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Marijuana wars: Violent Mexican drug cartels turn Northern California into ‘The Wild West’

12/17/21--Mexican drug cartels are muscling in on America's burgeoning multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry, illegally growing large crops in the hills and valleys of Northern California. The state legalized marijuana in 2016 for adult recreational use, yet the black market continues to thrive with thousands of illegal grows. Read

New rash of California marijuana robberies threaten survival of business

12/3/21--A spate of violent robberies targeting marijuana businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area last month have thrown into question the survival of several small businesses, with the combined losses of those operators estimated to be at least $5 million. The crimes ranged from break-ins that resulted in minor damage to, in some instances, wild gunfights between criminals and security guards, according to media reports and sources. Read

California’s legal weed industry can’t compete with illicit market

10/23/21--California’s strict regulations have led most industry operators to close shop, flee the state or sell in the state’s illegal market that approaches $8 billion annually, twice the volume of legal sales. California has just 823 licensed brick-and-mortar cannabis shops, but close to 3,000 retailers and delivery services operate in the state without a permit, a February 2020 market analysis by Marijuana Business Daily found. Read

In a bid to stop overdose deaths, California could allow drug use at supervised sites

10/23/21--According to a Los Angeles Times article, deaths from drug overdoses have surged during the pandemic, claiming more than 90,000 lives last year across the country, according to federal data. As the numbers have soared, many experts, advocates and lawmakers have promoted an idea giving people a safe place to inject drugs under supervision. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and other lawmakers are pushing to allow San Francisco, Oakland and the city and county of Los Angeles to approve entities to run such programs. Read

Oakland psychedelics activists launch initiative to legalize community-based sales with support from city council

10/18/21--Oakland activists are hoping to expand upon the city’s current psychedelics decriminalization ordinance by creating a community-based model through which people could legally purchase entheogenic substances from local producers. They have the backing of a key member of the City Council and staging a year-long project to solicit feedback on how best to provide people with lawful access to entheogenic substances, leading up to the planned introduction of city-level legislation that would accomplish that goal in 2022. Read

Attorney General Bonata announces eradication of more than one million marijuana plants as part of interagency effort to combat illegal grows

10/17/21--California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the eradication of nearly 1.2 million illegally cultivated marijuana plants and the seizure of more than 180,000 pounds of illegally processed marijuana as part of the California Department of Justice’s annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program. Read

Senator Weiner’s Recovery Incentives Act, confronting the growing meth and overdose crises, passes legislature and heads of Governor’s desk

9/7/21--Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) legislation, Senate Bill 110, passed both the Assembly and the Senate on concurrence with bipartisan, unanimous votes. It will now head to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and then to the Governor’s desk, where it can be signed into law. Read

Puff-puff, pass it on. Visit Modesto launches cannabis tourism, education campaign

7/30/21--Visit Modesto has launched what is believed the first-ever citywide cannabis tourism program in the country. The MoTown CannaPass, much like the visitors bureau’s other tourism campaigns, is aimed at getting people to stop, shop and enjoy what the Central Valley city has to offer. Read

A twisted tale of corruption in SLO County

7/31/21--Details of San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill's corruption became public with the plea agreement of marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring in which he gave a detailed account of his illegal activities which included paying bribes to Hill. That plea deal and information gathered during a six-year, in-depth CalCoastNews investigation exposes the dirty underbelly of SLO County’s marijuana industry. Read

Marijuana mogul charged with bribing SLO County supervisor

7/28/21--Prosecutors charged marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring with paying thousands of dollars in bribes to then-San Luis Obispo Supervisor Adam Hill for favorable votes on his cannabis business interests. Prosecutors charged Dayspring, 35, in federal court with one count of bribery and one count of filing a false 2018 income tax return that deliberately failed to report millions of dollars in income to the IRS. Read

Illegal cannabis growers are stealing water amid California’s drought, officials say

7/28/21--Water thieves, many of them illegal marijuana growers, are tapping into fire hydrants and drilling unauthorized water wells, according to officials, threatening the water supply for residents. In a recent sting in Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, federal, state and local law enforcement officers disrupted hundreds of allegedly illegal marijuana cultivations in the area. Read

Black-market cannabis turns California’s deserts green

7/11/21--Authorities say Illegal marijuana farms on the rise has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. Longtime California residents say they feel less safe, claiming black-market growers act with impunity by carrying weapons, trading gunfire with rivals and threatening those who wander too close to their farms. Authorities, who say they don’t have the resources to go after all the illegal farms, warn residents and off-roaders to steer clear of those areas. They also say they have more pressing concerns, such as the trafficking of synthetic opioids. Read

Why California’s cannabis billboard ban shouldn’t keep you up at night

7/6/21--Cannabis advertising remains a battle against constantly shifting state and local laws with blanket bans on TV, radio and most forms of social media advertising in place. As more states continue to legalize recreational cannabis, advertisers will have to deal with three sets of regulations – those at the federal, state and local levels. According to an op-ed by Jeff Ragovin, chief commercial officer at Fyllo, California’s recent ban on billboard advertising highlighted what is already known: Programmatic digital advertising is future of cannabis marketing. Read

Annual Report on Tax Exemptions for Medicinal Cannabis

7/1/21--Chapter 837 of 2019 (SB 34, Wiener) established new tax exemptions for donations of medicinal cannabis. The law directs the Legislative Analyst Office to submit an annual report containing data on three outcomes related to the exemptions: the number of medicinal cannabis patients served, the amount of medicinal cannabis products donated, and the amount of tax revenue lost. This report fulfills that statutory requirement for 2020. Read

California approves $100 million in grant funding to boost cannabis industry

6/16/21--The state of California will funnel $100 million toward its sprawling cannabis industry this year in an attempt to tighten the regulatory landscape and boost business prospects for entrepreneurs and local governments that took up the market over the past five years. The cannabis-specific allocation is part of the state’s $268-billion 2021-2022 budget, known in Sacramento and elsewhere as the California Comeback. Read

No longer the ‘Devil’s Lettuce’: How the town of weed embraced weed

5/19/21--The City Council in Weed cracked open the door to the pot industry three years ago, allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to open on Main Street. Then last year, when a second dispensary opened, even as other businesses downtown suffered during lockdowns, Weed’s leaders turned fully embraced marijuana. Overall approval in the state of California for legal marijuana runs high, but it often collides at the local level with not-in-my-backyard-style rejection. Read

Mike Garcia fights for the Antelope Valley, Action, Agua Dulce’s Safety, Security

5/7/21--Representative Mike Garcia brought Fox News’s Sara Carter to the Antelope Valley to raise awareness of the increasing problem of illegal marijuana grows and related crime in the Antelope Valley and surrounding areas, including Acton and Agua Dulce. The illegal grows have expanded exponentially since Garcia took a tour of the grows last month. Read

Water disputes draw crowds of demonstrators to Yreka courthouse

5/6/21--The Siskiyou County Superior Court became the focal point of ongoing struggles in the community over water rights, particularly when it comes to marijuana grows that are outlawed by county ordinance. Read

The local cannabis industry is becoming a bigger player in politics

4/29/21--KPBS News posts on Twitter that the local cannabis industry is becoming a bigger player in politics. It contributed more than $300,000 in the most recent election cycle to candidates who support looser restrictions on their operations. Read

State marijuana sales help with funding nonprofit organizations

4/23/21--Over the past two years, California has used some of the fees it collects from the sale of recreational marijuana to give grants to community organizations that serve people and communities harmed by the war on drugs. So far, the state has awarded nearly $100 million, a figure expected to jump to $175 million in May. Read

Californina’s cannabis culture wars converge on billboards

3/31/21--An increasing debate is occurring in the California Legislature over cannabis-related billboards that have sprung up around the state, advertising tools the industry says are necessary to support the struggling legal market, but that opponents argue expose children to a potentially harmful substance. This debate could have a major impact on California's legal cannabis market, because the industry relies on outdoor advertising since major tech companies like Google, YouTube, and Facebook largely bar them from marketing to consumers online. Read

Teens may be more likely to use marijuana after legalization for adult recreational use

2/15/21--Adolescents who live in California may be more likely to use marijuana since adult recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2016, according to a new report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The researchers who conducted the study suggest that recreational marijuana legalization may present increased opportunities for adolescents to obtain marijuana and that the increasing availability of non-smoking products such as edibles may prove appealing as well. Read

New California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, expunge criminal records

2/18/21--California could become the latest state to decriminalize psychedelics for personal and therapeutic use. The bill, introduced Thursday by state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, would decriminalize substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT and mescaline. Read

Legendary California marijuana-growing region Humboldt permanently bans hemp cultivation

2/15/21--A renowned marijuana-growing county in northern California’s Emerald Triangle, Humboldt County, has permanently banned outdoor cultivation of low-THC hemp varieties. Humboldt County has had a temporary moratorium on outdoor hemp cultivation since 2018. Read

Medical marijuana retail workers move to head of vaccine line, ahead of teachers

2/15/21--The state of California has updated its COVID-19 vaccine allocation guidelines to include medical marijuana retail workers as frontline workers to receive the vaccine. Jerred Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path Collective in Sherman Oaks and president of the United Cannabis Business Association, was one of the people responsible for nudging medical marijuana retail workers toward the front of California’s vaccine eligibility line, before some educators, emergency workers and food and agriculture workers. Read

Examining associations between licensed and unlicensed outlet density and cannabis outcomes from preopening to postopening of recreational cannabis outlets

1/29/21--This study expands beyond studies of outlet prevalence to find that, after controlling for outcomes 1 year prior, licensed and unlicensed outlets were associated with young adults' cannabis outcomes. The current study is among the first to find associations between cannabis use outcomes and density of cannabis outlets among young adults using data from two time points: preopening and postopening of recreational cannabis retailers. Read

The state of cannabis: Local scorecards provide glimpse into California’s ‘Wild West’ patchwork of cannabis policies.

1/14/21--Released today by Getting it Right from the Start at the Public Health Institute (PHI), 157 scorecards summarize cannabis policies in each of the California cities and counties that have opted to permit storefront sales of recreational cannabis. The scorecards bring light to a patchwork of local policies that often fall far short of what public health leaders believe is necessary to prevent the cannabis industry from following in the footsteps of Big Tobacco. Read

Notice regarding billboard advertisements on interstate and state highways

1/22/21--Section 5040(b)(3), which only prohibited billboard advertising within a 15-mile radius of the California border on an interstate or state highway that crosses the California border, is no longer in effect. To comply with the law and regulations, licensees may not place new advertising or marketing on any interstate highway or state highway that crosses the California border. Read

Proposed budget for 2021-22 – highlights for CDFA

1/8/21--For CDFA, Governor Newsom’s proposed budget represents an important step in facilitating economic recovery after the tumult of 2020. This budget includes strategic investments to support California’s agriculture industry as it addresses continued challenges and rapid innovation while also advancing the state’s climate resilience objectives. Read

Examining associations between licensed and unlicensed outlet density and cannabis outcomes from preopening to postopening of recreational cannabis outlets

1/15/21--This study expands beyond studies of outlet prevalence to find that, after controlling for outcomes 1 year prior, licensed and unlicensed outlets were associated with young adults' cannabis outcomes. The current study is among the first to find associations between cannabis use outcomes and density of cannabis outlets among young adults using data from two time points: preopening and postopening of recreational cannabis retailers. Findings can inform policies around the density and placement of cannabis outlets. Read

The Commonwealth publishes new medical- and adult-use of marijuana regulations

1/8/21--The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) received confirmation that the medical- and adult-use marijuana regulations, 935 CMR 501.000 and 935 CMR 500.000, have been published in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations and are thereby in effect. Leading up to the filing, the Commission held eight public policy meetings, received more than 250 public comments, and hosted two public hearings. Read

State has 30 days to notify cannabis businesses of billboard ban

1/12/21--The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has 30 days to inform all cannabis business owners that they can no longer advertise on highways that cross state lines, according to a judgement San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Ginger Garrett issued Monday. The judgment has state-wide effect. Read

California Poison Control warns about holiday marijuana edibles

12/16/20--This holiday season, California Poison Control System (CPCS) is reminding all adults to practice caution when using or serving cannabis-containing edible items such as cookies, candies, pastries or beverages during holiday events and New Year’s celebrations. Edibles can contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical that causes someone to get high. Read

Celebrities, cash and questions: A new force roils the cannabis prisoner-release movement

12/30/20--The star-studded group known as the Last Prisoner Project is calling on cannabis enthusiasts to help secure the release of people convicted of marijuana-related crimes. However, many have claimed that the organization failed to follow through on commitments to support preexisting groups while doing relatively little on its own to reduce the level of incarceration.  Read

CannaCraft’s AbsoluteXtracts launches 200mg THC Single-Serve Soft Gel

11/19/20--AbsoluteXtracts, or ABX, a leading manufacturer of strain-specific, full-spectrum vape cartridges and cannabis oils, announced today it has doubled the dose of its best-selling 100mg gel cap. The new 200mg soft gel is not only the most potent single serving of THC in California, but also the most cost-effective. Read

UCLA receives seven grants totaling $6.4 million for cannabis research

11/20/20--UCLA has received seven grants totaling $6.4 million from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. The awards will fund studies on topics ranging from the toxicity of inhaled and second-hand cannabis smoke to employment conditions in California's cannabis industry. Read

Seven bodies, nothing stolen: Were killings at Riverside marijuana grow ‘a message’?

10/28/20--According to a Los Angeles Times article, Riverside County’s worst mass killing in recent memory remains cloaked in mystery. Yet what facts have emerged illustrate a brutal point: Violence haunts California’s illegal marijuana market, which, law enforcement authorities concede, dwarfs its fledgling, legal counterpart and comprises a sweeping array of players. Read

Campaign to overturn California’s flavored tobacco sales ban accused of misleading voters

10/20/20--An attorney for the group Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund filed a complaint with state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra asking for an investigation of “numerous instances of illegal signature-gathering tactics,” noting that it is a misdemeanor for signature gatherers to intentionally misrepresent a referendum petition. Read

Three pot growth busts worth over $600,00 in Calaveras County

10/24/20--Three pot grow busts over two days with a value of over $600,000 also netted two arrests, over 85 plants and three guns — one an AR15 rifle. Read

Drug use in local arrestees reaches 20-year high

10/22/20--Drug use reached a 20-year high among men and women arrested and booked into San Diego County detention facilities in 2019, according to a report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments. According to the report by SANDAG’s Criminal Justice Research Division, nearly four in five male arrestees (79%) and 82% of female arrestees tested positive for at least one of the following drugs: marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, cocaine/crack and PCP. Read

Sacramento increasing number of storefront dispensaries for the first time in 11 years

10/14/20--Ten new storefront cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to open in the city of Sacramento, after a unanimous vote by the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night. 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

This is California Cannabis

9/1/20--"This is California Cannabis" is designed to promote the state's legal cannabis cultivation market and raise awareness of the support and guidance offered to licensed cannabis growers by CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Read

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