Second Class

Without them, California couldn’t be what it is today.

The Golden State may be best known for Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but its 2.2 million undocumented workers—10 percent of the workforce—help power the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Without legal status, they must take jobs that are physically taxing or outright dangerous. More than half of the state’s roofers, janitorial workers and cooks are noncitizens, according to the U.S. Census. About a dozen other job categories, from tree trimmers to drywall installers, are filled largely by undocumented workers.

California poised to reject affirmative action measure despite summer of activism

California voters are poised to reject an affirmative action measure despite a summer of racial justice activism and overwhelming support for Black Lives Matter in one of the nation's most diverse states.

The surprising mood of the California electorate is confounding state lawmakers and political strategists, who believe the moment is riper than ever to repeal a 1996 statewide ban on racial and gender considerations in public hiring and college admissions. A defeat now could delay the return of affirmative action for years, squandering a 2020 opportunity with racial justice top of mind for voters across the U.S.

Cannabis industry looks to regroup after volatile end of legislative session

A longstanding battle for influence within the cannabis industry has reached its boiling point.

Over the final days of a chaotic legislative session, a fierce fight broke out between industry players over a pair of seemingly uncontroversial bills, one designed to protect banks that work with marijuana businesses and another that would have established regulations for the hemp industry.

LA pot business hopefuls cry foul over investor's social equity success

The cannabis social equity program in California's largest city was designed to give communities most impacted by drug laws the first shot at acquiring new dispensary licenses, but the rollout has instead left community leaders questioning how one well-connected firm managed to dominate the process.

Some social equity advocates are crying foul after the city’s first-come, first-served application system resulted in the company 4thMVMT landing at least 11 spots in the first 100 on track to obtain licenses. They say the intended individuals hoping to overcome their past struggles never stood a chance.

Tribes Frustrated at Being Locked out of California Cannabis Market

California's marijuana legalization was supposed to provide economic justice to communities most affected by drug laws in the past, but Native American tribes that have suffered say the state is unfairly shutting them out of its nascent cannabis trade.

Tribes want the state to establish compacts, similar to gaming deals, that would allow them to sell cannabis grown on tribal lands to the broader California market. Under such arrangements, tribes would agree to regulations similar to those established under Proposition 64 and provide tax revenue to the state for products sold off-reservation.

California cities begin embracing cannabis in desperate search for cash

California local governments scrambling to find tax revenues during the coronavirus pandemic are turning toward an industry they had considered taboo until now: cannabis.

It has been almost four years since voters legalized recreational marijuana in California, and nearly 70 percent of cities and counties have yet to embrace pot businesses because they see regulatory problems or have concerns about public safety and negative publicity.

Wine vs. weed in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is famous for its cabernet sauvignon. But with the cannabis industry moving in fast, some of the region’s storied vintners are sounding the alarm that California’s newest legal crop could damage the flavor — and brand — of their prized wines.

Those grape growers worry that pot won’t pair well with the terroir they have spent a century and a half cultivating.

Startups feud with dentists over X-ray requirement on Newsom's desk

An explosive battle between the state's dental establishment and startup orthodontia firms seeking to undercut the traditional industry has emerged over regulations tucked into an otherwise mundane dental sunset bill on Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk.

On its face, AB 1519 (19R) is a standard measure that comes up every four years to reauthorize the Dental Board of California. The bill sailed through both houses without a single no vote.

Agriculture hopes hemp legislation will finally go through

After years of trying to get laws changed, hemp advocates and would-be farmers are on the cusp of gaining new legal standing via the 2018 farm bill. The question now will be: How do they ramp up production of a formerly illegal crop to the point where they’re competitive on a world scale?

The Senate version of the farm bill passed on June 28, S. 3042 (115), includes a provision that would put hemp — marijuana’s non-psychoactive relative — on the same standing as any other commodity crop. With regulation handled by state agriculture departments, hemp researchers will be able to apply for USDA grants and hemp growers can be covered by crop insurance programs.

Trump's tariffs threaten billions in losses for U.S. pork

The pork industry was one of the first U.S. agricultural sectors to suffer blowback as President Donald Trump embarked on his aggressive program to reshape America’s trade relationships — and the hits keep coming.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first full day in office last year, sending pork producers scrambling to shore up relationships with their top buyer by value, Japan, which remained in the 11-nation deal that was struck after Trump's exit.

Vacant, Neglected, Destructive: How Richmond’s abandoned homes became fire hazards

Elora Henderson and Jesus Galindo sat in the living room of her small Iron Triangle home, unwinding after a long day of work. The two Lincoln Elementary School teachers settled into their after-school routine, sinking into the couch and watching TV with Henderson’s dog, Lorca, at their feet. But something wasn’t quite right that September evening.

The two were eating. Lorca should’ve been begging for scraps, but he was uninterested. Instead, he paced between the living room and the kitchen. Galindo grew concerned and headed to investigate.

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