In a state heavily invested in optimizing personal experience, cannabis offers a new path to sublime good health.By Dana Goodyear
Photography by Chad Pitman
By the time recreational marijuana usage became legal in California, on New Year’s Day, the government’s official permission seemed, for many Californians, like a belated, nearly irrelevant formality. Twenty-two years of ready access to medical marijuana had made casual consumption—a pull off a vape pen on the walk to dinner, post-prandial pot chocolates circulating in the living room, a THC strip tucked under the tongue—no more remarkable than an aperitif. Actually, less remarkable than a drink, because everyone knows that alcohol is bad for you (kills your stem cells, gives you cancer, makes you grouchy, paunchy, gray), whereas, increasingly, the industry is equating conscious marijuana use with sublime good health.
In the state of California, in recent years, hundreds of people—disproportionately people of color—have been arrested or jailed on marijuana-related charges. (Under a provision in the state's marijuana law, Prop 64, many may be able to have their sentences reduced or convictions overturned.) But among an affluent demographic of Californians—heavily invested in optimizing personal experience, micro-regulating moods and appetites, states of pain and creative flow—cannabis is part of a booming wellness industry. Gone are the purple bongs, sexy nurses, dancing bears. In place of these skanky, skunky holdovers is an array of alluring products whose seduction lies in their eminently rational design. Dosist, formerly Hmblt (motto: “delivering health and happiness”), has released a collection of disposable vape pens preloaded with marijuana concentrate (available individually or in a gift set) targeting different desired states: bliss, calm, relief, and so on. The pen itself, Cupertino white and tampon-esque, vibrates when its user has inhaled 2.25 milligrams of THC. Marijuana, in this new form, is a therapeutic aid in the life of an active, productive professional—like fish oil, with better dreams. The new consumer (or the old consumer, reimagined) is not zonked in a La-Z-Boy watching “Wayne’s World” with a bag of chips. She is making a vision board for the startup she’s launching, lightly high on a strain promising to connect her to her intuition without stimulating binge-eating.
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The promoters of the annual Coachella music festival, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), recently announced that cannabis use would not be allowed at the event this April, even though recreational marijuana was legalized in California in 2016 and commercial sales began Jan. 1. The city of Indio, where the festival is held, has banned new pot businesses, but Coachella is on private property. So what gives?
The event’s promoter made the call. “NO Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia, Marijuana, Marijuana products will be allowed,” the Coachella website warns. That’s the rule for camping at Coachellaas well.
Anschutz’s History of Contributions to Antidrug GroupsWhile Coachella’s marijuana ban is standard festival policy, it’s not widely known that AEG founder Philip Anschutz’s private family foundation has donated thousands of dollars to antidrug groups over the last few years, including Kevin Sabet’s Sam Inc. (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and Smart Colorado.
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By Brooke Edwards Staggs
Posted on Jan 10, 2018
While the nation’s attorney general is calling for a crackdown on legal marijuana, a former California Attorney General is launching his own marijuana distribution business.
Bill Lockyer, who served as the Golden State’s top cop from 1999 to 2007, is co-founder of C4 Distro, a Newport Beach-based company that hopes to distribute cannabis between licensed retailers.
Lockyer has experience fighting Washington on the issue of legal marijuana. Now he’s among a small but growing group of people making the switch from government to the cannabis industry.
Lockyer’s partner in the venture is Eric Spitz, who was president and co-owner of the Orange County Register from 2012 until 2016, when the newspaper was purchased out of bankruptcy by Digital First Media.
C4 Distro is headquartered in Newport Beach, state records show, which has some of the strictest marijuana policies allowed under state law. But they don’t intend to operate there, with plans instead to distribute marijuana products initially in the Los Angeles area.
Distributors are the only entities legally allowed to transport marijuana between other licensed businesses. C4 Distro — the business name for Golden Systems LLC — plans to focus on picking up manufactured marijuana products, such as edibles and concentrates, and delivering them to shops that sell them to the public.
The company doesn’t appear to have one of the 151 licenses the state had issued as of Wednesday for recreational and medical marijuana distribution, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s online database. C4 Distro officials declined interview requests, saying they plan to share details of their business later this month.
The company’s plans don’t seem to have slowed despite the cloud that’s been cast over the industry at the federal level.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies it as a Schedule I controlled substance, on par with heroin.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been outspoken about his disdain for marijuana. And on Jan. 4, Sessions killed an Obama-era Department of Justice memo that offered some protection for marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state legalization programs.
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By Conan Nolan
Published at 11:12 PM PST on Jan 7, 2018
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has asked to meet with the four U.S. Attorneys who prosecute federal law in the state to gauge weather or not they plan on enforcing federal marijuana laws.
"I've reached out to all four to sit down with them... because we'd like to know how each of the four will intend to move forward with this new policy from US DOJ."
Becerra was referring to a memo released last week from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicating his office would "enforce the law" when it comes to marijuana. Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy of not enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where voters had made it legal to consume, either for medical or recreational use.
California's chief law enforcement officer says the state would take legal action if needed to protect the will of the voters following passage of a 2016 ballot measure legalizing marijuana.
"I would encourage everyone in the state of California including the 400 people who have now gotten a license and registered to partake in our new industry to do it the right way... We are moving forward."
Becerra made the comments on NBC4 Sunday morning.
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By Laura Jarrett, CNN
Updated 10:07 AM ET, Thu January 4, 2018
(CNN)In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.
While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.
Sessions: DOJ looking at 'rational' marijuana policy
The main Justice Department memo addressing the issue, known as the "Cole memo" for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole in 2013, set forth new priorities for federal prosecutors operating in states where the drug had been legalized for medical or other adult use. It represented a major shift from strict enforcement to a more hands-off approach, so long as they didn't threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and cartels.The memo will be rescinded but it's not immediately clear whether Sessions will issue new guidance in its place or simply revert back to older policies that left states with legal uncertainty about enforcement of federal law.
The decision had been closely watched since Sessions was sworn in. He told reporters in November he was examining a "rational" policy.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.