilled. I'm glad
that our communities will now have access to the healing medicines and
we can start working on healing our communities."
[continues 459 words]
UCSF psychiatrist Brian Anderson is studying an experimental therapy
to help long-term AIDS survivors - people who were infected with HIV
in the 1980s and never expected to live this long - who are feeling
sad and demoralized.
In a clinic outfitted with a comfortable couch, soft lighting, throw
pillows and blankets, the participants of his study are given
psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms. They
lie down for a few hours, a mask over their eyes and soothing music
playing in the background, and experience a psychedelic trip.
[continues 1514 words]
To his die-hard fans, Mr. Sherbinski is a storied name in marijuana.
A celebrated California cultivator, he helped create the Gelato and
Sunset Sherbert strains that have been name-checked in more than 200
hip-hop songs, including "First Off" by Future and "Bosses Don't
Speak" by Migos.
At the Business of Fashion's Voices conference in London last year,
his brand, Sherbinskis, was introduced as "the Supreme of marijuana."
And when Sherbinskis released its first sneaker design last year at
ComplexCon, a two-day festival of hip-hop and fashion in Long Beach,
Calif., the limited-edition Nike Air Force 1 model sold out in two
hours. (There is a pair currently on eBay asking more than $1,000.)
[continues 609 words]
COSTA MESA, Calif. - In the forests of Northern California, raids by
law enforcement officials continue to uncover illicit marijuana farms.
In Southern California, hundreds of illegal delivery services and pot
dispensaries, some of them registered as churches, serve a steady
stream of customers. And in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco,
the sheriff's office recently raided an illegal cannabis production
facility that was processing 500 pounds of marijuana a day.
It's been a little more than a year since California legalized
marijuana - the largest such experiment in the United States - but law
enforcement officials say the unlicensed, illegal market is still
thriving and in some areas has even expanded.
[continues 1323 words]
SAN FRANCISCO - A billion dollars of tax revenue, the taming of the
black market, the convenience of retail cannabis stores throughout the
state - these were some of the promises made by proponents of
marijuana legalization in California.
One year after the start of recreational sales, they are still just
California's experiment in legalization is mired by debates over
regulation and hamstrung by cities and towns that do not want cannabis
businesses on their streets.
California was the sixth state to introduce the sale of recreational
marijuana - Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington paved the
way - but the enormous size of the market led to predictions of
soaring legal cannabis sales.
[continues 1167 words]