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May Day: Where Cannabis Stands in Industry and Employment

Jordan Webber

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International Worker's Day

The end of April is coming fast, which brings us closer to Labor Day, also known as May Day. On May 1st, we will be celebrating the International Workers Day. If you are having a smoke while reading this, you may be curious how the pot sector has impacted labor, industry and employment. Well, you are in luck. Read on to find out where weed stands in the complicated world of industry and employment.

What significant developments should we know?

In order to see where weed stands in industry and employment, we need to take a look at how far legal marijuana has gone in the past year until now. Here are just some of the most significant developments related to cannabis and employment:

  • The US Farm Bill 2018 was Passed

Towards the end of 2018, the US Farm Bill was passed by the Congress. This bill makes the cultivation, extraction and use of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) legal. Hemp is the variety of cannabis plant that is rich in cannabidiol and fiber but is low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This plant is known to be very easy to cultivate and has a high growth rate. Because it is fiber-rich, it can be used to make biodegradable plastic, paper and other similar products. Aside from this, the plant is seen as a potential biofuel source.

  • The Industry Generated Thousands of Jobs

With the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in some states, there is no wonder why weed cultivation companies and dispensaries are popping up left and right. Along with this, there is a significant increase in the number of cannabis-related jobs, especially with the passing of Farm Bill. According to a special report released just this year, over 211,000 Americans are able to provide for their families and support their communities with legal marijuana jobs.

This number is expected to grow more in the coming years. In fact, experts say that there will be 340,000 or more cannabis jobs by 2022. This is pretty significant, especially as it amounts to 21% growth every year!

  • Latest Court Decisions Involving MMJ Backs Employees

In the past, employees are fired when their employers learn that they consume weed. In fact, there are individuals who retracted when prospective employers find out that they are medical marijuana users. While this type of situation can still occur even today, the American Bar Association revealed that recent trends regarding marijuana and the workplace favor employees.

This brings us to our next point.

  • Some States Enact Employee Protection Laws

Perhaps the reason why court decisions pan towards employees is that legislation regarding medical marijuana and employment are being enforced in some states. As of March 2019, 14 states have employee protection laws in place. This means that there are policies to be followed regarding MMJ and employment. However, because the legalization of cannabis (whether recreational or medical) is fairly new, legislators need to put careful consideration in formulating and implementing policies.

Does the gender gap exist in cannabis industry jobs?

With the wide disparity between the number of men as compared to women working in some sectors, it is important to look at how women fare in a sector that is known to be ‘dominated by white men.’ When asking whether or not the gender wage gap exists in the cannabis industry, the short answer is yes. According to Patriot Care, women in the sector are ‘closing the gender gap,’ which means that it exists, but that the situation is getting better. In fact, women are represented in many fields in the weed industry with 63% of high-level positions and 48% of senior-level posts held by women.

Want to get to know some of the ladies that are rocking the industry? Read on to find out who they are.

  • Shaleen Title and Danielle Schumacher

First on this list are best friends Shaleen Title and Danielle Schumacher. These two ladies founded THC Staffing Group, a company that deals with recruiting a more diverse workforce in the cannabis industry. In an interview with Ladybud, Title reveals that they established THC Staffing Group because of the highly noticeable lack of women during weed-related conferences and events.

With hundreds of cannabis businesses saying that they want to be more diverse in hiring, Title and Schumacher took the first step by providing them with a pool of women and people of color candidates. Now that’s a big leap compared to the usual list of applicants which is 95% white men.

However, Title emphasizes that their company does not aim to dismiss the contributions of the usual candidates in the pot sector. Instead, they aim to address the effects of the prejudice placed to people of color due to marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs.

  • Wanda James

Another significant pioneer in the marijuana community is Wanda James, who is now known as the ‘first black owner of a marijuana dispensary’ in her home state, Colorado. James used to work as a Navy lieutenant and is not operating not one, but three marijuana-related companies. First is Simply Pure, a dispensary that caters to medical and recreational pot users. She also runs Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a cooking school, which also handles catering orders. Lastly, James handles a consultation company that focuses on matters related to weed.

Just like Title who aims to use her pot business as a way to address real social matters experienced by people of color, James also seeks to use the legalization of weed to pursue social equity. The reason for her advocacy? She cites her experience with her younger brother who was given a 10-year sentence for having a small amount of weed on his possession.

  • Chanda Macias

Next up is Chanda Macias, who owns and manages the National Holistic Healing Center (NHHC). Based in Washington, D.C., the organization offers medical cannabis care to patients suffering from debilitating conditions and other specific illnesses. Aside from providing care, the NHHC also educates and support patients with qualifying conditions.

Macias has a Ph.D. with focus in Cell Biology, and with training in breast, prostate and bone cancer. There is no wonder that she is working to help patients with debilitating medical conditions. After all, one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana is cancer. With her dedication to the healthcare industry, Macias is set on finding the most innovative solutions and this includes medical cannabis.

  • Hope Wiseman

Even before reaching 30 years old, Hope Wiseman is already making waves in the weed sector not only as a businesswoman, but as the ‘youngest black woman to own a cannabis dispensary’ in the US. She runs Mary and Main, the first dispensary in Prince George’s County. This facility carries a wide variety of strains and therapeutics, making these products available to locals. Aside from being a dispensary, Wiseman envisions Mary and Main to be an events place for enthusiasts.

Title, James, Macias and Wiseman are members of Women Grow, an organization concentrated on cultivating female leadership in the pot sector.

How is medical cannabis received in workplaces around the world?

The developments in some states in the U.S. are already a tremendous win, especially when combined with the nationwide legalization in Canada. With the industry’s huge victories in North America, it is important to know how this plant fares in other parts of the world.

Here’s an executive summary of the developments across the globe:

  • In Asia, one of the most important developments is Thailand’s legalization of medical marijuana. There might still be a need to craft laws and policies related to work and marijuana.
  • Some parts of the continent seem to be much less inclined to follow Thailand’s footsteps.
  • After Canada legalized the plant, Japan issued a warning to its citizens saying that laws pertaining to marijuana still applies to Japanese citizens abroad. This essentially prohibits Japanese citizens from consuming any form of cannabis even when they are in a country where this herb is legal.
  • There are talks of medical marijuana legalization in other parts including the Philippines and India.
  • Uruguay is the first country to legalize medical marijuana nationwide.

With various developments in the U.S., the future seems to be bright for cannabis and the workplace, especially with the relaxing workplace policies in the country, as well as the positive impact on job creation. With this, cannabis seems to have a place in labor and industry. This is true, with the narrowing gender gap in the industry and what it does for people of color. However, elsewhere in the world, the plant needs more support in order to gain a footing.

This May Day, take the time to recognize the contributions of the marijuana sector in labor, industry and employment. Come May 1, make sure to light up a joint to show your solidarity with the community, as well as with the workers around the world.

Cannabis News

Bureau of Customs Seizes P13.2m Marijuana in Clark, Pampanga

Stacey Wellington

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Cannabis, Marijuana, Nabbed in Clark, Pampanga

The Bureau of Customs from the Philippines turned over P13.2 million worth of marijuana to the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last Monday, April 6, 2020. Approximately 11.569 kilograms were seized by Customs.

The Customs’ turnover happened days after Customs official held an inspection last week at the Clark Freeport area. Authorities who inspected the area found two shipments of marijuana concealed in 14 cans of meal formula. The shipments were initially declared as whey samples from California.

Despite being concealed in a number of meal formula cans, a Customs inspector reportedly noticed some physical irregularities on the cans. Most labels were not properly attached and were found to be movable, which was what prompted the said official to further inspect and open the cans.

Upon inspection, the official uncovered sachets of suspected marijuana leaves within the cans. Authority says K9 dogs, trained to detect the presence of illegal drugs, confirmed that these were cannabis leaves. Following the discovery, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency conducted a chemical analysis.

Bureau of Customs District Collector Ruby Alameda did not reveal the consignee nor the undersigned of the items and cans in question, notes Manila Standard.

In a statement, Alameda simply said, “Through the strict profiling of shipments and X-ray examination by BOC-Clark personnel on the subject shipment containing 14 cans labeled as “Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Comida Saludable,” the team was able to quickly act on the incident.

Upon confirmation, Alameda immediately issues warrants to seize and detain the contraband for the said shipments.

The warrant of seizure and detention was pursuant to Republic Act No. 10863, also known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and in relation to Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Although the country is facing the threat and risks of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Port of Clark is still committed to protecting the Philippine borders against illegal drugs.

As of writing, cannabis and medical marijuana are still largely illegal in the Philippines. However, in a 2019 House of Representatives hearing, Rappler reports that lawmakers voted in a landslide 163-5-3, resulting to the passing of House Bill 6517, also known as the Act of Providing Compassionate and Right of Access to Medical Cannabis and Expanding Research into its Medicinal Properties and for other Purposes on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

Under the said bill, patients suffering from chronic pain and debilitating conditions would be eligible to use medical marijuana. The said bill is waiting for further discussion and possible approval in the Senate, notes Inquirer.

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Cannabis Legalization

Washington State Legislators OKs Cannabis Social Equity Bill

Jordan Webber

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Washington’s cannabis industry is poised to welcome diversity among licensees after state legislators approved a bill last week that would introduce the state’s first Marijuana Social Equity Program. The measure, named House Bill 2870 (HB 2870), now awaits on Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for final approval.

If signed into law, the bill will enable the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to issue forfeited, canceled and revoked retail licenses to applicants that are members of communities excessively impacted by the War on Drugs.

As written in the bill, the measure’s main objective is to benefit “individuals who have been arrested or incarcerated due to drug laws, and those who have resided in areas of high poverty, suffer long-lasting adverse consequences, including impacts to employment, business ownership, housing, health, and long term financial well-being.”

The program is set to last for eight years, spanning from December 1, 2020 to July 1, 2028, and will cost applicants a total of $1,480 for new social equity licenses.

Prior to the approval, The House originally passed an earlier version of the bill in February this year, with the intention to address racial inequity within the cannabis industry.

Democratic Rep. Eric Pettigrew, the one who sponsored the bill, described the road towards the final bill as a long yet worthwhile struggle.

“I had a chance to meet with some proponents and opponents a little more … and really came to understand that this is beyond the issue of licenses,” Pettigrew said. “This is potentially a different distribution of wealth as we move forward in this industry.”

He, along with the help of stakeholders including Paula Sardinas of the Commission on African American Affairs drafted the proposal.

“We believe we need an LCB that is more reflective of the community it serves,” she said. “It should also have a culture that mirrors the Department of Financial Institutions where education, compliance, and training are priorities along with enforcement,” Sardinas commented.

In 2012, Washington became the first U.S. state to legalized recreational use of marijuana. However, eight years after, the state’s cannabis industry is still struggling with diversity. In a report from the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, less than 1% of the state’s over 500 recreational cannabis licenses were owned by African Americans.

“Initiative 502 missed an opportunity to incorporate a focus on social equity,” said Rick Garza, the director of the LCB, at the time the bill made its way through the legislature. “The history of cannabis prohibition shows abundant evidence there was disproportionate harm in communities of color, and that those harmful effects remain with us today.”

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Cannabis Lifestyle

4 Ways You Can Safely Celebrate 420

Jordan Webber

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4 Ways You Can Safely Celebrate 420

Now that the world is currently experiencing a pandemic, it might be difficult to see the silver lining of things. You may not even be aware that 420 happens in less than a month. Though numerous cannabis events and gatherings have been canceled left and right, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should forego celebrating this momentous time in history. After all, you can still safely uphold the sanctity and excitement that comes with this annual occasion – all from the comforts of your own home.

For those who still wish to celebrate 420, here’s how you can enjoy the holiday without adding to the global spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 today. Check these out.

Acknowledge the Relevance of the Day and Cannabis Products

In the past, the use of marijuana has been highly regarded as taboo, even restricted by most countries and governments around the world. Because of this, the cannabis culture and movement that we know today owes its popularity and perseverance to the underground movement pioneered by enthusiasts and activities many years ago.

It dates back to the fascination of a group of high school kids from San Rafael High School in 1971. Using 420 as a code word for 4:20 p.m. to meet and partake marijuana, the group has since evolved to using the term for finding and doing more interesting – and let’s face it, risque – things while under the influence of the drug.

Today, this date is dubbed as a national holiday that brings like-minded individuals from around the world to come together and to celebrate the importance of cannabis in their lives today.

Practice Social Distancing

With the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, many cities, states, and countries have implemented social distancing. Now, with this as a way of life, you might think that being with friends and fellow like-minded enthusiasts are impossible. If you’re lucky enough to hold a small gathering with friends after the home quarantine period or even hang out via Zoom or other virtual sites, remember those who can’t.

Practicing Social Distancing

In a time when a pandemic has led people to shut their doors, take the time to think about the people who have yet to enjoy the liberties you have today. Until then, keep raising awareness about the advantages of using cannabis and the CBD oil benefits it can impart to users. At the same time, if you’re spending time with good friends, don’t forget to practice social distancing, especially when the world has yet to invent a vaccine that addresses coronavirus.

Stick to Your Own Cannabis Products and Devices

While cannabis culture normally calls for sharing cannabis products and tools, now may not necessarily be the best time to do so. Steering clear of sharing instruments can certainly prevent you from the further transmission of the disease. While you should and you may bring CBD oil edibles and other goodies for everyone to partake in, you might have to refrain from passing instruments and your CBD oil vape pen to keep yourself and the people around you safe from harm.

Stay Hydrated and Full with CBD Oil Edibles

Whether you’re having a virtual gathering or meeting in person, the last thing you should miss out on is the abundance of CBD oil edibles and cannabis products. You can bake yourself some treats or even share with your guests, while of course being mindful of social distancing practices. You can even order some items from your nearby dispensary, after all, the industry is very much in thriving as cannabis is regarded as part of ‘essential businesses.’ Just don’t go overboard and make sure pace yourself to avoid getting sick.

If you’re one to celebrate this unofficial national holiday, take note of these tips to safely enjoy 420. These allow you to bring a sense of sunshine in these dark and trying times.

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