Tag Archives: black

If You’re Enjoying Cannabis Legalization, Stick With Licensed Dispensaries

On the surface, it seems obvious to say that if you’re in a state that has legalized recreational cannabis and are enjoying it, you should only give your business to licensed shops. Although shopping at unlicensed black or “grey market” dispensaries is completely fine with some people (it’s much cheaper in many cases,) there are many users of cannabis who, like myself, would want to limit their business to legitimate dispensaries, for ethical and safety reasons, among others.

The problem is that currently, in cities like Los Angeles, the unlicensed shops blend in quite well with legitimate ones, and they are everywhere. They are significantly less expensive, because they don’t collect taxes or deal with regulatory fees like licensed stores. In addition, sites like Weedmaps allow illegal dispensaries to advertise alongside the legal places, and just by browsing the various menus, one can’t ascertain which stores are legit and which are not. In fact, for several months I purchased vape cartridges and edibles from shops that I didn’t know were unlicensed. It wasn’t until I noticed certain key things, such as the hours that places were open, as well as the availability of edibles labeled as having more THC than is legally allowed for a single product due to newer regulations, that I figured out that some of my go-to shops were most likely not licensed.

There are several reasons why it’s better to frequent legit shops. The products there will have been lab tested and include exact dosage information on the label, including stickers with the potency (% of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD,) as well as confirmation that the products have been checked for pesticides. The products bought at underground shops don’t have these lab test labels, so there is no way to know exactly what you’re getting. In addition, over the past several months, counterfeit vape cartridges have flooded markets, even in legal states. And who knows what could be in those. You’re also more likely to find bunk edibles on the black market.

There are also the inherent ethical reasons for not spending your money in underground shops. Cannabis may be cheaper there, but your money is not supporting legitimate business, and is instead going to people who are willing to skirt the law. As no taxes are collected in black market stores, there is no benefit to the communities in which they are located. In addition, illegal shops compete with legitimate stores and make it harder for the latter to operate successfully, by offering prices that are difficult to compete with and cutting through their profits. When you spend money at licensed places, at least you know that your dollars are supporting legalization and not undercutting it.

As mentioned earlier, there are signs that a dispensary may not be licensed. One obvious one, if you’re in California, is if they are selling edibles that are over 100mg. This is because of newer regulations that limit potency of cannabis products. Another big clue is if the store is open late. Cities impose restrictions on business hours, and most legit dispensaries in Los Angeles or surrounding areas close by 10 p.m., if not 8 p.m. If a place is open until midnight or later, chances are it’s unlicensed. Also, you won’t find the testing labels/stickers on products found in underground shops. You can also try searching for licensed shops in directories such as this one.

Marijuana legalization in California has been a wonderful thing. I am thoroughly enjoying the ability to run down to the nearest dispensary and pick up my favorite cannabis strains. There are stretches of the 10 freeway near downtown Los Angeles where it literally smells like weed. There’s no question that buying from legal shops is more expensive than black market locations. However, by giving your business to legit dispensaries, you’re helping the industry and its supporting communities to grow. Hopefully in the coming years, we will see prices of legal cannabis come down, so that there won’t be as much of a temptation to skirt the law and buy from black market shops. In the meantime, spend the extra money if you can. On top of the other reasons already mentioned, I think the peace of mind of knowing what you’re getting is well worth the higher price.

Photo by: Pixabay.com/DavidCardinez

Donald Trump Seems To Think All Black People Might Be Friends With Each Other

Donald Trump’s casual racism was revealed recently at a press conference in which he asked reporter April Ryan if members of the Congressional Black Caucus are her friends.

Remember, this is coming from a man who says he is the “least racist person you have ever encountered.”  Yes, he actually said that.

The exchange also revealed further Trump’s status as one of planet’s biggest douchebags.  Apparently, he thinks it’s suitable to ask a professional journalist to set up meetings for him.  What else do you need Trump?  Should Ryan sweep and mop the floors, too?

Why #BlueLivesMatter Is Completely Bogus

There has been a lot of news reporting of police killings lately, and across social media, many people have been promoting the #bluelivesmatter or #policelivesmatter hashtags as a means of bringing awareness to the issue.  These hashtags are an attempt to mimic, usurp and discredit the #blacklivesmatter movement, and stand as not only a complete misunderstanding of what the Black Lives Matter movement is about, but are also indicative of a false narrative being played out by politicians and the media which suggests that there is an epidemic of police officers being murdered across America.

In fact, police deaths while on duty are actually lower than at the same time last year, and the annual numbers have been declining across the past couple of decades.  But aside from the false notion that being a police officer in America is more dangerous than ever before, the use of a “blue lives matter” hashtag is problematic because it represents a fundamentally flawed way of looking at a movement like Black Lives Matter.

First of all, the Black Lives Matter movement is not about suggesting that other lives don’t matter.  People who are quick to suggest that #alllivesmatter also make this same critical mistake in categorizing the BLM movement as one that puts black lives above others.  The BLM movement is merely trying to suggest that there is a problem of disproportionate police violence and aggression carried out against blacks that is under-reported in the media and ignored by the public.  The idea is not that black lives matter more, but simply that society undervalues black lives in comparison to others, as demonstrated by instances like the deaths of Eric Garner or Sandra Bland, or a plethora of other cases in which minor infractions somehow resulted in people dying either at the hands of police or while in police custody.

Second of all, using a hashtag to say that police lives matter, in the context of something like the Black Lives Matter movement, is suggesting that the media and public ignore the instances when police officers are killed on duty.  Which is an insult to our collective intelligence.  When a police officer is injured or killed while on the job, there is already massive public outcry and the efforts to apprehend the suspects in those cases exceeds the efforts that are usually undertaken when the victim is an ordinary citizen.  How many times have we heard the expression “a manhunt is underway” when a police officer is murdered?  Compare that to the way regular cases are handled.  Look at the funeral processions that are run to honor fallen officers.  In addition, the punishments for cop killers are far harsher than those for the average person.  The bottom line is that there is no shortage of sympathy or attention given to victims of violence when the subject is a police officer.

The killing of police officers is tragic and should be something that we pay attention to.  So, yes, of course, in a literal sense, police lives matter.  But so does knowing the truth in the face of hysteria and misinformation, and not succumbing to the ignorance that is spread by those who want to discredit a valid political movement that is trying to highlight a very real problem in America.


Photo credit – Pixabay.com/BruceEmmerling