[Canniseur: This is a very welcome piece of legislation and I would add that it’s about time! Minorities have been given short shrift in obtaining a license for anything because the regulators in all the states (almost all at any rate) have put the barriers to entry high…in other words, licenses have been very expensive almost everywhere. I’m happy to see that those most affected by prohibition are at least allowed affordable entry into the industry.]
Emerald State lawmakers will put nearly three dozen marijuana
business licenses into the hands of those most affected by prohibition.
Washington lawmakers passed a new bill welcoming longtime victims of America’s War on Drugs into the state’s cannabis market this week, in an attempt to begin reconciling a huge access gap in legal weed business licenses.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, the new law, approved by both houses of the state legislature, will guarantee that at least 34 previously-revoked cannabis business licenses are redistributed to qualifying equity applicants.
Despite trailblazing as one of the first states with a fully functioning adult-use cannabis industry, Washington has since struggled to spread the wealth, with large swaths of the local marketplace dominated by deep-pocketed investors.
“When we first started issuing those licenses, it was easy access for those who had a lot of resources and understood the process,” Rep. Eric Pettigrew, who sponsored the new bill, told MJBizDaily. “Not surprisingly, this made it difficult if not impossible for many would-be entrepreneurs in communities of color, especially African Americans and Latinos, to obtain licenses to grow and process marijuana, or to open retail shops. This gives us an opportunity to go back and offer more equal access to citizens throughout the state.”
Under the new bill, total licensing access for the 34 open slots will cost under $2,000, with additional support from a cannabis tax fund. After years of back and forth between equity applicants and Liquor Control Board regulators, Paula Sardinas, commissioner and lobbyist for the state’s Commission on African American Affairs, said that the guaranteed equity permits will hopefully build a new trust between the community and state officials.
“We will now have the most progressive social equity program in the country,” Sardinas said. “In order for that work to be successful, we must also address the lack of trust that exists between the community and the LCB.”
The new law, which is currently sitting on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk, where it is expected to be ratified soon, will also create a task force to oversee the distribution and successful use of the equity licenses. The task force is expected to have its first meeting this summer, July 1st, with plenty of new cultivation sites, manufacturing centers, and dispensaries opening shortly after.
“It’s a great start to allow for more opportunities for people of color to be a part of this growing industry, and to reap the benefits not only for their business community but for the entire community,” state Rep. Eric Pettigrew said.
[Canniseur: Nike, of all companies, is releasing a shoe called “Strawberry Cough” which is, if you’ve spent any time at a dispensary, a cultivar of cannabis!!! Nike. Really. And of course, it’s going to be released on April 20th.]
4/20 is still more than a month away, but Nike is wasting no time prepping for the high holiday.
In a new set of leaked pictures, it appears that the multi-national sportswear brand will be celebrating this year’s annual smokeout with a new pair of high-top Dunk SBs based on the famed sativa strain, “Strawberry Cough.”
First Look at the Nike SB Dunk High ”Strawberry Cough” ?? releasing later this year #solebyjc
A post shared by Jean Carlos (@solebyjc) on
Despite Nike’s status atop the corporate sneaker heap, the Swoosh has always spent big bucks to stay relevant with the cool kids and tastemakers. For stoners, that means an yearly skateboard shoe paying homage to some part of cannabis culture. Last year, the brand rolled out a “Dogwalker” shoe, and a “White Widow” mid top marked the holiday in 2018.
This year, Nike once again tapped legendary Midwest skateboard artist and designer Todd Bratrud to create the kushy kicks. In a leaked picture of this year’s 4/20 Dunk SB, sneaker fiends can check out a red and green shoe styled in the vein of the fruit-flavored sativa “Strawberry Cough.” The bright pair comes decked out with a strawberry seed print, a clear sole, premium materials, and a coughing strawberry decal on the outer heel and insoles.
In addition to hemp shoes and intergalactic dunks in past years, Bratrud has used motifs from Cheech & Chong to help Nike stay hip on 4/20 without explicitly engaging with the words cannabis, weed, or marijuana. Yet with close to a decade of 4/20 SB Dunks in their portfolio, neither Nike or Bratrud has ever spoken candidly about the annual collaboration.
Of course, because the new pictures are an unofficial leak, we cannot confirm whether the Strawberry Cough shoes will actually be hitting skate shops on 4/20. But if confirmation does come, make sure to get in line early, as Nike Dunk SBs continue to draw fanatic obsession from sneaker heads across the world.
[Canniseur: Not surprising. California has botched its legal cannabis market from the beginning. So have a lot of other states. Whether black market cannabis is better than what’s in the stores, is a different topic, but in the meantime, it appears that those looking for black market weed have to look no farther than YELP! for the nearest dealer. The problem with this is it’s illegal, but YELP! can’t police each and every comment made on their site…black market weed or legal weed…YELP! cannot have the staff to police this.]
Two years into adult-use cannabis legalization, California cannabis regulators are still stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the state’s prolific black market. And as SoCal cops continue to raid illicit dispensaries and wood chip their way through unlicensed grow sites, a new tool has emerged to help underground operators get the word out about their wares: Yelp.
Yes, the DIY food critic website has now evolved into a directory for Southern California’s vast network of black market dispensaries. According to a new investigation from NBC News, unlicensed pot shops across the Southland have profiles on the community review site, with location pins, posted hours, and countless reviews recommending unregulated flower, vape cartridges, edibles, and more.
“This is a clear public health threat that needs to be addressed,” Raphael Cuomo, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he is researching the vape crisis, told NBC. Cuomo said that companies like Yelp are rarely held accountable for their part in the cannabis black market because posts on the site come from community members, and not the website itself.
“We haven’t seen strong evidence that [Yelp is] going to suffer a great deal of backlash, whether from the public or legislators,” Cuomo added.
Previously, the Irvine-based website Weedmaps has served as the industry’s most visible dispensary directory, for both fully licensed and off-book pot shops. But at the turn of 2020, Weedmaps said that it would take steps to remove unlicensed listings and require state license verification from dispensaries.
“It simply isn’t true that unlicensed operators have an easy path to list on Weedmaps,” Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals told NBC about the site’s updated policies. “Between the vetting processes in place for our suite of products, internal reviews, and responses to reports from users, licensed shop owners, regulators, and law enforcement, Weedmaps has a robust process in place to ensure the cannabis operators on the site are licensed.”
In a direct response to the NBC investigation, Yelp officials said that they would begin implementing a license verification process of their own, but would not remove listings for unlicensed dispensaries. Instead, Yelp will place large red warnings on listings for dispensaries that have not provided the site with proof of their licenses.
“Removing local businesses from Yelp could hurt consumers as they would no longer have that resource for information, whether positive or negative, about the business,” a Yelp spokesperson told NBC. “Consumers have a right to speak their minds about all businesses, irrespective of licensing status.”
[Canniseur: It seems as though law enforcement officers in Austin, TX haven’t got the word. And their chief wants to have the officers on the street continue to waste their time arresting small-time cannabis offenders. I wonder what the chief of police has been smoking? It’s certainly not cannabis!!!]
Historically, Austin is known as a bastion of progressivism in Texas’ sea of Southern red. But even amongst the city’s largely liberal population, Austin’s police department is apparently as hard-nosed as they come.
Last week, Austin City Council approved a new resolution to decriminalize minor cannabis possession, removing all penalties for personal-level pot crimes. But as soon as the local law was ratified, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley pushed back against city lawmakers, saying that his department would continue to target marijuana users.
“[Marijuana] is still illegal, and we will still enforce marijuana law if we come across people smoking in the community,” Chief Manley said during a news conference on Friday afternoon.
Under the city’s new decriminalization law, though, Manley and his officers will be wasting their time with pot charges. In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Austin City Councilor Greg Casar said that neither tickets nor arrests will have any real-world consequence after any police interaction is over.
“What has changed since yesterday is that enforcement, almost in virtually all cases, is now handing someone a piece of paper with no penalty or no court date,” Casar told the Tribune.
The Austin cannabis decriminalization ordinance was passed in large part as a response to changes in state hemp legalization, and subsequent complications with pot prosecution. Since pot and hemp are often indistinguishable to the naked eye, a number of Texas pot cases have been thrown out, due to a lack of concrete testing for THC levels. Now, the City Council’s decriminalization law will make any hemp complications moot.
Still, Chief Manley has so far been adamant that Austin cops will ignore the local law shift, and told reporters on Friday that “a City Council does not have the authority to tell a police department not to enforce state law.”
The City Council cannabis resolution specifically outlined a May 1st deadline for the Austin City Manager to report back on how police have been re-trained to respect decriminalization. Casar told reporters that he is hopeful Chief Manley will review and restructure department policy before the spring.
[Canniseur: Why is this surprising? Of course, people in Idaho are smoking cannabis. And of course, they’d drive to the nearest place to get their favorite substance. And of course, Idaho is not benefiting from the additional taxes legalization would bring. Nothing is surprising here. States like Idaho that won’t bend with the prevailing forces will lose out…at least for now.]
Idaho isn’t known for its sandy beaches, but when it comes to legal cannabis, the state is its own kind of island surrounded by unlimited greenery in neighboring Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. And recently, it has become abundantly clear that Idaho residents are making the trek to Oregon’s eastern border in order to get their hands on some legal weed.
According to a new report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, Beaver State pot sales spike by a whopping — and comically appropriate — 420% at dispensaries near the Idaho border. Similarly, legal weed sales in Washington State were higher at dispensaries closer to the Idaho border.
“The sales in counties along the Idaho border were much stronger than I anticipated,” Oregon state analyst Josh Lehner told the Associated Press. “Obviously recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho, but even after throwing the data into a rough border tax model that accounts for income, number of retailers, tax rates and the like, there remains a huge border effect.”
Despite its proximity to some of the country’s earliest legalization adopters, Idaho has not yet budged on either medical or adult-use prohibition. But in the years since its West Coast neighbors legalized, research has already come out touting Idaho’s own benefits from legalization, such as a drop in DUI arrests.
And with many of Idaho’s most populous counties sitting just miles from the Oregon border, it is clear why many cannabis consumers are no longer paying attention to their home state’s strict weed laws. According to the Oregon economic report, three quarters of cannabis sales near the Idaho border were due to cross state commerce.
“Roughly speaking, about 75% of Oregon sales and more like 35% of Washington sales in counties along the Idaho border appear due to the border effect itself and not local socio-economic conditions,” the report detailed.
But if Idaho residents have it their way, the abnormal sales spikes in Oregon and Washington will quickly turn temporary. The Idaho Statesman reported that activists are currently collecting signatures to finally add a medical marijuana legalization question to the state’s 2020 ballot. At least we know the demand is already there.