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Illegal marijuana farms in Orange County show how toxic danger is spread through national forests

Don Hoang stood on a hillside thick with brush in the Cleveland National Forest where in September, officers had uprooted some 1,300 illegal marijuana plants that could have netted the growers a $4 million profit. Hoang was more concerned with what he saw scattered around him in a canyon near Ortega Highway in Orange County: pesticides so toxic that they are banned in the United States, plus fertilizer, beer cans, irrigation tubing, clothing and trash. “For us, it’s not about the marijuana. It’s about protecting the environment, protecting the wildlife and protecting the water supply to the communities,” said Hoang, special agent in charge for U.S. Forest Service law enforcement investigations. “This is what they are doing to public lands. They are coming  in and destroying it for an illic...

A month after California created a Department of Cannabis, reforms and challenges take shape

Published: Aug 31, 2021, 7:59 pm • Updated: Aug 31, 2021, 8:01 pm By Brooke Staggs Over the summer, California made its biggest change to how cannabis is regulated since voters approved legalization half a decade ago, with Gov. Gavin Newsom merging three agencies that had been overseeing segments of the industry into one new Department of Cannabis. A month later, new strategies and challenges for the industry are taking shape. It’s taking longer for cannabis businesses to get licensed since the consolidation took place, according to multiple people who work in or advocate for the cannabis industry. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

As more licenses to grow cannabis are added, illegal growing has also risen in California

Recreational cannabis sales began in January 2018, and while many have played by the rules, the illegal growth and sale of the plant continues to undermine those following the rules. Licensed to grow, manufacture and sell State license issuance began in 2018, but data isn’t available for that initial year because they were issued as temporary licenses. Data sets begin in 2019, when 12-month annual and provisional licenses began to be issued, using the online licensing systems. Licenses remain active for one year, at which point they can be renewed for an additional 12 months. This list displays counts of when the licenses were first issued, but not each time one was renewed. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

More Southern California employers no longer testing most job candidates for drugs

Getting a job these days doesn’t always involve a plastic bottle and a trip to the bathroom. With recreational marijuana use legal in California, and at least 17 other states and Washington D.C., some employers are making changes and will no longer require some job candidates to be screened for drugs and alcohol. “Instead, these employers focus on combating drug use in the workplace through enforcing their existing drug-free workplace policies and utilizing reasonable suspicion drug testing,” said Matthew Roberts, employment law counsel for the California Chamber of Commerce, via email. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

In Long Beach, get a free marijuana joint with your COVID vaccine

LONG BEACH — Looking to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations as case numbers in Los Angeles County surge upward, a community coalition in Long Beach plans to offer one free marijuana joint to the first 150 city residents 21 and older who get the jab at an upcoming one-day pop-up clinic. “Joints for Jabs LBC” is the product of partnership between the Healthy Long Beach campaign and the Long Beach Collective Association, which represents dozens of cannabis businesses in the city. The groups plan to lawfully distribute tokens that are redeemable for one free pre-rolled joint on Saturday, July 24, to Long Beach residents 21 and older who get vaccinated at a one-day pop-up clinic at Houghton Park. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

What’s life like after life for weed? Six months after clemency, Corvain Cooper fights for place in legal industry

This Fourth of July held new meaning for Corvain Cooper, who feared he’d never celebrate another holiday as a free man. Six months ago, Cooper was in a prison in Louisiana. The Los Angeles native had been sentenced to federal prison in 2014 for his role in a scheme to sell marijuana across state lines. Though there had been no allegations of violence, Cooper’s two prior minor drug convictions meant the cannabis conviction was a third strike, forcing a judge to send the then-34-year-old to prison for life without the possibility of parole. But on Jan. 19, as one of his last actions as president, Donald Trump granted Cooper clemency. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Could cannabis be made legal in U.S. under Biden? Signs are mixed.

People who want to see cannabis legalized nationally got a welcome surprise late last month when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called into question the constitutionality of federal bans on marijuana. The opinion from one of the Court’s most conservative justices doesn’t change federal law, but it came in a year when states seem to be racing each other to license and regulate some form of legal cannabis. Since March 1, five states have enacted or solidified legislation to legalize cannabis. As of July 1, recreational marijuana was legal in 18 states and medical marijuana was legal in 36. And that’s just part of the momentum suggesting change could come to federal cannabis laws. Last year, Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a cannabis legalization bill — the first time ...

Pride Month: Celebrating ties between California’s cannabis and LGBTQ movements

Throughout June, Californians can buy a cannabis-infused gummy that looks and tastes like rainbow sherbet. When they do, San Mateo-based edibles company PLUS will give money to a nonprofit that advocates for incarcerated people who are trans and gender-variant. Customers who buy upscale joints or cannabis flower this month from Venice-based Stone Road will be supporting the LGBTQ Freedom Fund, which covers bail for LGBTQ people behind bars. And for every limited edition can of cannabis-infused Blueberry Mint Acai Sparkling Elixir sold this month by the company ReCreate, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Equality of California will get $1. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

California man stranded in Mexico after admitting marijuana use reunites with with family

Nearly two years after he told the truth about having once smoked pot – a bit of honesty that left him stranded in Mexico, separated from his family, and blocked from re-entering the United States – a Southern California man walked back into his home last month and surprised his children. Emily, 7, was napping in the living room, so it took her a moment to realize that the man waking her up was her father, Jose Palomar. She threw her arms around him and cried. He cried too. Next, he went upstairs in their Corona home to surprise 12-year-old April, who ran toward him and also started crying. Joshua, 14, was in the garage, playing video games, but he too sprung up for a hug. “He’s a little more grown up since I last saw him,” Palomar said. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Fullerton hires part-time staffer to weed out unlicensed cannabis businesses

Looking to crack down on illegal cannabis businesses in the city, Fullerton is set to hire a new code enforcement officer whose job will focus solely on finding and shutting down unlicensed pot shops and other marijuana-related businesses. City Council members recently gave the green light for the city to launch a two-year pilot program, under which the officer will be employed part-time, focusing 28 hours per week on the job. Matt Foulkes, director of community and economic development in Fullerton, said the issue of unlicensed weed stores has been an “ongoing problem” in the city, albeit more mild compared to the numbers nearby cities have seen. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Planet 13 hiring 250 ahead of cannabis superstore’s debut in Santa Ana

Published: Apr 13, 2021, 2:14 pm • Updated: Apr 13, 2021, 2:17 pm By Kevin Smith A Las Vegas cannabis dispensary is looking to hire 250 workers for a soon-to-be-completed superstore in Santa Ana as the company expands its operations amid a gradually improving COVID-19 economy. Planet 13 hopes to fill the Orange County positions by July. It also will be adding 40 cash registers and 80 additional employees at its Las Vegas store, boosting companywide staffing by 330. The 45,000-square-foot Santa Ana location at 3400 Warner Ave. will be called Planet 13 Orange County. Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.

Study: California’s licensed cannabis shops aren’t selling to minors

California’s licensed marijuana shops are doing an excellent job at preventing sales to minors, according to a first-of-its-kind study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That means the industry is living up to a key promise advocates made when voters legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older nearly five years ago. “Licensed marijuana retailers are clearly keen to follow the rules,” said Angela Eichelberger, a research scientist with the Insurance Institute who authored the report with University of Chicago and University of Minnesota experts. “They’re aware that the industry hasn’t won everybody over yet, and they don’t want to get shut down.” Read the rest of this story on ocregister.com.