GUEST WORDS--Let’s face it. Los Angelenos love marijuana. In 2009, there were reportedly more unlicensed dispensaries in the city than Starbucks (over 1,000). By some estimates, medical marijuana is currently a $1 billion market in the city, surpassing Colorado’s entire market. And New Year’s Day 2017 will perhaps be most remembered for the infamous “Hollyweed” sign stunt that garnered international attention. Clearly, Los Angeles is a 420-friendly city. Now, with the passage of Measure M, the City Council will be able get a handle on this popular local industry.
FIRST PERSON--Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently called marijuana use a “life-wrecking dependency” that is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
ALPERN AT LARGE--Seriously? No foolin'? Is "California Dreamin’" really doomed to devolve into one big marijuana-hazed April Fools Day joke, with those still sober stuck with the choice of living in, or fleeing from, the California Twilight Zone?
GOLDEN STATE’S NEW INDUSTRY--If you’ve got more than a few questions about California’s new recreational cannabis policy, you’re certainly not the only one. Millions somewhat naively expected to wake up January 1 with a booming recreational cannabis industry blossoming all around them. In reality, things aren’t nearly as simple.
THE POLITICS OF RACISM-I wanted to believe that Jeff Sessions is not a racist. I wanted to believe that even if he was a racist as a young man that he has since converted to a higher plane of thinking. I wanted to believe that he is a changed man because I believe that anyone is capable of redemption. After-all, St. Paul hunted down early Christians. Tolstoy was a slave owner. And Nelson Mandela almost blew up a school bus as a terrorist. We are all capable of undergoing unfathomable transformation if divine grace and luck have their way.
CONNECTING CALIFORNIA--Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system.
POLICING THE POLICE-News reports last week suggest the city of Oakland may be ready to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the teenage woman at the heart of a sex-abuse scandal that rocked Oakland’s and other nearby police departments since 2015.
All things considered, the city is fortunate. The reported settlement is just under $1 million, far below the $66 million she had originally sought.
FROM GUNS, CASH, CARTELS TO REGS AND ECONOMICS--California’s marijuana industry will soon begin its transition from an illicit ecosystem fraught with guns, cash, and cartels into a regulated economic juggernaut.
CRIME STATS--Are you interested in exploring an unfamiliar street, but wondering if it's safe? Well, you can always look around for reassuring signs—such as the presence of a medical marijuana dispensary.
RANTZ AND RAVEZ-When Mayor Eric Garcetti ran for election, he promised he would bring the city around in a positive manner and ultimately focus on a Back to Basics agenda. Most people in Los Angeles truly believed that the city had moved far away from the basics and the idea of a safe and clean city resonated with voters throughout LA. It carried Mayor Garcetti to victory.
THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--Driving through West Hollywood, it’s hard not to notice the billboard for Zen Dispensary with its trendy Buddha icon. Medical marijuana dispensaries are no longer solely the provenance of dicey strip malls. And last November California voters supported Prop 64 which legalized recreational marijuana and establishes certain sales and cultivation taxes, passed by 56 percent. The sale and taxation of legalized marijuana will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
UPDATE April 2017 - California's Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation has released a notice of rule making with hearing dates starting June 1 and draft regulations for retailers, distributors, and labs. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has proposed regulations for cultivation, nurseries, and processing. The Department of Public Health has proposed rules for manufacturing, including extraction, processing and infusion.
420 FILE--Under a plan passed Tuesday by the City Council, Los Angeles could provide a grace period for some marijuana growers and manufacturers — allowing them to avoid prosecution and continue operating while they seek city licenses.
POT BUSINESS--The state’s working group on marijuana and banking has finally issued its report on the litany of banking challenges facing California’s legal marijuana industry. And while it does recommend a number of measures to alleviate the industry’s difficulties, it ultimately concludes that real improvement will require some change at the federal level.
MARIJUANA JUSTICE--Eddy, a burly 65-year-old professional musician, walked into a free legal clinic in Los Angeles County one July morning hoping to clear his record. More than three decades ago, he served two years probation for attempting to sell a few gram bags of marijuana, a felony that put the immigrant, a legal United States resident with a green card, at greater risk of deportation.