The Geography of Cannabis: Does California’s dual licensing program (de)criminalize cannabis and drive unnecessary anthropogenic activity in remote rural environments?

August 29, 2023
by Chevon Holmes. When California voters (de)criminalized cannabis production, the state’s dual licensure requirement forced local jurisdictions to create permitting programs or uphold prohibition. Many Counties developed ersatz zoning ordinances to regulate cannabis activities and hired staff to administer local permits. As an inspector, administrator, and project planner for Mendocino County from 2017-2021, I visited hundreds of cultivation sites and production facilities where I learned first-hand how two legal pathways impacted the ways in which operators could transition their businesses. This post details a dataset created to track, aggregate, and analyze the relationship between cannabis infrastructure and licensing.

Melike Sümertaş

Data Science Fellow

I hold a PhD in History from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul and B.A and M.A degrees from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Department of Architecture, and Program in Architectural History. My research focuses on the urban/architectural/visual culture of the late Ottoman Empire and its capital city Istanbul, with a particular interest in the Greek-Orthodox community. My current project in the History Department of UC Berkeley under the umbrella of the Istanpolis collaboration led by Prof. Christine Philliou, focuses on utilizing digital humanities tools for urban/...

Cheng Ren

Senior Data Science Fellow
School of Social Welfare

Cheng Ren is a D-Lab Senior Data Science Fellow and a Ph.D. student at the School of Social Welfare. His research interests are community engagement and assessment, nonprofit development, community database, computational social welfare, and data for social goods.

Aniket Kesari, Ph.D.

Former D-Lab Postdoc and Senior Data Science Fellow
Berkeley Law

Aniket Kesari was a postdoc and data science fellow at D-Lab. He is currently a research fellow at NYU’s Information Law Institute, and will join the faculty of Fordham Law School in 2023. His research focuses on law and data science, with particular interests in privacy, cybersecurity, and consumer protection.

Featured D-Lab Blog Post: Introducing “A Three-Step Guide to Training Computational Social Science Ph.D. Students for...

Michael Pearce, MA


Michael is passionate about cities, technology, and real estate. He has worked in commercial real estate for 10+ years, has a Masters in City Planning, and stared and ran a mapping startup.

Avery Richards

Senior Data Science Fellow
School of Public Health

Avery is an MPH graduate at the School of Public Health. With a background in literature and behavioral health, his current research focuses on innovations in applied epidemiology, including multidisciplinary approaches to health and social science data. Avery's general interests include public health surveillance, data quality assurance, and geospatial analysis.

Katherine Wolf

Adjunct Fellow
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

Doctoral student in Rachel Morello-Frosch's laboratory in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management working at the intersection of environmental epidemiology, environmental justice, and causal inference. Particularly interested in developing quantitative methods to investigate the operation of social power in environmental monitoring regimes in the United States.

Big datasets, small code chunks, and why I use Google Earth Engine

December 17, 2021

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of an analysis when suddenly, out of nowhere, it happens. That tiny, dreaded pinwheel appears indicating an error has occurred. Yes, that's right, they call it the spinning wheel of death. Your application freezes. Everything fades. Did it save?! You clutch your stress ball, watching helplessly as your computer approaches molten temperatures and begins to sputter uncanny, otherworldly sounds. WHIRRRRRRR. Your fate seems to rest on that...

Adding Basemaps In Python With Contextily

October 8, 2020

If you work with geospatial data in Python, you most likely are familiar with the fantastic GeoPandas library. GeoPandas leverages the power of Maplotlib to enable users to make maps of their data. However, until recently, it has not been easy to add basemaps to these maps. Basemaps are the contextual map data, like Google Maps, on top of which geospatial data are often displayed.

The new Python library...

Data and Tools for Mapping COVID-19

April 28, 2020

Since the early days of the COVID-19 crisis (the past few months!), the spatial and temporal enormity of the situation has been tellingly conveyed in mapped data visualizations. The most compelling maps, in my opinion, have been those created by the New York Times ….