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Why GIS Mapping may be the Next Game Changer in Marijuana Regulation

Denver active cannabis license map
Denver shows how Esri GIS and Accela’s licensing tools are accelerating cannabis license processing and transparency. For government, geography has an implicit connection to decision making. Geography directs how we navigate our streets, determines food choices, influences home prices, employment options, utilities and even the access we have to quality health care. With so much riding on location, maps have become a staple of government as agencies hunt for quick insights and competent solutions. Now, the public sector’s capacity for cartography is gaining new ground through the spread of legalized cannabis. There are 30 states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized medical marijuana, eight of these have approved it for recreational use and still more are considering legalization in some form. Mounting pressure to regulate the market has stirred the public sector to map cannabis distribution in same way it has leveraged mapping for transit planning, public safety, election boundaries and...
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Building Capacity Gadget by Gadget


  This article was originally published in the  June issue of the Journal of Environmental Health , a publication produced by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).  Editor’s Note:  A need exists within environmental health agencies to increase their capacity to perform in an environment of diminishing resources. With limited resources and increasing demands, we need to seek new approaches to the business of environmental health. Acutely aware of these challenges, NEHA has initiated a partnership with Accela called Building Capacity. Building Capacity is a joint effort to educate, reinforce, and build upon successes within the profession, using technology to improve efficiency and extend the impact of environmental health agencies. The Journal is pleased to publish this bi-monthly column from Accela that will provide readers with insight into the Building Capacity initiative, as well as be a conduit for fostering the capacity building of environmental health agencies across the country. The...
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Legalize it? Regulate it!

Legalize it? Regulate it!
We are entering a new era of innovation, disruption and change. The very “norms” of how we live, travel and use energy are changing. Some of these changes are technologically-driven; e.g. ride- and home-sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, or solar panels and their next generation, solar roofs. And some are cultural shifts—ten years ago we were telling kids not to talk to strangers online or get into unknown cars. Today, we casually hop into the car of a stranger we are connected to through an app and trust they will take us to our desired destination. Emerging responses While the sharing economy provides convenience and progress for many, it can also be quite challenging for government agencies to navigate. Across the country, the fight to determine how or if these changes will take permanent hold in our society continues to be waged. In fact, governments swing wildly on...
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Marijuana and the Sharing Economy: The Top Government Regulatory Challenges of 2017

Presidential politics has the tendency to drown out all other electoral storylines. If you're in need of proof, consider this: marijuana was legalized for either recreational or medical use in eight of nine states in which it was on the ballot, including the big one – California. Cannabis is now legal in some form in 28 out of 50 states, yet that headline has barely been discussed in the mainstream media. This is just one of several public policy issues that will challenge government officials in 2017. Another is the sharing economy. State and local government officials throughout the U.S. have been trying to figure out how to handle the rise of Airbnb and ridesharing services Lyft and Uber for some time. In San Francisco, Airbnb hosts are now required to register and pay fees to the city. But of the 7,000+ residents who rent out their homes, only a little...
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Seattle & King County Partners with Stanford to Standardize Inspection and Scoring Methods with Peer-Reviewed Inspections

Seattle & King County Partners with Stanford to Standardize Inspection and Scoring Methods with Peer-Reviewed Inspections
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I’m pleased to announce that our latest Building Capacity column can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Environmental Health. Written by our own Darryl Booth (SVP/GM of Accela Environmental Health), this column covers a project we’re exceptionally proud of as it comes from one of our own clients, Seattle & King County Environmental Health in Seattle, Washington. The Department knew that there was growing interest in publishing health scores from local restaurants. But when leadership began to investigate placarding methods, they identified variations in the data underlying existing scoring systems that they didn’t feel they could ignore. Luckily, Seattle & King County doesn’t lack for bright minds. Food and Facilities Section Manager Becky Elias contacted Daniel Ho, a preeminent scholar of government data disclosure and administrative law at Stanford Law School. Together, Ms. Elias and Mr. Ho set up a randomized controlled trial to assess the...
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Governing the Sharing Economy with Technology

Governing the Sharing Economy with Technology
What would happen if you and your family were living paycheck to paycheck and you lost your job tomorrow? For more than half of all Americans, this is an all too real fear as they have less than a thousand dollars in the bank and little to no financial cushion should a catastrophic life event occur. Whether out of necessity or a desire for greater financial freedom, one of the modern marvels of the headline-grabbing sharing economy is that it provides citizens immediate access to income if they need it, and flexible work arrangements that can fit into complex lives. That is, if the right technology is in place to help them quickly. Perhaps you have a spare room that could be posted for availability on Airbnb. Or a car you could drive for Lyft or Uber. I would venture to say that many Americans have been reassured knowing that...
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