California

The Vilsack Attack?

hempWhat will Biden’s Agriculture Department Mean for Small Farmers and Hemp?

Progressives coast to coast breathed a heavy sigh of relief as Joe Biden took the oath of office, ending the turbulent and reactionary rule of Donald Trump over the past four years.

But hemp cultivation, like the rewriting and replacement of NAFTA, was one of the few areas that actually saw positive change in the Trump years—with bipartisan support. The 2018 Farm Bill that re-legalized the crop after generations of prohibition bore Trump’s signature.

And there are fears that Biden could mean a return to the Washington consensus of a corporate-friendly “free trade” status quo ante, shorn even of the limited populist measures of the Trump era.

For small farmers, including some hemp cultivators, Biden’s choice to lead the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) may provide a case in point.

Cannabis, ecology and the California fires

CaliforniaThe year 2020's record-breaking wildfires in California and other Western states have compounded the grim impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—and have similarly been politicized. Thus far, the blow they have dealt to the burgeoning cannabis industry has been well weathered. But this will clearly pose a growing challenge in the years to come—as those parts of the country where legal cannabis cultivation is most advanced are also the most vulnerable to this devastating sign of ecological disequilibrium.

Hemp & Native American Sovereignty

SiouxThe original peoples of what is now the United States were left in legal limbo in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp cultivation again lawful. Federally recognized Native American tribes could not cultivate under state regulation, because the states have limited jurisdiction on their reservations. But the US Agriculture Department dragged its heels in issuing federal regs that could apply on these lands. Caught between two sovereigns, many farmers in Indian country are asserting their right to cultivate hemp under the un-extinguished sovereignty of their own Native nations.

The Rise of Franken-Cannabinoids?

cannabis geneticsIn the near future, the CBD, THC or other cannabinoids you consume in edibles or medications may not be derived from cannabis at all, but grown in a laboratory.

Kevin Chen, CEO and co-founder of Hyasynth Bio, describes the Montreal-based start-up as "focused on engineering strains of yeast to produce the active compounds of cannabis without having to grow plants."

Progress, obstacles in cannabis industry unionization push

Posted on September 5th, 2020 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

grow roomGains are reported from Massachusetts in organized labor's push to unionize the cannabis industry. But significant obstacles remain—from management roadblocking, to the ambiguous status under national labor law of an industry dealing in a federally illegal substance.

From Mythos to Monoculture

Posted on August 21st, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

hempHemp’s Curious Cultural Trajectory

Now that hemp has finally arrived at its long-sought status as a legal crop and commodity, there is a sense of inevitability to its deviation from the utopian vision that animated the advocates who fought for it a generation ago.

A tension that has always existed between two currents in the subculture of hemp advocacy is increasingly weighted toward the more mundane—activists versus entrepreneurs, idealism versus pragmatism, agrarianism versus agribusiness. And finally the original paradigm of a crop with multitudinous uses as “food, fuel and fiber,” holding the potential to solve humanity’s ecological crisis, versus the hegemony of CBD.

Kamala and cannabis: setting the record straight

Posted on August 12th, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Kamala HarrisJoe Biden's choice of running mate is Kamala Harris, who will bring a more progressive position on cannabis to the ticket. But if Harris today embraces legalization, she too has capitulated to the drug war establishment in the past—a reality her critics have been quick to exploit. A review of her record reveals an overall evolution toward a more enlightened stance.

California controversies over 'social equity' licenses

Posted on August 3rd, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaEquity programs for the legal cannabis industry in California are supposed to address the racial and social iniquities that were associated with cannabis prohibition. But finding the right implementation model has proved tricky. And as a recent controversy in Los Angeles indicates, the failure of such programs can have impacts that go beyond who is getting licenses for dispensaries.

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