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UK Government Starts Trial for Coronavirus Contact Tracing App

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The first test of a coronavirus contact tracing app was launched by the UK government this week. The test was launched on a small island that existed off the south coast of England.

The app will use Bluetooth technology, to alert users, if they have been close to someone who reportedly has symptoms of the virus or has had a positive test. The digital technology unit of the National Health Service (NHS) has developed the app, which will also upload information to a central database which will consequently help the public health experts to study the behavior of the deadly virus.

The United Kingdom, unlike Germany, has chosen not to use the technology that is jointly developed by Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL), because the data will only be stored locally on individual devices. Instead, the anonymous user data will be stored by the health authority, after encryption, in keeping with UK privacy rules.

According to a statement by the senior cabinet minister, Michael Gove, on Sunday, the government is in hopes that more than half of the 80,000 households on the Isle of Wight, will be downloading the app after its launch. He further added that the government plans on rolling out the app across the country later this month if the test proves to be successful.

According to an infectious diseases expert at Oxford University, Christophe Fraser, such apps can prove to be highly effective in stopping mass infections. Fraser is also the one who is helping in the development of the UK app and has also conducted extensive investigations on the outbreaks of SARS, H1N1, and Ebola. Steps can be taken for the prevention of further transmission if people are alerted when they are exposed to the virus.

However, according to a reported statement by Fraser last month, to show effectiveness in stemming the virus, at least 60% of the population needs to download and use the app. The UK app would ask users about their symptoms, which would then determine if they have enough symptoms of COVID-19, to become a presumed case. Meanwhile, other users that could potentially have “risky contact” are notified and further asked to self-isolate themselves, as the government said.

If the sick individual has themselves tested, the result can also be entered in the app, so the app can notify the contacts whether it was a false alarm or whether they should also get tested or go into quarantine.

Additionally, as a part of its overall efforts in keeping track of the virus after the lockdown restrictions are eased, the UK government wants to hire 18,000 contact tracers in the next few weeks. These contact tracers will track an infected person and where they have been as well as whom they may have come into contact with.

There has already been heavy criticism by privacy advocates, regarding the UK app, and have also argued that a decentralized approach towards the management of data, would provide greater security against bad state actors that are “spying” on citizens.

Other experts argue that by keeping the data centrally located, the app system can be protected from being overwhelmed by hacking attacks, and would further allow better tracking and study of the spread of the infection, by the government.

Matthew Gould is leading the app development for the National Health Service. Matthew told a UK parliamentary committee on Monday that with the centralization of the data, it will help the health authorities to get an insight on essential information, such as which symptoms would more likely result in a positive diagnosis and whether there’s a significant difference in contagion, depending on the time taken for the development of symptoms.

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Cannabis

How Michigan’s New Cannabis Social Equity Reforms Work

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Black & Brown Cannabis Guild compensates convicts

Cannabis regulations, when done right, can pave the way for an equal and prosperous society. Unfortunately, much of history, especially in the United States of America, reflects the opposite. The nation’s long standing so-called ‘War On Drugs‘ still leaves lasting scars on entire communities. That’s why when it comes to racial justice and activism, expungement of cannabis-related charges can bring a lot of good. And especially since studies show black and non-white minorities faced tremendously greater risk of arrest then white cannabis users. Enter the Black & Brown Cannabis Guild.

In Michigan, a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana received legal status in 2018, wrongs need righting. Over the past several decades, countless convictions subjected the innocent. And the punishments, disproportionately severe in relation to the offence, certainly didn’t fit the crime. Simple possession of cannabis could lead to misdemeanor charges, while usage often led to jail time. All of these criminal prosecutions led to permanent stains on records, leading to further marginalization for many.

The Black And Brown Cannabis Guild (BBCG) seeks to secure recompense for racial persecutions

Once Michigan legalized cannabis usage, the obvious question arose. What about those currently serving sentences over cannabis charges, and those with permanent strikes? After all, the countless African American, Latino and other people of color being punished should no longer face criminal records. That’s like prosecuting homosexual relationships, years after the practice got decriminalized. It certainly seemed like amnesty and a clean slate were sorely due.

Recently, the state of Vermont signed off on proposed bills that would try to improve social equity. The two main ways the bill seeks to do this included increased funding for small retailers and expungement. The former seeks to help out minority owners of cannabis stores get up on their feet and compete with bigger, more-privileged chains. And the latter measure would not only immediately release convicts but also wipe the slate clean for all with cannabis charges. Only with this, the bill says, will marginalized communities gain the tools to overcome decades of racism and prejudice.

The War On Drugs left many minority communities persecuted, and expungement is the only moral compensation

The United States at some point decided that drugs of any kind needed brutality to get rid of, at any cost. As a result, police raids, widespread arrests, convictions and wiretaps became all too common since the 1970s. The Nixon-era policy sought to curb increasing illegal drug use, despite not targeting the root causes behind drug usage. This means that instead of combatting poverty, addiction, gang influences and corruption the program simply punished the poor users. The BBCG therefore wants to assist the people of color, and anyone else, wrongfully persecuted.

People with cannabis charges on their permanent record simply face too much oppression. Even outside of jail, they bear reduced likelihoods of employment opportunities, security checks, prejudice and stigma. They carry the label the police wrongfully stuck to them. It doesn’t matter if the arrest was over a simple weed joint or crystal methamphetamine, the stigma remains the same. Furthermore, entire minority communities of former convicts often face discrimination.

The move comes as long overdue, but it is still a step in the right direction

Nothing the government does can magically erase decades of oppression. And it also cannot cure racism, bigotry or discrimination overnight. However, by issuing due apologies, absolving the convicted of charges and funding minority communities, something positive is carried out. These steps hopefully will go a long way for many marginalized groups, as the BBCG hopes.

We can only hope other states catch onto this much-needed policy. For the latest, stay tuned!

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Cannabis Factory Invigorates Small Missouri Town

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Cannabis factory helps small town

Take a drive into the heart of Missouri, and you’ll come across a small little town by the name of Carrollton. A small, idyllic place, there’s a lot to catch the eye, but very little in the way of commercial hustle bustle. Or at least, that’s what you would have seen last year. Today, things are rapidly changing for this remote town, and for the better. This comes in the form of a cannabis factory.

Thanks to the contribution of Carrollton born Ty Klein, the area is soon to be economically bolstered by the advent of a new local industry. And you guessed it, it’s a brand new cannabis processing plant! It is definitely going to be a godsend for industrial development in this town, catalyzing further development. But the most interesting part is how the history of the region and how that will affect the growth in terms of economic output.

 

A new cannabis factory is ideal for the location

 

With a modest population of 3,600 people, Carrollton is by no means a small town. It has a lot of empty space, just what a medium sized investment venture needs. And it is ideal for growing cannabis, with just the right temperatures most of the year. And that’s exactly why the owner believes that Carrollton will become a leading point in raising marijuana acceptance in the heart of America, where distrust for the drug is rife.

The company has chosen the name Carroll County Cannabis Co., which is quite the mouthful. To smoothen out that tongue twister, the company just goes by C4. Considering that the region has seen massive unemployment, this could be phenomenal in improving the lives of Carrolltonians. And not just by paying them well.

 

Growing marijuana in turbulent waters

 

Despite the fact that cannabis is legal in Missouri, there’s still quite the stigma against it. Culturally, the Mideast is not the most accepting of using recreational drugs. For a variety of political reasons, the opposition to cannabis distribution is wide and vocal. But this cannabis factory might just change opinions slowly and surely.

There’s definitely a long way to go. Marijuana remains a strongly controlled and regulated drug to sell. Ty Klein has gotten his hands on three licenses to sell marijuana, which is a great fear in itself. Only a small percentage of aspiring cannabis growers are granted licenses, and against great political pressure. It’s therefore very inspiring how Ty and his company are working right in the heart of the opposition to plant the seeds a brighter future for their state. They plan on reaping what they’ve down before this Halloween, and hopefully show people that there’s nothing to fear from the plant.

 

Klein and crew are getting things done

 

Pushing back against the tide, the intrepid team is hard at work getting everything ready to roll. And teamwork is really central to their ethos. After all, Ty is running the show alongside his childhood best friend, Brandon Green. The two make for inspiring leadership.

As the engines start warming up for large scale, fully fledged, high tech cannabis production, the energy demands of the station are expected to shoot up too. By estimate, the single factory will take the same amount of energy as the rest of the town put together. That’s why the city has agreed to put up a small power station to provide energy to their industry.

All in all, it’s definitely much brighten horizons here on out for Carrollton. Who knows, this might just be the factory to make this small town the next Hershey, Pennsylvania. In any case, things are certainly looking up.

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How The Cannabis Industry Can Reform To Protect The Environment

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Environment issues need to be solved by the cannabis industry

These days, every industry conceivable seems to boast about one thing in particular: how they supposedly help the environment. Look anywhere from the top fast fashion brands, to large-scale agriculture, and they’ll all claim to minimize their ‘carbon footprint’. This term entered the vernacular in the 1990’s by environmentalists, after the ‘ecological footprint’ concept. The carbon footprint refers to the amount of harmful CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions produced by individuals. Therefore, any major company reducing its carbon footprint would entail cutting down its harmful emissions.

In a world rife with rampant climate change crises, environmental protection simply is paramount. According to the scientific consensus, we already caused irreversible climate change due to centuries’ worth of carbon dioxide pollution. Hence, many industries feel spurred to make big environmental changes, albeit sometimes for the press. This holds especially true for the cannabis industry, which needs all the good publicity it can get due to decades of prejudice. The nascent industry, only operating in a few states in the US, needs to similarly learn to take steps to reduce pollution.

 

The National Cannabis Industry Association seeks to guide lawmakers and cannabis companies alike

 

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) campaigns to reform certain practices in the cannabis industry for the better. The cannabis industry consists of a broad variety of goods, each with different production processes. This means that recreational weed, hemp, medicinal marijuana, CBD Oils, dabs and bongs all come from different materials. In processing these materials, various chemical steps and machine exhausts lead to harmful pollution. In the state of Colorado, law requires that low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated plant matter from cannabis get disposed of in landfills.

The problem arises when the company needs to get rid of its waste. By state law, this waste matter gets mixed with other, non-cannabis waste evenly. This mixing must happen in a 50% to 50% ratio, according to legislation. However, since over 90% of the waste isn’t from cannabis producers, it essentially increases the carbon footprint of the company. It’s unfair because the cannabis industry generally produces very little waste so it should have a small carbon footprint. However the company can’t report a small footprint because they can’t control what they’re mixing in with their waste. So they’re kind of getting abused, forced to report much higher carbon footprints than they should. Meanwhile a lot of industries that actually produce a lot of carbon go let off the hook, having jettisoned their waste into the cannabinoid industry.

 

What kind of legislation can help fix this environment issue?

 

Well, for starters, it’s absurd to ask a clear fifty fifty split. We need to keep in mind that the carbon emissions of the cannabis industry far underweigh those of the articles mixed with the former industry’s refuse. And furthermore, saving the environment must reign the number one priority.

Secondly, the waste from the industry disposed of in the most environmentally green way. Whether that means landfills, composting, recycling or bioengineering it to make useful products is yet to be seen. More work needs doing to reduce the environmental fallout of this industry. Thirdly, we need to campaign for ethical landfill laws, and hold larger industries with more waste and hence larger carbon footprints accountable. It’s essential to know where every candidate stands in terms of cannabis regulation laws in your local elections. We have to be able to show the right stance against overly restrictive legislation, and show that we won’t abide an unfair system.

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