US Inmates Mark End of Prison Strike with Push to Regain Voting Rights

"Inmates within America’s overflowing prisons are marking the end of a 19-day national prison strike on Sunday with a new push to regain the vote for up to 6 million Americans who have been stripped of their democratic rights.

The strike was formally brought to a close on the anniversary of the 1971 uprising at Attica prison in upstate New York. Though details of the protest have been sketchy since it was launched on 21 August, hunger strikes, boycotts of facilities and refusal to carry out work duties have been reported in many states, from Florida and South Carolina to Washington. [Read more...]"

Where Marijuana Is Legal, Some Cities Help People Still Haunted by It

"Nine states have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Despite that, and the fact that public opinion has grown in favor of legalization, people in those states are still serving jail time or facing professional and financial consequences for low-level, nonviolent marijuana arrests and convictions.

Generally, people with criminal records are about half as likely to receive a call back from a prospective employer. The numbers are worse for applicants of color. This can also hurt a person's eligibility for public housing and student loans, as well as their chances of obtaining personal loans.

But there's a small, growing movement among cities in legal marijuana states to either reduce sentences or expunge marijuana-related charges from before the laws changed. [Read more...]"

Weed in New Jersey: New Bills Focus on Legalization, Social Justice

"States have been ending cannabis prohibition since 2012, but it’s only recently that states are tackling social justice in the same policy.

More states and municipalities, like California, are passing legislation to expunge criminal records for those with prior cannabis possession convictions, reversing the reality those individuals face when applying for employment, social benefits, even housing.

Now, legislators in New Jersey — which could pass a recreational bill as early as this fall — have made record expungement for cannabis-related crimes a focus of the policy, which has been introduced, formatted, and revised into several different bills. [Read more...]"

The Flavr Blue Launches Cannabis Strain to Benefit Reparative Justice

"On August 12th, Seattle cannabis retailer Lux Pot Shop is set to release a new strain called Flavr Blue. Produced by sustainably grown cannabis farm Fine Detail Greenway, in collaboration with and named after the much-beloved Seattle music trio The Flavr Blue. 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of this strain at Lux Pot Shop, matched by Fine Detail Greenway and The Flavr Blue, will go directly to Cage-Free Cannabis, a social justice organization made up of professionals and activists, to support their efforts in repairing the long-term effects of cannabis prohibition. [Read more...]"

Experts, Philly Mayor Want More Color in the Green Rush

"With the endorsement of Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia will host one of the first conferences for black cannabis entrepreneurs this fall.

The Colorado-based coalition Women Grow will hold the event to bring more color to the white-dominated industry.

Desirée Ivey, Philadelphia market leader for Women Grow, said there are plenty of opportunities for black people in the cannabis industry.

'We need to get on this now because this is a billion-dollar industry,” she said. “And we all can benefit from it. We all can feed our kids and our families … whatever your angle is, there’s ways to do it in this industry.' [Read more...]"

Convicted of a Drug Offense? You Might Not Be Able to Grow Hemp

"Got a felony drug conviction on your record? Don’t look at cultivating hemp as a career opportunity.

The Senate farm bill would make it easier for farmers across the country to grow hemp — but it also bars from participation anyone with a state or federal felony drug conviction.

The felony provision was included in an amendment submitted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a major champion of expanding industrial hemp. [Read more...]"

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Given 'Priority' In Mass. Are Struggling To Get Through Licensing Process

"So you've got priority in getting your marijuana license application reviewed in Massachusetts. But you've got a major hurdle ahead of you — getting through the actual application.

Applicants who get priority are from communities disproportionately criminalized for marijuana — like people of color. Marijuana use is similar among different groups, but minorities have been punished for it at far higher rates.

The state set up the priority status to help them get a piece of the new legal cannabis market, a potential billion-dollar industry. The status fast-tracks the license review process.

But many of the people eligible for the priority status are struggling with the regulatory process. [Read more...]"

Trying to Increase Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry

"Nearly 200 people gathered in the Leimert Park Vision Theater on Tuesday, July 10, for a round-table discussion on social equity in L.A.'s cannabis industry, with speakers including such notables as Cat Packer, executive director of the city's Department of Cannabis Regulation, and Hilary Bricken, a lawyer and legal advocate for Harris Bricken and the Canna Law Group. The idea was to provide an update on the status of L.A.'s licensing rollout for social equity applicants as well as solutions to ensure the city's industry is headed in a direction that supports participants from communities of color and those otherwise targeted by the War on Drugs. [Read more...]"

The Pot Industry Is Overwhelmingly White, and One Congresswoman Wants to Change That

"Across the country, the pot industry nationwide is overwhelmingly white. One often-cited survey found that fewer than one percent of the nation's marijuana dispensaries are owned by black people. Another survey extended that question to all minorities, and found that less than 19 percent of the nation's marijuana businesses have minority investors. With the federal prohibition of marijuana still in place, data remains woefully inadequate on the exact makeup of the nation's marijuana business owners. But if the last survey is accurate, that means a whopping 81 percent of the nation's marijuana businesses are white-owned.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a California Democrat and progressive leader who was first sent to Washington by Oakland voters in 1998, is set on changing that. [Read more...]"

Cage-Free Cannabis Pop-Up Promotes Pot as Tool for Reparation

"In an era of legal weed, it's easy to get carried away in the glitz of the green rush, high-end pot-infused dinners, networking conferences in ritzy hotels and cannabis industry parties that rival even the chicest Hollywood affairs. While all that reflects California's projected $7 billion pot economy, it also offers quite a contrast to the realities of communities and incarcerated individuals still reeling from the War on Drugs. [Read more...]"