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New bill on marijuana research

 September 30, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, September 30th.

A new bill would allow researchers to buy and test cannabis products

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM SIGNED A BILL WEDNESDAY TO GIVE FARMWORKERS MORE OPTIONS FOR UNION VOTING.

A-B 21-83… WOULD ALLOW FARMWORKERS TO UNIONIZE BY A SIMPLE MAIL OR CARD CHECK PROCESS.

BUT NEWSOM ALSO MADE A DEAL WITH UNION LEADERS TO support legislation next year that would ELIMINATE MAIL-IN BALLOTS.

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The San Diego Blood Bank is calling on eligible donors to schedule a blood or platelet donation as soon as possible.

The urgent request comes as Hurricane Ian hit Florida and moves towards the Southeast with dangerous storm surges, winds and flooding.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in good health.

Eligible donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment at San-Diego-Blood-Bank-dot-org.

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Nearly 30 percent of residents in San Diego County are unable to provide themselves and or their family members three nutritious meals a day.

That remains higher than it was prior to the pandemic.

A report released by the San Diego Hunger Coalition analyzed data from March of this year on economic conditions, to assess the needs of people living in San Diego County.

It found that the county's hunger relief sector is meeting about 75-percent of the need for food assistance.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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San Diego Congressman Scott Peters is co-sponsoring a bill that would set a national research agenda for studying marijuana.

It would also allow researchers to buy and test the many products found in legal cannabis shops.

KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.

Lincoln Fish is the founder and CEO of Outco, a marijuana shop in unincorporated El Cajon, where he legally sells a wide variety of pot products. He says most people still come to buy buds, so they can roll their own joints. But there’s a lot more to choose from.“These are pre-rolls that we make on site. And they’re stronger because this is what’s called an infused pre-roll. We put the bud on the inside but then we take the oil that is extracted from the plant and the keef which is kinda the powdery substance that comes off and we roll it in the keef.. Then there are topicals, vapes and what are called tinctures, a liquid infused with cannabis that’s often used as medicine. The effects of the many products at Outco may be known to the people who use them. But little is known about how they are likely to affect most people, or why they work the way they do. That’s because these products cannot be legally studied, due to federal law, which calls marijuana a schedule 1 narcotic. Congressman Scott Peters has sponsored a bill called the DANK act. It would, quote, shield researchers from legal sanctions for acquiring and testing state-legal cannabis products. The bill would also create new priorities for studying marijuana products. So the idea behind this act is to develop a national research agenda so we can measure safety, efficacy, long-term effects, the mechanisms of use. Maybe develop sobriety tests. All of those things need to happen with cannabis around the country. The DANK act would establish 10 marijuana research centers around the country. One of them would almost certainly be at UC San Diego. Psychiatry professor Igor Grant is the director of UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. UCSD has been studying marijuana for two decades. But Grant says the explosion of the marijuana industry in states where it’s legal has created many new questions. “For example, in California people are getting products with many different strengths of THC, many combinations of THC, CBD and other products. They’re also taking them not necessarily by smoking a joint, but by vaporizing in some other way. Or maybe taking it by mouth, maybe rubbing on to their skin. So on and so forth. We know very little about how these products are absorbed into the body, metabolize and work.” THC is the chemical in pot that makes you high. It also has some proven medicinal effects. One effect of cannabis that Grant says is well documented is pain relief. At a news conference late last month. Mark Wallace, professor of anesthesiology at UCSD spoke on the topic. He said the correct use of cannabis by people with chronic pain has shown impressive results. “We were seeing reductions in pain, reduction of opioids and even elimination of opioids in patients. And the result of pain relief includes improved sleep, improved function.” Also at that press conference was Colin Wells, an Afghan war veteran who says cannabis got him off of opioids. “I had a crippling opioid addiction for most of my life. Compounded by my traumas in Afghanistan. Cannabis finally after decades empowered me with the ability to search within myself the strength to overcome my addiction.” So far there is no known opposition to Peters’ DANK act, which he calls bipartisan as it has a Republican co-sponsor. Back at the Outco cannabis shop, Lincoln Fish has plenty of advice for what kind of cannabis works for what ailments. But he admits he doesn’t know why it works. “It would be great to understand better, like, you have this issue. What should I be giving you? What should your dosage be? What is the best form to be taking this. We know a lot of it anecdotally. But if we could have some significant, large scale, double-wide kinda study, we could learn a lot more. For now, marijuana used for medical research all comes from the same farm in Mississippi. Some pot vendors say the quality of that marijuana is poor. Way behind the times. And Igor Grant admits what they get from that Mississippi farm is not geared to what's really going on in the market today.  Thomas Fudge, KPBS news.

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Residents of an apartment complex in Linda Vista are fighting an order from their new landlord to vacate their homes by the end of the year.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says this comes as the city of San Diego’s eviction moratorium is set to expire.

Belinda Ward is one of dozens of tenants from the Casa Linda Apartments who rallied in front of the complex Thursday morning. Her complex has a new landlord, UIP Linda Vista LLC… which bought Casa Linda in July. The company wants to remodel… “I have a one bedroom apartment full of things, full of my memories. And I've been going slowly through them trying to figure out which memories to throw away in case I can't find a place – what can I fit in my car?” Ward and the other tenants were told to leave their homes by the end of the year. The Casa Linda residents and the tenants’ rights group ACCE-San Diego are demanding that the San Diego City Attorney finalize new permanent no-fault eviction protections. JA KPBS News.

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Representatives of a local medical plan are pushing back against a recent state decision to remove it from San Diego County.

KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman says some 300-thousand San Diegans may have to change plans soon.

Dozens turned out downtown to protest the state of california’s decision to exclude Community Health Group as a MediCal provider beyond next year. The group says it has been in business here for 40 years and serves 335-thousand San Diegans– Community Health Group COO Joseph Garcia says the state is trying to streamline operations.. Going from seven MediCal plans to just three.. The group submitted a bid, but Garcia argues the state’s scoring system was flawed. He says Community Health Group has filed an appeal and hopes the state will simply keep the MediCal plan. On– Joseph Garcia, COO Community Health Group We’re going to try and we hope with the support of the community that you saw right now with the support of key leaders throughout california the state will reconsider We asked the state department of health care services -- but we did not hear back. MH KPBS News.

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Coming up.... We have some weekend arts events worth checking out. We’ll have that and more, just after the break.

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As Hispanic Heritage Month rolls on… KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez takes us to City College.. for a lesson on lowriders.

The sound of hydraulics bringing a 1962 Impala convertible so low to the ground you couldn’t slide a penny under it. Lowriding is a slice of Hispanic Heritage Marcos ah-REY-ano has a life-time of experience with. “Anybody can be a lowrider…you can start at any age.”  The respected Southbay lowrider king was invited to give a lecture to students at City College…on the history of the cars born in the barrios …designed by men from marginalized communities who used their imagination and mechanical skills. They created moving masterpieces …unfortunately, society created stereotypes “A lot of people hear the word lowrider …oh the lowriders are coming…that’s horrible …that’s bad…and I want to educate them..it’s ok…come talk to me come ask me a question.” ah-REY-ano and his lowrider friends will be part of the car show at the Del Mar fairgrounds this weekend. MGP KPBS News

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Halloween is just around the corner… making it the season for all things scary.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando loves the horrors that October brings and has these recommendations for what to seek out in cinemas this month.

 John Carpenter’s Halloween score That’s right, it’s my favorite holiday season, and while I live Halloween 365 days a year, October is the month when the rest of the world finds it acceptable to seek out scares on a daily basis. This year Digital Gym Cinema will deliver Saturday Scares every weekend in October with classic horror films such as John Carpenter’s original Halloween.I spent 7 years trying to reach him and another 8 trying to keep him locked up because I knew that what was living behind those eyes was pure evil. It’s hard to imagine just how original Halloween was back in 1978 as we prepare for the 13th installment of the franchise in two weeks. But Carpenter shot the original film in deep focus widescreen, not typical for the low budget genre; showed barely a drop of blood in the kills; and crafted the elements that would define the modern slasher film. He gave us Evil – unstoppable, unkillable Evil and he did so with an elegant leanness. Plus he composed that iconic, haunting score… John Carpenter’s Halloween score Halloween will close out Digital Gym’s Saturday Scares on Oct 29th but kicking off the series this Saturday is Dario Argento’s Suspiria. The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of Suspiria are the first 92. Suspiria came out in 1977, a year before Halloween. It’s an audacious example of Italian giallo, the violent thrillers that were the precursors to the American slasher films. Argento turned the genre up to a feverish 11 as an American student played by Jessica Harper arrives at an international dance school. I just want to talk to you about some of the things that have been happening here lately… Things like murder and witches. Argento renders his tale with an eye-popping color palette and an excessive style that drips off the screen. The film delivers sensory overload that’s best appreciated on a big screen. Suspiria remains one of my all time favorite films because its outrageous boldness still feels fresh. Saturday Scares also includes Drag Me to Hell, an underappreciated gem from Sam Raimi. someone has cursed you with the Lamia, the most feared of all demons. Raimi may be best loved for the Evil Dead films but Drag Me to Hell is a perfect example of his splatstick – splatter gore and slapstick comedy. Imagine Looney Tunes or Tex Avery doing horror. So don’t expect a subtle build up of tension with a clever pay off. Instead it's about shock gags punctuated by over the top sound effects, and delivered for the purposes of wicked fun not fear. But for subtler and more fear-inducing fare Saturday Scares will highlight the claustrophobic, subterranean The Descent and the psychological horror of The Babadook. The Babadook lures you in with familiar childhood fears about something lurking under your bed but then delivers a fresh and surprising story about coping with grief and motherhood. Saturday Scares serves up classics but if you want to try something new here are two films that try to rise above the formula fare Hollywood drags out every October. Smile opens this weekend. I can see something no one else can see and it’s smiling at me. While the trailer makes Smile feel like a one note jump scare exercise in horror, the film actually attempts to develop the main character and explore how trauma can affect our psyche. Parker Finn adapted and expanded the film from his own short. But he stretches it a bit too far without enough originality to sustain it for two hours. Succeeding more fully than Smile is Barbarian, which opened a couple weeks ago. That film cleverly twists tropes and shakes up the narrative structure so we are kept off balance and entertained. It builds tension well, delivers some black humor, and gives us the creepiest Air BnB ever. But there’s plenty to say yes to in theaters this October. Beth Accomando KPBS News.

Saturday Scares screen at Digital Gym Cinema in East Village.

Pearl, Barbarian and Smile can be found in theaters throughout San Diego.

For more October movie suggestions check out Beth’s Cinema Junkie blog at K-P-B-S-dot-ORG.

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And before you go…

This weekend we head into a new month.

The month of October is filled with many events here in San Diego.

And all month long kids 12 and under can enjoy free admission to San Diego County’s museums, historic sites, aquariums, gardens and more.

You can find a list of all the coupons for ‘Kids Free San Diego’ at san-diego-museum-council-dot-org.

And for this weekend, we have some arts event suggestions from KPBS’s Julia Dixon Evans.

If you’d like to enjoy some classical music…. like what we’re listening to now….

… Music Director Rafael Payare and the Orchestra open the new season this weekend with one of the monumental masterpieces of Western music.

Verdi’s Requiem is an equally thrilling experience for both the lifelong music lover and the new listener discovering choral and orchestral music for the first time.

The concerts are tomorrow at 6-30 p-m, and Sunday at 5 p-m. at The Shell.

Plus, a new production is now on stage at The Old Globe.

'What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank' follows two childhood friends who drift apart as adults and lead very different lives.

This weekend's performances are tonight at 8 p-m.

Tomorrow at 2 p-m. and 8 p-m, and on Sunday at 2 p-m and 7 p-m.

You can catch the play on stage through October 23rd.

You can find more details about the arts events mentioned, and more, at kpbs-dot-org-slash-arts.

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That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Senior Producer Brooke Ruth and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. We’d like to thank KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman for helping out this week as well. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

San Diego Congressman Scott Peters is co-sponsoring a bill that would set a national research agenda for studying marijuana. In other news, residents of an apartment complex in Linda Vista are fighting an order from their new landlord to vacate their homes by the end of the year. Plus, we have some weekend arts events worth checking out.