Cavedale Road is bumpy – steep, narrow, its asphalt broken like a jiggled jigsaw. Perhaps this is as it should be, given that it is the road to the top of the world.
“Welcome to the Top of the World,” says Doug Gardner, the owner of the property high in the Mayacamas just yards away from the Napa County line. There’s a five-bedroom cabin next door called Top of the World, though Gardner’s family sold that part of the property in 1981. But no one wants to live there full time – the road is too bumpy.
Gardner, a sturdy 38-year-old, works by himself inside the fenced cultivation site, which has an acre’s worth of planted cannabis in both fabric “Geopot” barrels and in-ground beds. About a third of this crop is just days away from harvest, and the air is redolent with a fresh tart smell. Gardner’s name is apt – but, as it turns out, this is his first crop. Even so it’s a bumper one, thanks in part to the abundant water supply that the ranch is blessed with.
Hooker Creek bubbles out of a mountain slope just on the other side his driveway, and trickles year-round to a pond on the property. That pond provides the entire water supply for the acre of plants. Gardner has installed a pump at the pond to bring the water back uphill to the cultivation site, and a system of pipes and drip irrigation hoses distribute the water.
Gardner has suffered from epilepsy his whole life, but at some point he found that cannabis – especially CBD-rich cannabis – was of invaluable help in managing the disorder. He labored through the process of getting a permit from Sonoma County starting four years ago, insisting that he was going to grow “medicinal cannabis.”
One thing most people agree on: Federal marijuana legalization is coming.
When California legalized cannabis for adult use in 2016, many supporters acknowledged that the War on Drugs had disproportionately impacted communities of color around the state. It was, in fact, one of the selling points of Proposition 64, which went into effect more than a year later.
On the belief that the ballot initiative didn’t go far enough, though, social equity programs started springing up across the state in recent years to give special privileges to Black, Brown and low-income people who had been arrested and thrown in jail for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses and thereby barred from taking part in the new industry.
One survey, conducted in 2017 by Marijuana Business Daily, found that about 80 percent of the founders and owners of cannabis businesses at the time were White.
Neither the city nor the county of San Diego has a social equity program on the books and officials for both say they’re working to create one. By their own admission, they’re late to the game.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering that other municipalities in California have tried and failed to correct the injustices they previously identified. In some places, social equity programs have been portrayed as harmful to the same people they were supposed to help.
The second of three teens charged in an apparent robbery attempt that turned deadly last winter in Middletown has admitted guilt.
Judge Dan Haughey set sentencing for Oct. 26. Rhodus faces a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 16 years.
In May, Shepherd pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter with gun specification. He faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. Sentencing will not happen until after the co-defendants’ cases are completed, according to prosecutors.
Angela Combs, 41, was shot about 9 p.m. in an apartment in the 3100 block of Wilbraham Road by suspects who came to the door armed and apparently looking for payment of a debt, according to court documents. Combs was transported to Atrium Medical Center, where she died.
According to court documents, one of the 17-year-olds said he went to the residence armed with two other people to “get $60 that was owed to him for marijuana.”
Two area businesswomen want to open a cannabis growing, manufacturing and retail distribution facility in a building that once housed a Roseland charter school, but some area residents say they object to that kind of business in their neighborhood. Old School Cannabis, which has applied for permission to operate at the site, will be considered by the Santa Rosa Planning Commission during a scheduled meeting Thursday afternoon.
“We want to ... uplift the community and build jobs and uplift the culture,” co-owner and operator Nayeli Rivera said.
Rivera said she is a first-generation immigrant whose parents moved to Sonoma County in the 1970s. She added that she grew up in Petaluma and now lives in Sebastopol.
“Being Mexican-American and being a business owner in the (Roseland) community, I think, is just a wonderful opportunity and I feel very excited and very humbled,” she said. “There’s not many Latinos in cannabis and especially not women.”
Located at 100 Sebastopol Road, the former school building is bordered by industrial facilities to its north and south. Residential neighborhoods are on its other two sides.
The Las Cruces city council voted to pay the state back $400,000 that was going to go to a new hemp manufacturing company.
The city planned to invest $150,000 of its own funding in addition to $400,000 that the New Mexico Economic Development Department gave the city for 420 Valley, LLC.
The city's decision to retract the money was due to the fact that 420 valley was unable to meet its hiring goals.
"They we’re going to provide up to 55 jobs at a certain income level by 2023, December 31st," said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. "And then there was also another stipulation that they would have at least 18 jobs by December 31st of 2020 and we don’t believe that they’re going to fulfill that.”
“We started reaching out to people for the hiring process, getting it lined up, but we didn’t have anybody that was fully committed to come work for us," said Rick Morales the co-owner of 420 Valley.
At a public meeting on Saturday, Princeton Cannabis Task Force Chair and Councilmember Eve Niedergang GS ’85 said the “consensus” reached by the 24-member task force is “overwhelmingly that the benefits of having a dispensary in town outweighed the bad points.”
The meeting, held in Hinds Plaza, drew around 25 residents. Several members of the Cannabis Task Force — a group that includes council members, non-profit leaders, and business and citizen representatives — listened and tried to address locals’ objections to the prospect of allowing marijuana dispensaries to operate in the town.
“There is cannabis in Princeton, and there will be both legal and illegal cannabis in Princeton, so that’s not the issue before the task force,” said Niedergang, who has chaired the task force since its founding in March, after New Jersey voted to legalize cannabis in a November 2020 referendum.
In Princeton, 78 percent of residents voted for legalization, according to Niedergang. In August, Princeton “opted out” of the New Jersey blanket regulations on marijuana after a state-imposed six-month window to decide on regulations, temporarily banning marijuana businesses.
Not opting out would have allowed any segment of the cannabis industry — cultivation, manufacturing, wholesaling, distribution, retail, and delivery — to operate in the town. Niedergang explained that the temporary ban was enacted to give the task force time to proceed slowly and deliberately on the issue and provide sufficient opportunity for public input.
Michigan’s hemp industry could get up to $100 million in federal funds to help it compete globally under a proposal pushed by a nationwide growers association.
The state is one of four with emerging hemp industries targeted by the National Hemp Association, along with Oregon, New York and Florida. The funding would be for developing a “regional super site” in each state to aid in the industry’s growth, said Geoff Whaling, the association’s chair.
Hemp is a cannabis plant with a very low percentage of THC, the psychoactive element of marijuana. Developing the industry could benefit Michigan environmentally and economically, Whaling said. The plant has many uses, but the state’s auto industry is what makes it a target for development.
“The biggest potential use for hemp today, outside of food, is the automotive industry,” Whaling said. “That’s why we’ve called for $100 million of that money to be allocated specifically to Michigan.”
For example BMW is planning to reduce its carbon footprint by using hemp bioplastics, a renewable resource, in production, Whaling said. The growth of electric vehicles means more opportunities because hemp rope is lightweight and can hold an electric charge like copper.
Sometimes this job feels more like political analysis than stock market prognosticating. The reason? Marijuana stocks are intrinsically tied to politics. After all, until prohibitions against cannabis are lifted the world over, pot stocks won’t reach their full potential.
Which brings us to a tantalizing new prospect.
I’ve been writing about marijuana stocks for years now, and I’ve cooked up a number of ways federal U.S. marijuana legalization could get it done. From Congressional maneuvers, to presidential executive orders, to ballot initiatives, to Supreme Court interdictions, it’s safe to say that I’ve thought a lot about how U.S. pot legalization could happen—and happen fast.
After all, many of the pot stocks I routinely write about would skyrocket in value in the event of marijuana legalization in the U.S.
Which brings me to what I want to focus on now: the flagging Democratic Party approval ratings.
After the FBI seized Joseph Ruiz’s life savings during a raid on a safe deposit box business in Beverly Hills, the unemployed chef went to court to retrieve his $57,000. A judge ordered the government to tell Ruiz why it was trying to confiscate the money.It came from drug trafficking, an FBI agent responded in court papers. Ruiz’s income was too low for him to have that much money, and his side business selling bongs made from liquor bottles suggested he was an unlicensed pot dealer, the agent wrote.
The FBI also said a dog had smelled unspecified drugs on Ruiz’s cash.The FBI was wrong. When Ruiz produced records showing the source of his money was legitimate, the government dropped its false accusation and returned his money.
About 300 of the box holders are contesting the attempted confiscation. Ruiz and 65 others have filed court claims saying the dragnet forfeiture operation is unconstitutional.“It was a complete violation of my privacy,” Ruiz said. “They tried to discredit my character.”
Prosecutors, so far, have outlined past criminal convictions or pending charges against 11 box holders to justify the forfeitures. But in several other cases, court records show, the government’s rationale for claiming that the money and property it seized was tied to crime is no stronger than it was against Ruiz. Federal agents say the use of rubber bands and other ordinary methods of storing cash were indications of drug trafficking or money laundering.
They also cite dogs’ alerting to the scent of narcotics on most of the cash as key evidence. But the government says it deposited all of the money it seized in a bank, making it impossible to test which drugs may have come into contact with which bills and how long ago.
Jack Dwyer pursued a dream of getting back to the land by moving in 1972 to an idyllic, tree-studded parcel in Oregon with a creek running through it. “We were going to grow our own food. We were going to live righteously. We were going to grow organic,” Dwyer said. Over the decades that followed, he and his family did just that. But now, Deer Creek has run dry after several illegal marijuana grows cropped up in the neighborhood last spring, stealing water from both the stream and nearby aquifers and throwing Dwyer’s future in doubt. (Photo By: Shaun Hall/Grants Pass Daily Courier via AP)
Utah-based music producer Weldon Angelos was on his way to becoming a rising star in the hip-hop industry.
By the time he was 23, he had already worked with titans of rap such as Snoop Dogg and Nas, as well as former associates of Tupac Shakur. In the process of getting ready to stabilize himself with a lucrative contract with a major recording studio, he was arrested after selling $300 of marijuana to an undercover police informant on three separate occasions in 2002. (Photo Courtesy of Weldon Angelos)
It was believed by the jury at his trial that Angelos was carrying a firearm during the transactions, subjecting him to a different section of the federal code which called for a mandatory sentence for the music maker, who had no prior criminal record, of 55 years. He could have faced more than 105 years behind bars if all the stacking charges had stuck.
“He actually called on the president for a pardon, as he was sentencing me,” Angelos recalls to ABC4 “He called on [George W.] Bush, the president who appointed him to commute my sentence because he had no choice but to impose it and he certainly did not want to impose a 55-year sentence.”
Thirteen years later, Angelos emerged from prison after a prolonged effort that involved a group of influential American voices from incredibly diverse backgrounds. Believe it or not, folks like Utah Senator Mike Lee, former Senator Orrin Hatch, Cassell, the judge in the case, as well as entertainers like Snoop Dogg and Alicia Keys, all agreed on one thing: Angelos did not deserve to lose more than five decades of his life due to a first-time marijuana offense.
Many New Yorkers think it is high-time for marijuana sales to start up, but some towns and villages are still grappling with this decision.
Council members in Colonie, a town in the Capital Region, have voted to ban marijuana consumption sites within their district. Marijuana consumption sites are smoking lounges, cannabis cafes and other businesses that allow for cannabis to be consumed on premises.
Melissa Jeffers, a Colonie town councilwoman, says this vote mainly boiled down to concern that people might smoke at one of these consumption sites and then drive home.
“Without having appropriate mechanisms to test an individual's level, like with drinking while driving we have breathalyzers, we just don't have that technology,” Jeffers explained. “And it's a lot of pressure to put on our law enforcement.”
Local government officials have until Dec. 31 to decide if they want consumption sites or recreational marijuana retail stores within their town limits.
Now that recreational use of cannabis is legal in New York, what happens to the records of individuals convicted of marijuana related charges?
With the passing of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March, marijuana-related convictions that are no longer criminalize in New York will be automatically expunged.
However, the caveat is that legislation allows the New York State Office of Court Administration up two years to expunge the records.
This is New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, who represents New York’s 56th Senate District is hosting an expungement clinic on Saturday in Rochester to give folks an opportunity to speak with legal experts for free about their case and how they can expedite the process.
“They can give applicants the best advice on how to position themselves, how to be honest with employers, and a realistic time table in removing the offense off their record,” said Cooney.
Sonoma County cannabis growers and their allies gathered by the dozens Friday outside the Board of Supervisors’ office in Santa Rosa to denounce the county’s handling of commercial cannabis regulation and taxation, calling it overly burdensome and costly.
Taxes levied by the county are excessive, growers say, and a slow, convoluted local permitting process has hampered the expansion of their industry since California voters legalized adult-use recreational marijuana in 2016.
Without major changes, growers will be chased off or forced back into the black market, they say.
“They’re overburdening us with unachievable regulations,” said David Drips, a co-owner of cannabis farm Petaluma Hill Farms and co-organizer of Friday’s protest, which drew about 80 people.
Tensions have mounted between farmers and neighbors over safety, water use and other impacts on neighborhoods. The county has agreed to study those impacts in an lengthy environmental report advanced by supervisors in May and likely to take at least a year to complete.
Industrial hemp could soon contain a higher level of active substances, and getting a license to grow medical cannabis will become much easier if an amendment approved by Czech Parliament is signed into law.The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech Parliament, again approved an amendment aimed at improving the availability of medical marijuana and enabling electronic prescriptions. The lower house rejected a Senate proposal to maintain the current level of THC in the definition of industrial hemp and rejected the Senate’s tougher version of certification requirements.
The daft of the amendment sent to the president also states that hemp extracts and tinctures containing up to 1 percent THC will not be regarded as an addictive substance.
“This means that, for example, an ointment made from a non-narcotic variety of cannabis will no longer be an addictive substance, although it contains THC and although the original cannabis plant may have exceeded 1 percent THC. Due to the dilution of the active substances during the production of the ointment, an extract is created, which will not be an addictive substance in the sense of the law,” he added.
Medicinal cannabis is used, for example, for chronic pain for that other medicines cannot help. It is prescribed by specialized doctors for people with multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS.
The Health Ministry previously said it hopes this change will increase competition and reduce the price of medicinal products containing cannabis, which are 90 percent covered by public health insurance. Currently, the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) buys the needed volume of cannabis from a selected supplier on the basis of a tender.
“Due to financially and administratively more accessible licenses, even normal entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to participate in the production of cannabis for medical use,” Vymazal said.
Efforts to help Black and brown people succeed as cannabis entrepreneurs are not working — despite efforts in weed-legal states to encourage diversity in ownership and management.
Why it matters: People of color have been disproportionately targeted by the "war on drugs," so, as the pot industry expands, cities and states have tried to make social justice a priority in granting licenses.But people in underrepresented groups often lack access to the capital they need to go up against "big marijuana."They also lack the family-and-friends connections that give others a boost.
Driving the news: In July, three Democratic senators (Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden) released a discussion draft of legislation to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances — a move meant "to end the decades of harm inflicted on communities of color."
Comments have poured in on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would:
New Jersey courts have either dismissed or vacated an estimated 362,000 marijuana cases since July 1, according to data provided by the state Judiciary and reported by NJ.com
The actions come just months after the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order providing for the automatic dismissal and expungement of certain marijuana offenses from people’s records. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation into law in 2019 facilitating a process for the review and vacation of the criminal records of those previously convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. Governor Murphy signed separate into law this year legislation legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and sales.
As many as an additional 150,000 New Jersey residents could also be eligible to have their marijuana-related records automatically expunged by the courts, said MaryAnn Spoto, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary. People with marijuana cases that are not automatically expunged can file a motion for review with the court.
New Jersey is one of several states in recent months to automatically review and vacate marijuana-specific criminal records. In Illinois, officials have moved to expunge an estimated 500,000 marijuana-related records, and in California officials have cleared nearly 200,000 records.
New Jersey’s cannabis regulators on Tuesday moved to streamline the licensing of new weed businesses and approved another marijuana grow site — but it did not announce the recipients of some two dozen businesses that have sat in limbo for nearly two years.
Throughout the centuries, humans have depicted facets of everyday life into our artistic expressions. Snapshots of popular opinion at the time of creation can be gleaned from the penny plays and murals of old.A good barometer on public opinion can be gauged in the various forms of media available to us in today’s world. Just as the evolution of technology has dramatically improved the viewing experience, content has shifted over time to align with current public opinion on topics. While there is not unanimous support for cannabis legalization, representation in mainstream media has gained traction with the overall purpose of educating the public on the positive effects of cannabis use. Even in an area where reporting on cannabis legalization is occurring, biases occur that affect the overall impact of the article.
The timeline for overall public opinion on cannabis legalization can find its early days in Richard Nixon’s successful “War on Drugs.” This campaign regulated cannabis as a Schedule I drug and was so effective in its terror tactics that by 1989, 64% of Americans viewed drug abuse as the nation’s number one problem after climbing from a measly 2-6%.
Over the last three decades, there was a significant change in attitude towards cannabis due to various interlocking factors. After juxtaposition to modern calamities, the risk of cannabis was reassessed. Large-scale public skepticism of pain killers after opioid epidemics ravaged communities across the nation, potential financial opportunities afforded through the cannabis business, and the potential for many other unknown medical benefits of medicinal cannabis have all contributed to the legalization of cannabis.
As with many other topics of heated discussion, misinformation abounds on all sides of the argument; within the cannabis industry, in particular, heavy emphasis has been placed on education to counter opposition to legalization.
While there seems to be general support for legalizing cannabis in public opinion, this is not the case everywhere. In traditional media sources, such as news stations and newspapers, cannabis representation in media that is not nationwide can determine a territory’s overall attitude towards legalization.