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San Francisco to Process Prop. 64 Sentence Reductions Automatically

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For Californians who were convicted of a felony for possession of cannabis, the fight to reduce or erase that conviction after Proposition 64’s passing can be a lengthy and expensive one, requiring an attorney and time in court. However, a new partnership may prove the means to speed the process up and drop financial burden on those who were once convicted.

Code for America (CFA) is partnering with San Francisco’s District Attorney George Gascón to automatically reduce cannabis convictions for city residents who fall under Prop. 64 eligibility.

The partnership allows the district attorney’s office to use a program to have the municipal government determine a person’s eligibility, automatically fill out the form and export a completed motion in PDF format. San Francisco has been working to proactively eliminate convictions since January and has been granted 428 dismissals so far. The program will speed up the process, eventually filing motions to clear or reduce the 4,940 felony cannabis convictions in the city that date back to 1975.

“When the government uses 20th century tools to tackle 21st century problems, it’s the public that pays the price,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “California has decriminalized recreational cannabis use, but a marijuana conviction continues to serve as a barrier to employment, housing, student loans and more. Lack of access to employment and housing are two primary drivers of recidivism, so until we clear these records it’s government that is effectively holding these people back and impeding public safety. I’m hopeful that this partnership will inspire many prosecutors who have cited resource constraints to join this common-sense effort and provide this relief.”

This latest effort is an extension of CFA’s Clear My Record project, which has connected 7,000 people with attorneys in over a dozen California counties. The San Francisco partnership is the first, but CFA plans to expand to several more counties by 2019. CFA offers several program options for government use, including help getting CalFresh food and benefits, and a communication program that helps clients and case managers stay in contact more effectively.

“We have for a long time noticed a gap between what voters [were] promised [in] Prop. 64 and what’s actually happening by people affected by those propositions,” said CFA Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka, “and we’ve been looking for ways to close that gap in the context of our overall mission, which is that government should work better in the digital age.”

“By reimagining existing government systems through technology and user-centered design,” Pahlka said, “we can help governments rethink incarceration, reduce recidivism, and restore opportunity.”

 

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Strain of the Week: Orange Cookies

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January is known for a few things. First, New Year’s resolutions (that tend to fade in interest after about 30 days), second is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and of course, third is the annual return of Girl Scout Cookies. Having been in the cookie business since the 1920s, the Girl Scouts have consistently built up a cookie empire to help break countless Americans from their lofty goals of eating healthy and losing weight. This year, the organization unveiled a new cookie, called “Toast-Yay!” that offers a crunchy cinnamon flavor inspired by arguably the best breakfast foods—French Toast. While the hype for cookies is ever present, the year-long obsession with cookies-related strains is hard to beat.

There are numerous strains that are made famous through sporting the “Cookies” name, such as Orange Cookies. Not only identifiable as a flavor that the Girl Scouts organization doesn’t embrace (they offer some lemon flavors instead), but this strain also offers a beautifully light orange blossom scent as well. The large, dense buds that made up our sample of Orange Cookies was bright green, and nearly oozed trichomes by the look of the white sheen that covered its surface. As a result, it’s sticky in every sense of the word.

Upon inhalation, the smoke is smooth and pleasant, and brings on an interesting cerebral buzz that settles into full blown euphoria as it spreads throughout the body. While your muscles are soothed and relaxed of nearly all tension, your body is calm and relaxed—but that doesn’t mean that you will be completely sedated or disoriented. Orange Cookies not only has a unique flavor profile, but it also helps in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression for some consumers. It’s the perfect way to sit inside and count the days until a warm spring day arrives.

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Legal Cannabis Linked to Increase in Junk Food Sales

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A look at the consumption habits of Americans has revealed that high-calorie food sales tend to increase in places where cannabis is legal.

Published in the journal Economics & Human Biology, a Georgia State University study examined the link between food sales of high-calorie and high-sugar snacks and in places where cannabis was legalized. Headed up by economist Alberto Chong and Michele Baggio, the study showed that junk food sales increased by 6.3 percent in sales when cannabis was legal in the region.

“You think marijuana does no harm—that’s pretty much the consensus today,” Chong told The Academic Times regarding the recently published study and the implications behind it. “But there are unintended consequences, and one of them is the fact that you really get very hungry and you start eating crap.”

The study looked at three states with legal cannabis, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. It compared cannabis data to the Nielsen Retail Scanner Data in those states before and after cannabis was legalized, looking for sales of junk food in drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. It noticed a marked increase across the board following legalization.

The research was originally published in a paper in 2019, and recently released in a journal. Specific spikes in sales they tracked include chip sales increasing by 5.3 percent, cookie sales by 4.1 percent, and ice cream by 3.1 percent.

Those involved in the research product hope that these trends will be taken into consideration for future legalization ventures. Previous studies by Chong and Baggio looked at how cannabis increases sexual activity and raises the birth rate. Additionally, they tracked a decrease in alcohol sales due to cannabis legalization.

Statistical information about how cannabis impacts things like sexual activity, alcohol use and cannabis use are important to crafting the best policies for regulation as cannabis moves forward.

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Europe Cannabis Testing Market Expected to Reach $770 Million By 2027

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The European cannabis testing market is expected to grow to a little over $770 million USD from $431.58 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2027.

A new report, “Europe Cannabis Testing Market to 2025 – Regional Analysis and Forecasts by Type ; Services ; End User and Country,” outlined the growth of the industry to 2025. The growth of the market can be attributed to the European government funding cannabis research for doctors as well as the increasing demand for researching cannabis quality. The report mentions non-medical uses of cannabis and problems with CBD oil products are likely to have a negative impact on the growing market.

The European cannabis testing market is split into three segments: testing laboratories, drug manufacturers and research institutes. In 2019, the testing laboratories held the largest share of the market and is expected to continue growing due to testing performed in the reference labs for various diseases.

In February 2019, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) passed a joint resolution supporting medical cannabis. The resolution allows doctors to use their best judgment in prescribing cannabis-based medicines, and calls on MEPs to address barriers that prevent cannabis research. The aim is to clearly distinguish between what is considered medical-use cannabis and what is considered non-medical.

Currently, there are no countries in the European Union that allow smoking cannabis or home-growing for medical purposes. The World Health Organization has previously recommended that CBD should not be classified as a controlled substance. The European Union has already approved a CBD-based medicine that helps treat severe seizures.

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