Planet Watch

New York: the taming of the 'Wild East'?

Posted on September 5th, 2022 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

NYCNew York state is just now accepting applications for retail cannabis licenses. But the Big Apple already sees a thriving retail trade in cannabis products, from both storefronts and street stalls—more or less tolerated by authorities. What legal rights do these unlicensed operators have, and will they survive the imposition of the licensing regime?

Cannabis and climate change: challenge for an emerging crop

Planet WatchSome of the key cannabis cultivation zones around the world are also those feeling the earliest and harshest impacts of the impending global climate disaster. How can the global cannabis community respond?

Oregon's cannabis paradox: legal market depressed; illicit market booms

OregonIndustrial-scale illicit cannabis grow operations are being raided by police in Southern Oregon. Licit-market prices are totally depressed in Oregon, yet the illicit market continues to be evidently lucrative. What explains this contradiction, and what can be done?

Criminal element seen in illicit grow ops amid Oregon crackdown

Posted on September 11th, 2021 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

OregonAuthorities in southern Oregon are making accusations of criminal labor and environmental practices by illicit cannabis growers—and carrying out militarized raids. The grim headlines are starting to make legalization in the Beaver State look like something of Pyrrhic victory.

Pressure rising on Hmong cannabis growers in California's far north

Posted on August 3rd, 2021 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

CaliforniaA disturbing escalation is reported in California’s far-north Siskiyou County, where Hmong immigrants from Laos have been getting in on the cannabis economy—sparking a xenophobic backlash. Conservative politicians are making hay of the tensions, while the local Hmong are starting to stand up and protest.

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.

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs deschedules cannabis —partially

Planet WatchAt the annual Vienna meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODCvoted Dec. 2 to strike cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the global treaty regulating drug control policy.

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.

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