California’s High Stakes Holiday Heists and More

In the days of the Armada, a fleet of warships, the scuttlebutt was the rumor or gossip that would spread throughout the ship. Today, Armada Law Corp presents The Scuttlebutt, a daily summery of news articles that people within the cannabis, hemp and plant medicine industries are chatting about along with links to the full articles.

In today’s news:

New Year Brings Job Protections For California Marijuana Users

#californiacannabis – “Marijuana users in California gained new job protections with the new year as two new laws that protect cannabis users from employment discrimination went into effect on January 1. Similar legislation also went into effect on Monday in the state of Washington, where legal sales of recreational marijuana went on sale nearly 10 years ago.

Under legislation passed by California lawmakers and signed into law by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom last year, employers will be barred from discriminating against workers who test positive for cannabis in some drug screenings. A separate bill passed in 2023 prohibits employers from asking employees or job candidates about their off-duty use of marijuana….”

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Deal helps Cal City with cannabis laws

#californiacannabis – “Help for enforcement of regulations governing the cannabis industry and to combat illegal operations could soon be in place in California City through an agreement with the state Department of Justice’s Cannabis Control Section.

The City Council, at its Dec. 12 meeting, unanimously agreed to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding with the state agency to provide civil enforcement aid, working with the city’s existing enforcement efforts….”

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DEA Raises THC, Psilocybin And DMT Production Quotas For Scientific Research Purposes

#cannabisindustry – “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing the production of higher amounts of THC, psilocybin and DMR for research in 2024. In a notice scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, the agency said it is raising the proposed amounts as a response to a request from registered producers, writes Marijuana Moment.

This shows a continuous trend, as the DEA previously increased the manufacturing quotas for these substances in 20212022 and 2023.

Per the document, signed on Dec, 28. by Anne Milgram, the DEA is now proposing the production of 1.52 million grams of delta-9 THC, as well as 1.17 million grams of all other tetrahydrocannabinol for research purposes. This compares to the proposed quotas from November of 900,610 grams of delta-9 THC and 790,010 grams of all other tetrahydrocannabinol…..”

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2024 Cannabis And Psychedelics Predictions

#2024 – “Making predictions about the cannabis and psychedelic industries is an exercise in joyful absurdity. There’s simply too much change and complexity for anyone’s predictions to be anywhere close to right. A year is an eternity in this business. Anyone who claims with authority to know what will happen shouldn’t have any authority to begin with.

And yet, predictions are so much fun to do and read. I like doing them because it makes me feel smart and you like reading them to see if my smarts match yours. Having fun with the industry’s unpredictable nature makes predicting it feel pleasurable even if it’s not practical. A good delusion never hurts anyone. So, let’s get to it…..”

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Two cannabis businesses in New Mexico hit with $2 million fine and have licenses revoked over ‘illicit activity’

#cannabisindustry – “New Mexico marijuana regulators on Tuesday revoked the licenses of two growing operations in a rural county for numerous violations and have levied a $1 million fine against each business.

One of the businesses — Native American Agricultural Development Co. — is connected to a Navajo businessman whose cannabis farming operations in northwestern New Mexico were raided by federal authorities in 2020. The Navajo Department of Justice also sued Dineh Benally, leading to a court order halting those operations.

A group of Chinese immigrant workers sued Benally and his associates — and claimed they were lured to northern New Mexico and forced to work long hours illegally trimming marijuana on the Navajo Nation, where growing the plant is illegal.

In the notice made public Tuesday by New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division, Native American Agricultural Development was accused of exceeding the state’s plant count limits, of not tracking and tracing its inventory, and for creating unsafe conditions….”

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The Top Four Risks for Cannabis Businesses and Investors in 2024

#cannabisinvestors – “2024 is going to be a crazy year for cannabis businesses and investors. Among many other things, there will be a general election, possible rescheduling to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), an upcoming Farm Bill that could re-tool how hemp and hemp products are regulated, and maybe even some federal cannabis legislation. Okay, that last one is probably a longshot given how incompetent Congress has been on cannabis, but we’ll see.

Changes in law lead to a lot of predatory conduct. Even the mere possibility of changes leads to predatory conduct. This means that both existing cannabis businesses, as well as investors, have a huge amount of risk going into the new year….”

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California’s High Stakes Holiday Heists

#californiacannabis – “A wave of crime targeting cannabis companies has been rising steadily in recent years. Unable to use traditional banking systems, many cannabis companies often have large amounts of cash on site, along with highly valuable cannabis products that can be easily flipped on the illicit market. This makes them tempting targets for gangs and criminal organizations. Nowhere are these attacks more prolific than in California, where cannabis robberies continue to ravage legal facilities.

Preferred Gardens‘ founder and CEO, David Polley, has been cultivating cannabis since the days of California’s medical market. The company’s Sacramento facility was built in 2020 and features prison-like security after he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in installing high-end infrastructure.

At around 2 a.m. on Christmas morning, there was a flurry of activity at Preferred Gardens. Sadly, it wasn’t Santa; instead, seven masked men heavily armed with guns and crowbars systematically destroyed the facility….”

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Suspect identified in killing of Oakland police officer during brazen dispensary burglary

#californiacannabis – “The 27-year-old man suspected in the Dec. 29 killing of Oakland police Officer Tuan Le during a cannabis business burglary has been identified in Santa Rita Jail records.

Mark Demetrious Sanders was arrested Tuesday in Livermore and booked into the jail on charges of murder, assault with a firearm, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, records show.

None of the suspects have been officially identified by the Oakland Police Department, but sources told this news organization Sanders, the suspected gunman, was one of several arrested over the past few days. Another man, identified in jail records as 30-year-old Sebron Russell, was arrested Jan. 1 in San Francisco on a second-degree burglary charge in connection with the same break-in.

The Alameda County District Attorney has not yet decided whether to file charges against either man, court records show. They both remain in jail on no-bail holds….”

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