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California Awards $12 Million In Local Cannabis Equity Grants To Repair Drug War Harms

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California’s path to cannabis social equity: from arrests to advocacy

Data from the California Department of Justice reveals that nearly half a million individuals were arrested on cannabis charges in the state between 2006 and 2015. Even after Governor Schwarzenegger authorized a statewide decriminalization program in 2010, thousands continued to face serious misdemeanor charges related to cannabis. Despite California’s pioneering legalization of cannabis through Proposition 215 in 1996, just two years after the 1994 Crime Bill, the state legislature’s approach to cannabis legal reform was not as progressive as one might expect. The impact of the War on Drugs during this period was profound, with marijuana possession arrest rates increasing by 124% in 2010, even as rates for other serious crimes decreased significantly.

Proposition 64, passed a few years later, lacked any discussion addressing the damage caused by past policies. However, with social equity becoming a prominent topic in the cannabis industry, California officials have started investing significantly in social equity policies. Initiatives like the California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 and the Budget Act of 2019 reflected this shift, aiming to support the economic development of communities and individuals adversely affected by previous harsh cannabis policies in what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

Investing in justice: California’s cannabis social equity journey

In November 2023, California officials finally announced the application process for aspiring social equity business owners via the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions which itself is an extension of Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. As the substantial costs of running a fully legal cannabis business in California can often get obscenely expensive, these large grants are meant to fund and lessen the financial burden of these exorbitant costs.

The overall purpose of this multi-million dollar initiative is “to advance economic justice for populations and communities impacted by cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs by providing support to local jurisdictions as they promote equity in California and eliminate barriers to enter the newly regulated cannabis industry for equity program applicants and licensees,” according to the website. In February of 2023, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development distributed approximately $15 million in social equity-focused funding to 16 different cities and counties throughout the Golden State.

Breaking barriers: California’s social equity initiatives in cannabis

At the end of last month, California officials finally awarded those patiently awaited funds. Funded by a $12 million portion of the billions in tax revenue raised by California cannabis sales, the grants will go to a total of 10 different cities and counties. While most awarded counties reside in Northern California, the city of Coachella also received $350,000 in funding. In particular, Oakland received $3 million and the city and county of San Francisco received over $2 million. “California’s cannabis industry is not just about business; it’s about righting past wrongs. Through initiatives like the Cannabis Equity Grants Program, the state is investing in communities once harmed by harsh drug policies, creating opportunities and economic justice for those affected,” said California Cannabis Attorney Karen Albence.

From prohibition to inclusion: California’s cannabis equity evolution

The possibilities with this funding are nearly endless. Funds will go towards local programs offering technical support, regulatory compliance and assistance. One notable grantee includes San Jose’s Cannabis Equity Business Academy. Social equity advocates have even more progress to celebrate, as the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and Governor Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal would invest $15 million further in similar programs by October of 2024.

Although it has taken a while for these programs to be created and even longer to be implemented, we are hopeful for this new era. This $12 million in local, social equity grants is a drop in the bucket, considering the damage that was done. But a drop is better than an empty bucket. With substantial investments and ongoing support, California is starting to pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive cannabis industry– one where all individuals, regardless of background, have the chance to participate and succeed. As the state continues to allocate resources and expand such programs, the future holds promise for further progress in achieving social equity within the California cannabis landscape.



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Memorial Day — Honoring Those Who Served

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Please join us in taking the day off to honor all who have served, so we can do things like have a Canna Law Blog and say whatever we want.

We will be back tomorrow with our regular programs.

The post Memorial Day — Honoring Those Who Served appeared first on Harris Sliwoski LLP.



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Cannabis Nation – How Daily Cannabis Use Now Outpacing Alcohol Consumption Will Change America (Op-Ed)

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A Nation of Stoners

How Cannabis Outpacing Daily Alcohol Consumption Will Change America

 

Alright folks, listen up. There’s been a shakeup in the world of substance abuse, and it’s not the kind you’d expect. Looks like good ol’ booze has been kicked off its throne as the king of daily consumption. That’s right, Americans are now more likely to spark up a joint after a long day than they are to crack open a cold one. Or six.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Hey, what’s the big deal? People are just trading one vice for another.” But hold on a minute. This isn’t just about personal preference. When a whole nation decides to swap out their poison of choice, it’s not just a matter of taste. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we think, act, and interact with the world around us.

Picture this: a country full of stoners. Oh, sure, we might be a little slower to respond and a bit more prone to fits of giggling. But we’d also be a hell of a lot more chill. No more bar fights or drunken brawls. Just a bunch of happy-go-lucky folks content to sit back, munch on some snacks, and ponder the mysteries of the universe.

But hey, maybe that’s just the optimist in me talking. After all, who knows what kind of crazy shenanigans a nation of potheads might get up to? Will we all start wearing patchouli and playing hacky sack? Will we finally achieve world peace, only to forget what we were fighting about in the first place? Or will we just become a bunch of couch potatoes, too entranced by the latest nature documentary to bother with trivial things like work or responsibility?

I guess there’s only one way to find out. So buckle up, my friends. We’re about to embark on a wild ride through the hazy, smoke-filled landscape of a cannabis-loving America.

And who knows?

 Maybe we’ll all come out the other side a little bit wiser, a little bit kinder, and a whole lot more mellow. Or maybe we’ll just have the munchies. Either way, it’s gonna be one hell of a trip.

Let’s begin by talking about how one little bean changed the course of human history. That’s right, we’re talking about coffee.

Now, let’s take a step back in time. Imagine a world before Starbucks, before Dunkin’ Donuts, before your fancy French press. In those dark ages, people didn’t have the luxury of a refreshing cup of joe in the morning. No, their go-to beverages were more along the lines of beer, mead, or some other fermented concoction. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say that the water situation back then was less than ideal. You were more likely to catch a deadly disease from your drinking water than you were to quench your thirst.

So, people resorted to drinking alcohol to stay hydrated. Sounds like a party, right? Well, not so much when you consider the fact that everyone was essentially drunk all the time. I mean, can you imagine trying to be productive when you’re constantly buzzed? It’s a miracle they managed to get anything done at all.

But then, like a beacon of hope in a sea of drunken stupor, along came coffee. Suddenly, people realized that by boiling water, they could kill off all those pesky diseases AND enjoy a beverage that wouldn’t leave them stumbling around like a bunch of buffoons. Plus, as an added bonus, coffee actually made them more alert and focused. It was like a magic elixir for productivity.

And wouldn’t you know it, shortly after this game-changing shift in beverage choices, the industrial revolution kicked off. Coincidence? I think not. With the power of coffee coursing through their veins, people were able to work harder, faster, and smarter than ever before. The world was forever changed, all thanks to a humble little bean.

But here’s the thing: if coffee could have such a profound impact on the course of human history, just imagine what could happen if cannabis becomes the new norm. We’re talking about a substance that not only alters your state of mind but also has the potential to change the way you see the world. Could it lead to a new era of creativity, innovation, and enlightenment? Or will it just turn us all into a bunch of spaced-out, snack-obsessed philosopers?

Ah, the eternal question: “What is a stoner?” It’s a label that’s been thrown around for decades, often accompanied by images of lazy, unmotivated individuals wasting away in their parents’ basements. But the reality is far from this outdated stereotype. Today’s average cannabis consumer is just as likely to be a high-powered lawyer, a soccer mom juggling a hectic schedule, or even your trusted medical professional.

Now, as a self-proclaimed member of the stoner class, I can attest to some common threads that seem to run through the cannabis community. While not every single consumer fits this mold, there are some undeniable trends that emerge when you start to pay attention.

First and foremost, let’s talk politics. You might assume that stoners lean heavily to the left, but the truth is, most of them couldn’t care less about partisan bickering. Their primary concern is seeing cannabis legalized, and they don’t particularly care who gets the job done. This apolitical stance often extends to external conflicts as well. Unless absolutely necessary, most stoners prefer to take a hands-off approach, opting for mediation and diplomacy over aggression.

But it’s not just about avoiding conflict. Stoners also tend to have a heightened sense of empathy for their fellow humans and the environment. They understand the intricate web of connections that binds us all together, and they strive to treat the earth and its inhabitants with respect. This often translates to a love of nature and a desire to protect it.

When it comes to leisure activities, stoners tend to gravitate towards the simple pleasures in life. A nice walk in the park, some soothing tunes, or a creative outlet like art or music – these are the things that bring them joy. They’re not afraid to kick back, relax, and enjoy the moment.

And let’s not forget about food. Stoners appreciate a good meal, and they don’t take themselves too seriously in the process. They understand that life is meant to be savored, one delicious bite at a time.

But don’t let their laid-back demeanor fool you. Stoners can be some of the most responsible, hardworking individuals you’ll ever meet. They tend to take good care of themselves, both physically and mentally, which often leads to fewer sick days and longer, healthier lives. And when it comes to the powers that be, stoners are wise to the fact that corporate interests and government corruption often go hand in hand. They’ve lost faith in the official narrative and instead choose to trust their own instincts and experiences.

Of course, these are all generalizations, and I’ll admit that my own biases may be coloring my perception. But if you take the time to talk to a few stoners yourself, I’m willing to bet their answers will fall somewhere in the same ballpark. The stoner archetype may have evolved over the years, but the core values of empathy, respect, and a love for the simple things in life remain as strong as ever.

Alright, let’s shift our focus to the elephant in the room: alcohol. It’s time to put this seemingly innocuous substance under the microscope and see what kind of ugly truths we can uncover.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most people who enjoy a drink or two are perfectly respectable members of society. They’re not out there causing trouble or making a scene. And you’re right. The majority of alcohol consumers are moderate and well-behaved. But here’s the thing: when you look at the cold, hard facts, alcohol starts to look like a pretty horrendous drug.

Let’s start with the big one: violence. According to the FBI’s own database, alcohol is responsible for up to 40% of all violent crimes. That’s a staggering number when you really stop to think about it. And that’s not even taking into account the countless cases of domestic violence and sexual assault that can be traced back to alcohol consumption.

But the toll of alcohol doesn’t stop there. Every year, countless lives are lost to drunk driving accidents. And let’s not forget about the myriad of alcohol-related diseases that claim even more victims. From liver cirrhosis to various types of cancer, alcohol is a silent killer that takes an immense toll on public health.

And then there’s the impact on the mind and body. As a depressant, alcohol can wreak havoc on your mental wellbeing, exacerbating existing conditions and creating new ones. But it’s not just your brain that suffers. Alcohol is an intoxicant that puts stress on virtually every organ in your body, leaving you feeling like a shell of your former self.

Speaking of productivity, good luck getting anything done when you’re under the influence of alcohol. A drunk person is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. They’re not exactly known for their sharp wit, keen insights, or ability to get things done.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of alcohol consumption is the way it warps your perception of the world around you. When you’re drunk, you’re wrapped up in your own little bubble of intoxication. Empathy goes out the window, and the needs and feelings of others become secondary to your own desires. It’s a recipe for disaster, both on a personal and societal level.

And let’s not forget the most glaring difference between alcohol and cannabis: the lethal dose. Drink too much alcohol in one sitting, and you could very well end up in a body bag. But no matter how much cannabis you consume, you’ll never face that same risk. Sure, you might end up taking an unplanned nap or raiding the fridge, but death by overdose simply isn’t a concern.

So there you have it. When you strip away the social acceptability and take a hard look at the facts, alcohol starts to look like a pretty dangerous and destructive substance. And yet, it remains legal and widely available, while cannabis continues to face stigma and persecution. Makes you wonder about our priorities as a society, doesn’t it?

Alright, it’s time to wrap this up and get to the sticky bottom line. So, cannabis has officially dethroned alcohol as the substance of choice for daily consumption. And you know what? I think that’s a good thing.

Now, I’m not saying that cannabis is some miracle drug with no downsides. Of course, there will be some unforeseen consequences as this trend continues to unfold. But when you stack it up against alcohol, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.

Think about it this way: if you were a hiring manager and you had two candidates in front of you – a perpetual drunk who’s always under the influence, and a perpetual stoner who’s always high – who would you choose? I know where I’d place my bet.

The drunk is going to be unreliable, unproductive, and potentially even dangerous. They’ll show up late (if they show up at all), struggle to focus on tasks, and maybe even cause some drama in the workplace. Not exactly a recipe for success.

But the stoner? Sure, they might space out occasionally or take a few extra snack breaks. But overall, they’re going to be far more functional and capable of getting the job done. They’ll be more creative, more empathetic, and less likely to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.

And that’s just the workplace. Imagine the ripple effects throughout society as a whole. Less violence, fewer accidents, and a greater sense of community and connection. It’s not hard to see how this shift could lead to some pretty positive changes.

Of course, there will be challenges along the way. We’ll need to navigate the legal and social implications of widespread cannabis use. We’ll need to educate people on responsible consumption and make sure that the industry is regulated and controlled.

But at the end of the day, I believe that this move away from alcohol and towards cannabis is a step in the right direction. It’s a chance to rethink our relationship with substances and make choices that prioritize our health, our happiness, and our collective wellbeing.

So let’s embrace this new era of cannabis consumption. Let’s approach it with open minds and a willingness to learn and adapt. And most importantly, let’s remember to pass the joint to the left-hand side. Because in this brave new world, sharing is most definitely caring.

 

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Is the Solution to High-THC Products and Potent Marijuana Strains Good Old-Fashioned Black Pepper?

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As the cultural and legal landscape around cannabis continues to evolve, many users and researchers are interested in finding natural ways to manage and mitigate the side effects of its use. One such remedy that has garnered attention is black pepper. This seemingly simple kitchen spice is reputed to help alleviate some of the less desirable effects of cannabis, such as paranoia and anxiety. This article explores the scientific basis behind this claim, outlines how black pepper might interact with cannabis, and provides detailed insights into practical applications.

Understanding the Chemistry of Cannabis and Black Pepper

Cannabis contains various compounds, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is primarily responsible for its psychoactive effects. However, the experience can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to adverse effects such as:

 

Black pepper contains terpenes like beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may interact positively with cannabis cannabinoids. BCP, a non-psychoactive dietary cannabinoid, binds to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This interaction could explain how black pepper reduces THC’s psychoactive effects, providing a theoretical basis for this mitigating effect.

 The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis and Black Pepper

Terpenes play a significant role in both cannabis and black pepper, contributing to their aromas, flavors, and therapeutic effects. Understanding these compounds is essential to grasping how black pepper might manage the effects of cannabis.

  1. Terpenes in Cannabis

Cannabis plants produce a wide variety of terpenes, which are aromatic compounds that contribute to the plant’s distinctive smell and flavor. These terpenes also have therapeutic properties and can influence the overall effects of cannabis. Key terpenes found in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene: Known for its musky, earthy scent, myrcene has sedative effects and is believed to enhance the psychoactive effects of THC.

  • Limonene: With a citrusy aroma, limonene is thought to elevate mood and provide stress relief.

  • Pinene: Smelling like pine, pinene is associated with alertness and memory retention.

  • Linalool: Found in lavender, linalool has a floral scent and is known for its calming and anti-anxiety properties.

  • Beta-caryophyllene: This spicy, peppery terpene also interacts with the endocannabinoid system and is unique because it can bind directly to CB2 receptors, influencing inflammation and pain.

  1. Terpenes in Black Pepper

Black pepper is also rich in a diverse array of terpenes, with beta-caryophyllene (BCP) being the most prominent and noteworthy among them. What sets beta-caryophyllene apart is its unique ability to function as a dietary cannabinoid, meaning it has the capacity to interact with the endocannabinoid system in a way that is both significant and beneficial. Specifically, beta-caryophyllene has been shown to bind selectively to CB2 receptors, which are an integral part of the endocannabinoid system and are closely tied to anti-inflammatory effects, without producing any psychoactive responses or “high” associated with CB1 receptors. This makes beta-caryophyllene a particularly interesting and valuable compound, with potential therapeutic applications in the realm of inflammation and beyond. The major terpenes in black pepper include:

  • Beta-caryophyllene (BCP): This terpene can bind to CB2 receptors and may help mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC, providing a balancing effect on the endocannabinoid system.

  • Piperine: Responsible for black pepper’s pungency, piperine enhances the bioavailability of other compounds, potentially making them more effective.

  • Pinene: Also found in cannabis, pinene in black pepper can aid in respiratory function and has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Limonene: Sharing its presence with cannabis, limonene in black pepper contributes to its citrusy note and has mood-enhancing effects.

 

How Black Pepper Interacts with Cannabis

The interaction between the terpenes in cannabis and those in black pepper, particularly beta-caryophyllene, can influence the effects of cannabis consumption. The potential benefits include:

  • Reduction of Anxiety and Paranoia: Beta-caryophyllene’s binding to CB2 receptors might help counteract the anxiety and paranoia that can accompany high THC consumption.

  • Modulation of Psychoactivity: By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, beta-caryophyllene may help reduce the intensity of THC’s psychoactive effects, providing a more balanced experience.

  • Enhanced Therapeutic Benefits: The combination of terpenes from both plants can enhance the overall therapeutic benefits due to their synergistic effects.

Practical Ways to Use Black Pepper to Manage Cannabis Effects

For cannabis users interested in exploring the potential benefits of black pepper to manage effects, there are several practical methods:

  • Inhalation: Sniffing or inhaling the aroma of crushed black peppercorns could provide immediate relief from cannabis-induced anxiety or paranoia.

  • Oral Consumption: Adding black pepper to food or consuming peppercorns directly can help integrate beta-caryophyllene into the body, potentially mitigating adverse effects.

  • Aromatherapy: Using black pepper oil in a diffuser may help by providing a steady amount of beta-caryophyllene in the environment.

 

Research and Evidence

The relationship between black pepper and cannabis effects is still under-researched, with most of the evidence being anecdotal or derived from preliminary studies. Important points include:

  • Anecdotal Reports: Many users have reported relief from cannabis-induced side effects through the use of black pepper.

  • Scientific Studies: Research on beta-caryophyllene, particularly its potential to reduce inflammation and anxiety through CB2 activation, supports the idea that it could help manage THC effects.

Considerations and Cautions

While black pepper may offer a natural way to manage some effects of cannabis, users should consider several factors:

  • Personal Differences: Individual reactions can vary based on body chemistry, the strain of cannabis used, and personal health conditions.

  • Underlying Health Issues: Those with health issues should consult with a healthcare provider before using black pepper as a remedy for cannabis effects.

Conclusion

The interaction between black pepper and cannabis offers a fascinating example of how natural substances can potentially interact with human biology in complex and beneficial ways. This relationship underscores the importance of understanding the intricate biochemistry involved in the human body’s response to various compounds found in both cannabis and common spices like black pepper. The key compound in black pepper, beta-caryophyllene (BCP), has shown promise in modulating the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive component in cannabis. BCP’s ability to selectively bind to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system—without producing psychoactive effects—presents a compelling theoretical basis for its use in managing the often overwhelming psychoactive effects of THC. This interaction suggests that black pepper could help reduce THC-induced anxiety, paranoia, and cognitive impairment, providing a more balanced and manageable cannabis experience.

 

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