Obesity Rates Fall for Many Young Kids in Federal Nutrition Program

THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2019 — Forty-one states and territories have seen drops in obesity rates among young children enrolled in a U.S. nutrition program, a new study shows.

“Improvements in national, state and caregiver guidance around nutrition and physical activity may be contributing to this decline in childhood obesity,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are moving in the right direction, and helping parents make healthy choices for their children is reducing the potential for complications posed by childhood obesity later in life,” he added in a CDC news release.

In the study, U.S. federal government researchers analyzed obesity trends from 2010 to 2016 among more than 12.4 million children, aged 2 to 4, in low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC helps provide supplemental foods and nutrition education.

In 2009, WIC state agencies started providing food packages more in line with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This led to increased availability of healthier foods and beverages for WIC enrollees.

Between 2010 and 2016, obesity rates fell by more than 3% in seven WIC states and territories (New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, Virginia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico).

However, three states had increases in obesity: Alabama (0.5%), North Carolina (0.6%), and West Virginia (2.2%).

The study appears in the Nov. 21 issue of the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A previous study found that 34 of 56 WIC state/territory agencies had decreases in obesity rates between 2010 and 2014.

Currently, the WIC program also helps establish successful long-term breastfeeding, provides participants with a wider variety of foods, and offers WIC state agencies flexibility in food packages for participants with cultural food preferences.

Despite these declines in obesity among children enrolled in WIC, rates remained high in most states in 2016.

“While we have seen some progress, obesity prevalence among young children remains too high,” said Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

“We must persist in our efforts to support healthy eating and physical activity for this positive trend to continue,” Petersen said in the release.

More information

Advice on preventing childhood obesity can be found at healthfinder.gov.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Colorado’s Hemp Program Must Change to Fit USDA Rules

Most hemp farmers across the country got a big boost when the United States Department of Agriculture released its first round of industrial hemp regulations earlier this week; the new rules took effect today, October 31.

“I applaud the USDA for moving forward on hemp rulemaking and recognizing hemp production as an agricultural activity,” Senator Cory Gardner said in a statement after the regulations were announced. “Legalized hemp has the potential to be a major boon to agricultural communities across Colorado, giving farmers another viable and profitable option for their fields.”

But for farmers in states like Colorado, where hemp has been an established crop for almost five years, the new rules might not seem so progressive.

The language of last year’s Farm Bill, the measure that legalized hemp, permits states to submit plans for their own hemp regulations, follow the USDA’s regulations, or ban hemp production altogether. While the Colorado Department of Agriculture has indicated that it will submit a new hemp plan to the USDA in 2020, the state ag department had already implemented its own plan long before hemp was legalized federally late last year, and under that plan, Colorado became of the largest hemp-producing states in the country.

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Shawn Hauser, a hemp attorney with Vicente Sederberg, says that Colorado will have to alter some of its hemp regulations to align more closely with the USDA regulations, and that could mean tighter rules for this state’s farmers. Under the new, USDA-approved regulations, Colorado hemp farmers are likely to face stricter testing requirements for THC levels, she says, and have less opportunity to mitigate hot hemp, or plants that test above the federal government’s maximum allowable level of THC (0.3 percent) in industrial hemp.

“The way the federal regulations are set up, they’re going to affect every state significantly. Testing and sampling, specifically, are different from what most states have in practice,” Hauser explains. “Federal rules are pretty strict with requiring hot hemp to be destroyed by a DEA agent. There is no opportunity for remediation or correction.”

The new FDA rules do allow a “measurement of uncertainty” for farmers, which could let plants reach as high as 0.5 percent THC and still be considered acceptable by the USDA. However, industry supporters and farmers alike have been pushing for a 1 percent THC limit for some time.

Colorado farmers are currently given a couple of weeks to lower plants’ THC levels if they test too high, but hemp’s legalization and close connection to marijuana has spurred concerns of increased black market marijuana activity among law enforcement in certain states. Hauser suggests that states like Colorado and Oregon — both of which have legal and established marijuana industries — are better prepared to deal with such concerns, but she adds that more evolved markets are better prepared to roll with federal changes, too.

“Colorado and other states, because they’re mature and have gone through these trials, kind of understand there is a need for remediation,” she adds. “But because Colorado has one of the most mature industries, some of the hemp markets have anticipated these changes.”

Federal hemp regulations that mandate 100 percent of hemp harvests to undergo THC testing would likely require more CDA staff, Hauser says, as this state’s agriculture department only has enough bandwidth to test about 25 percent of hemp crops right now. Further, the USDA rules call for such testing to take place at labs certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration — and there aren’t many.

And if hemp farmers lose their crops because of high THC levels, there’s little that could help them in the form of insurance, as the new federal crop insurance program for hemp isn’t likely to cover high THC levels, according to industry representatives.

Although the USDA rules are officially implemented today, the rules are only for the interim and will be replaced in two years; states have a year to either comply or send in their respective proposals for hemp regulations. The CDA’s Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP), a committee created by Governor Jared Polis to advance hemp policy in Colorado, will send the state’s hemp proposal to the USDA within the next few months in hopes of fully complying with the USDA by the 2020 farming season, according to Hauser.

“There are some areas for improvement, especially around testing, disposal and sampling,” Hauser says. “There is a public comment period — it’s incredibly significant for legalized hemp farmers — so it’s more important than ever to engage with the industry.”

One of Colorado’s largest hemp brands doesn’t see the USDA’s changes as a hindrance, welcoming the long-awaited federal guidance. According to Derek Thomas, vice president of business development for Veritas Farms, the USDA’s regulations will usher in a more defined and legal marketplace nationwide, which in turn will help Colorado’s hemp industry grow.

“Inside of the Colorado ecosystem, not much is going to change. Colorado has had a very robust legislative framework from the onset, and a lot of states have replicated that model,” he says. “Not a lot in Colorado will change too much. However, outside of Colorado, things like interstate commerce will see a lot less restriction from the federal government.”

With the USDA nearing completion of its hemp regulations, Thomas says the next domino that must fall is held by the Food and Drug Administration, the federal body responsible for regulating products with CBD and other cannabinoids derived from hemp. Currently, the FDA views CBD as an illegal ingredient for products meant for human and animal consumption, but admits that the agency lacks resources to enforce the policy as the largely unregulated CBD industry booms.

Veritas has deals with national drugstore chains to sell its CBD-infused lotions and topicals (products that are legal under FDA standards), but Thomas says that finding national carriers to sell its CBD tinctures and edibles is much harder in the current landscape.

“The big piece that is lingering now from the federal government is the FDA,” he says. “Most national chains are sticking to the wait-and-see model for guidance form the FDA, but we’ve seen a lot of regional retailers take interest in CBD ingestibles as we wait.”

Toke of the Town

CSU Launches Texting Program to Counsel Cannabis Use Disorder

Some cannabis users consider addiction to the plant to be a myth, but researchers at Colorado State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, disagree. The two universities are now working together to deliver a texting-based counseling program for young adults with cannabis use disorder.

The new program, reserved for adults ages eighteen to 25, is funded by a $ 3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the study will last for six months and enroll 1,000 young adults from Colorado and Tennessee. Participants will first fill out a questionnaire about how often they use cannabis, and if they’ve ever wanted to stop or lessen cannabis use.

“The main question we’re looking at is how does this text-based study work in comparison to what students may typically access on a college campus through counseling,” explains Dr. Doug Coatsworth, the study’s lead researcher at CSU. “Texting has become a part of our lives today, especially with young adults, and a program that allows them to use something they’re comfortable with may help them with treating cannabis use disorder.”

The text messages will be tailored to each individual participant, reminding them of where they’re most likely to use while also asking about their cravings and stress levels. If participants report a higher level of stress or a heavier rate of cannabis consumption, the text messages will then change to a more serious tone about the participant’s pot use.

Marijuana Deals Near You

“This particular counseling program is unique in that it activates their motivation and targets where they hang out with their peers,” says Dr. Michael Mason, a researcher at the University of Tennessee. “It gets them to think about who they hang out with, think about spending time with their friends in non-smoking environments, and look for improvements over time beyond just reducing their level of consumption. It also looks at improving factors such as their grades or relationships.”

But what exactly is cannabis use disorder? According to Dr. Amber McGregor at substance abuse center 1st Priority Institute for Better Living in Denver, symptoms include social or interpersonal problems caused by cannabis abuse, such as failure to fulfill major obligations at work or school. Those suffering from cannabis use disorder find themselves using more cannabis over a period of time, she says, consuming cannabis in larger amounts than originally intended.

The THC level in cannabis today is different than it was twenty years ago, she adds, which can be one factor in developing the disorder. “The concentration of THC [in cannabis flower] was 2 to 3 percent twenty years ago, but has risen to around 20 percent today,” McGregor says. “Parents don’t really know much about it, and with the legal system and changing societal perception of weed, it’s hard for them to teach their kids about cannabis use and not abusing it.”

Individual therapy has been the number-one treatment of cannabis use disorder, according to McGregor, as being in a safe space for young adults to be heard and talk freely can help them understand why they use cannabis in the first place. However, she also supports other avenues, such as CSU’s texting program, and believes it can be a stepping stone for young adults who are addicted to cannabis.

“If they’re volunteering to come in and address substance use, anything to help them with it is wonderful,” she says. “A text can bring the goal of stopping to the front of their minds.”

Coatsworth and Mason hope the texting program is effective enough to eventually become integrated into recovery strategies throughout the community. “The text-based strategy could be an alternative one that counseling centers could offer,” Coatsworth says. “It might help those who could be nervous about seeing a therapist or don’t want to go that route.”

Mason adds that counseling via texting could also be more cost effective than in-person treatment, and hopes to make it available for anyone who wants to try it. “It’d be great to scale it up and get into places like universities and health-care systems,” he says. “That way, it can be made more available for people who want it.”

Enrollment for the study at CSU will start during the 2020 spring semester for anyone ages 18 to 25 in the Fort Collins area. Participants under the age of 21 will not be prosecuted by law enforcement, nor will participants in Tennessee, where cannabis is illegal.

Toke of the Town

GLAS Brings ANIMATION NEXT Shorts Program to US Theaters

GLAS Animation continues its mission to showcase the newest groundbreaking independent animation, with the announcement of a new theatrical venture: ANIMATION NEXT. The program will present a collection of animated short films to theater-goers across the United States this fall.

The new initiative will smash together the best of the best from the annual GLAS Animation Festival in Berkeley, California. The first run will spotlight seven bold shorts from the newest generation of filmmakers redefining what is possible in animation. With this prismatic visual journey, GLAS hopes to create a context and language for a shared understanding and appreciation of animation.

ANIMATION NEXT 2019 line-up:

I’m Going out for Cigarettes by Osman Cerfon
Bloeistraat 11 by Nienke Deutz
Fest by Nikita Diakur
The Night of the Plastic Bags by Gabriel Harel
Slug Life by Sophie Koko Gate
Clemence’s Afternoon by Lénaig Le Moigne
Acid Rain by Tomek Popakul

Stay tuned for venue information, find out more or inquire about bookings at www.glasanimation.com/animation-next.

Animation Magazine

What Maureen West Learned From Running the Nation’s Leading Hemp Program

As with many emerging industries, getting ahead in the industrial-hemp industry often involves hiring the people who created the original regulations. In legal marijuana, for example, everyone from former state legislators to past Marijuana Enforcement Division officials have moved to the business side, helping companies and clients stay on top of Colorado’s strict cannabis laws.

One of the largest moves from government to the hemp industry (so far, at least) came last month, when Maureen West jumped from managing the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Program to take a job as compliance officer for hemp-oil company Functional Remedies.

As head of the CDA’s hemp program from 2016 to 2019, West witnessed the recent hemp and CBD booms in Colorado and had to deal with such issues as hot hemp with too much THC and lack of guidance from the Food and Drug Administration. Those challenges didn’t prevent Colorado from leading the nation in hemp farming acreage during that span, however.

We recently caught up with West to learn more about the future of the plant now that it’s legal at the federal level.

Westword: How would you compare Colorado’s hemp industry and regulations with those of other states? I hear some are relatively friendly, like Oregon, while others, like South Dakota, aren’t so much.

Maureen West: Over the course of my career as the head of the CDA Industrial Hemp Program, we built one of the most robust state-level industrial-hemp programs in the country. We worked closely with farmers across the state and listened to their needs and concerns. Hemp could be the next big cash crop that saves small farmers across America, and we are proving that to be true right here in Colorado at Functional Remedies.

What have you learned about hemp since you started at the CDA, and how did that help you with your new job?

Marijuana Deals Near You

Hemp has been a product in America’s history since the founding fathers; George Washington famously grew hemp. But today’s hemp landscape, because of stigma and prohibition, is confusing without clear guidelines at the state and federal levels. The work we did at the CDA was to put those guidelines in place to not only help legitimate businesses bring good jobs to Colorado, but also to protect consumers from products that they shouldn’t be ingesting. We did this all when there was no real blueprint. So my role will be to help Functional Remedies navigate, influence and stay within those guidelines, even as they are being created.

What challenges are hemp farmers and product makers facing today that the public might not know about?

One of the biggest challenges right now is that we aren’t getting any clear guidance from the FDA. This is leaving a huge gap for illegitimate companies to compete with legitimate companies, all while consumers lose trust with hemp or CBD products. The saying goes, ‘A bad apple spoils the bunch.’ With tighter regulations, it’s much easier to find and toss those bad apples.

Is the 0.3 THC limit a looming problem for hemp farmers as it becomes legal nationwide?

The 0.3 percent THC limit has already presented problems for companies shipping hemp across state borders. The hemp industry doesn’t have standard testing protocols across the United States. In part, we need the FDA or Congress to help set those standards. Another solution would be to allow an acceptable range. Plants are plants; the top of the plant can test differently than the bottom, and two plants of the same strain could test differently.

How ethical do you think the CBD industry really is? We hear a lot of snake-oil stories, but a lot of companies are operating in unregulated markets.

The problem is that we don’t have any real consistent regulations across the board, and many people and companies are happy to jump on what they see is a trend or act within that gray area. This is why it’s so incredibly important that we put them in place to protect consumers and help legitimate businesses thrive.

How far behind is America’s hemp industry from Europe’s or Canada’s?

America is just starting to overcome the decades of stigma against hemp because of its ties with cannabis. However, we are moving incredibly quickly as we see states enacting their own hemp laws across the U.S. The faster we can build this momentum and gain additional clarity from the FDA and Congress, the faster we can create a globally competitive hemp industry.

Toke of the Town

Annecy Selects 80 Short Films in First Program Announcement

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has issued its first round of official selections, with 80 shorts picked out from more than 3,000 films from 86 countries. The best represented nations were the U.S., France and the U.K.

The Official Competition films are split into 40 for the Short Film Competition, eight in the Off-Limits category, 23 in the Perspectives category, and nine for Young Audiences. The festival has achieved its second-highest proportion of films directed or co-directed by women this year, at 45% — the festival and MIFA market pledged last year to achieve gender parity. Also noteworthy, the 2019 selections include 15 films from Asia, which is an all-time high for Annecy.

“The exceptionally high standard is reflected in the Short Films selection 2019. An international competition where everyone rubs shoulders, Annecy Cristal Award winners (Regina Pessoa, Dahee Jeong, Franck Dion), with award-winning filmmakers, who were just students (Wiep Teeuwisse, Nadja Andrasev, Jenny Jokela and Michael Frei), competition regulars (Xi Chen, Chintis Lundgren, Jean-Claude Rozec, Donato Sansone and Mirai Mizue) and genuine discoveries that we can’t wait to show you (Valerie Barnhart, Canadian; Di Liu, Chinese; Pedro Casavecchia, Argentinian; Aria Covamonas, Mexican and Nykyta Lyskov, Ukrainian),” said Annecy artistic director Marcel Jean.

View the complete Short Films in Competition selections here.

The Graduation Films and TV and Commissioned Films official selections will be revealed at the end of March. Feature Films in competition will be announced during the press conference on April 15, along with the VR Works.

The official selection for the Festival is carried out by Artistic Director Marcel Jean and the Films & Programming team: Laurent Million, Yves Nougarède and Sébastien Sperer, accompanied by Peggy Zejgman-Lecarme, director of Cinémathèque de Grenoble.

Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild Wolves

Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild Wolves

Tio Tomas

Tio Tomas

The Dawn of Ape

The Dawn of Ape

Hideouser and Hideouser

Hideouser and Hideouser

Animation Magazine

Louise Maloney Appointed MIlkshake! Acquisitions & Program Manager

Channel 5’s preschool programming block Milkshake! (U.K.) has hired on Louise Maloney as Acquisitions and Program Manager. In her new role, she will oversee all aspects of program acquisitions and commissions, from the proposal stage through to channel delivery and transmission, ensuring the creative quality of Milkshake!’s content. She will report to Louise Bucknole, VP Programming Kids, Viacom International Media Networks U.K.

Maloney joins Milkshake! from Coolabi Group, where as a Production and Development Manager she worked on a range of projects, including Scream Street for CBBC, BAFTA-winning CBeebies series Clangers and the internationally successful Nick Jr., Milkshake! and Sprout co-production Poppy Cat.

“Louise is passionate and creative when it comes to British preschool content and has some fantastic credits to her name. I’m delighted to welcome her to the team,” Bucknole commented. “She’ll play an instrumental role in managing the best in class British preschool content that will continue to drive Milkshake! as the number one breakfast block and brand.”

Milkshake! is home to some of the world’s favorite preschool titles, with series including Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Shane the Chef, Floogals, Digby Dragon, Wissper, Fireman Sam, Thomas and Friends, Little Princess, Nella the Princess Knight, Noddy: Toyland Detective and PAW Patrol. In 2018, Milkshake! achieved its highest ever year among kids 4-15, with SOV up 8% YOY. It drove Channel 5 to rank as the #1 commercial TV channel for kids 4-15 in its day part and during weekends, Channel 5 was the #1 commercial channel among Adults 16-34 during the Milkshake! day part, ahead of both ITV and Channel 4.

Animation Magazine

Pixar Launches In-House Indies Program SparkShorts

Pixar Animation Studios has brought its “Experimental Storytelling Initiative” into the limelight with the official reveal of SparkShorts — an intriguing spin on in-house short film production which grants artists of diverse backgrounds from across the studio’s departments a bit of money, a bit of time, and the necessary support to bring their unique vision to the screen.

Per Pixar’s Twitter, fans will get a chance to see the first fruits of this program with an exclusive one-week run of the first three shorts — Purl, Smash and Grab and Kitbull — at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood starting Friday, January 18. The shorts will screen alongside the new live-action The Little Mermaid.

The shorts will also roll out on YouTube next month: Purl Feb. 4 (YouTube), Smash and Grab Feb. 11 (YouTube & YouTube Kids), and Kitbull Feb. 18 (YouTube & YouTube Kids).

In the launch announcement video posted to the Disney-Pixar YouTube Channel, participating artists and studio leadership (including SparkShorts Production Lead David Lally, Pixar President Jim Morris and VP Development & New Media Lindsey Collins) shared the initiative’s mission in their own words, and offered some preview peaks at upcoming films.

Upcoming SparkShorts include:

Float. A father discovers that his son floats, which makes him different from other kids. To keep them both safe from the judgement of the world, Dad hides, covers, and grounds him. But when his son’s ability becomes public, Dad must decide whether to run and hide or to accept his son as he is. Writer/director: Bobby Rubio.

Kitbull. An unlikely connection sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time. Writer/director: Rosana Sullivan.

Purl. An earnest ball of yarn named Purl gets a job at a fast-paced, high energy, male centric start-up. Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close knit group. Purl must ask herself how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for and in the end is it worth it? Writer/director: Kristen Lester.

Loop. A non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy are partnered on a canoeing trip. To complete their journey across an urban lake, they must both learn how the other experiences the world. Writer/director: Erica Milsom.

Wind. Wind is a magical realism story about a Grandma and a Grandson trapped in a massive, never ending sinkhole, living on a large boulder suspended by strong winds. Together they scavenge falling debris to build an escape, hoping to find a better life in the outside world. Writer/director: Edwin Chang.

Smash and Grab. After years of toiling away inside the engine room of a towering locomotive, two antiquated robots will risk everything for freedom and for each other. Writer/director: Brian Larsen.

[Source: PixarPost]



Smash and Grab

Smash and Grab







Animation Magazine

Denver’s “Turn Over a New Leaf” Program Ready to Clear Pot Convictions

The City of Denver’s marijuana conviction expungement program is online and ready to roll, according to the mayor’s office as well as the district and city attorneys, who collectively announced the news today, January 9.

Dubbed “Turn Over a New Leaf,” the campaign took a year and multiple city departments to implement and aims to dismiss and expunge thousands of convictions for marijuana crimes that are no longer illegal as of 2012, when Coloradans approved recreational marijuana.

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Although there are rumors that the state legislature could pass a bill this year that would automatically vacate low-level marijuana offenses, people with low-level pot convictions can currently only clear their records by filing individual motions for each case. According to the city’s announcement, this program wants to streamline that process with a website to guide people through the appropriate steps toward expungement.

There will also be four clinics through February and March for in-person help. After providing government-issued ID, expungement applicants will meet with a representative from the Denver District Attorney’s Office or the Denver City Attorney’s Office (depending on the jurisdiction in which the conviction happened), who will review their case.

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“We have been working now for over five years to implement recreational marijuana, and as we’ve been communicating with mayors across the nation, this was one of the things that needed to happen in order to level the playing field,” Hancock says. “We recognized together that it was time to move forward.”

In further efforts to help those impacted by the long-running War on Drugs, the mayor’s office is also looking at ways to use marijuana tax revenue to further support low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, as well as avenues to increase minority participation in the legal pot industry.

The mayor says his staff is still figuring out how to best tackle both issues, as Denver now has a limit on the amount of marijuana businesses allowed within city limits. “We’re looking at how we can to that. Denver has a cap in place for the number of permits issued,” he explains. “We’re looking at the number of opportunities we can work with.”

Enacting this program took more than just signing an order, Hancock says. On top of the City Attorney and DA, the county courts also had to be on board, as well as the judges who expunge such charges.

Denver DA Beth McCan says it took a number of meetings to work out details, such as applicant court fees, how courts should properly vacate charges, and even immigration issues, as some immigrants are worried about facing deportation by appearing in court. By clearing the path of legal obstacles, she hopes more people will start pursuing expungement — an avenue rarely considered by defendants.

“We have not had a lot of people contacting the office about this. We’ve had some who asked if we’d do a program like this, but we haven’t had a lot of folks trying to carry this out on their own,” she says. “We’re hoping that we can do this within two to three weeks. If [someone] meets the criteria, we’ll file a motion with the judge, and we’re hoping to have it vacated.”

According to the DA’s office, around 13,000 people could be eligible for expungement (previous reports estimated that number at 10,000), though far fewer are expected to actually apply. Denver county and city judges will ultimately decide on each case, with city and district attorneys representing the applicants.

Even with so many opportunities for expungement, marijuana attorney Warren Edson doesn’t see the city’s effort moving the needle much. Calling it a “step in the right direction,” Edson believes people who faced such marijuana charges in the past have either moved on with their lives because the charges were relatively small, or that the charges were part of a larger incident, such as domestic violence or driving under the influence.

“This only applies to charges that are now legal, so someone charged with growing twelve or less plants, someone charged with an ounce or less of recreational cannabis, and someone charged with 2 ounces or less of medical marijuana,” he says. “It’s a nice gesture, but it’s not going to really affect folks who were substantially charged.”

Unless they want to get in a fight with the state, McCann and the DA’s office can’t vacate charges that are still felonies in Colorado. However, she was open to the idea of expunging records in the future if further marijuana law reform occurs in areas such as public consumption or personal marijuana grows. McCann also pointed out that past marijuana crimes are still considered drug offenses in Colorado, so expunging a record could mean an opportunity to work in the state’s pot industry, which bans anyone with a drug felony within the past ten years.

Find more information on the upcoming expungement clinics below:

Saturday, February 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Denver Conflict Center
4140 Tejon Street

Sunday, February 24, 1 to 5 p.m.
Denver Park Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church
3385 Albion Street

Wednesday, March 6, 5 to 8 p.m.
Servicios de La Raza
3131 West 14th Avenue

Thursday, March 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cultivated Synergy
2901 Walnut Street

Update: This post was updated at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, January 9, to include interviews from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, District Attorney Beth McCann and attorney Warren Edson.

Toke of the Town

Tshimologong, Animation SA & AFD Launch Short Script Contest, Intern Program

Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), in partnership with Animation South Africa, have announced the launch of a short film competition aimed at improving the development of animated films, and announced the 2019 Digital Content Hub intern skills development program.

Professional script writers are invited to submit scripts which are no more than five minutes’ duration and authentically African with global appeal, while interested interns are encouraged to submit their CVs for a place in the development program. The winning script will have free visual development and storyboards done by the 2019 skills pipeline.

The selected short film scripts will have concept design and storyboarding developed and directed by art director Lesego Vorster, a former lecturer of The Animation School and Les Gobelins Masters graduate. Vorster will be assisted by Bokang Koatja and Jeani Varty — two industry specialists in concept design and storyboarding who are currently training at Les Gobelins, one of France’s leading Animation Schools. The curriculum for the internship is also being refined by experts from the same institution.

The digital skills development program, called the “Skills Pipeline,” is a seven-month paid internship for 20 candidates. Aimed at unemployed BEE graduates and talented artists in concept design and storyboarding, it offers experiential learning in visual development and storyboarding focused on animation. The internship runs from January to August 30, 2019.

“This is an exciting internship, competition and transformation initiative. It will focus on concept design and Africanisation of imagery in animation and storyboarding. One of the major constraints of developing world-class digital content in South Africa, and elsewhere in Africa, is a shortage of people with specialised skills. This is exasperated by a very competitive and tough job market. We are hoping that this initiative will go a long way to assist both interns and the market in general,” says Isabelle Rorke, Chief Enabling Officer, Animation.

Eligible candidates for the competition are required to submit their complete short film script for animation by December 5, 2018, while CVs and portfolios for the internship must be sent by 5 p.m. on November 25 to [email protected]. Selected candidates will be contacted directly and sent details about the interview dates and venue.

Animation Magazine

DEA Scolded For Lax Marijuana Eradication Program Monitoring

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) got a slap on the wrist from a federal watchdog agency over its management of a multi-million-dollar marijuana eradication program. In a report released on Nov. 14, 2018, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the DEA had failed to adequately collect documentation from state and local law enforcement partners […]

TAAFI Industry 2018 Full Program Revealed

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International has unveiled the full program for TAAFI Industry 2018, to be held at Corus Quay in Toronto from November 2-4. This unique conference will host more than 50 animation industry professionals and over 22 sessions on prime time content, the evolution of character design, Canadian feature film production, stop-motion techniques, VFX behind the scenes, and much more.

Special events planned for this year include The Big Pitch, Pitch-a-Palooza and the Nelvana Bouncing Ball party. Passes are now available online at taafi.com/tickets

“We are absolutely thrilled about the state of the animation industry, today,” said Ben McEvoy, Executive Director and Co-Founder, TAAFI. “The conference reflects a plethora of animation industry veterans, leaders, and talent who have navigated changes in the industry. As well, these leaders have developed some of the best animated content for television, film and digital — especially within the Canadian landscape.”

Program highlights include…

The Next Generation (of Toronto Feature Films)
This is an in-depth, behind the scenes conversation with Joe Ksander and Kevin R. Adams, directors of the Netflix hit, Next Gen, one the year’s most exciting independent animated feature films, produced in Toronto. Speakers: Richard Chen, Art Director (Tangent Ent.); Kevin R. Adams, Writer & Director; Joe Ksander, Writer & Director.

A VIP Exclusive Fireside Chat with Dan Haskett
Exclusive to VIP passholders, veteran Disney animator and designer Dan Haskett will lead a fireside chat with a lively Q&A included. Growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Dan Haskett was exposed to a plethora of historic animated content on television.

New Realities
This program explores the mixed reality revolution as it introduces the creators who are pioneering storytelling in some of the most exciting new media formats of the past century, and discusses opportunities and challenges of creating animated content for these new realities. Program leads: Heather Phenix, Executive Producer at Jam3;

Dave Cardwell, Creative Director at SpinVFX and BrioVR.

Bone Mother: Behind the Scenes
This is an in-depth look into the five-year journey to make the National Film Board stop-motion film, Bone Mother. The filmmakers will discuss the process from adapting an existing story, developing new pipelines for 3D printing, and some of the tough lessons while making a film with a young family. Speakers: Sylvie Trouve, Director and Animator at See Creature Animation; Dale Hayward, Director and Animator at See Creature Animation.

Making Your Way in the World Today
This panel showcases industry professionals who have created their own businesses outside the usual production pipeline, and how they’re finding ways to survive and thrive as artists and creators. Speakers: Hector Herrera, Creative Director at Together Pictures + Words; Morghan Fortier, Co-Owner & CEO of Skyship Entertainment and Co-Owner & Executive Producer of Tinman Creative Studios; Joel MacKenzie, Creator and Animator.

A VIP Exclusive Fireside Chat with Jessica Borutski
Exclusive to VIP passholders. Many production artists want to eventually develop, produce and run a show, but don’t know how to get there. After many notable projects as an animator and designer, The Loud House supervising director Jessica Borutski has made the move to directing, developing and producing series for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

Founded in 2012, the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) is a not-for-profit arts organization whose mission is to make Toronto the premiere international destination for animated arts and entertainment. TAAFI hosts a film festival and a variety of recurring industry and public events throughout the year. Past TAAFI guests have included Eric Goldberg (Disney’s Aladdin), Natasha Allegri (Frederator’s Bee and PuppyCat) and Josh Cooley (Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out).



Bone Mother

Bone Mother

Next Gen

Next Gen

Animation Magazine

News Bytes: Fathom Backs Animation Is Film, TAAFI Program Revealed, Benjy Brooke Goes for ‘TTG’ Movie & More

Fathom Events to Sponsor 2nd Annual Animation Is Film Festival
“We chose to sponsor Animation Is Film because of their mission to showcase the best works of animation from around the world to their audiences. This aligns with Fathom’s history of bringing top animation titles to passionate fans via the cinema. Animation is an important and innately cinematic art form that deserves to shine – and we are always looking for ways to make the spotlight a little brighter,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt.

Animation Is Film will open with the U.S. premiere of Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai, which Fathom Events is bringing to select theaters nationwide Nov. 29, Dec. 5 & 6.

TAAFI Industry 2018 Full Program Revealed
Taking place in Toronto Nov. 2-4, the conference will feature more than 50 speakers (including Fred Seibert, Jennifer Oxley, Dan Haskett, and many more business bigwigs and admirable artists!) across 25 sessions, plus one big party!

Benjy Brooke Goes to the Movies with ‘Teen Titans Go!’
The Hornet director was tapped feature helmer Peter Rida Michail to design and animated a 2 min. Sequence for Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, giving him a chance to get into the mixed up mind of zealous young hero Robin. Powered by the sonce “My Super Hero Movie” by composer Jared Faber, the segment features a “dark and gritty,” Alex Toth/Glen Murakami/Frank Miller-influence Robin redesign by Brooke.

Marvel Animation Turns Gamora into a Princess & More in Special Presentaion
ICYMI at NYCC: Key creatives and cast members from Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest, Guardians of the Galaxy and more hit the Big Apple’s big pop culture confab last weekend, where Marvel Animation SVP Cort Lane and special guests offered up plenty of surprises for fans.

VR NOW Awards 2018 Nominees Announced
The 3rd int’l competition for virtual/mixed/augmented reality and 360 video will see 12 projects vie for awards in four categories, with the winners to be announced opening night of the VR NOW Con (Potsdam-Babelsberg, Nov. 14-15). No animated projects made the Cinematic VR Award nominations cut, but hey, there’s always next year!

‘Reigns: Game of Thrones’ Invades iOS, Android & PC
Nerial, Devolver Digital and HBO have released a new entry in the smash-hit swipe ‘em up series based on the award-winning GoT TV series, on the App Store, Google Play, and Steam for $ 3.99. Players can choose to rule as Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark and more while changing between each king and queen to face challenges and mysteries unique to their story. Melisandre’s flames have proven hard to decipher and less than reliable, so players may encounter stories they do not expect…

Check out the gameplay video and trailer below.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Animation Magazine

NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition

On Monday, September 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that adds acute pain management to the list of approved conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid use. This new law formalizes regulations the New York State Department of Health issued in July, which added opioid replacement and opioid use disorder to the list.

This is great news for patients! Access to medical marijuana is no longer limited to those suffering from chronic pain. This bill and regulations allow more patients who could benefit from medical marijuana a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive opioids.

Find more information on New York’s medical marijuana program, including the list of qualifying conditions and how to register, here.

The post NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition appeared first on MPP Blog.

MPP Blog