Is medical cannabis still green under a Liberal minority?

Child care, vaccines, gun policy, and a slue of other topics have left cannabis out of the Liberal’s $612 million 2021 election campaign. So, we cannot measure medical cannabis and its green future under a continued Liberal Minority. The direction of the legal cannabis industry under the Liberal’s ideologies over the past three years gives […]

The post Is medical cannabis still green under a Liberal minority? appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

LA County To Dismiss Nearly 60,000 Past Cannabis Convictions

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the dismissal of almost 60,000 past cannabis convictions. The expungements, announced Monday, continue the work of the district attorney’s office to clear past convictions for cannabis offenses as authorized by Proposition 64, the landmark recreational marijuana legalization initiative approved by California voters in 2016.

Gascón said that expunging past cannabis convictions can free those living with the burden of a criminal record and the difficulties they face as they try to negotiate everyday life.

“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascón said. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing, and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”

Provisions of Proposition 64 allowed for the expungement of past convictions for activities that were no longer illegal with the passage of the initiative. Under a state law passed in 2018, prosecutors in California were required to review past marijuana convictions and decide if the dismissal of any cases should be challenged.

While serving as district attorney of San Francisco, Gascón moved for the dismissal of approximately 9,000 past marijuana convictions that had been adjudicated prior to the passage of Proposition 64. That work was done through a partnership with the tech nonprofit Code for America, which developed an algorithm to analyze court records for cases eligible for expungement under the legalization initiative.

Last year, the Los Angeles County prosecutor’s office, under then-District Attorney Jackie Lacey, moved to expunge about 66,000 past convictions for marijuana offenses, which were also identified using the Code for America algorithm. However, that list of convictions was created using data solely from the California Department of Justice. When Gascón’s office used the technology to analyze county court records as well, prosecutors were able to identify the additional 60,000 cases eligible for expungement announced this week.

Reform Advocates Hail Expungements

Lynne Lyman, former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said the expungements would help address the profound negative impact of cannabis prohibition, which has been disproportionately borne by communities of color.

“This is the unfinished work of Proposition 64,” Lyman said. “We created the opportunity for old cannabis convictions to be cleared, but it was up to local district attorneys to actually make it happen. Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed, it was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color. I applaud District Attorney Gascón for taking this action to help nearly 60,000 Angelenos have their records fully sealed.”

Jean Guccione, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, told reporters that approximately 20,000 of the convictions to be expunged were for felony possession or cultivation of marijuana. The remaining expungements will be issued for misdemeanor convictions filed in jurisdictions that do not have their own city attorney’s office.

In addition to dismissing the 60,000 convictions, Gascón said that county prosecutors will coordinate with the offices of Public Defender Ricardo García and Alternate Public Defender Erika Anzoategui to seek a blanket court order to seal the records of the dismissed cases, noting that “Over 100,000 Angelenos have been impacted by this war on marijuana after the voters told us they overwhelmingly wanted to stop this. … We want to basically erase the harm.”

Felicia Carbajal, executive director and community leader of The Social Impact Center, said that her organization notified the district attorney’s office of the shortcomings of relying only on California Department of Justice conviction records, leading to the analysis of county data and the identification of the additional 60,000 dismissals announced this week.

“I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the ‘War on Drugs,’” Carbajal said. “Giving people with cannabis convictions a new lease on life by expunging the records is something I have worked on for years and I am grateful that we can now make it happen.”

Carbajal said that it can be frustrating to see the legal cannabis industry make millions of dollars while those convicted of similar activities before the passage of Proposition 64 still suffer the consequences.

“My goal with all of this was really to try to put myself out of work,” Carbajal told the Los Angeles Times. “We do expungement work once a month, I’m looking around across the city and how long this is taking and how much money we continue to see raked in by the cannabis industry, and it still doesn’t sit well with me until those records are actually expunged.”

The post LA County To Dismiss Nearly 60,000 Past Cannabis Convictions appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Los Angeles County to Dismiss 60,000 Cannabis Convictions

It was recently announced that 60,000 cannabis convictions will be dismissed in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and The Social Impact Center, which is a nonprofit organization with ties to government, grassroots organizations and people in underserved communities, are behind the dismissals. 

The decision follows the passing of Assembly Bill 1793, which dismissed around 66,000 cannabis convictions in 2020. The latest dismissals were announced during “Week of Action and Awareness (WOAA),” once known as National Expungement Week. Now, around 125,000 dismissals in total have been granted. 

In 2016, Gascón co-authored Proposition 64, known as The Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It legalized the possession, transport, purchase, consumption and sharing of up to one ounce of marijuana and up to eight grams of marijuana concentrates for adults aged 21 and older. 

“Dismissing these convictions means the possibility of a better future to thousands of disenfranchised people who are receiving this long-needed relief,” Gascón said. “It clears the path for them to find jobs, housing and other services that previously were denied to them because of unjust cannabis laws.”

Gascón made the announcement with Felicia Carbajal, who’s the executive director and community leader of The Social Impact Center. “I have made it my life mission to help and support people who have been impacted by the ‘war on drugs,’” Carbajal said. “Giving people with cannabis convictions a new lease on life by expunging the records is something I have worked on for years, and I am grateful that we can now make it happen.”

Cannabis prohibition largely affects the Black and Latino communities, notably in Los Angeles. It remained a problem after the passing of Proposition 64. Lynne Lyman, who’s the former director of the Drug Policy Alliance, believes past mistakes are now being corrected. 

“This is the unfinished work of Proposition 64,” Lyman said. “We created the opportunity for old cannabis convictions to be cleared, but it was up to local district attorneys to actually make it happen. Proposition 64 was always about more than legal weed; it was an intentional effort to repair the past harms of the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition, which disproportionately targeted people of color.”

Assembly Bill 1739 led to prosecutors reviewing past convictions. Unfortunately, the review only focused on cases from state Department of Justice data. Once the Los Angeles County court records were read, three decades worth of misdemeanor cases were discovered. There were 58,000 felony and misdemeanor cases remaining after 2020. Prisoners were unaware they were eligible for dismissal or resentencing. Now, their records have been sealed, as well, in hopes it won’t affect their immigrant status, educational and job opportunities. 

After the passing of Proposition 64, communities of color continued to face injustice over cannabis in California’s most populated county. In 2021 alone, Black and Latino people accounted for over 75 percent of cannabis arrests in Los Angeles. Marijuana prohibition didn’t stop in Los Angeles County after legalization, although it didn’t largely affect white people. In 2019, whites only accounted for 10 percent of cannabis arrests. From 2004 to 2008 in Los Angeles, black people were arrested for cannabis at a rate seven times greater than white people. 

Roadblocks were still in place after Proposition 64 and Assembly Bill 1793, which Alternate Public Defender Erika Anzoategui believes are now being taken down. 

“The dismissal of 60,000 marijuana-related cases by DA Gascón is a pivotal step in reforming our criminal justice system,” Anzoategui said. “This sends the right signal to the community that the nation was wrong in its ‘war on marijuana’ and that criminal convictions for marijuana offenses have a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color. We join DA Gascón in removing roadblocks to employment, housing and education through the dismissal and sealing of these convictions.” 

The post Los Angeles County to Dismiss 60,000 Cannabis Convictions appeared first on High Times.

Felons Can Now Get Cannabis Licenses in Washington State

Felons will no longer be automatically barred from getting a cannabis license in Washington State, beginning next Saturday on October 2. Several updates to the rule now allow some people with serious felonies to obtain cannabis licenses, on a case-by-case basis.

That’s thanks to a new rule set by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that will go into effect shortly. Anyone who obtains a license must first pass an obligatory background check, but now, a felony on a record won’t necessarily be an automatic disqualifier.

Serious felony convictions within the past 10 years, however, will still trigger deeper scrutiny of a person’s application. But the rules no longer bar people with felonies from receiving a license. 

The protocol for less serious felonies also was updated. Specifically, one Class C felony on a record won’t automatically bar their license application. In addition, if someone has fewer than three misdemeanor convictions in the past three years, that won’t be enough to prompt a deeper review. 

Failure to report an old misdemeanor from juvenile court won’t count against applicants anymore, either.

With a strong focus on social equity in recent years, the rule change is being celebrated by cannabis business people because it allows people who were arrested at disproportionate rates to enter the legal industry.

“I think it’s great what the state is doing in terms of allowing people who have issues in the past, to be able to qualify,” Tran Du, co-owner of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis in Seattle, told KOMO News.

The idea behind the rule change is that people who were arrested at disproportionate rates for cannabis shouldn’t be barred from participating in the industry, now that it’s legal.

“We wanted to bring parity in the disproportionality that we saw from the leftover of the war on drugs and that Black people were being arrested and brown people were being arrested disproportionately,” said Representative Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) who is also chair of the state Social Equity on Cannabis Task Force.

Morgan stressed the need to get the state’s priorities in line. “The bottom line is bringing parity to the industry and making sure that Black and brown people have equal access to this industry in ownership,” she said.

Why Allow Felons?

Disparities in arrest rates of people of color are evident in numerous states, and Washington state is no different.

A study conducted by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, entitled “240,000 Marijuana Arrests Costs, Consequences, and Racial Disparities of Possession Arrests in Washington, 1986‐2010,” found that although African Americans and Latinx people consume marijuana at lower rates than whites, African Americans were arrested for marijuana crimes at 2.9 times the rate of whites in the state. Latinos were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of whites.

The burden of a felony can prevent some people from participating in the cannabis industry. As an example, High Times highlighted the case of Katree Darriel Saunders, who was barred from Nevada’s industry over a pot charge. As a one-time employee in the Nevada medical space, served four months in federal prison over a probation violation after choosing cannabis over opioids to treat trauma and injuries. That choice has burdened Saunders for over a decade, largely preventing her from participating in the industry despite years of experience, success and an otherwise spotless record. 

Other routes into the cannabis industry are available, depending on what state you live in. Several states that have legalized marijuana also offer opportunities for convicts to expunge their records.

The post Felons Can Now Get Cannabis Licenses in Washington State appeared first on High Times.

Arizona Court Clears Over 3,600 Cannabis Charges in Clean Sweep

Righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs is in full gear in Arizona. According to an August 30 press release, the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County granted 3,643 petitions for expungement of cannabis-related charges since the process started last month.

The court announced that following the passage of Proposition 207 in 2020, an average of 650 people per week are filing petitions with the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County to have felony cannabis-related convictions wiped off their records.

“The Law Library Resource Center worked hard to ensure the forms and instructions are easy to complete for customers seeking to expunge their felony marijuana conviction or arrest record. They can download the forms and instructions for free on our website and follow the instructions for the remainder of the process,” said Paula Collins, administrator of the Law Library Resource Center.

The Superior Court in Maricopa County’s Law Library Resource Center, among many organizations throughout Arizona, is helping with the expungement process, has posted all the necessary forms that petitioners can find online as well as instructions on how to complete the process.

If a court grants a request to expunge a cannabis-related criminal charge, three things could happen: the case file and police records will be sealed, the conviction and sentence will be vacated along with any outstanding court debt imposed in connection with the expunged charge, and the defendant’s civil rights will be restored in terms of cannabis-related charges. 

To see what offenses are eligible, visit the website.

Before filing a petition for expungement, people should check with their respective court. In the event that the conviction was adjudicated in a justice or city court, that court should be contacted for more information. If the case was resolved in the Juvenile Department of Superior Court, there is a separate juvenile petition to expunge. Anybody who has been arrested but not charged will need to file a civil petition to expunge the record. 

“Customers can also schedule an appointment on our website to visit any of the Law Library Resource Center location and purchase the packet if they are unable to download and print the forms,” Collins added.

A fee is not charged for the petition to expunge the conviction.

Arizona Court Decisions Under Proposition 207

Proposition 207 which passed with 60 percent of the vote in favor of legalizing cannabis, also included a 16 percent tax on sales that helps fund community colleges, public safety, public health programs and roads and highways.

The cannabis conviction program was launched last July 13. Under the program, Arizona residents with convictions for possessing, transporting or consuming 2.5 ounces or less of cannabis—no more than 12.5 grams can be a cannabis concentrate or extract—are eligible to have their records expunged. 

People with convictions for possessing, cultivating, processing or transporting up to six cannabis plants at their primary residence are also eligible. Expungements are also available for convictions for possessing, using or transporting paraphernalia related to the consumption, cultivation and processing of cannabis.

Assistance is also available from several organizations including the cannabis advocacy group Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), which has been offering expungement clinics through its Project Clean Slate initiative.

A similar initiative, Proposition 205, failed to be approved in 2016. It would have legalized adult-use cannabis with tax revenue going to the Arizona’s school system.

In Maricopa County, prosecutors took the lead early on in enacting the legalization of cannabis as mandated by the people through Proposition 207. Following the bill’s approval in November 2020, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office began filing motions to dismiss charges in pending cases covered by the initiative,

The post Arizona Court Clears Over 3,600 Cannabis Charges in Clean Sweep appeared first on High Times.

Social Justice Organizations Host Expungement Clinic in New Jersey

Social justice advocates in New Jersey are flocking together to hold a special, free expungement clinic at Doubletree by Hilton Penn Station Hotel in Newark.

The clinic will be held on Tuesday, September 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. Those who attend will get free support on how to expunge low-level cannabis convictions now that cannabis is legal in the state. 

The event will be hosted by 420NJEvents, a Black-owned cannabis lifestyle brand, and sponsored by Brach Eichler LLC, Columbia Care, REEForm New Jersey, Apothecarium, and Minority Cannabis Academy. Those who have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs will now have a chance to seek justice. Pro-bono attorneys from Brach Eichler law firm will be onsite to help and answer questions. 

“Why should some people have their lives ruined, while others are getting rich in the industry?,” said Brendon Robinson, Co-Founder & Vice President of 420NJEvents. This clinic will give people an opportunity to have a life after cannabis. No longer will low-level cannabis cimes ruin someone’s life.”

420NJEvents is a Black-owned cannabis lifestyle brand run by two childhood friends who bonded over cannabis and their loyalty to each other. Seeing first-hand what the War on Drugs can do, they vowed to make a difference in their community and take action.   

Thus, they formed 420NJEvents to spread awareness and education about cannabis in their community, and to explain how much the War on Drugs had impacted them. 

New Jersey Steps Up

“We’re focused on educating minorities around cannabis as an avenue to create generational wealth, and break into an emerging industry ripe with opportunity and alternative medicine,” they explained via a press release. “We promise to remain true to the culture, true to ourselves and provide you with all the up-to-date information that’ll help you navigate the cannabis industry!”

One of the pro-bono attorneys who will be offering his services at the event explained in a press release why this event is valuable to communities of color in New Jersey. “Marijuana laws have often disproportionately impacted communities of color. As New Jersey looks to establish its recreational marijuana market, there must be a focus on righting the societal wrongs that the prohibition of cannabis has created. We need more individuals, particularly Black and brown people, to understand the law and their rights, what it means, and how it can help them,” said Charles X. Gormally, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler LLC.

Events such as these help give valuable information to those who are interested in getting a fresh start after being impacted by the failed drug war. “If money is being made off the cannabis industry, we should ensure that revenue benefits the entire community not a select few,” said John D. Fanburg, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler LLC. “As we’ve seen in our cannabis practice, the most important thing we can do is ensure equal access and transparency in the industry so that people can be involved in a fair way. It’s the right thing to do.”

Many of those involved in putting on the event feel it’s there social responsibility to participate in expungement events. “Inequities have plagued the cannabis industry since it first started being legalized in select states,” said Ngiste Abebe, VP of Public Policy at Columbia Care, the cannabis cultivator supporting the event. “It’s our responsibility as leaders of this evolving industry to make social justice initiatives such as expungement a priority, especially ahead of adult-use sales and federal legalization. We’re thrilled to be partnering with like-minded organizations for this clinic and hopefully more to come.”

“As part of our commitment to fight for social justice, The Apothecarium is honored to partner with 420NJEvents for the expungement clinic being held in Newark, NJ.,” said Michelle Moleski, Director of Physician and Community Outreach for Terrascend NE. “We believe that community outreach activities such as this have a lasting impact, and we look forward to providing direct support to those negatively affected by the War on Drugs in our community.”

This free event is a positive first step to help many residents of New Jersey get their lives back following the disastrous effects of the War on Drugs.  

The post Social Justice Organizations Host Expungement Clinic in New Jersey appeared first on High Times.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Advocates Float New Strategy To Pass Marijuana Legalization In Senate With Democratic Support In Question (Marijuana Moment)

// Montana House Revives Bill To Implement Marijuana Legalization After First Defeating It (Marijuana Moment (Daily Montanan))

// Drug Possession To Be A Misdemeanor- For Now- Under Washington State Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Cova Software, the number one dispensary point-of-sale system in North America! Swing over today to see why two thirds of all Canadian cannabis stores run on Cova software, which is also the fastest growing dispensary software in the U.S., with more than a hundred new client dispensaries open for business in January alone!


// These states could still legalize recreational or medical cannabis in 2021 (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Pennsylvania Marijuana Poll Shows Highest-Ever Support For Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Harborside Q4 Net Revenue Increases 11% to $12.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Auxly Revenue Keeps Rising But Losses Remain (Green Market Report)

// After hitting record numbers during the pandemic’s peak new medical marijuana patients are surging again in Florida (Yahoo News (South Florida Sun-Sentinel))

// Peoples-Stokes hosts Buffalo marijuana expungement clinic (WGRZ 2 NBC)

// New York’s Native American communities eye recreational cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Soomness/Flickr