California edition / September 07, 2019
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1 EXPUNGMENTS, POWERED BY CODE FOR AMERICA

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PHOTO BY DANIEL JENSEN ON UNSPLASH

S.F.’s Code for America started rolling out software that will make automated expungement available in every California county.  The non-profit has already cleared thousands of records in small counties such as Yolo as well as L.A. and S.F. counties and is poised to do more in Chicago.
New York Times/Filter

  • Illinois has about 770,000 convictions eligible for expungement.
  • One of the complexities of expunging pot convictions en masse is the power of district attorneys, the vast majority of whose counties have long and sustained histories of 420-unfriendliness. These D.A.’s now control how expungement will be implemented.
  • The Stanford Criminal Justice Center says reforms such as expungement suffer from a lack of transparancy by courts, prisons, and law enforcement, as well as  inconsistencies in data collection.
This week on the podcast
The Spice Dealer’s Reckoning

2 RECORD CROP-SNATCH OUTSIDE SANTA ROSA

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PHOTO BY JAY STONNE ON UNSPLASH

What goes through the mind of the gangster growing weed in the mountains as news breaks of cops seizing more than 63,000 plants in Sonoma County? Does it feel like the tightening of a noose? Or has the Summer of Eradication — which seems as oblivious to traditional Labor Day cutoffs as the heat itself — functioned simply as a super-challenging new variable in the traditional market’s ongoing game of Survive and Advance?

What’s going through their minds? Tensest. Harvest. Ever.
San Jose Mercury News

  • Interspersed with corn, the plants on five properties south of Santa Rosa were discovered by inspectors with Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department on Wednesday.
  • Despite an ongoing uptick in raids — including power shutdowns of illegal operations — the crackdown on illicit pot has yet to prove impactful for the legal bud biz.

Quick Hit

  1. The headline of this interview is “What You Need to Know to Be Successful in the Cannabis Industry.” And when its 3:10 run-time is done you’re not like, “Ooh, I now have le secret sauce!” But you’re not dumber, either.
    Green Entrepreneur
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3 WEED BANKING: THIS IS HAPPENING, RIGHT?

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PHOTO BY JAY STONNE ON UNSPLASH

California Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg's (D-Van Nuys) Bill 51 earned Assembly approval last Friday, and that means charter banks and credit unions that serve California cannabusiness are on the cusp of becoming a reality.  
Cannabis Wire

  • The new law would permit the Department of Business Oversight to license “cannabis depository institutions.” The institutions could take deposits as well as issue “special purpose” checks and redeem them as well. Account holders could compensate venders as well as pay state and local taxes and fees. Rent, too.  
  • If Bill 51 passes in the Assembly it goes back to the Senate, where it originated, for approval. Marked urgent, the bill would immediately take effect if, as expected, Gov. Newsom signs it into law.
  • As the recent outbreak of dispensary robberies in Sacramento has shown, legal weed operators have targets on their backs and at least need to be seen as not awash in cash.

4 L.A. RETAIL PHASE 3: NUG BROTHER OR NOT?

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PHOTO BY JAY STONNE ON UNSPLASH

Over the next two months, more than 1,600 eligible applicants will compete for 100 new retail permits from the City of Los Angeles. This might sound like reality show material, but the competition is serious.
MJ Biz

  • L.A.’s third phase of retail licensing started Tuesday morning and remains open until September 17 at 10 a.m.
  • Eligible applicants—all of whom qualify for the city’s social equity program—will get priority in having their applications processed. L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation verified more than 1,600 applicants through July.

Quick Hit

  1. The Assembly has passed “Jo Jo’s Act,” a bill that would permit MED in schools. What’s left is for Gov. Newsom to do what Gov. Brown would not and sign the bill.
    San Diego Union-Tribune

5 IN 2020, FRESNO COULD GET MED AND REC

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Intially, Fresno’s City Council had planned to have a year gap between its MED plan going into effect and the arrival of REC. But slow progress on that weed ordinance means that next year could see MED and REC approved.
Fresno Bee

  • The city has yet to approve a MED dispensary applicant, despite them being approved last December.
  • “It’s a little frustrating because the process has taken a lot longer,” said Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria. “We’re trying to craft the social policy and regulations.”

6 HOMELESSNESS MEETS OAKLAND WEED REGS

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PHOTO BY TRISTAN GEVAUX ON UNSPLASH

In Oakland, a half dozen homeless men tend 35 plants in rows of makeshift planter boxes. The gardeners live on the recently-emptied lot, in an R.V. and a pair of old Muni busses. 

The City of Oakland says the arrangement is illegal, but for now they’re going to let it slide. This story “highlights the complexities of managing two surging trends in Oakland and other Bay Area cities: homelessness and cannabis regulation.”
SF Chronicle

  • Oakland is in negotiations with land’s owner to convert the parcel into an RV parking lot run by the city.
  • A few residents and business owners have complained, but the transient growers say they are within state law, which states that each individuals can own as many as six plants for personal use. 

7 ONE STEP CLOSER TO MEXICAN LEGALIZATION

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Mexico’s Senate filed its REC legalization bill on Tuesday, a month ahead of  a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to end prohibition.
Marijuana Moment

  • The legislation also contains provisions for MED and hemp.

8 NATION HOLDS BREATH IN VAPE PEN MICRO-PANIC

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PHOTO BY DAVIDE RAGUSA ON UNSPLASH

Perhaps you’ve not heard. But people are freaking out about the arrival of a vaping sickness. Like, losing their minds a li’l bit. 
Sacramento Bee

  • Los Angeles — a city of just under 3.8 million people — has 12 cases of the hot-topic illness. One of those cases resulted in a death.
  • “What makes this all the more difficult is that many patients won’t admit to vaping cannabis because it’s illegal in New York,” said one New York pediatric pulmonologist.

9 TUESDAY MIGHT BE MAGIC AS BERKELEY VOTES ON ‘SHOOMS

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PHOTO BY JAKOB OWENS ON UNSPLASH

Two months after Berkeley's Public Safety City Council voted to consider legalizing naturally occuring hallucinogens, the governing body will vote whether to advance to the council's recommendation.
Marijuana Moment.

  • The law's proposed language reads "no department, agency, board, commission, officer or employee of the city, including without limitation, Berkeley Police Department personnel, shall use any city funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults of at least 21 years of age.”
  • A statewide legalization movement is being lead by Ryan Munevar, our guest on Monday's WeedWeek podcast.

10 EVERYTHING OLD IS COOL AGAIN

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PHOTO BY ALEXANDER POPOV ON UNSPLASH

It's never a bad thing to think that underground clubs are hanging weed culture. Never.

But...

If you were ageless and omnipotent and hip enough and you could go to all of the bud-fueled parties in all of the decades from the Jazz Age on you would see weed bringing diversity to American life and acting as a platform for new ideas.

Still, it's never a bad idea to support the energy and production of underground parties.
Merry Jane

  • California will always be a cutting-edge force in queer culture. The author highlights Puff, a monthly weed-centric drag party held at stalwart The Stud, in San Francisco.