04/20/2017 09:15 AM EDT
THE BUZZ: It's 4/20, unofficially National Marijuana Day. But how those high times have changed: what used to be a secretive high-school stoners' holiday - invented in 1971 by a crowd of teens at San Rafael High School - has morphed into an opportunity for big business in California, the world's largest legal cannabis market.
POLITICO caught up with Ben Larson, co-founder and managing partner of Oakland-based Gateway, a leading startup accelerator for the cannabis industry, who says in the booming cannabis innovation sector, Thursday's 4/20 holiday underscores a big change in the ganga game. He says at Gateway - headquartered in a a 6,000 sq. ft. space that's home to dozens of entrepreneurs and 30 cannabis-based businesses - 4/20 is "a big day to make a splash" with new products, "much like Black Friday." So many of the entrepreneurs in Gateway's realm are "planning multiple events, hiring temporary labor, and launching new consumer goods,'' from accessories and edibles to new plant products.
Larson's Gateway accelerator pulls "a lot of talent from Silicon Valley, South San Francisco - the heart of the biotech industry" as well as agriculture leaders in Napa and (obviously) Humboldt County.
Bottom line: It's unclear how Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration will seek to change the view here. But today In California, in the wake of Prop. 64's approval last November, the days of 4/20 as a revolt at pot Prohibition have ended - and the era of the Ganga-prenuer and Canna-business is rolling.
-- "With first sponsor on board, here's what to expect from 4/20 celebration in Golden Gate Park,'' via Hoodline: SF is leveraging cannabis-related businesses to manage "one of the world's largest smoke-ins." Story.
-- "A TV ad for a marijuana vaporizer has hit the airwaves - with no mention of the drug itself," by the Los Angeles Times' Patrick McGreevy: "Eureka Vapor markets portable vaporizers for cannabis concentrates that the company produces. But you wouldn't necessarily know that from the commercial, which shows actors portraying figures including athletes, dancers and members of the military with phrases such as 'Discover Love' and 'Discover Freedom' displayed." Story
-- "Bill to shield recreational marijuana from federal crackdowns clears first hearing," by the Cannifornian's Katy Murphy: "The proposal - the first of its kind in the nation - would prevent state and local police from helping federal agents crack down on marijuana activity that California has deemed to be legal. Despite objections from law enforcement, it cleared the Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday by a 5-2 vote." Story
BUENOS DÍAS, good Thursday morning. It's official: Eleni Kounalakis is into the lieutenant governor's race. The North Koreans debuted a party film showing San Francisco getting nuked. And political provocateur Ann Coulter won't be starring in Berkeley after all.
Where's Jerry? Release: "Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will deliver remarks tomorrow in San Francisco at the 15th annual Navigating the American Carbon World conference, hosted by the Climate Action Reserve.?
When: Thursday, April 20, 2017 at approx. 9:40 a.m. Where: InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, InterContinental Ballroom, 888 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103"
TWEET OF THE DAY: Christopher Cadelago @ccadelago: "Jerry Brown said he and Anne have gotten into cycling of late and got red bicycles for Christmas."
TWEET OF THE DAY #2: Christopher Cadelago @ccadelago: "I know you young ones don't give a damn, but I'll tell you when you're my age, it's damned important how good your cells are functioning."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "That's one of our big worries worldwide. ... Imagine, the guy in North Korea and the guy in United States ... they wake up with a hangover." Oh, and: "No way is Mexico going to pay for that f---ing wall." -- Former Mexican president Vicente Fox Quesada at a sold-out appearance Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
TOP TALKER: "North Korea Nukes SF in Birthday Party Video," via SFGate: "For the grand finale to its founder's 105th birthday party this weekend, North Korea celebrated with rousing military music punctuated by a not-so-subtle warning for the United States and San Francisco in particular." Story. Link to You Tube.
THE TRUMP ERA:
-- "Berkeley cancels conservative firebrand Ann Coulter's speech over fears of more violent protests," by the Washington Post's William Wan: "In a letter to a campus Republican group that invited Coulter to speak, university officials said that they made the decision to cancel Coulter's appearance after assessing the violence that flared on campus in February, when the same college Republican group invited right-wing provocateur and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak." Story
-- "Hispanic judge Trump called biased to hear deported 'Dreamer' case," by The Hill's Mark Hensch: "The federal judge who oversaw a lawsuit against Trump University and was accused by President Trump of being biased because of his Mexican heritage will now oversee a controversial immigration case. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has been assigned to a case involving the first 'Dreamer' deported under Trump's tenure, according to a new report. Curiel will preside over a lawsuit brought by Juan Manuel Montes following his deportation in February, USA Today said Wednesday." Story
-- "Deportation's orphans: Who cares for children when parents are sent away? by Elizabeth Aguilera in CALMatters: "As immigration enforcement ramps up, so rises the fear of undocumented parents about the fate of their children if they are separated by deportation and returned to their native country." Story.
CALIFORNIA AND THE CAPITOL CORRIDOR:
-- "Gas tax deals illegal? 'Preposterous,' says Jerry Brown,'' by SacBee's Christopher Cadelago: "Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday dismissed as "preposterous" suggestions that he broke the law by providing district-specific projects to lawmakers to win their support for his $52 billion road repair package with tax and fee increases. Story.
-- Garcetti to lay out plan to close budget deficit of more than $224 million,'' LA Daily News' Elizabeth Chou: "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to take a simpler approach than usual during his state of the city speech. The mayor will deliver his address Thursday at City Hall - instead of at an off-site location like in years past - and he is expected to focus on fiscal prudence. Story.
-- AP Exclusive: Dam managers made missteps in handling crisis,'' by AP's Ellen Knickmeyer and Michael R. Blood: "Late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, Sheriff Kory Honea was at the emergency operations center for the tallest dam in America when he overheard someone say something that stopped him in his tracks: 'This is not good.'" Story
-- "California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities," by USA Today's Doyle Rice: "California's smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA's 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report. Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA's most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report released Wednesday found." Story
-- "Majority of Californians polled favor vouchers for private schools,'' by John Fensterwald in EdSource: "Rejecting President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown, Californians overwhelmingly said in a poll released Wednesday that they favor designating their school districts "sanctuary safe zones" to protect undocumented students and their families from federal immigration enforcement efforts. Story.
-- 'Filled with hate, filled with anger: Anatomy of a shooting allegedly fueled by hatred of white people,'' by LATimes' Melanie Mason, Diana Marcum, Hailey Branson-Potts and Joseph Serna: "Fresno police said they believe a shooting rampage downtown Tuesday that left three white men dead was racially motivated. Story
-- "'Wait, you don't have data on that?' Where California flies data-blind," by Cal Matters' Matt Levin: "It seems like a simple question: How many African-American boys scored proficient on California's math test? Go ahead, try to answer it. I'll wait while you Google. You'll probably end up here, at the California Department of Education's snazzy (by state government standards) website." Story
-- "Philip Morris moves to soften blow of California cigarette tax increase for smokers,' by SacBee's Taryn Luna. Story.
CAMPAIGNS 2018 AND BEYOND:
-- "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is Ready for His CloseUp,'' by John Powers in Vogue: "At the center of the action is Mayor Eric Garcetti, a fit, square-jawed, gently graying 46-year-old who so thoroughly looks the part that he's played fictional versions of L.A.'s mayor in movies and on TV." Story.
-- "How Rep. Darrell Issa Has Moved to the Center Since He Almost Lost in November,'' by LATimes Sarah D. Wire: Does Issa think he's moved toward the center? "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said by phone, calling the idea "bullshit." Story.
-- "Rep. Duncan Hunter, under ethics investigation, says he has halted campaign payments to his wife,'' via San Diego Union Tribune. Story.
-- "BunnyPAC Hopes to Thump Duncan Hunter on Rabbitgate," by Roll Call's Eric Garcia: "It is rooted in allegations that Hunter used campaign money for personal expenses, including paying for airline fare for the family's pet rabbit. 'In an era of [President Donald] Trump we have seen that ridiculousness works,' VanDiver said. 'I'll fight ridiculousness with ridiculousness.'" Story
-- Critics hold a town hall, but Rep. Devin Nunes isn't there,'' via Fresno Bee's Lewis Griswold: Story.
-- "Why His Opponents Are Worried About John Chiang,'' by Joe Mathews in Fox & Hounds Daily. Story.
-- ELENI'S IN: POLITICO California reported three weeks ago that former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis was strongly considering a run for lieutenant governor in 2018. She filed Wednesday. Filing here
-- CA DEM CHAIR RACE -- Democratic Party Women's Caucus Chair Christine Pelosi hosts an online debate in the lively race for party chair between Eric Bauman, Kimberly Ellis and Lenore Albert. Here's her report.
-- "California bill would make it harder to punish police officers who have been accused of lying," by Los Angeles Times' Liam Dillon: Story
-- "Drought's End Means California Beachgoers Get Showers Back," by the Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report: Story
-- "High school rat problem spurs teacher to take video - then take students elsewhere," by the Sac Bee's Loretta Kalb: Story
-- "The trees that make Southern California shady and green are dying. Fast." by the Los Angeles Times' Louis Sahagun: Story
-- "More progress needed at Central CC Sanitary District," by the East bay Times Editorial Board: Story
-- "State opens nepotism investigation at troubled tax board," by the Sac Bee's Adam Ashton: Story
FATHER OF EARTH DAY? -- Former Rep. (and presidential candidate) Pete McCloskey (R) recalls to POLITICO his pivotal role in the creation of the first official Earth Day on April 22, 1970. He says he was asked to assist Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) and former Harvard Professor Denis Hayes to fire up environmental activism among high school and college kids in the wake of an oil spill. "The response, at a time of almost universal opposition to the war in Vietnam, was explosive,'' McCloskey said.
So explosive that "President Nixon was so concerned that the events would turn into anti-war demonstrations,'' and "ordered J. Edgar Hoover to put each event under surveillance,'' he said. Hoover's report on the goings on: " There were a lot of girls with no shoes, shorts and T shirts and flowers in their hair petting their dogs There was some pot smoked, beer drunk and some little love making in the bushes, but, Mr. President, no anti-war discussions."
WHERE'S ED AND WILLIE? -- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's City Hall Earth Day Breakfast, with former Mayor Willie Brown, along with McCloskey, co-chair of the very first celebration, at 8 a.m. Thursday at City Hall."
-- "Big money, big ego, big bills: how to get divorced Silicon Valley style," by The Guardian's Olivia Solon: "The billionaire founder of Zynga, the San Francisco-based company that makes FarmVille, has found himself in (very messy) DivorceVille. Mark Pincus, an early investor in Facebook and Twitter who is worth $1.28bn, separated from his wife, Alison Gelb Pincus, the co-founder of home decor business One Kings Lane. The couple married in 2008, a year after Mark founded Zynga, which grew into a $1bn company within four years." Story
-- "This Doctor Will See You Now (if You're a Star With a Pimple)" by The New York Times' Guy Trebay: "The movie star had a pimple. It was on the flange of a nostril on the right side of his face. Most every ordinary person has, of course, awakened at some time to an angry and embarrassing eruption. But the movie star was no ordinary person. It was the third week of February. The Oscars were just days away. The actor was to present a big award." Story
-- "Billions At Stake As Writers' Strike Looms," by Los Angeles Patch's Paige Austin: "The Writers Guild of America could vote to go on strike this week, a risky move predicted to take a major toll on networks already suffering under competition from Netflix and Amazon. About 12,000 writers will begin voting on whether to authorize the strike Wednesday." Story
MEDIA MATTERS: Vox announces a new partnership with The University of California "to create Climate Lab, a six-part video series exploring global climate change and UC's groundbreaking work to mitigate its effects." Link to the first episode, launched in time for Earth Day.
-- In the race for State Assembly District 38, Newhall School Board Member Christy Smith has picked up the endorsement of California State Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon.
Anthony Samson, who leads Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP's California legislative efforts, leads a team that has been hired by the Southern California Public Power Authority to work on energy issues in Sacramento....Addie Whisenant has been named director of Bully Pulpit Interactive's San Francisco office. She previously served as director of African American media for The White House and has worked on Capitol Hill, on campaigns and other government agencies. Release.
San Diego Chamber of Commerce 20187 Congressional Luncheon: Friday, April 21, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego, CA. Immigration, the Wall, the Economy? Hear directly from San Diego County's Congressional delegation - Reps. Darrell Issa, Susan Davis, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas - on the issues that matter most to the region's economy. Moderator is POLITICO California's Carla Marinucci. Link to more information.
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