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Kamala Harris’ Cannabis legalization bill supports immigrant justice

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Kamala Harris

Senator Kamala Harris, the favourite of the betting markets’ to become the Democractic presidential nominee in 2020, recently introduced the federal cannabis reform legalization into the Senate, showcasing that her approach towards drug policy has moved past laughing at the idea of cannabis decriminalization. 

 

Retrospecting on her journey from being a top cop of California to one of the most outspoken hopefuls for 2020 on critical justice reform, Harris’s step towards cannabis legalization also suggests that she is delivering on the denunciation of harsh deportation policies- although she was complicit in their implementation as the district attorney of San Francisco.

 

Harris has active participated and sponsored a number of bills aiming at reuniting separated migrant families and holding border patrol officers accountable. She is also campaigning on the expansion and reinstatement of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

 

Jerry Nadler (D-NY), a representative plans to introduce the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) to the House, which would remove cannabis from the list of Drug Enforcement Administration’s Schedule I of controlled substances.

 

This bill, in effect, would recognize the medical purpose of cannabis while also allowing for its legalization. Additionally, the bill would also render direct funds to build programs that will assist with criminal record expungement and re-entry, along with the expansion of cannabis industry by promoting participation among people targeted by the drug war – above all low-income communities and people of colour. 

 

Harris said as marijuana gains legality across the country, everyone should ensure that people, especially belonging from the communities of colour who have been disproportionately being impacted by the war on drugs-  have an opportunity to take part in the growing cannabis industry. This also includes undocumented immigrants. 

 

Currently, the status of immigration is jeopardized by working in the marijuana industry- right from cannabis dispensaries to farms- in states with a legal market. 

 

A day before the marijuana holiday on April 20, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a policy guidance which stated that the “good moral character” needed for noncitizens’ naturalization is violated by  “certain marijuana related activities,” including employment in the cannabis industry which occurs in jurisdictions, where the conduct is not treated as a violation of state law. 

The guidance was released after 2 Coloradans were refused naturalization due to their participation in the cannabis industry of the state. 

 

Kathy Brady, a senior staff attorney at the Immigration Legal Resource Center said everyone in the country who is engaging with marijuana or its related activities is committing a federal crime, irrespective of being a citizen or non citizen.

 

However, the House of Representatives has restricted the Department of Justice from prosecuting people (citizens) use of cannabis in legalized states. Whereas, the status for immigration remains unprotected and in a dark space given marijuana continues to be prohibited at the federal level,which arbitrates immigration. 

 

Brady further explained saying that they were talking about people who were not thinking that they were committing a crime while engaging with the cannabis industry. She stated that supposedly, if you were a citizen, like you have a green card, or maybe you are undocumented, or you have a regugee status, and you reside in Califronia, a state where marijuana is completely legal, and if you were to tell an immigration officer that you were in anyway involved with marijuana or have even used it under the prescription of a doctor, the person can find you inadmissable, and that you can not be naturalized as a citizen. These people might even deport you back. 

 

Harris ‘ bill would discuss the disadvantages of marijuana experienced by non-citizens. The text states that people who are noncitizens can not be refused for any protection or benefit under the immigration laws due to conduct, admission, addiction, finding or abuse, an arrest, or a conviction, a juvenile adjudication, relating to cannabis” – both after and before the potential passage of the Act. 

 

Other Democratic candidates like Sen. Corey Booker and Sen. Bernie Sanders also proposed marijuana legalization bills. Sander’s 2015 bill was the first-ever bill to propose removing federal prohibition – which would allow noncitizens to safely participate in the cannabis industry. On the other hand, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s States Act, would not do so, since it would fail to deschedule cannabis. 

 

Making a unique position for itself, the bill supported by immigrant justice groups like Immigrant Legal Resource Center and UndocuBlack Network would allow 20% of revenue from a new 5% marijuana product tax towards the creation of programs which support small cannabis businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals and reduce barriers to industry employment and cannabis licensing for those who are most impacted by the war of Drugs. 

Ivan is a Cannabis Journalist, who has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. When he is not writing about the latest news and info about cannabis, he prefers reading his daughter a story or hanging out with his wife at Starbucks or her favorite restaurant.

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California welcomes Cannabis Restaurants and Cafes with ‘flower’ and ‘budtender’ service

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Cannabis restaurants are coming to California

Just like any good chef planning to open a brand new restaurant, Andrea Drummer wants to get her work done just right. But her plantain-mango salsa with lamb chops will not be matched with beer or wine. 

Instead, a “budtender”- widely popular in the industry as ganjiers, as in ganja sommeliers- will assist guests at the soon-to-open Lowell Farms cannabis cafe to pair their meal with the perfect amount of farm-to-table cannabidiol. 

Drummer said that a kush is slightly bit more pungent, so it tastes better with a stew or a meal like meat or beef product. A lightly lemon profile goes well with a fish. One of her personal favourites, Blue Dream, tastes really good with both sweet and savory. Drummer tells that she has done done it with bread puddings, and with ice cream, but she’s also tried it with octopus. 

When the vintage-like, rustic, hemp-filled cafe with 220-seat capacity will open, it will be the first of its kind in the United States: a cozy place for tourists and locals to relish high-quality meals and smoke a joint in public. Other restaurants are soon to follow. 

But if they are planning to incorporate weed on the menu, restaurateurs in the city will have to work their way through a complicated workflow of regulations. The progressive city had approved an ordinance in 2017 and allowed businesses for this purpose. 

Jackie Subeck said that they are building the boat as they’re on the water, with cannabis. Subeck plans to launch a cannabis cafe, spa, clinic and serves as the chairwoman of the cannabis legislative subcommittee for the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. 

States that have legalized cannabis for recreation will watch the town pull it off. In Mayallowing cannabis lounges, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill. Cannabis restaurants may eventually become as normal as wine bars if legalization remains apace.

Sean Black, the co-founder of Lowell Herb Co., the cannabis organization launching the cafe said that whatever West Hollywood will be doing now will be followed by other blue states, three years later. 

According to the proposition 64, cannabis is legalized in California, but consuming cannabis in public is still banned. 

When a research session on the subject was held by the West Hollywood City Council in 2017, it was determined that access to locations for smoking was an issue of social equity.

John Leonard, the city’s community and legislative affairs manager said that many people in the city are renters, and they may not be allowed to smoke cannabis in their apartments. These people who stay on rent are forced to smoke in their cars or public places, and run a higher risk for getting arrested for that. 

But this wasn’t the only reason why cannabis was legalized for smoking in public by the council. 

Leonard said that people enjoy the nightlife in West Hollywood, so the cannabis legalization was sort of a natural evolution, that people can easily enjoy while staying in the West Hollywood in a hotel, or they could go out to cafes or bars to smoke a joint, and now they can go for cannabis consumption as well.  

Cannabinoid, a hemp-derived compound was legalized from the federal government in December 2018 under the Farm Bill Act. The substance was removed from the list of Controlled Substances and made legal for production, processing, distribution and consumption. 

CBD is widely popular for its medical benefits. From treating stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness to reducing acute pains, aches, inflammation, swelling, irritation, CBD has been used by numerous people for various health ailments. 

There are public places for marijuana use elsewhere in California and Colorado, but there are many lounges connected to dispensaries or vape clubs that resemble a dingy cellar. These places are quite different from what West Hollywood had in mind when it launched applications for 16 on-site consumption licenses in May 2018. 

The process drew a lot of attention and more than 300 applicants, who were scored on multiple factors such as social equity and innovation. The top eight participants in each of the five categories were permitted to proceed. 

Drummer’s application was amongst the highest scorers in the category for cannabis consumption in lounge (vaping, smoking and edible), featured a “bright and airy oasis” with tableside “flower” service- hand-rolled cannabis buds into joints. Drummer also called for a full-fledged menu infused with cannabis, which Drummer has been creating for several years as  a private chef for her clients including comedian Chelsea Handler. 

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HOLY SMOKE Nate Diaz puffs cannabis oil with fans before UFC 241 fight

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The fans favourite Nate Diaz makes his octagon return on Saturday competing with Anthony Pettis, his old rival in his home of California. Diaz hasn’t fought since August 2016 when he lost to Conor McGregor in a majority decision at the UFC 202. The Stockton native reminded his fans of his unique personality by smoking a cannabidiol on the stage. 

After his rematch defeat to The Notorious, Diaz infamously smoked CBD oil-which was banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency at the time. However, the USADA has made cannabidiol legal in and out of the competition. 

Diaz took advantage of the updated rules by producing his own Game Up Nutrition CBD line. The UFC also signed an agreement with Aurora Cannabis to assist fighters in taking supplements after a fight to treat aches and pains.

Diaz told ESPN that he was the pioneer for the UFC fighters to have the once prohibited drug legal.

Diaz said if they saw how he landed a great CBD deal for the UFC. He further stated that CBD is now present in every sport and athletic competition- from football to basketball to wrestling rings, CBD is legal and UFC is paid out!

He added that everyone has jumped on the CBD bandwagon because of him. He apparently started the CBD movement, says Diaz. 

His brother Nick was given a five-year ban after he failed the post-fight drug test for marijuana metabolites after his loss to Anderson Silva in 2013. 

In a pre-fight drug screening, Silva tested positive for oxazepam, drostanolone, temazepam and androstane, and the fight was proclaimed a no contest. Nick spent about four months appealing his failed marijuana test and gradually got it reduced to 18 months with a £82,000 fine.

However, the MMA veteran has not battled since the middleweight battle at UFC 183 after all the time spent appealing the decision. Because Nick failed to pay his NSAC penalties, in his high-profile battles with McGregor he was not qualified to corner his brother.

What is CBD? 

CBD or cannabidiol is a hemp derived compound which is an anti-inflammatory chemical with healing capabilities. There are many medical benefits of using CBD, as claimed by several patients who have used it to treat their anxiety, inflammation, stress, depression and other ailments. 

The federal government in the United States legalized hemp-derived cannabinoids under the Farm Bill in december 2018, thereby removing CBD from the list of controlled substances. According to the federal regulations, CBD products are legal for production, processing, sales and consumption, however the maximum limit for THC is 0.3% per unit. If any product contains traces of THC amounting to more than 0.3%, the product will be considered illegal. 

Many states have legalized hemp derived CBD, but there is still some hesitation among consumers about the safety and effects of CBD. There is not much evidence that backs up the medicinal claims of CBD. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting in May to discuss the regulatory framework for CBD and its other products. The meeting was attended by several renowned scientists, researchers, law enforcement officials, consumers, business leaders and many others. 

The agency is yet to declare any official statement about CBD’s regulatory framework, however it has warned companies not to market or advertise their CBD products as a treatment to prescription drugs or with medicinal benefits. 

It recently issued a warning letter to Curaleaf for advertising their CBD products claiming medical benefits, which is strictly prohibited by the agency. A spokesperson from the FDA said that the agency is highly concerned about the health of consumers and want to ensure that CBD is a safe product to consume in any form. Till the time the agency clears off CBD as a safe substance, companies have to take additional precautions to ensure they are not violating any regulations laid out by the FDA. 

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John Isner to Endorse New CBD Sports Drink

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John Isner

CBD oil has exploded in the past eight months, especially after the federal government legalized hemp-derived cannabidiol. The farm bill in December 2018 removed cannabinoid from the list of controlled substances, thereby making it a legal compound to be used in different products. 

Companies have been using CBD in a wide variety of products including gummies, coffee, tea, mocktails, chocolates, pizza, burgers, drinks, popcorn and what not. From wellness and beauty to health and lifestyle, CBD has created a buzz all over the market place. 

Consumers have started relying on CBD heavily for treating their ailments, starting from the basics like cold, flu, acute pain to severe diseases like cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. Although there is not much science to back up the medical claims that CBD comes with, many people have reported that CBD has helped them improve their health by a significant margin. They feel healthier and better now. 

The marijuana extract has been associated with helping people alleviate mental health problems like anxiety, depression, stress and sleeplessness. Since CBD is devoid of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, it doesn’t intoxicate the user with hallucinations or the ‘high’ they get while smoking pot or weed. 

A new drink company is planning to roll out CBD products to bring some of the medicinal benefits to the sports community. Defy is the first mainstream CBD beverage that will be targeted at athletes. Launched in collaboration with Denver Broncos great Terrell Davis, each bottle of the Defy contains 20mg of high performance spectrum hemp extract, and other ingredients like coconut water, B vitamins and electrolytes. 

The label recommends consumption of the CBD oil before, during or after the exercise. The formula is intended to enhance athletic performance by increasing focus and effort during physical activities, while speeding up the recovery process from any injury caused earlier. 

Despite that research on CBD benefits is still in its nascent stages, John Isner is all out to promote CBD products for their health benefits. The top-ranked American and world’s no. 15 male, Isner is the first pro tennis player to endorse Defy. The collaboration was announced in Atlanta at the BB&T Open. 

Isner explained that he plays a sport where even a slight point off can make a huge impact and draw a line between winning and losing a match and Defy seems to be the perfect product which is specifically aimed to help athletes perform well at all points.  He further added that it’s been great knowing Defy as a company and that he looks forward to working with them to assist people in achieving high performance through CBD. 

Defy is currently available in 3 different flavours: Orange Mango, Mixed Berry and Lemonade. A six-pack costs nearly $48 which means the product is decently priced but not cheap. 

CBD is being widely infused in topicals, ointments, creams, oils, and in many other forms. After its legalization, celebrities have started using CBD heavily for their acute pains, injuries and stress. From the beauty mogul Kim Kardashian West who threw a CBD-themed baby shower to welcome her fourth child with husband Kanye West, Jennifer Aniston, the popular actress from the world famous TV series FRIENDS who uses CBD for stress, anxiety and acute pains, everyone seems to be relying on CBD for their daily needs. 

Despite the popularity, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not allowed CBD in food and dietary supplements. According to the agency there is no solid scientific proof which supports the medicinal benefits claimed by CBD and allowing consumers to use such a product is straight away dangerous. 

The agency has been working on regulating CBD products that have already flooded the consumer space. Public health and safety is the first priority of FDA, says a spokesperson. 

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