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Today’s Headlines: California hopes cutting cannabis taxes will save struggling businesses

A cannabis transaction
A new law cuts a cultivation tax placed on cannabis growers and shifts excise tax collection from distributors to retail businesses.
(Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
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By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, July 7, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Hoping to save struggling California pot businesses

Tax cuts and other reforms are coming to the California cannabis industry as authorities seek to revamp a system that businesses, growers and others say has been stymied by over-regulation.

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A bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom cuts a cultivation tax placed on cannabis growers and shifts excise tax collection from distributors to retail businesses, according to the California Cannabis Industry Assn.

The new law, AB 195, is being touted as a step in the right direction.

Community groups criticize Newsom for omitting health equity funds

Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing criticism from community organizations after he declined for the second straight year to provide money in the state budget for the proposed Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund.

Supporters of the fund had called on Newsom to allocate millions of dollars to support community-based groups, clinics and tribal organizations offering services and programs to address health disparities.

This year, the Senate and Assembly proposed $75 million in ongoing annual funding. But it was left out of the $307.9-billion budget.

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Doctors caution against powering through COVID-19

As vaccines and new treatments have eased some of the alarm around a COVID-19 diagnosis, continuing to work — but from home — has become a familiar practice among professionals who can do their jobs remotely.

Physicians caution, however, that rest is an important part of weathering a COVID-19 infection. Plugging away from home is better than putting others at risk of getting infected, but it can still strain the immune system, worsening the toll of a COVID infection, experts say.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Will Congress help immigrants aging out of visas?

More than 250,000 dependent visa holders across the U.S are at risk of leaving the country in which they were raised after “aging out” of qualifying for lawful status under their parents’ visas. Thousands have already aged out and have been able to stay under temporary visas or have voluntarily left the country.

Now, after years of advocacy, the so-called documented Dreamers have caught the attention of Congress. They’re among the few immigrant groups to receive support of both Republicans and Democrats at a time when immigration policy has become so contentious that nearly any attempt at reform is unlikely to succeed.

The hawk who keeps pigeons away from Wimbledon

Every morning, from 5 to 9, before thousands of spectators enter and play gets underway at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in Wimbledon, Rufus the beloved Harris’ hawk, flies over the world’s most manicured tennis courts and keeps the pesky nuisance birds away.

The 15,000-seat Centre Court venue, with its network of beams lining the ceiling and all the grass seed a bird could want, would be “pigeon heaven,” said Wayne Davis, who handles Rufus. And, in fact, pigeons were a minor distraction for decades.

Across the U.K. and the world, people have used many other methods, most of them more modern, to scare off pigeons. Davis prefers the tried-and-true way developed over centuries

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Four people, two of them in masks, jog along a city sidewalk past the front of a small house.
A big loss for a local nonprofit: Members of the Bell High School chapter of Students Run L.A. work out. The chapter says 500 pairs of shoes intended for students who can’t afford them were stolen.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

A campaign to recall Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón has submitted thousands of signatures. What happens now? It remains to be seen whether the referendum on Gascón will qualify for the ballot. And, if it does, the campaign then faces a much tougher challenge: Convincing more than 50% of voters in a recall race that Gascón should go.

Eric Holder Jr. has been found guilty of murdering Nipsey Hussle. Hussle, a fast-rising rap artist and himself an avowed member of the Rollin 60s gang, was signing autographs for fans on March 31, 2019, in the Crenshaw neighborhood when Holder shot and killed him in an incident captured on camera.

A 9-year-old boy has died of injuries suffered in an East Bay Amtrak collision that killed three others. A commuter train collided with the family’s Honda sedan on June 26, killing three women, who died at the scene, and injuring two others.

Thousands are still without power as the Electra fire tops 4,000 acres. The Electra fire, which remains one of the largest fires this season, ignited Monday afternoon near the North Fork of the Mokelumne River and spread quickly amid dry brush and steep terrain, according to Cal Fire officials.

Potsie for mayor? ‘Happy Days’ alum Anson Williams is running for office in Ojai. The 72-year-old joins the likes of other entertainers with late-career political ambitions, including singer turned Palm Springs mayor Sonny Bono, filmmaker and former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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NATION-WORLD

A new report details the missed chances to stop the Uvalde shooting. A police officer with a rifle watched the gunman in the elementary school massacre walk toward the campus but did not fire while waiting for permission from a supervisor to shoot, according to the review. Some of the 21 victims, including 19 children, possibly “could have been saved” on May 24 had they received medical attention sooner while police waited more than an hour before breaching the fourth-grade classroom.

Police say the Highland Park, Ill., parade shooting suspect contemplated a second massacre. The man charged with killing seven people at an Independence Day parade confessed to police that he fled after the shooting to the Madison, Wis., area, where he contemplated shooting up another event there.

Britain’s Boris Johnson resigns after months of scandals and criticism. Johnson announced his resignation Thursday amid a mass revolt by top members of his government, marking an end to three tumultuous years in power in which he brazenly bent and sometimes broke the rules of British politics. Johnson stepped down immediately as Conservative Party leader but said he would remain in office as prime minister until the party chooses his successor.

U.S. and U.K. leaders raised fresh alarms about Chinese espionage. The head of the FBI and the leader of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency raised alarms in a speech at MI5’s London headquarters about the Chinese government, warning business leaders that Beijing is determined to steal their technology for competitive gain.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

How a Marvel musical parody gave Aidan Park the role of a lifetime: an Asian superhero leading man. The Lyric Hyperion’s “The Streaming-Verse of Madness: An Unauthorized Musical Parody,” premiering tonight, means so much to the stand-up comic — not only because he loves musical theater, but also because it shows a shift toward inclusion in the industry.

Blizzard’s new boss wants to have fun with games. But first, his company is in a crisis. Blizzard Entertainment has been singled out as a symbol of the male-dominated gaming community’s worst impulses. Making games is time-consuming, costly and difficult. But changing a culture? Perhaps that’s a near-impossible task.

‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison in a child-pornography case. Harris, 22, of suburban Naperville, Ill., pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count each of receiving child pornography and traveling with the intention to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

The Academy Museum appoints Jacqueline Stewart to lead as the new director and president. Stewart is a leading film historian, scholar and archivist who taught American film history at the University of Chicago, with a specialty in African American cinema, as well as the first Black host of Turner Classic Movies’ “Silent Sunday Nights,” which spotlights silent films.

BUSINESS

U.S. gasoline market is showing signs of cooling off. Retail prices have now fallen for 21 consecutive days, the longest losing streak since April 2020.

The FDA temporarily suspended its order banning Juul cigarettes. The agency issued an administrative stay on the order it issued last month for vaping company Juul to pull its electronic cigarettes from the market. The stay temporarily suspends the ban while the FDA conducts further review but does not rescind it.

How the pandemic has changed employers’ recession strategy. Given how tight the labor market remains, do employers dare let go of the workers they’ve fought so hard to attract — especially if a recession turns out to be relatively mild, as many economists expect? For many business owners, the answer is no.

OPINION

Free Brittney Griner. The astounding gender pay gap among professional basketball players has led many WNBA players to play two seasons — one at home and another abroad, where they can make more. Russian teams reportedly pay WNBA players more than $1 million a year. This brings us to Griner. We don’t know if the WNBA star brought contraband into Russia or if she’s being framed by an adversarial government with an unjust legal system. At this point, it really doesn’t matter. She must be freed.

It’s emotionally draining to live in America right now. Columnist Robin Abcarian writes: “On Monday, when I saw reports of the horror that rained down on Americans lining the sidewalks of Highland Park, Ill., to watch their hometown Independence Day parade, I felt a kind of spiritual numbness that I have rarely known.”

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SPORTS

Injured Rafael Nadal advances to the Wimbledon semis with a grueling win over Taylor Fritz. If he can play, he will be the overwhelming crowd favorite. He’s scheduled to face the undeniably talented, and undeniably volatile, Nick Kyrgios.

The U.S. is working to bring Brittney Griner home, Biden tells detained WNBA star’s wife. Biden offered his support to the family and committed to making sure they receive “all possible assistance” while the administration pursues steps to win Griner’s release, the White House said.

What is the Commissioner’s Cup? How Sue Bird contributed to the new WNBA event. For Bird, the growth of the new event is just another contribution to her long list of game-changing achievements. The 41-year-old’s on-court accolades are nearly unmatched.

ONLY IN L.A.

Dishes of food from Herbal Chef cannabis dinner
(Photos by Michelle Groskopf / For The Times)

Inside L.A.'s fanciest weed dinners. What’s it like to sit down to a $295-per-person, 10-course, fine-dining, weed-infused dinner? We didn’t know either. That’s how The Times’ Stephanie Breijo and Adam Tschorn found themselves at Chris “the Herbal Chef” Sayegh’s members-only Secret Supper Club and embarking on a globetrotting, time-traveling, history-inspired, horizon-expanding journey neither will soon forget — although they can’t recall it with a whole lot of clarity either.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In the dark and haze two men in uniform stand between an oversized chunk of plane and leaping flames.
July 7, 1946: Firefighters view damage from the crash of a plane flown by Howard Hughes. Flames spurt from a gas-main break in what had been a home’s kitchen. At right is a tail section of the plane.
(Los Angeles Times)

Seventy-six years ago today, on July 7, 1946, Howard Hughes was nearly killed in the spectacular crash of a plane he was test-piloting. The Times’ headline the following morning read, “Howard Hughes Near Death After Plane Hits Four Houses.”

Heading over Beverly Hills in the Army’s XF-11 photo reconnaissance plane, he was aiming to crash-land at the Los Angeles Country Club but came up short. A 2004 story in The Times recounted: “The landing gear and right wing smashed through the roof of dentist Jules Zimmerman’s home. No one was hurt, and the plane kept going. A wing sliced through the upstairs bedroom of the house next door, narrowly missing the owners: actress Rosemary DeCamp and her husband, Superior Court Judge John A. Shidler. The plane demolished the DeCamp-Shidler garage, mowed down a row of trees and crashed through the rear wall of another home before exploding into flames. One of the engines, which had been thrown 60 feet, hit the corner of a house owned by Swedish industrialist Gosta B. Guston, then embedded itself in the frontyard. The Gustons’ Pomeranian, Tido, was hurt by flying debris.” The plane burst a gas line, and the Fire Department arrived just as a gas main exploded in the home of Lt. Col. Charles A. Meyer. The house was destroyed.

Hughes suffered second- and third-degree burns over most of his body. The July 8, 1946, Times report said a doctor had given Hughes a 50-50 chance of survival: “Hughes was reported to have been conscious upon arrival at the hospital and to have almost laconically remarked, ‘I’m Howard Hughes.’” Later, the Army blamed the billionaire aviator-moviemaker-businessman for the crash. An official report said that, although the craft had propeller trouble, Hughes had overloaded the fuel tanks and remained in the air almost an hour longer than the Army’s time limit.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.


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