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With 7 dead, large-scale California marijuana operation is tied to organized crime

9/9/20--An illegal marijuana growing operation where seven people were fatally shot in a small, rural Southern California town had the markings of organized crime, authorities said Tuesday. Seemingly, on the property, marijuana was processed to honey oil, a highly potent concentrate made by extracting the high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis. Read

7 deaths tied to illegal grow operation shake rural Riverside County community

9/28/20--According to authorities, the shooting deaths of seven people was one of many illegal marijuana growing operations in Aguanga in Riverside County where residents say they seem to thrive despite numerous raids by sheriff’s deputies. Read

California governor signs bill to ban sale of flavored tobacco

9/1/20--California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 793 into law, banning the retail sale of flavored tobacco products in the state, effective January 2021. Written by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), the bill was supported by the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. The new law will make the sale of electronic (”e”)-cigarette cartridges and flavored cigarettes subject to a $250 fine to the retailer. Read

California governor signs bill to ban sale of flavored tobacco

9/1/20--California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 793 into law, banning the retail sale of flavored tobacco products in the state, effective January 2021. The new law will make the sale of electronic (”e”)-cigarette cartridges and flavored cigarettes subject to a $250 fine to the retailer. Read

Local ballot measures across California could significantly expand marijuana industry footprint

8/7/20--The November election offers the prospect that California’s legal cannabis industry footprint could expand significantly, depending on a couple of dozen local ballot measures. According to research by Hirsh Jain, government affairs director at San Jose-based retailer Caliva, and California NORML Deputy Director Ellen Komp, at least 26 localities across California will have pro-marijuana initiatives on the ballot. Read

Report: Pot arrests still fall heavily on Hispanics, Blacks

7/16/20--Although the number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to decline in 2019 in the age of legalization, another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. According to a breakdown of demographic data, Hispanics accounted for nearly 42% of those arrests, followed by Blacks, at 22%, with whites at 21%. Other groups accounted for the remainder. Read

Four years after legalization, California has had unexpected (and often disappointing) results

7/13/20--Californians had high expectations when they overwhelmingly voted in 2016 to legalize adult-use cannabis with Proposition 64: the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. However, high taxes and stringent regulations are squeezing nearly every sector, say frustrated cannabis entrepreneurs, who warn that the burden is making their businesses unsustainable. Read

Grand Jury blasts Santa Barbara supervisors on cannabis ordinance

7/1/20--A Grand Jury report released Monday blasted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for its mismanagement of the county’s cannabis production, for dismissing public input, ignoring major environmental impacts, and allowing excessive production, among other criticisms. Read

2,735 Sonoma County marijuana convictions will be dismissed through “Clear My Record” application program

6/26/20--Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that 2,735 Sonoma County marijuana convictions will be dismissed as part of a program initiated by her office with the assistance of the “Clear My Record” application, a state-wide software application that allows District Attorneys to securely and accurately evaluate eligibility for Proposition 64 relief by reading and interpreting criminal history data from the California Department of Justice. Read

California Senate to Big Tobacco: It’s time to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products

6/25/20--A coalition of health, youth, and community advocates united to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco use applauded passage by the California State Senate of SB 793, landmark legislation authored by State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to end the sale of all candy-flavored tobacco products across the state, including the original candy flavor: sweet minty menthol cigarettes. Read

Assessment of Incorporation of Lessons from Tobacco Control in City and County Laws Regulating Legal Marijuana in California

6/19/20--The aim of this cross-sectional study is to assess the extent to which potential best practices, including those from tobacco control, were incorporated into state and local marijuana policies in California. Results indicate that all 539 California cities and counties found that jurisdictions differed widely in how they regulated marijuana and that key public health recommendations and lessons from tobacco control have generally not been adopted, although local innovation is emerging. Read

Cannabis dispensaries stunned by wave of violent burglaries

6/3/20--Over the weekend, one or more large groups of armed men targeted and robbed a long list of Bay Area cannabis dispensaries in what looks to most observers like a long-planned spree. Although unconfirmed, a couple of sources said that every single pot retailer in Oakland. Read

5,191 illegal marijuana plants found during drug raids in Siskiyou County

5/30/20--The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office and Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team conducted a series of counter-drug raids. The teams collected 5,191 illegal marijuana plants, starter clones, process cannabis product and four firearms in the Big Springs and Mt. Shasta Vista area. An arrest was also made during one of the raids. The Sheriff's Office is estimating the 5,191 illegal marijuana plants are worth about $46.7 million on the East Coast illicit drug market. Read

Fire, explosion at Los Angeles marijuana-oil business injures 11 firefighters

5/17/20--An explosion Saturday at a hash oil manufacturer in downtown Los Angeles injured 11 firefighters who had gone inside the building after an initial report of a fire and then had to run for their lives when a ball of flames shot out the building and scorched a fire truck across the street. Read

Unlicensed marijuana delivery’s bold, bizarre existence in Denver

4/29/20--Even if you're not looking for a weed delivery service, it might find you, and dealing with any such businesses is risky, according to Denver Police Department Lieutenant Andrew Howard, who leads the DPD's vice and drug control unit. The risks that a would-be customer faces range from being robbed to getting scammed to breaking the law. Read

Coding and cannabis: Santa Clara County to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions

4/30/20--Santa Clara County plans to expunge 13,000 minor marijuana convictions that were rendered moot by the state’s 2016 legalization of recreational pot use and sales, two months before a deadline set by the landmark law. Read

Authorities chop 14,601 marijuana plants in Anza, Aguanga; 3 arrests made

4/29/20--Authorities served 10 marijuana-related search warrants in the unincorporated communities of Anza and Aguanga, chopping down more than 14,000 plants and arresting three Aguanga residents, sheriff's officials reported Wednesday. Read

County clerk rejects signatures in quest to quash cannabis

4/29/20--The Keep Cannabis Away from Kids coalition hit a speedbump last week in its quest to curtail cannabis businesses in Mount Shasta when Siskiyou County Clerk Laura Bynum rejected all 380 signatures submitted on their initiative because an affidavit wasn’t submitted to the city in the required timeframe. Read

Update: KCSO identifies body found in Shafter residence with marijuana extraction lab inside

4/29/20--The body of a deceased man was found yesterday inside a residence that had an industrial-sized marijuana extraction lab in it, police say. Occupants in the residence were detained as officers conducted a search of the residence, the Shafter Police Department said. Read

Alameda County judge orders thousands of marijuana cases reduced

5/1/20--Alameda County Superior Court Judge Charles Smiley signed an order reducing thousands of felony marijuana cases to misdemeanors and misdemeanor marijuana cases to infractions. The order follows the 2016 passage of Proposition 64 that legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana by adults. Read

County invests over $2 million in cannabis businesses

5/1/20--Mendocino County announced April 20 an award of more than $2 million dollars from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Read

California announces $30 million grant program to promote marijuana industry social equity

4/21/20--California marijuana regulators announced on Tuesday that the state will be providing $30 million in grant funding for cannabis entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war. Read

How much does it cost California cannabis growers to safety test?

4/23/20--The high cost of testing cannabis in California leads to higher prices for the consumer, which could drive consumers to unlicensed markets. A new study finds the safety tests cost growers about 10 percent of the average wholesale price of legal cannabis. The biggest share of this expense comes from failing the test. Read

California pot dispensaries are open during coronavirus crisis. Some want them closed

3/30/20--In designating California's marijuana industry as essential under the state's COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has argued that the health benefits of keeping pot shops open outweigh the risks — even as opponents of the policy call it reckless. Read

Cannabis sales, deliveries explode as Californians stock up on pot amid coronavirus

3/24/20--Cannabis sales and marijuana deliveries are exploding as Californians stock up on pot amid the coronavirus pandemic. Marijuana dispensaries are allowed to stay open during the coronvirus pandemic because they are considered an "essential" service. Read

Cannabis sales and delivery boosted in L.A. to “ease minds” about Coronavirus

3/12/20--As the coronavirus spreads in California, cannabis businesses including Lowell Farms, Caliva, Sweet Flower and Sherbinskis say the demand is high: "People are stocking up." Angelenos are turning to CBD and THC products to combat anxieties and stocking up. Read

Federal prosecutors investigate California marijuana companies in wide-ranging probe

3/3/20--Federal prosecutors have launched a probe of cannabis companies in California, seeking a batch of records held by a startup that functions as a Yelp for marijuana dispensaries, according to a grand-jury subpoena reviewed by MarketWatch. Read

Former teacher accused of giving marijuana, alcohol to students

3/3/20--Monique Garcia, formerly of Southwest High School in El Centro, is accused of purchasing and providing marijuana and alcohol to underage students during a school-sanctioned camping trip in the Laguna Mountains was charged Tuesday with felony and misdemeanor counts. Read

Fresno man charged after using orange grove to hide marijuana plants

2/14/20--A federal grand jury charged Diego Garcia Lua with illegally raising marijuana plants. According to court documents, Lua used his orange grove to hide the presence of over 6,300 marijuana plants. He was charged with "cultivating marijuana and maintaining a drug-involved premises." If convicted, Lua faces life in prison and over $10 million in fines. Read

LA County DA moves to dismiss 66,000 marijuana-related convictions

2/14/20--Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked a judge to dismiss and seal the records of 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases as early as 1961, as well as, 3,700 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases. Lacey called it a marker of the sweeping change that can occur when government partners with technology leaders. Read

The Governor’s Cannabis‑Related Proposals

2/14/20--The Governor’s 2020‑21 budget includes various cannabis‑related proposals, including both budget trailer legislation and budget change proposals from multiple departments. To help the Legislature in its consideration of the Governor’s various proposals, this report: (1) provides some background on cannabis regulation and taxation in California, (2) describes the Governor’s proposals, and (3) provides recommendations on these proposals for legislative consideration. Read

California calls pot smoke, THC a risk to moms-to-be

A California panel voted Wednesday to declare marijuana smoke and the drug's high-producing chemical — THC — a risk to pregnant women and their developing fetuses and require warning labels for products legally sold in the nation's largest pot market. The decision by the little-known Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee will not take effect for a year, and it remains to be seen what impact it will have on the state's emerging marijuana industry. Read

Study: California medical marijuana programs attracted past users

12/5/19--Results from a prevention study in California conducted by the RAND Corporation, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggest that medical marijuana programs in that state attracted a substantial number of young people who already were heavy users of the drug. Read

Medical marijuana cards often sought by existing heavy users

12/4/19--According to new results published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, young adults who seek enrollment in state medical marijuana programs are often those who already use heavily rather than those with mental or physical issues that could be addressed by the drug. Read

California suspends hundreds of cannabis business licenses, Massachusetts issues quarantine on vapes

11/16/19--The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) suspended hundreds of cannabis business licenses for businesses lagging in compliance with the state’s track-and-trace training requirements. Elsewhere, in Massachusetts, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) implemented a quarantine on “all vaporizer products” less than a week after a judge ruled to exclude medical cannabis vape products from Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on all vaping product sales. Read

Marijuana use among pregnant women continues to rise

11/5/19--Marijuana use by pregnant women appears to be on the rise. According to new data, more women are using cannabis while pregnant. A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association says that marijuana is now the most commonly used illicit drug among pregnant women in the U.S. Data collected from 276,000 pregnant women in a Northern California study found that cannabis use nearly doubled from 2009 to 2017. Read

Investigators seize and destroy millions of marijuana plants found in California worth more than $1 billion

11/2/19--A search of Southern California cultivation sites last month turned up about 10 million marijuana plants worth more than $1 billion, which were destroyed by investigators, authorities in the Golden State said. The investigators uncovered the giant haul of weed in an Oct. 25 sweep of 11 fields in the Arvin area, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Read

Not hard to find illegal marijuana dispensaries in Chula Vista

11/2/19--Currently, there are no legal and permitted marijuana dispensaries in the City of Chula Vista. Despite Chula Vista Police attempts to crack down on illegally operated shops, it's still not hard to find another a few blocks away. The city is planning to issue licenses to approved businesses as early as next year, but admits the process for bringing licensed dispensaries online has been more difficult than they thought. Read

San Diego marijuana businesses among nearly 400 with suspended licenses

11/6/19--The California Bureau of Cannabis Control last week suspended the licenses of nearly 400 businesses — including nine in San Diego County — for failure to enroll in a system meant to keep tabs on the state's cannabis inventory. The suspensions, which went into effect Friday, represent roughly 16% of the licensed retailers, distributors and testing facilities in the state. Read

Los Angeles becomes home to first cannabis cafe In U.S.

10/2/19--The Lowell Cafe, located in West Hollywood, opened Tuesday (Oct. 1) in hopes of “breaking the stigma” around marijuana, and creating an environment where people can “comfortably consume and enjoy a fantastic meal,” said general manager Lily Estasnislao. Read

Here are the cannabis bills on California Governor Newsom’s desk

9/19/19--Last week, the California State Legislature made final decisions regarding several key cannabis bills that could have a significant impact on the world’s largest cannabis market. Governor Gavin Newsom has until October 13 to approve or veto the bills endorsed by the legislature. If he does not act on the bills, they will become law by default. Read

Berkeley City Council to vote on decriminalizing psychedelics

9/6/19--The Berkeley, California City Council will decide next week whether to advance a resolution to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca. The development comes two months after the body’s Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to send the measure to a separate commission focused on health. The full Council will either approve or reject that recommendation on Tuesday. Read

A whiff of the music festival future? Outside Lands sells cannabis for the first time

8/12/19--Outside Lands, the largest event in California, and the country, is the first to allow legal sales and consumption of cannabis. It is a preview of what may eventually become commonplace for other big gatherings such as Southern California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (though no such permit has yet been requested) as marijuana rules solidify. Read

Cannabis workload called ‘overwhelming’ by Santa Barbara County leaders

7/16/19--The impact of the cannabis industry on Santa Barbara County is coming from a variety of directions, including a very heavy work load for the front line staff. Some are being slowed by the lack of a full and complete policy along with issues raised by residents, mainly near the operations. They have spoken out strongly about air quality, buffer zones from residential, and sensitive sites and other quality of life issues. Read

Illegal pot farm bust in Santa Cruz Mountains takes down nearly 10,000 marijuana plants

6/4/19--The latest illegal pot farm bust took down more than 9,700 marijuana plants in 11 non-permitted greenhouses managed by four full-time workers at Summit Road near Russell Ridge, a county spokesman said. It is considered one of the largest sting operations against illegal commercial grow-ops in recent county history, spokesman Jason Hoppin said. Read

Explosion leads to suspected drug lab, arrest in Goleta neighborhood

6/5/19--James F. Girona was arrested early Wednesday after an explosion — allegedly triggered by an illicit drug lab. According to Senior Deputy Jeremy Rogers of Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, during the initial assessment, it appeared Girona was likely operating a clandestine drug lab. Further investigation revealed Girona had been using volatile chemicals as part of a suspected butane honey oil extraction, when something went wrong, sparking the explosion. Read

Marijuana tax windfall fails to materialize in California – Pot Tax 101 for Pennsylvania?

5/10/19--A thriving underground marijuana market and slower than projected legal sales have caused California to slash the windfall of tax revenue it expected to reap after legalizing the drug. The state is now projecting weed taxes will amount to $288 million for the year that ends in June, and $359 million for the following year. That’s a reduction of $67 million and $156 million, respectively, from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s January budget forecast. Read

The unintended consequences of cannabis: Can avocado and marijuana growers peacefully coexist?

5/10/19--According to Scott Van Der Kar, an avocado grower in the Carpinteria foothills, avocado growers were “broadsided” by the news that the Oxnard-based pest control companies that treat their crops would no longer spray the insecticides that work best on avocados, for fear of contaminating cannabis crops with the slightest trace of residue and getting sued. The growers’ quandary has sent county officials scrambling to find a solution, and time is of the essence. Read

Police: Accused killer told cops that bong hits led to violent episode

5/9/19--Blood tests on Bryn Spejcher, who is accused of murdering Chad O’Melia, revealed the presence of marijuana. An examination of the burned plant material remaining in the bong she used and the five grams of marijuana collected revealed no drugs beyond THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Read

Marijuana grow discovered at Castro Valley fire site

5/7/19--The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office discovered a suspected illegal marijuana growing operation at the site of a home fire. Four people were arrested and booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, authorities said. Read 

Into the Weeds: Regulating pesticides in cannabis

4/25/19--Taken as a whole, California’s pesticide regulations for cannabis are considered by most industry watchers to be the strictest in the country. California has the advantage of a sophisticated Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) with significant expertise in toxicology and human-health risk assessment. In some cases, that expertise—paired with broad support for environmental regulation—has helped the state establish rules governing pesticide use that are stricter than those set by the U.S. EPA. Read

It was the largest cannabis farm in SLO County. Supervisors just voted to shut it down

4/13/19--CFAM Management Group, a large cannabis business in Nipomo, is being forced to shut down after the county Board of Supervisors stripped its permitting Tuesday, citing multiple code violations and saying it was intentionally thwarting regulations and would likely continue to operate in bad faith. Read

5th grader shares marijuana edibles with students, police say

4/12/19--According to Fresno Police and a parent, one 5th grade student brought cookies to school and shared them with about 5 classmates. Those cookies are believed to have been marijuana edibles. It isn't known how the student got the cookies or if he even knew what they were at this point. Read

Cannabis brand Dosist opens first shop, brings product to Coachella

4/12/19--One of Hollywood’s go-to cannabis brands Dosist opened its first-ever store Wednesday in Venice. But they're not the only ones going brick-and-mortar with weed; Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus recently began offering CBD assortments. Other up-and-coming  Los Angeles-based cannabis brands include DedCool Cannabis Chazsticks, a new line of vapes called Nuvata, and the Harry Styles-loved brand Higgs. Read

California cannabis firms struggle to make sense of new track-and-trace system, fanning fears over its expanded rollout

3/21/19--Many California marijuana business executives welcome the state’s newly mandated track-and-trace system as an opportunity to ensure industry transparency – but they worry the technology’s rollout could prove rocky. Industry officials report widespread confusion about how to operate Metrc, the software the state relies on to power the track-and-trace system. Read

California is awash in cannabis cash, which some use to bribe public officials

3/17/19--In the more than two years since California voters approved the licensed growing and sale of recreational marijuana, the state has had a half-dozen government corruption cases as black-market operators try to game the system, through bribery and other means. California is awash in marijuana cash from inside and out of the state, partly because marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law, so banks won’t accept cash from the businesses. Read

L.A. County sheriff’s deputy pleads guilty in brazen pot heist

3/4/19--Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Marc Antrim, who led a heist of more than a half ton of marijuana from a downtown warehouse, pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday. Antrim's admitted his role in the scheme during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, who is scheduled to sentence the deputy on June 3. Read

There’s still so much we need to learn about weed — and fast

2/11/19--Last month, UC Berkeley opened the Cannabis Research Center to start tackling some of the social and environmental unknowns about marijuana. The goal is to create a body of data to inform future policies, making marijuana safer for all. It's evident that more research is needed, and with the legalized marijuana industry growing nationwide, further research is needed soon. Read

Now for the hard part: Getting Californians to buy legal weed

1/2/19--California was the sixth state to introduce the sale of recreational marijuana, but the enormous size of the market led to predictions of soaring legal marijuana sales. Instead, sales fell. The easy part of legalization was persuading people to vote for it, industry analysts say. The hard part, now that it’s legal, is persuading people to stop buying from the black market. Read

Editorial | What’s next on horizon for legal marijuana

1/1/19--According to the Editorial Board of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the issues swirling around legal marijuana include taxation, licensing, distribution and delivery, the still-flourishing illegal market, the stark difference in how cities and counties throughout the state are regulating sales, environmental problems, testing, and establishing enforceable laws regarding operating vehicles while under the influence. Santa Cruz Sentinel did not support legalization. The reason is because despite the age declaration, younger people would have even more access to an intoxicant that is much more powerful and impairing than non-pot smokers probably realize. Read