One of the newest shows added to Netflix this month, "Murder Mountain", takes a hard look at Humboldt county, California, the epicenter of cannabis cultivation in the United States.
When most people think of marijuana, they think of being stoned and getting the munchies, but in this 6 part mini-seres we learn that not all things cannabis are warm and fuzzy.
Since 1977, Humboldt County, a quiet, remote stretch of land in the heart of what is known as the "emerald triangle"(Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties), has consistently reported more missing people per capita than the entire state of California.
While there are simple explanations to some of these disappearances, the cold hard truth is that a large portion of them can be tied to the black market marijuana industry (which continues to flourish despite the legalization of recreational cannabis last January).
Why do so many people that work on cannabis grows in Humboldt go missing? It is hard to pinpoint the cause in each case, but over the years it has been proven that young kids will flock to the area in hopes of making big money on marijuana, only to find out the harsh reality of life on a grow. Long hours of hard labor, very little pay and the possibility of being subjected to violence and abuse.
With over 15,000 illegal grows and the black market booming, it is no surprise these workers, known as "trimmigrants", make the trek to the emerald triangle despite all the well known negative aspects of the work.
Murder Mountain focuses on one individual in particular, Garrett Rodriguez, who moved to Humboldt to work on a cannabis farm so he could afford to take over his family property in Mexico. Despite finding success in Humboldt, it wasn't long before Garrett's phone calls to his father stopped, leaving his family to wonder what had become of him.
Watch the trailer below!
Montanha Mortal (Murder Mountain) | Trailer da temporada 01 | Legendado (Brasil) [HD] www.youtube.com
NYC Mayor De Blasio Weighs In On Pot
Over the summer, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, announced a study into the potential effects of a recreational cannabis market in New York. Not to be outdone by the Governor, De Blasio said that a thorough examination of all facets of the program would be needed in order to make sure legalization is done the right way, if in fact, it is found to be warranted and appropriate here.
This morning, six months later, Mayor De Blasio released the findings of his long awaited report on what an adult use cannabis market would look like in the five boroughs. It can be found in its entirety here.
"I have been convinced that we can establish a regulatory framework that keeps our streets safe, rights the wrongs of the past, and gives economic opportunity to communities hit hardest by the war on drugs," said De Blasio. "I support legalization because we've developed a path forward that will help make our city fairer. I look forward to working with the State to make this a reality."
Here are the highlights of De Blasio's plan:
Establish an Equitable Licensing System
Create local licensing programs, regulate public places of consumption, regulate home and commercial cultivation and manufacturing, and regulate home delivery services.
Establish zoning and area restrictions for cannabis businesses, as well as restrictions on the density to determine how the location of cannabis businesses can best fit into the fabric 0f its communities.
Protect Public Health
Enforce age limits of 21 and over with civil rather than criminal penalties to violations of cannabis regulations to the greatest extent possible consistent with public safety.
Right Historic Wrongs
Recommend automatic expungement of criminal records relating to conduct that may be legalized, including personal use and possession of certain quantities - subject to notice and opportunity by District Attorney's Offices to raise objections in specific cases.
Ensure Product Safety
Recommend statewide standards for product safety, labeling and packaging, marketing and advertising, as well as mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system accessible to State and local regulators and financial institutions serving cannabis-related businesses.
Put Small Businesses First
Work with State authorities to reduce the risk of market domination by big businesses and foster sustainable growth, in part, by restricting businesses from owning and controlling each stage of the supply chain, which may be otherwise owned by different, specialized businesses.
Create Equal Opportunity
Participate in a dual state-local licensing structure that will permit the City to pursue its own innovations to promote economic opportunities created by this new market, subject to the minimum standards set by the State.
Ease Access to Capital
Advocate for legislation expressly providing that banking and professional services for cannabis-related businesses do not violate State law.
Make Fair Investments
Allocate tax revenue, licensing fees, and other sources of financing to administer the new industry and support cannabis businesses and workers, with a focus on target populations and community reinvestment.
Build Local Businesses
Develop an incubator program to provide direct support to equity applicants in the form of counseling services, education, small business coaching, and compliance assistance.
Yesterday morning, Steven Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, appeared on the Capital Press Room with Susan Arbetter.
In response to Governor Cuomo's Address at the New York City Bar Association on Monday, Acquario weighed in on Cuomo's plan to legalize marijuana across the state.
While cannabis would provide counties with much needed resources for education and public assistance, executive director Acquario was not exactly "championing" this cause, due to the severity of the opioid epidemic that has taken over the lives of many New Yorkers.
Acquario said "this is a major shift in public policy and we have been combatting an opioid epidemic, it's confusing, it's a confusing issue to teenagers and families in New York." He goes on to say "to introduce marijuana policy during a drug crisis is confusing, there are a lot of issues surrounding the legalization of recreational marijuana, this issue needs to be engaged with local governments."
Another issue he raised concerns the use of the term "recreational" with cannabis. There is a lot of pushback using this word as it makes people fearful that impressionable children will be encouraged to use cannabis or try it for the first time, because it is now considered a "recreation."
According to Acquario, the largest area of concern is public health, specifically, the issues of teen access to cannabis, the regulation of the clean indoor air act, and coordination with Big Tobacco. "We are telling kids that it is not ok to smoke tobacco, but that it is ok to smoke marijuana?" He makes an interesting point here, one that definitely requires consideration before we unleash a multibillion dollar drug market on one of the most populous states in the country.
It is also important to get the tax structure right, Acquario references California, where there is a massive black market of marijuana, as a result of the state's failure to appropriately set tax rates on the sale of cannabis. It is important that Governor Cuomo learn from the mistakes of the other states that have legalized cannabis, New York is a huge state with enormous potential for revenue, which all hinges on our ability to get the program right from the beginning.
What is the counties role in all of this? Consumer protection and public health. the New York State Association of Counties has met with the Governor and voiced their concerns. It is now up to Governor Cuomo and his handpicked team to take New York to the forefront of the recreational cannabis market in the U.S.
Despite having such a hard time moving forward with legalizing recreational cannabis, today the state announced the approval of six more medical marijuana dispensaries.
This move has doubled the size of the program and couldn't have come sooner! The second half of 2018 has been rough for medical marijuana patients in New Jersey, who have been hit with product shortages and lots of red tape which has significantly slowed down progress of the medical program.
According to a report by NJ.com, the following six locations will be open for business:
NETA NJ, LLC. - Phillipsburg, NJ
GTI New Jersey, LLC. - Paterson, NJ
Verano NJ, LLC - Rahway, NJ (grow), Elizabeth, NJ (dispensary)
Justice Grown - Ewing, NJ
MPX New Jersey - Galloway (cultivation), Atlantic City (dispensary)
Columbia Care New Jersey - Vineland
These 6 businesses were chosen out of a staggering 146 that applied during the august application period. Each business will still need further approval from the Department of Health before their status is finalized.
Included in the steps for final approval are background checks, approval from the municipality the business plans to operate in, as well as full compliance with all regulations adopted by the medical program in New Jersey.
"Six very strong applicants were selected, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses," Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said. "We will meet with them early next year to refine their timetable for growing product and opening their doors."
Elnahal continues "We are committed to an equitable expansion of supply to meet growing patient demand, and these new locations will reach patients that currently have to travel longer distances to obtain their therapy."
Hopefully, this is just the beginning for New Jersey. With a program that has added more than 20,000 new patients in the last year, it is imperative that a reliable supply chain be established. The question on a lot of people's minds, will Governor Phil Murphy make good on one of his biggest campaign promises by legalizing marijuana for adult use in the state?
Today, live from the New York City Bar Association, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed his plans for the upcoming year, which included a shoutout of support for his plan to create a recreational marijuana market in the state.
"Let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana, once and for all," Cuomo said.
This plan has been in motion since last January, when the Governor announced his intention to weigh the pros and cons of adult use cannabis in New York, where there is already a limited medical marijuana program in place. This was a huge reversal from his previous stance, that marijuana was a dangerous gateway drug and should remain illegal.
During last years Executive Budget Address, Cuomo announced a Department of Health study into the ramifications of legalizing the plant, specifically the effect it would have on law enforcement as well as neighboring states.
By the end of the summer, the results were in and overwhelmingly positive. Not only would marijuana generate over a billion dollars in revenue for the city, it could reduce the use of opioid painkillers, an important aspect at a time when the opioid crisis has reached epic proportions.
"We have a federal gov't that is taking us backwards, and violating our civil liberties and national values." Cuomo went on to talk about the advantages the state has as a result of the most recent midterm elections. "We have a Democratic Assembly and a Democratic Senate, so we can actually get things done," Cuomo said. "So i want to commence action immediately."
Just before Cuomo gave his speech at the NYC bar association, New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes was named the first female majority leader of the State Assembly. If you are unfamiliar with Crystal Peoples Stokes, she was the pioneer of cannabis legislation in the state. This is definitely another win for recreational cannabis in New York.
While extremely brief, the one statement Cuomo made regarding cannabis was powerful because it left no room for ambiguity. The research has been done and he is clearly comfortable moving forward with the legalization of marijuana for adults in the State of New York, something I believe we can all expect to see in 2019.