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Morning Brief: Green Qween, COVID-19 Sick Leave, And LA’s Original Chinatown

The front of Green Qween's planned building. It's neutral in color with the words "GREEN QWEEN" above the windows. There are renderings of people walking on the sidewalk nearby.
A rendering of what Green Qween's storefront will look like.
(Courtesy of Taylor Bazley)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Jan. 27.

The qween has arrived, long live the qween; the Green Qween, that is, a new queer-owned cannabis shop that will open in downtown in April (4/20, of course). 

Andrés Rigal and Taylor Bazley, the shop’s proprietors, have been battling through the red tape of opening a business in L.A. for years. But now that red tape will turn into a ribbon-cutting, and they plan to cater to the LGBTQ+ community and to lift it up.

“Consumer brands that are successful are the ones that are owned by cisgender, straight white men,” Bazley told my colleague Caitlin Hernandez. They “are well-capitalized … and can muscle their way onto shelves.”

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In an effort to remedy that reality, Rigal and Bazley plan to stock their shelves with brands that are owned by LGBTQ+ folks and people of color. They also intend to donate ten percent of their yearly profits to DTLA Proud’s planned community center, and to hire LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness.

In many ways, this is paying it forward. As Caitlin writes, the cannabis legalization movement in Calfiornia benefitted greatly from the gay rights movement. Marijuana became a popular pain remedy for people battling AIDS, which paved the road for medical marijuana to become legal in the state under Proposition 215.

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Rigal and Bazley hope their shop will serve as a prototype for others who want to do the same thing for their community. 

“We're like a big ship that’s passing through glaciers, breaking glaciers so that little boats can follow us,” Rigal said. “The idea is to kind of continue creating a path for others to follow us.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Mental health personnel working in L.A.’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility say Sheriff’s deputies have discouraged incarcerated people with severe mental and physical health issues from getting vaccinated. 
  • An L.A. Sheriff's Sgt. is suing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, accusing him of trying to get her to lie on a deposition about deputy gangs.
  • Peter Robbins, the L.A. actor who voiced Charlie Brown in some classic films, has died by suicide.
  • The L.A. City Council unanimously voted to ban new oil and gas drilling, and to begin phasing out existing oil and gas production within city limits over the next 20 years.
  • L.A. is no longer considered a “no-kill” animal shelter city, as the rate of animals saved dropped slightly below 90% last year. 
  • What are your rights if your kid is sick with COVID-19 and you need to take a day (or week) off work? 
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring after serving more than two decades on the nation's highest court. LA native Leondra Kruger is an early frontrunner to take his spot on the bench.

Before You Go ... How The Destruction Of LA's Original Chinatown Led To The One We Have Today

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Born out of necessity for a community displaced by racism and civic development, Chinatown has endured for more than 80 years. But the neighborhood we know today by that name isn't L.A.'s first such enclave. In fact, almost nothing remains of the city's original Chinatown, which sprung up in the mid-1800s near the city's origins, on Olvera Street.

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Read the whole story here.

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