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Crosscurrents

Cannabis News Roundup: Pot coming to wine country?

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Cannabis, by Mannliche Hanfplanze

Oakland tries to right wrongs with dispensary rules … Police fund opposition to recreation measure … Health … Opinion … and more.

LEGALIZATION & LEGISLATION

Reformed criminals, certain neighborhoods, win preference in Oakland dispensary plan // East Bay Express

“The recently incarcerated, as well as residents of a half-dozen police beats in East Oakland, will be uniquely eligible for medical cannabis industry permits under the new Program. The plan will help reward neighborhoods and people hardest hit by the drug war, councilmembers said.” The plan, naturally, has critics. [Editor’s note: See related story under “Business,” below.]

Are dispensaries in El Cerrito’s future?  // East Bay Times

The East Bay city might end its moratorium on medical marijuana outlets. Two major reasons: the likelihood of more tax revenue and possible passage of a statewide recreational ballot measure.

Police, guards oppose recreational legalization // The Intercept

About half of the anti-legalization drive’s funding comes from California law enforcement groups.

Would you like sour diesel with your pinot? // Napa Valley Register

The Napa City Council is reviewing regulations that “would allow one or more dispensaries to offer cannabis products in certain districts.”

Colorado governor thinks legalization might work // L.A. Times

Yes, marijuana is legal in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean Governor Hickenlooper has been happy about it, calling voters reckless for having approved it. Now he says the state might “actually create a system that could work.” 

COPS & COURTS

“Pot-plea program” should continue in Mendo // Press Democrat

Critics say the program, which “reduces defendants’ felony marijuana charges to misdemeanors in exchange for restitution payments” is extortion. Mendocino County has received over $7 million through the plan, which a grand jury says is worthwhile because it cuts court backlogs.

Black & brown teen arrests jump as white rates drop // The Independent

“A report by the Colorado Department of Public Safety found that between 2012 and 2014 arrests of black adolescents between 10 and 17 years old increased by 58%, while among Latino adolescents arrests were up by 29%. Meanwhile, among white adolescents the number of arrests fell by 8% overall.”

BUSINESS

Oakland working to increase minority-owned dispensaries // SFGate

[Editor’s note: This is similar to the story under “Legalization” but contains enough additional information that I’m including it.]

“As it looks to pass laws this week to regulate the medical marijuana trade within the city, the council is considering rules to make the industry more inclusive of African American and Latino entrepreneurs.” But some see problems.  

Oakland council member: state should clear cannabis conviction records // SFGate

“Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan is calling on the state to expunge all marijuana-related criminal records, a move that she says will open the door for people of color who have traditionally been shut out of a multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.”

HEALTH

Cannabis cut from federal pain management bill // Mashable.com

“Earlier last week, the U.S. House Rules Committee voted against two proposed amendments that would have required a special pain management task force to consider how weed might be used as an alternative or in conjunction with prescription painkillers.”

EVENT

Citizen Lobby Day Monday in Sacramento // Americans for Safe Access

In-person visits to lawmakers have a big impact, and with a dozen or so medical cannabis bills pending in the State Legislature, this event is your chance to share your opinion. [See related story under Opinion, below.]

BOOK

“How to Smoke Pot (Properly)” // L.A. Times

This is a book review disguised as an interview with David Bienenstock, former editor of High Times magazine.  Bienenstock will be signing his book this evening (05.20) at the Oakland Museum of California.

OPINION

Would recreational legalization increase use of other substances? // L.A. Times

“One fairly safe bet is that if we legalize and allow profit-maximizing firms to produce, sell, and advertise recreational marijuana, use will increase,” says Beau Kilmer of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center.

And remember, “When you vote on whether to legalize marijuana, public health consequences may not be at the top of your list. If they are, I'm here to tell you the experts have more questions than answers. That won't change before November.”

Legalize cannabis, then what happens to those with criminal records? // Christian Science Monitor

“If you committed a felony for something that is no longer illegal, should your criminal record keep you out of the business now?” Voters will have a say in November, and Oakland is already working on it, as you see above.

IT’S A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, SO KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL….

Man arrested when 134 pounds of pot arrives at his house // Arkansas Online

He signed for the package and had undercover police put it in the back of his truck.

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[New content is generally posted on Friday.]