BIG WIN: Fontana personal cultivation ordinance eviscerated - celebrate at MAPP meet

 big_win.pngJudge guts Fontana personal cultivation ordinance thumbs-up-.jpg

Celebrate at MAPP meet

A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge has eviscerated an ordinance enacted by the city of Fontana that was so onerous and restrictive that it was effectively a defacto ban. In the two years it was in force, not one single resident applied for a permit to cultivate six plants indoors as permitted under Prop. 64.

attorney_pic-page-001.jpgA lawsuit filed on behalf of Fontana resident Michael Harris by the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU contended that the ordinance contradicts state law, sets unreasonable personal conduct and growing space restrictions and charges an arbitrarily high fee to obtain and renew a permit. With the ACLU and a team of lawyers from O’Melveny and Meyers, one of the largest and most respected law firms in California, representing Harris, the suit is the first legal test of how far a California city or county can go in restricting a residents’ right to grow six plants as permitted by Prop. 64.

info_logo-page-001.jpgThat the intent of the Fontana ordinance was to restrict rather than regulate was made clear in January when Fontana City Manager Ken Hunt told council members “It is our intent behind this that this ordinance is not a permissive regulation, it is a restrictive regulation, By adopting this, you are placing more restrictions on the personal growth of marijuana.”

Prop. 64 does give cities and counties authority to ban all marijuana businesses but they cannot ban personal indoor cultivation of six plants. They cannot limit or undo by restrictive regulations the legal right of adults to cultivate marijuana in their homes for their own personal use.

Of particular concern was that Fontana’s ordinance made it a misdemeanor to grow six plants at home without a permit., thereby criminalizing the very conduct that Prop. 64 had made legal.

radio_show_with_mike-page-001.jpgOn  Friday, October 26 Judge David Cohn released his ruling in which he agreed with the plaintiffs that the ordinance was too restrictive and was not "reasonable" as required by Prop. 64. Among the many provisions the judged tossed included the need to have a separate room for growing cannabis, paying for fingerprinting/background checks, having no felony convictions within the previous five years, having no outstanding payments due to the city, obtaining a landlord’s permission to grow as well as the permitting fee itself.

Elucidating on the portion of the ordinance requiring a separate room for growing marijuana, Judge Cohn pointed out that the requirement would restrict cultivation only to people wealthy enough to have a room in their homes that can be set aside specifically for growing.

21.jpgJudge Cohen admonished Jeff Dunn, the attorney for BB&K representing Fontana (who was also the same attorney in the lawsuit filed by Riverside against the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center  which resulted in the disastrous California Supreme Court decision that cities could ban medical marijuana dispensaries under their zoning ordinances) that the only restriction Prop. 64 put in place for the personal cultivation of marijuana was that the person had to be at least 21 years of age.

In his tentative ruling before the final ruling was released, Judge Cohn had stated that “What the city has done here with its ordinance is it has completely prohibited certain persons who are 21 years of age from possessing the six plants. The city has narrowed the population of who can do this.”

For Fontana to put in place any further restrictions on who could and could not grow, such as not allowing anyone who owed any money to Fontana or didn’t have a spare room to cultivate marijuana in, is impermissible and violates the intent of the voters when they passed Prop. 64.

Although Fontana could rewrite the ordinance in a way that it could be compliant with the Judge Cohn’s ruling, that is unlikely as that would require the city to write reasonable regulations that would allow Fontana residents to grow marijuana essentially free from any interference from the city.

fontana-mayor-acquanetta-warren.jpgFontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren acknowledged that the ordinance had been intentionally drawn up to make it as difficult as possible to grow marijuana as “This town has been a town of safety. And we’re trying with this initiative to make sure that we keep our residents safe — particularly our young people,”

mapp_meet-page-001-1.jpgFontana has ­­­­­60 days to file an appeal after the court enters its final judgement which should happen fairly soon. It is expected that Fontana will appeal all the way to the California  Supreme Court. Although it is hoped that this case will eventually serve as an example of what cities can and cannot do in regulating personal cultivation, the answer is at least one year away and maybe longer.

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Scary Marijuana Tales for Halloween + MAPP Meets

 

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Frightening Halloween tales of goblins, witches and vampires may send shivers down the spines of children, but pale in comparison to the fear of marijuana coursing through the minds of adults from the tales of savagery, debauchery and horror pedaled by U.S. government anti-drug warriors and their paid researchers.

ANSLNGER2FLIP.jpgIn the 1920s most Americans had no idea that the cannabis sold at their local corner drugstore was the demon weed “marijuana” that early prohibitionists like our first “drug czar” Henry Anslinger labeled as the “most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

Rising from the ashes of the Bureau of Prohibition, Anslinger was determined to make his Bureau of Narcotics a powerhouse police agency of munificent proportions. Newspapers and movie newsreels gave headline treatment to his frightening tales that “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its user’s insanity, criminality, and death” and that “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

Laguardia_report-page-001.jpgOpenly skeptical of Anslinger’s claims, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, commissioned a study in 1939 on “The Marijuana Problem in the City of New York.”

Known as the LaGuardia report, the study, which was undertaken by the New York Academy of Medicine and published in 1944, found that smoking marijuana did not lead to addiction or the use of harder drugs, did not cause violent, anti-social behavior or uncontrolled sexual urges and thatThe publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.”

kennedy_and_anslinger.jpgThe report was given little notice in the media. Anslinger’s lies about marijuana continued to flourish even after his retirement in 1962 evidenced by the Outstanding Record Citation bestowed on him by President John Kennedy.

maj_lung_damage_nida.jpgAlthough the government no longer peddles Anslinger’s murder, mayhem and insanity tales as the boogey-man of marijuana, it now peddles fake and faulty science. The most often sited scary health story that even some respectable medical researchers accept is that since smoking marijuana produces similar carcinogens as when tobacco is smoked, smoking marijuana causes lung cancer.

Believing the connection to be there and looking forward to the publication of the definitive scholarly paper connecting marijuana to lung cancer, the National Institute for Drug Abuse provided Dr. Donald Tashkin, a renowned pulmonologist and researcher at the UCLA School of Medicine, with so much money that he undertook one of the largest population based studies ever conducted on the relationship of marijuana to lung cancer.

tashkin_interview-page-001.jpgNot only did his research not find any connection between smoking marijuana and lung cancer, his paper was one of the first to present evidence that marijuana reduces the incidence of cancer. One of the groups in the study showed that the people who smoke marijuana had a lower incidence of lung cancer than people who did not smoke anything at all.

Another oft repeated your-gonna-die scare story is that smoking marijuana can lead to heart attacks. The government continues to peddle that tale even though the authors of the original study claiming a link to a slight increase in susceptibility to heart attacks repudiated the study. In a subsequent publication the authors wrote that the reported increase “did not reach nominal statistical significance” – i.e. there was no increase.

FAKE_NEWS-page-001.jpgA New Zealand study that claimed children who smoke marijuana had an 8 point lower IQ score than children who had not smoked marijuana is the nexus for the government’s “it-will-make-you-stupid” tale to scare parents and children stupid enough to fall for this line.  Except that a subsequent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported the original study was faulty as the fall in IQ is more likely correlated with socio-economic status than marijuana use.

reefer_madness_poster.jpgWhether it is for funding their own police agencies or to prevent a viable product from competing with the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, the Reefer-Madness crowd for over 80 years has spread tales of mayhem, murder, heart attacks and stupidity.

They have never been concerned with science, compassion or common sense. Just like the age-old Halloween stories of ghosts, gremlins and demons told to innocent and gullible children, they will continue fermenting scary tales of marijuana forewarning of tokes in the night and marijuana under the bed.

What's Happening, Why It's Happening plus Friends, Networking and Win a Genuine Silicone Pipe at

MAPP_Logo.jpgNOVEMBER MAPP MEETINGS

Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Saturday, November 3 at 12 noon - Riverside County passed its ordinance to allow marijuana businesses on Oct. 23. It is a complex ordinance but it is workable and might actually result in a lower county taxes/fees than anywhere else in California. If you have any desire to get into the marijuana business in Riverside County, here's the information you need. Meeting to take place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.

Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting - Saturday, November 3 at 3 p.m. - With 1/3 of California cities and counties now allowing cannabis businesses and with 82 cannabis-related ballot measures slated to go before voters in cities and counties around the state, why is so little happening in San Bernardino County. Join us for an analysis of the paralysis in SB County and let's see if we can figure out what can be done about it. Meeting takes place at the fabulous Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252. The meeting always ends at 4:20 and, if you would like to join in, everyone is welcome to dine with us after the meeting at Shaos Asian Buffet in Yucca Valley.

Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. - Will we be celebrating or will we be commiserating? With ballot measures to legalize recreational and medical marijuana in half-a-dozen states and the subject of marijuana a central issue in many elections, a review of the election results from November 6 will be undertaken with an analysis of what the election results portend for marijuana law reform. Meeting takes place at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley CA 92553.

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Riverside's STAR TREK MJ Ordinance + Voter Guides

 

bosstartresk4-page-001.jpgRiverside County to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Riverside County is about to take another big semi- step toward implementing regulations for cannabis businesses in its unincorporated areas with a hearing by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

open_for_cannabis_biz.pngEnacting the business provisions allowed for in Prop. 64, the 62 page ordinance covers everything from cultivation to sales with a complex licensing system, bureaucratic regulations and a financing program that is so byzantine that the County still has no idea what it will look like, how it will operate and what it will even do.

hoops.jpgIn many ways the ordinance is a boiler-plate repetition of the various licensing and regulation schemes already enacted in about a third of California’s counties and cities. Lots of hoops to jump through but not any more onerous than those found in most other ordinances.

One of the more controversial provisions is over where marijuana can be cultivated. Large rural areas that are designated rural residential and rural agricultural are being denied the right to commercially cultivate. A lot of people with large amounts of acreage feel this is wrong and negatively impacts their ability to earn a living and even more importantly the value of their land. This will be one of the sections that will be hotly contested at the October 23 BOS hearing.

As I have discussed in previous emails what makes the Riverside County cannabis ordinance different in a major way from ALL other cannabis business ordinances in California is it money-raising provisions. Rather than utilizing a license and tax system that is used by every other city and county currently allowing cannabis businesses, the Riverside County ordinance calls for a Developer’s Agreement.

female-pile-of-paperwork.jpgA Development Agreement requires Riverside County to make a separate agreement with each applicant for a marijuana license whether it is for cultivation, manufacture or distribution. There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter Development Agreement - a separate and unique agreement with each cultivator, manufacturer and retailer must be created.

Politicians love Developer Agreements as they impose a “community benefit fee” which is not considered a tax and does not need a vote of the people which would be required by Prop. 218 if it was a tax.

walk_talk_tax.jpgSince any kind of assessment based on sales is a tax, the multi-million dollar question then is how do you use a Developer Agreement to get money if you cannot impose a tax? If the “fee” looks like a tax, walks like a tax and smells like a tax then it is a tax and bypassing a vote by calling a tax a “community benefit fee” or any other name is forbidden by Prop. 218.

This is why there is not a single Developer Agreement model being used anywhere in California for any municipality that is licensing anything more than just a couple dispensaries. Stanislaus County is the only other county that is trying to use a Developer’s Agreement but after close to a year trying to make it work, the County still has no working model of what a “community benefit fee” will be or more importantly what the “base rate” (how much businesses will pay) will be.

Neither does Riverside County. What will happen on Tuesday, Oct. 23 is that if the BOS approves the ordinance then the County will begin a study to determine what the “community benefit fee” and “base rate” will be. This “community benefit fee” is no small appendage to the ordinance. It is the heart and soul of the ordinance and what the “community benefit fee” and “base rate” is and how it is implemented will be the major determinant if the ordinance succeeds or fails.

Palm Desert, a city of 48,000, will vote on a cannabis business tax on Nov. 6. It is estimated to take in about $5.5 million in taxes each year. Unincorporated Riverside County has a population of approximately 360,000 or seven times the size of Palm Desert. If Riverside Co. taxed cannabis businesses at the same rate as Palm Desert, the County would take in over $38 million dollars a year. Can a community benefit fee bring in an equal amount?

Maybe we have a very unusual situation here in that the Riverside Co. BOS realizes that cannabis is so critical for the health and welfare of the community that consumers should not have to pay high taxes for this product. BTW the sun is coming up in the west tomorrow.

leach_2.jpgAccording to an email I received from Charissa Leach, assistant director of Riverside County’s Transportation and Land Management agency, the community benefit fee “determination will be made if and after the Board approves the Ordinance.  If the Board approves a contract with HdL Consultants (a private consulting firm) and if the Board approves the Ordinance it will be effective 60-days after approval.  During those 60-days we will be working with HdL to determine the Base Rate.”.

bad_word.jpgHere’s where it gets really weird. As if using the word “business” is verboten when applied to cannabis, Ms. Leach used the word “project” instead of “business” when referring to an individual cannabis business writing “each project will propose how they will contribute to the community that they are impacting, working with the community and the County to come up with a negotiated Additional Public Benefit.  It is intended that this Additional Public Benefit will be negotiated on a project specific basis, looking at the community where the project is located and the needs of that community.”

business_paperwork.jpgCould you even begin to imagine the complexity, volumes of paperwork and bureaucratic entanglements that would be involved if every business in Riverside County had to go through the above in order to obtain a business license – business activity would grind to a halt!

A Developer’s Agreement is a guaranteed full employment program for lawyers. Applied to an entire industry and not to just a very singular and unusual business activity (which is what Developer Agreements were created for) is absurd, unworkable and just plain bizarre. Makes one wonder what the BOS have been drinking.

I have no idea how much money Riverside County is paying HdL to “invent the wheel,” but it will be interesting to see if the taxpayers get their money’s worth and HdL can find a way for Riverside County to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

If the BOS approves the ordinance on Oct. 23, then it goes into effect on Dec. 24. Will HdL be able to "invent the wheel" in that 60 day period? It really would be great if they can, but holdings one's breath could be hazardous to your health. If they can't come up with a workable Developer's Agreement, then the ordinance will not go into effect and the ban on commercial marijuana businesses will remain in effect.

Not to be conspiratorial, but most of the members of the BOS were opposed to Prop. 64 even though the majority of Riverside County voters approved Prop. 64 and rightfully expect it to be fully implemented including allowing cannabis businesses to operate. Perhaps some of the BOS members have championed the Developer Agreement model knowing full well that it would fail thereby thwarting one of the major components of Prop. 64.  They could still claim that they were doing their best to implement its commercial business provisions and they are sincerely sorry that it didn't work out and the ban is still in effect.

If you want to read the ordinance and the hundreds of pages of staff reports, implementation processes, policies and all the other assorted bureaucratic folderol, CLICK HERE.

riverside_co_admins_bldg.jpgIf you want to see what the fuss is all about, make a 3 minute presentation to the BOS of your opinion on the ordinance and witness real live BOS reefer madness, then mark your calendar for the Riverside County BOS meeting on Tuesday, October 23 at Riverside County Administration Center at 4080 Lemon St, Riverside, CA 92501.

speak_meet.gifThe meeting starts at 9 a.m. but consideration of the ordinance is listed on the agenda for 10:30 a.m. It is possible the BOS may limit the number of speakers they will put up with, so if you want to testify, you might want to get there considerably earlier than 10:30 a.m. to sign up.

 VOTE.jpgCannabis Voting Guides

 

Mail-In-Ballot.jpgFor those voting by mail ballot in California, you should have received your ballot by now. If you have not already received it, you should in the next couple days. If you don’t have it by Monday, better contact your county registrar of voters to find out why you haven’t.

Excellent California voter guides have been issued by CaNORML and the Drug Policy Alliance. CaNORML has tailored the guide to the district in which you live. To get CaNORML’s voter guide customized for your area CLICK HERE. To get DPA’s more generalized voter guide, CLICK HERE.

mj_bill.pngCannabis’s success in the 2018 California legislature was more negative than positive. With Gov. Brown vetoing quite a few of the bills that passed, the record was even more dismal.

Even worse has been our success on the local level with the majority of city councils and county boards refusing to implement ordinances to allow cannabis businesses and passing bans on outdoor personal cultivation.

clout.jpgThe depressing record can be laid at the feet of the relative lack of clout cannabis businesses and consumers have on our elected officials whether on the state or local level. We need to do better in 2019. Who is elected to office makes a big difference – so check out the voter guides and then vote – your vote does make a difference. Get your family, friends, co-workers and the curmudgeon down the street to vote too – all your votes really make a difference.

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advertise_with_us_woman.jpgIf you are reading this, others are too!
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YES! Defacto Grow Ban Goes to IE Court plus MAPP speakers

 

no_grow-page-001.jpgYour Right to Cultivate

Hangs in the Balance

As permitted by the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and some allege the Calif. Supreme Court decision in Riverside vs. Inland Empire Heath and Wellness Center, many cities banned all medical marijuana cultivation indoor as well as outdoor. The passage of Prop. 64 put an end to that as it gave all residents 21 and over the right to cultivate up to 6 plants.

Prop. 64 does allow cities to ban outdoor cultivation but penalizes cities that do by denying them any state money from the billion plus dollars the state is supposed to take in from taxes and license fees. That has not kept cities and counties from banning outdoor cultivation, but then again the state has not yet started distributing and hence denying money to municipalities that have passed outdoor bans. We have yet to see how many outdoor bans will fall when money is denied to those that have outdoor bans in place.

However, Prop. 64 does allow cities to enact "reasonable" regulations on indoor cultivation. Reasonable is in the eye of the grower and many cities have enacted regulations that they consider reasonable but that many personal cultivators would consider so onerous and burdensome that they amount to a defacto ban.

fontana_council_2_rec.jpgCiting everything under the sun from crime to children to odors, the Fontana City Council enacted regulations requiring permitting fees of over $400, allowing police, fire and code inspectors to inspect a homeowner’s premises at any time, enacting elaborate and expensive code requirements and more.

dpaaclu-page-001.jpgTo put an end to these defacto bans, the Drug Policy Alliance, the major big league player behind Prop. 64, decided to initiate an action against the city of Fontana and along with the ACLU took the recalcitrant city to court. They needed to find a person who lived in Fontana that would like to grow their own marijuana but found the regulations so overly burdensome that they chose not to exercise their right to grow.

They found Mike Harris.

mike_harris_edit.pngA retired ironworker and RN, Mike is a long time marijuana activist. He has attended and spoken at many local government hearings, attends MAPP meetings regularly, is an active member of the Human Solution which provides court support to people charged with marijuana law violations and showed up and cheered me on at my trial for my alleged push of reefer mad drug warrior Paul Chabot. (I was found not guilty and eventually sued Chabot for false arrest which I won.)

With Mike as their poster-child plaintiff, the ACLU filed suit against Fontana alleging that the regulations are onerous and unreasonable. Over the last year, motions have been filed, discovery requested and a passel full of other court procedures undertaken in preparation for a hearing.

sb_court.jpgThe groundwork has been laid and now the first hearing in the precedent setting case has been scheduled for Friday, Oct. 5 at 8:30 a.m. in San Bernardino Superior Court courtroom S26 at 247 W. 3rd St., San Bernardino CA 92415. This is an open hearing so anyone can attend. It would be most excellent to pack the courtroom with supporters.

It seems kind of fitting that this precedent setting defacto ban cultivation case takes place in the Inland Empire as the precedent setting case on whether cities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries under their zoning ordinances took place in the IE as well. Hopefully the outcome will be better than what happened in the dispensary case.

Since the DPA and the ACLU have retained a team of lawyers from O’Melveny and Meyers, one of the largest and most respected law firms in California, a favorable outcome is far more likely than the dispensary case.

prop_64_ca_flag.pngHistory will be made in this courtroom as this is a precedent setting case defending Prop. 64's provisions allowing people to grow their own. This lawsuit will eventually affect every city and county in the state that has passed defacto bans on personal indoor marijuana cultivation. Whichever side loses in this first hearing will appeal the decision. It is expected that this case will eventually wind up in the state Supreme Court, but that will take at least a year and possibly two.

In the meantime you are encouraged to attend the hearing on Friday, Oct. 5. It would be beneficial for us to fill every seat in the court room – justice may be blind but the judge isn’t and seeing a court room packed with citizens concerned about their right to cultivate marijuana is bound to have some kind of influence.

Once again the hearing will be held on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8:30 a.m. in San Bernardino Superior Court courtroom S26 at 247 W. 3rd St., San Bernardino CA 92415.

Mike will be the guest speaker at the MAPP meeting on Wed. Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Moreno Valley and is also the featured guest on the radio show Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense. Information on attending the meeting and listening to the radio show can be found below.

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October MAPP meetings

Great Speakers mean Great Meetings

Mike Harris Fights Fontana’s Defacto Cultivation Ban

Ruth Hill and the Cannabis Nurse Navigator

 

silicone_pipe.jpgThe October MAPP meetings are really extra special with speakers you will want to meet and hear. Plus we will be giving away two of those new-fangled unbreakable take them anywhere silicone ganja pipes at each MAPP meeting.

Hear and Meet Mike Harris at Moreno Valley MAPP meeting

Wed. Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley MAPP meeting – You read all about Mike and the upcoming hearing on defacto cultivation bans – now meet and hear him in person. You can even have your picture taken with him. Meeting is at the Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd., Moreno Valley, CA 92553

ruth_hill.jpgRN and Cannabis Columnist Ruth Hill to speak at Palm Springs and Joshua Tree MAPP meetings.

There are pediatric nurses, oncologist nurses, hospice nurses and nurse for almost every specific medical therapy and now welcome to the 21st Century and the Cannabis Nurse Navigator.

With medical literature on marijuana growing by leaps and bounds, public recognition of its health and medical benefits soaring and with 29 states passing laws allowing the legal use of cannabis for medical reasons, the need for a nursing workforce well versed in the many ways marijuana can be used medicinally is more important than ever.

RN Ruth Hill will explain the role of the Cannabis Nurse Navigator in the modern health care system, how this new health specialty came to be, what services a Cannabis Nurse Navigator provides and how this can be of benefit to people everywhere.

Ruth brings over 50 years in nursing from a multitude of settings including hospice, palliative care and executive management in the home health industry. She has worked in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Arizona, California, and the 97th General Hospital in Frankfort Germany. Ruth spent the last seventeen years in hospice and palliative care most recently in Coachella Valley, CA.

An entrepreneur having started a six-bed residential facility for the elderly, consultant for home health agencies and educating clients on palliative care all providing an effective segue into cannabis for symptom management.

am_can_nurse_assoc.jpgRuth is a writer of poetry and essays on numerous medical topics of the day. She writes on a variety of marijuana issues for the Coachella Valley Weekly and is a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association, the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Cannabis Nurses Association as well as membership in The Palm Springs Writers Guild and the Rancho Mirage WordKeepers.

Meet, hear and converse with Ruth at both the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree MAPP meetings.

Saturday, October 6 at 12 noon – Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs CA 92262

Saturday, October 6 at 3 p.m. – Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting - The Beatnik Café, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252.

milk_and_cookies_by_drawingalchemist4.jpgIn addition to having a chance to win a cool silicone pipe, there will be a delectable assortment of cookies with milk and punch for all to enjoy. Bring yourself, your friends, family members and that neighbor of yours who needs to learn all about marijuana.

radio_ad.jpg radio_show.jpgDefacto Personal Marijuana Cultivation Ban Goes to Court

 

Hear Mike Harris tell the story of his involvement in this precedent setting case. Learn the background, Fontana’s regulatory horrors, the legal issues, the personal story and more as Mike recounts his involvement and extensive knowledge of what is about to unfold.

To hear the radio show now CLICK HERE or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews anytime you want 24/7.

 

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Trumps Secret War on Marijuana + special MAPP meet

DEVILS_HARVEST.jpgTRUMP LAUNCHES SECRET WAR ON MARIJUANA WITH "FAKE NEWS"

walk_don't_walk.jpgGetting mixed signals from the Trump administration is nothing new under the sun, but it so vexing, perplexing and unsettling.

In a stunning breaking news article entitled Inside The Trump Administration’s Secret War on Weed, on line news website Buzzfeed reported that the Trump administration “has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat.”

trump_2_side-page-001.jpgShocking? Isn’t that flying in the face of what Trump has said recently about allowing states to precede with their marijuana legalization laws without federal interference? Or is it just par for the course for this President to say one thing and do another. After all Trump's equivocations are legendary and as much as we would like it, marijuana is not exempted from the rule.

As for marijuana equivocations there was the campaign rally in Reno on Oct. 29, 2015 where Trump said: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

TRUMP_SESSIONS.jpgBut after he was elected President he selected Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General. Sessions is an old-line drug warrior who has never seen an anti-drug bill he didn’t support and who has said that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that “we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized… that it is, in fact, a very real danger.”

cole_memo.jpgIgnoring Trump's campaign statement, Sessions put his words into action by rescinding the Obama era Cole Memo which kept the feds from enforcing federal marijuana law in states with legal distribution systems.

In support of his state’s marijuana legalization laws, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner blocked all of Trump’s Justice Department nominations until Trump rescinded Sessions’ recession of the Cole memo. Gardner’s action created a major stumbling block for Trump who is trying to stack the Dept. of Justice with new employees to sidetrack the Mueller investigation.

In order to get Gardener to rescind his hold on his nominees, Trump promised Gardner that he would respect Colorado’s laws. After a meeting with Trump, Gardner made the following statement:

cory_gardner.jpg"Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all."

With this assurance from the President, Gardner lifted his holds on Justice Department nominees.

marijuana-green-light.jpgGardner’s statement seemed to be corroborated when on June 7, 2018 reporters asked Trump about a bill introduced by Gardner and Senator Elizabeth Warren that would protect the nine states and D.C. that have legalized marijuana from any federal interference. If enacted this bill would allow businesses that sell marijuana to operate without fear of prosecution by the Justice Department.

As he was preparing to leave the White House for the Group of Seven economic summit in Canada, Trump told the reporters “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that.”

amazing-4.pngAnd that is where all things marijuana stood relating to Trump until Buzzfeed broke the story on the secretly created Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee (MPCC). To read this amazing story with all its revelations of chicanery and skullduggery CLICK HERE.

Overseen and coordinated by the Office of National Control Policy (ONDCP), the MPCC is a consortium of 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration with a mission to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and the “threats” it poses to the country.

A summary of a July 27 White House meeting with department officials reads:  "The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate. Staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security."

ondcp.gifLet’s be clear – the ONDCP is part of the executive office of the President – it is a White House agency and this is Trump's White House. This is not AG Sessions, a disgruntled cabinet member or some reefer-mad anti-drug warrior employed by some federal agency spouting off some cockamamie fantasy. As he did to Gardner, Trump is saying one thing to mollify Republicans and others who support marijuana law reform but allowing his office to do just the opposite.

MAPP_Logo.jpgMoreno Valley Mayoral Candidate Discusses City's Marijuana Policies Moreno-Valley-logo.jpgand Local Issues at Moreno Valley MAPP Meeting Wednesday Sept. 5

 

denise_fleming.jpgMoreno Valley Mayoral Candidate Dr. Denise Fleming is the featured speaker at the Wednesday, September 5 meeting of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project in Moreno Valley.

On the cusp of allowing marijuana businesses to operate, Moreno Valley will be joining a handful of other cities that are currently regulating, licensing and taxing these businesses in Riverside County. Along with other issues, Dr. Fleming will be presenting her views on how Moreno Valley should address the issues of allowing marijuana businesses to cultivate, manufacture and distribute marijuana to Moreno Valley and area residents.

Dr. Fleming is an educator and business professional currently serving on the Board of the Moreno Valley Unified School District. A veteran of Desert Storm, she has served in the United States Navy Reserves for the last ten years.

She is the Educational Chair for the Director of the African American Coalition in Moreno Valley and was the Regional Director for Region 13 for the African American Caucus. Dr. Fleming is a member of the California Women Caucus, Veteran Caucus, and Disability Caucus and is currently serving on the Riverside County Home Support Services (IHSS) Advisory Board.

She received many awards and certificates for her dedication and service to the community including “Women of Distinction Award from the California State Assembly” Woman of the Year, County of Riverside, Fifth District 2017, and “Girls Rock” for her dedication to assisting our communities.

The Wednesday, September 5 meeting of MAPP begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.

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I'm RUNNING for Office + Assembly & Mayor Candidates at MAPP meets

 

biz_card_flyer_revfinal-page-001.jpgmy_hat_in_ring-page-001.jpg

I couldn’t think of a better place to make my formal announcement of my run for public office then in the pages of MAPP’s MarijuanaNews.org newsletter – so here it is.

I am running for a position on the Board of Director’s of the San Gorgonio Memorial Health Care District which oversees the operation of the San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital and associated facilities in Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon, Cherry Valley and Whitewater. I am doing so at the urging of a significant number of local community residents, Pass Democratic Club members and quite a few folks who have been urging me to run for some kind of public office for years. So how does cannabis fit into the picture? CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE LOW DOWN.

aaron-sandusky-bod.jpgAARON SANDUSKY DESERVES A PARDON FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP

In the last newsletter I wrote about Aaron Sandusky, a local IE man serving ten years in federal prison for operating a medical marijuana dispensary in Upland as permitted by state law. If you didn’t read it or want to refresh your memory CLICK HERE.

Working with the CAN-DO Foundation, Aaron is trying to get a pardon from President Trump. At the July MAPP meetings letters were written on his behalf and sent to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Letters are still needed so if you could take a couple minutes and write one and send it to our President maybe he will twitter about how he is magnanimously freeing Aaron and other non-violent marijuana prisoners. It would certainly make headlines and with 89% of Americans supporting medical marijuana and 57% supporting outright legalization, it might just add some points to his dismal poll numbers.

The letter doesn’t and shouldn’t be long. Won’t take but a couple minutes to do it. For more information on what to write and where to send it CLICK HERE.

SPEAKER_GIF.gifAssembly and Mayor Candidates to speak at September MAPP meetings

MAPP_Logo.jpg42nd AD Candidate Takes on the Issues at Palm Springs & Joshua Tree MAPP meetings Saturday, September 1

deni_cu.jpg42nd Assembly District Candidate Deni-Antonette Mazingo is the featured speaker at the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project meetings Saturday, September 1 at 12 noon at Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs and at 3 p.m. at the Beatnik Café in Joshua Tree.

In her professional life, Deni is a practicing attorney, but in her community life she is an involved activist on housing, healthcare, equality and education.

She is a commissioner on the Riverside County Commission for Women, an active member of Soroptimist International and in 2016 she was awarded Riverside County Woman of the Year by Sen. Mike Morrell. Endorsed by Gavin Newsom, Deni has made countless contributions to the community with a special focus on improving the lives of seniors, women and girls.

With a progressive and forward looking campaign, Deni will present her views on how the state legislature should deal with the many issues facing California today including the issues of medical and adult-use marijuana and the implementation of Prop. 64.

The Palm Springs and Joshua Tree MAPP meetings are free and open to all members of the public. The Palm Springs MAPP meeting begins at 12 noon on Saturday, September 1 at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs 92262 and the Joshua Tree MAPP meeting begins at 3 p.m. at the legendary Beatnik Café at 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

Moreno-Valley-logo.jpgMoreno Valley Mayoral Candidate Discusses City's Marijuana Policies & Local Issues at Moreno Valley MAPP Meeting Wednesday Sept. 5

fleminf.jpgMoreno Valley Mayoral Candidate Dr. Denise Fleming is the featured speaker at the Wednesday, September 5 meeting of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project in Moreno Valley.

On the cusp of allowing marijuana businesses to operate, Moreno Valley will be joining a handful of other cities that are currently regulating, licensing and taxing these businesses in Riverside County. Along with other issues, Dr. Fleming will be presenting her views on how Moreno Valley should address the issues of allowing marijuana businesses to cultivate, manufacture and distribute marijuana to Moreno Valley and area residents.

Dr. Fleming is an educator and business professional currently serving on the Board of the Moreno Valley Unified School District. A veteran of Desert Storm, she has served in the United States Navy Reserves for the last ten years.

She is the Educational Chair for the Director of the African American Coalition in Moreno Valley and was the Regional Director for Region 13 for the African American Caucus. Dr. Fleming is a member of the California Women Caucus, Veteran Caucus, and Disability Caucus and is currently serving on the Riverside County Home Support Services (IHSS) Advisory Board.

She received many awards and certificates for her dedication and service to the community including “Women of Distinction Award from the California State Assembly” Woman of the Year, County of Riverside, Fifth District 2017, and “Girls Rock” for her dedication to assisting our communities.

The Wednesday, September 5 meeting of MAPP begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.

shirtless_man_smoke_mj-page-001.jpg420_club_bldg.pngIt's Sizzling Hot Outside Do Something Cool - Light Up and Join our 420 Club

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automatically, privately & coolly from your credit card

CLICK HERE TO JOIN MAPP'S 420 CLUB

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Trump IE MJ Pardon? Senator Feinstein Answers! MAPP Meets

 

trumppardonjar.jpgaaron-sandusky-bod.jpgWill Trump Pardon Aaron?

Aaron Sandusky was a colorful and outspoken advocate for the medical benefits of marijuana use. He operated three medical marijuana dispensaries in the Inland Empire providing medicinal marijuana to over 17,000 legally qualified patients.

In 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s office sent Aaron a series of letters informing him that his G3Holistic dispensaries were in violation of federal law and that he better shut them down or suffer the consequences. He did shut down two of them but continued to operate one in Upland, a town known for its ferocious opposition to all things marijuana from cultivation to distribution. READ MORE CLICK HERE

fired-page-001.jpgDemocrats Pass Resolution to Protect Cannabis Consumers from Being Fired on Monday for Consuming Cannabis on Sunday

For marijuana legalization to be truly meaningful, people have to be able to consume marijuana without fear of losing their jobs. No one gets fired for drinking a beer off-duty and no one should be terminated from their job for the legal off-duty use of cannabis.

AB 2069, which would have only protected medical marijuana patients from being fired for testing positive for THC in a drug screen, failed in the 2018 state legislature when it stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to opposition from trade councils, trade unions, the League of California Cities and local and state Chambers of Commerce. READ MORE CLICK HERE

Dianne-Feinstein.jpgSenator Feinstein Kinda Sorta Working On It

diane1.jpgAs an Executive Board member of the California Democratic Party, I was invited to attend "Breakfast with Diane" where Senator Diane Feinstein spoke about her re-election bid. It was kind of sad to see her there fighting for the endorsement of the Party she had represented as a U.S. Senator for 24 years. She had failed to get the endorsement at the state convention and now she was being challenged again at the Executive Board meeting by Kevin DeLeon, former President Protem of the California State Senate

Many delegates felt she had become completely out-of-touch with the grassroots of the Party not having attended a state convention since 2004. In addition to being out-of-touch, she was not as progressive as Party activists felt she should have been and had voted with Republicans on a number of bills that were supported or opposed by a majority of Democrats.

Marijuana legislation was high on this list as she was the only Democrat on the Appropriations Committee to vote against the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment which prevents the Dept. of Justice from enforcing federal marijuana laws against medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have legalized its use. Over the years there was hardly a single drug prohibition law that she didn't support. READ MORE CLICK HERE

MAPP_Logo.jpgMAPP AUGUST MEETINGS

1 Hot Night & 1 Hot Day

A discussion on how to take advantage of and the road to follow in light of the California Democrats Party call for protecting cannabis users from being fired from their jobs for legal cannabis use to writing letters to President Trump seeking a pardon for Aaron Sandusky will be the focal point of all three August MAPP meetings in Moreno Valley, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. There will be updates on local regulations from Hemet to San Bernardino and the newest medical research demonstrating that long-time cannabis users have a better chance of surviving a heart attack. Plus you can win one of two high quality silicone pipes given away at each meeting.DSC08576.JPG

Join your friends, make new ones, network for locating affordable cannabis and enjoy the relaxed and comfortable ambiance of our August IE MAPP meetings. Cool punch, fresh milk and a delightful assortment of cookies will be provided. Mark your calendar now so you won’t miss out on the knowledge, camaraderie and fun at each meeting.

Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting – Wednesday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m. – Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd., Moreno Valley CA 92553

Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting – Saturday, August 4 at 12 noon – Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs 92262 across the street from the Hyatt Regency.

Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting – Saturday, August 4 at 3 p.m. – the legendary Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

It's Summertime - Time to Kick Back with a Lemonade in One Hand and a Pipe in the Other and JOIN OUR 420 CLUB

Just $4.20 a month helps MAPP keep you informed protecting your right to safe, reliable, local and affordable access to marijuana in summer, fall, winter and spring.

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#marijuana #marijuananews #marijuanalegalization #marijuanacultivation #cannabis #medicalmarijuana #MAPP #marijuanaantiprohibitionproject #marijuanataxes #drugpolicyreform #drugwar #warondrugs #growingmarijuana #prop64 #californialegislature #trumpardonmjprisoners #aaronsandusky #protectcannabisconsumers

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Victorville Nixes Cannabis Fest - What's Next - MAPP meet changes

VICTORVILLE_LOGO.jpgcall_to_action.gifVictorville’s Cannabis Festival Refusal a Call to Action

Prop. 64 was not written with the goal of being a dream legalization law. Prop. 64 was written with the goal of being passed. As such it gave wide discretion to local governments so as to not incur their fervent opposition and to also follow the California Supreme Court decision in City of Riverside vs. IEPHWC that county and city governments can ban the implementation of state permitted activities under their zoning ordinances.

In a very unusual move for an initiative, Prop. 64 can be amended to make it less restrictive (such as increasing the number of plants that can be cultivate from 6 to 9) by a simple majority vote but requiring a 2/3 vote for making it more restrictive (such as raising taxes).

THROW_OUT_THE_BUNS_.jpgIt also threw down the gauntlet to local activists, to lobby their local city and county government to allow for marijuana businesses and activities as permitted under Prop. 64. If that lobbying fails, then throw the bums out and elect new officer holders.

CHALICE_FEST.jpgA better example of this could not be found then what is happening in Victorville where the City Council on Thursday, June 28 refused to allow cannabis consumption and sales at the Chalice Festival scheduled to take place July 13-15 at the San Bernardino County fairgrounds in Victorville.

Emphasizing the economic benefits estimated to exceed $30 million, a few dozen people spoke at the June 28 meeting in support of the festival touting its safety record and the broad support for legalization throughout the state as well as in San Bernardino County.

rich_kerr.jpgAttending the meeting from nearby Adelanto, a community that allows all types of marijuana businesses, Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr said “There’s a lot of jobs that are going to be lost out there, a lot of revenue that’s going to be lost out there.”

It was all to no avail. So opposed to marijuana were the majority of Victorville City Council members, that when Victorville Councilwoman Blanca Gomez suggested having the planning commission review the city’s cannabis ordinance,  no one on the council seconded her motion.

crowd.jpgIf several hundred people had showed up at that Council meeting, not just a couple dozen, telling them to get with the program, threatening them with recalls and backing candidates in the next election who will take a more enlightened approach to the issue of marijuana, the result might have been totally different.

sb_fairgrounds.jpgThis is not just true on the local level – we need this on the state level. Prop. 64 limits cannabis festivals to county and state fairgrounds and requires organizers to receive a permit from local authorities before the Bureau of Cannabis Control will issue a state permit for cannabis consumption and sales. The BCC is not the problem here – they are willing to issue any and all cannabis festival permits but only if local approval is obtained first.

pic_cannabis_fest.jpgRestricting cannabis festivals to county and state fairgrounds is way too limiting. A bill in the state legislature, AB 2641, would fix that by permitting cannabis festivals at any location but would still require local approval. It is a much needed step in the right direction. It has passed the Assembly, but is now in the Senate where its passage is not a fait accompli.

Like in Victorville, it will need constituent pressure to get it passed. Phone calls to your state senator’s office in support of this bill are sorely needed. Call your state senator and tell them to vote in favor of AB 2641. If you don’t know who your state senator is, CLICK HERE to get their name and then click on it to contact them.

do_something.jpgMarijuana is now legal and it is time people take in the full reality of that which means if you want to use it reliably, safely, locally and affordably, you are going to have to actually do something to make that happen. It’s not going to rain marijuana from heaven like manna, but working together can make it close.

browne_mary.jpgA group I am closely associated with (so closely that I am its founder and chair) is the Brownie Mary Democrats of California. One of only seven statewide Democratic organizations that has been officially chartered by the California Democratic Party makes the Brownie Mary Democrats (BMD) a working partner with the party that controls the government that manages the fifth largest economy in the world. If you want to know more about BMD, CLICK HERE, but I am bringing this up here as there is something happening in July I want you to know about.

lose_job.jpgI am a member of CaDEM’s Executive Board and will be attending the Board’s meeting this July 13 – 15 in Oakland. BMD has submitted a resolution to be considered and hopefully adopted at the Eboard meeting that will put the California Democratic Party firmly in favor of protecting the rights of cannabis consumers to smoke marijuana on Saturday night and not get fired from their job on Monday for having done so.

police.pngA bill that would have protected only medical marijuana patients from being fired  from their jobs failed to advance out of the assembly and is now dead and cannot be considered again until next year. The reason it failed is that protecting the employment rights of marijuana consumers, even medical marijuana patients, is a tricky proposition facing monumental opposition from trade associations, city and county governments and of course police.

Getting CaDEM to support these rights would go a long way to get those Democratic legislators who have been sitting on the fence off it and on to our side.

I have submitted several forms of the resolution for the CaDEM resolution committee. To see one of them CLICK HERE. I have no idea what the final one will look like at they often get modified in committee. I do not even know if it will make it out of committee – this is going to be one of the toughest ones to get through because of the opposing forces which also have significant influence within the Party.

success.jpgBMD have been very successful in getting resolutions passed on everything from implementing and not banning the commercial marijuana business provisions of Prop. 64 to making it illegal to deny a medical marijuana patient an organ transplant because of their use of marijuana. BMD was the organization that in 2014 got CaDEM for the first time ever to include a marijuana legalization plank in the Party Platform and was one of the players in getting the Party to strongly endorse and devote Party resources towards getting voters to pass it. Many believe it was CaDEM’s support for Prop. 64 that was responsible for its overwhelming support by the electorate and quite possibly the reason it passed.

doneky_ca.jpgBMD has not played a major role in legislative issues this year, but it is the group’s intention to prioritize a few bills, the employment bill being one of them, and use its position within California's Democratic Party to influence its passage in 2019. From the African-American Caucus to the Labor Caucus to the Children’s Caucus, this is how community groups work to influence and get legislation passed that advances their interests.

If you would like to learn more about BMD and especially learn about becoming a member ($10 regular, $5 senior, student, veteran, unemployed), CLICK HERE.

For those of you who are Republicans, I urge you to get involved with your party as well. The structure is the same and you can influence Republican legislators very effectively. I have written this numerous times before, but unfortunately no one has taken the idea and run with it.

local_power.pngAs for Decline to State (Independents) or other party preferences, you can’t work directly with either of the two main Parties but you can sure work with all those non-partisan city councils and county boards and, thanks to Prop. 64 and the Calif. Supreme Court, that is where the real power is when it comes to marijuana.

MAPP_Logo.jpgJuly MAPP Meetings  Important Note

Due to July 4th occurring on the first Wed. of the month this year, the Moreno Valley MAPP meeting will not take place, but the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree meetings will take place as normally scheduled.

july_4_fireworks.jpgFor those of you so inclined, I would like to invite you to join with MAPP members and other assorted folks to witness the spectacular (at least spectacular on a Coachella Valley scale) July 4th fireworks show staged by the Agua-Caliente Band of Indians at their Casino in Rancho Mirage. If you are interested in joining us send me an email at lanny@marijuananews.org and I will send you back information about the event including where to meet, time to meet and most importantly, where to park. Bring your friends, family members and that person you have been wanting to ask for a date.

CANNABIS LOUNGES AND INITIATIVES TO BE DISCUSSED AT PALM SPRINGS AND JOSHUA TREE MAPP MEETINGS

potlounge.jpgPalm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting – Saturday, July 7 at 12 noon. There is a first-rate brouhaha over Palm Springs’ first licensed cannabis lounge which incidentally is also the first licensed cannabis lounge in Southern California. Their neighbors are raising holy-hell claiming “We can’t subject our clients and patients to that kind of indoor pollution.” Learn all about what is happening and so much more at the MAPP meeting which takes place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, in downtown Palm Springs 92262 across the street from the Hyatt Regency.

ban_sign.jpgJoshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting - Saturday, July 7 at 3 p.m. Once again the citizens of Yucca Valley have rejected a marijuana initiative – this time not for sales but cultivation and manufacture. What happen and why it happened will be explored along with other issues in the neighborly countrified meeting held at the fabled Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.

pipe.jpgIn addition to camaraderie with new friends and old, both meetings will have milk, punch and cookies available plus bring a guest and you both will receive a cool pocket pipe.

#marijuana #marijuananews #marijuanalegalization #marijuanacultivation #cannabis #medicalmarijuana #MAPP #marijuanaantiprohibitionproject #marijuanataxes #drugpolicyreform #drugwar #warondrugs #growingmarijuana #prop64 #californialegislature #cannabisfestival

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Public Hearing 6/20! Sabotage of Riverside Co. MJ Ordinance?

thumbs-up-or-down.gifDecent Ordinance       Indecent Implementation

 

On Wednesday, June 20 at 9 a.m. the Riverside County Planning Commission will be holding a hearing on an ordinance that will allow commercial marijuana businesses to operate in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County.

Although Prop. 64 does allow cities and counties to ban the implementation of its commercial marijuana business provisions, the Riverside Co. Board of Supervisors (BOS) have wisely chosen to implement the will of the voters in Riverside County who approved Prop. 64 and expect the regulation and taxation of commercial marijuana businesses to be reasonable.

no_fear.jpgMedical marijuana patients have nothing to fear as the new ordinance clearly exempts them from its provisions restricting non-commercial personal cultivation to no more than six plants. It will for the first time license cultivation, manufacture and distribution of marijuana both medical and adult-use eventually bringing an end to the game of whack-a-mole with marijuana businesses.

Too good to be true? Very possibly! If you can it would be extremely prudent to show up at the Planning Commission hearing this Wednesday as there may be portions of the ordinance some may not like and it seems skullduggery is afoot to thwart the successful implementation of the ordinance.

Before we get to the skullduggery let’s take a look at what the ordinance does allow.

Most importantly the ordinance makes provisions for all cannabis businesses EXCEPT delivery services. Cultivation, manufacture of edibles and concentrates, testing, cannabis festivals and microbusinesses are allowed.

The ordinance is 54 pages of minutiae regulating all of them. If you are interested in starting up any of these marijuana businesses, then you need to read the minutiae in the ordinance and you can do that right now if you CLICK HERE.

If you don’t like what you see, and there are some things not too like, then you need to show up at the Planning Commission hearing this Wed. June 20 at 9 a.m. and let them know what irks you and why. I have no idea how open they are to making changes, but if they don’t hear from you, be assured no changes will be made.

With one exception all cultivation is restricted to indoor only. Greenhouses are considered to be indoor cultivation and have very stringent requirements. An interesting twist with a nod to conservation and climate change, the ordinance requires:

greenhouse_reneablw.jpgAll Cannabis Cultivation operations shall include adequate measures to address the projected energy demand for Cannabis cultivation at the lot. On-site renewable energy generation shall be required for all Cannabis cultivation using artificial lighting. Renewable energy systems shall be designed to have a generation potential equal to or greater than 20-percent of the anticipated energy demand.

The one exception to the indoor cultivation requirement:

Outdoor Cannabis Wholesale Nurseries are allowed on lots larger than or equal to one gross acre in the following zone classifications with an approved conditional use permit in accordance with Section 18.28 of this ordinance.

What is section 18.28? Good question – it is not in the ordinance. Section 18.28 is referred to several times in the ordinance including in reference to the nefarious Developer Agreement and just what it is remains unknown. I am going to try and run that down on Monday – if you are interested in knowing about Section 18.28, send an email to me at: lanny@marijuananews.org and I will send you a special email with whatever information I can uncover.

speaking.jpgThere is nothing in the ordinance restricting the number of licenses of any category although at the BOS meeting in March, the Planning Commission stated that the number of licenses will be severely restricted and limited. If you are seriously considering obtaining one of these licenses, especially a dispensary license, you had best be at the Planning Commission hearing arguing for a reasonable number of licenses to be issued and letting them know what you think would be reasonable.

Taken as a whole the ordinance is really not that bad - in fact in many ways it is pretty good. If you are considering getting in the business or just want to be knowledgeable on what is being proposed for your neck-of-the-woods, you would be wise to read the ordinance.

On the face of it, the ordinance appears to be workable but here comes the skullduggery.

Never-assume.jpgIn August 2017, the BOS made a commitment to move forward with implementing the provisions of Prop. 64 allowing commercial marijuana businesses. It was “assumed” that the County would be developing the same type of license and regulate ordinance with a tax to be submitted to the voters in November 2018 similar to ones being used by almost every municipality that has allowed commercial businesses.

chucik_washington.jpgHowever you know what they say when you “assume” and they sure would have been right when Supervisor Chuck Washington threw a monkey wrench into the process calling for the ordinance to enact a Developers Agreement model instead of the tried and true license, regulate and tax model that is used almost everywhere else in California.

Since Supervisors Ashley and Tavaglione were opposed to allowing any commercial marijuana business, it would require agreement of the three Supervisors to implement any ordinance. Without Washington’s vote for the license, regulate and tax model, the only option became Washington’s Developer Agreement model.

Still it would require three votes and Supervisor Jeffries was so opposed to the Developer Agreement model that he voted against it even though he was in favor of allowing commercial marijuana businesses. Although favoring the tax and regulate model, Supervisor Perez voted for it in order to keep the process alive. Why Supervisor Ashley voted for it was the big surprise but it could be that he is well aware that a Developer Agreement model would never work.

If that was the reason Supervisor Ashley voted for the Developer Agreement, he is most assuredly right on target as a Developer’s Agreement would not work applied to the cannabis industry across the board - especially the retail distribution section.

sign_paper.gifA Development Agreement requires Riverside County to make a separate agreement with each applicant for a marijuana license whether it is for cultivation, manufacture or distribution. There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter Development Agreement. If the County issues 25 cultivation licenses, 35 manufacturing licenses and 40 retail outlets, a separate and unique agreement with each must be created.

Politicians love Developer Agreements as they impose a “community benefit fee” which is not considered a tax and does not need a vote of the people which would be required by Prop. 218 if it was a tax.

looks_like_tax.jpgThe multi-million dollar question then is how do you use a Developer Agreement to get money if you cannot impose a tax? If the “fee” looks like a tax, walks like a tax and smells like a tax then it is a tax and bypassing a vote by calling a tax a “community benefit fee” or any other name is forbidden by Prop. 218.

This is why there is not a single Developer Agreement model being used anywhere in California for any municipality that is looking to license anything more than just a couple dispensaries. Stanislaus County which has been trying to use a Developer Agreement has not been able to develop a working model and according to a meeting they had with Riverside County officials now regrets taking that approach.

If the Development Agreement does not work out for that reason or any other, that due to the timetable being followed for crafting a Developers Agreements proposal there would not be enough time left to write a tax and regulate initiative for the Nov. 2018 ballot.

Charissa Leach, Assistant Director in the Riverside Co. Planning Commission, agreed with my assessment writing in an email sent to me:

time_is_run_out2.png“There will be a very limited amount of time for county staff to write and submit to the board, a tax ordinance if the Developer Agreement proposal is not approved by the Board. It is possible that this very limited amount of time might not be enough time for county staff to prepare the tax ordinance for the Board’s approval and hence, the ballot.”

The continued reliance on the Developers Agreement practically guarantees that there will be no tax and regulate ordinance prepared in time for the November 2018 ballot. Jeff Greene, Chief Legislative Aid for Supervisor Jeffries, agreed writing in an email to me “we may simply have to wait until a new board is seated in January to do it right.”

slap.jpgI find that to be an untenable position for the County to be in and a slap to the face of the voters in Riverside County who voted in favor of Prop. 64.

It seems no one anywhere in the state of California has crafted a Developer’s Agreement that could apply to cannabis businesses especially a Developer Agreement that could be applied to a multitude of dispensaries.

Common-Sense-1.jpgIt would seem to be a prudent course of action for Riverside County to proceed concurrently with the creation of a Development Agreement with the creation of a Tax and Regulate ordinance and have it ready by mid August so that an initiative can be placed on the Nov. 2018 ballot if the Development Agreement does work out.

conspiracy.pngCONSPIRACY THEORY TIME: Is it possible that those opposed to implementing the commercial marijuana business provisions of Prop. 64, came up with the Developers Agreement model knowing full well that it would fail? The failure would result in a license, regulate and tax ordinance and initiative not being prepared in time for the November 2018 ballot thereby putting off for at least a year allowing commercial marijuana business in unincorporated Riverside County.

Whether it is a valid conspiracy theory or not, it is my intention to bring this up at the Planning Commission hearing on Wed. June 20, More importantly, I intend to be at the Riverside Co. BOS meeting on Tuesday, June 19 to speak during the Public Comment section on the need for the BOS to direct County staff to prepare a standard license, regulate and tax ordinance and have it ready in time to be placed on the ballot when the Developers Agreement falls flat on its face.

bos_meet.jpgI encourage and invite you to attend both the BOS meeting on Tuesday, June 19 and the Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday, June 20 at 9 a.m.. I will be at the BOS meeting on Tuesday, June 19 at 9:30 a.m. to sign up for the Public Comment section and encourage you to join me.

If  you have any interest in engaging in any commercial marijuana operation, you should do everything possible to attend the Planning Commission meeting on Wed. June 20 which begins at 9 a.m. Read the ordinance and find out how it would apply to you and then come and let them  know your concerns by testifying at the hearing . You will have three minutes to speak before the Planning Commission.

riversdie_co_bulding.jpgBoth meetings are held in the BOS Chambers on the 1st floor of the Riverside County Administrative Bldg. in downtown Riverside at 4080 Lemon St., Riverside 92501.

call_official.pngWhether you can attend either or both meetings or not, you should call your County Supervisor and tell them to direct County staff to prepare a tax and regulate initiative. Call 951-955-1010, tell them you want to talk to your Supervisor’s office. If you don’t know the name of your Supervisor, just tell them where you live and they will connect you to your Supervisor’s office.

This is your government but it is only your government if you tell them what to do instead of them telling you what to do.

free_mmj.pngwamm_logo.jpgProtecting Good             Samaritans

 

valerie_corral.pngValerie Corral, Director and Founder of the legendary Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana has requested support for SB 289 which would establish a compassion care license for collectives and others who for no compensation, donates medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, to qualified medicinal cannabis patients.

The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly. Please call your Assembly member and ask them to support SB 289.

If you don’t know who your Assembly member is go to: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

Enter your address and then click on your Assembly member’s name. At the website you can find the phone number and call them asking for their support of AB 289.

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Murder in Sacramento plus Bringing Cannabis to Hemet

 

knife_kill_bill-page-001.jpgLegislature Kills Major Marijuana Bills

door_open.jpgKeeps Door Open for Minor Ones

Legal Cannabis Remains Hard and Expensive to Get But You Can Still Get Fired

dustbin.jpgMost marijuana bills are going into the legislature dustbin – at least the ones that would have some real world major effect and not just nibble at the edges.

 

I am specifically referring to the employment bill, the bill to lower taxes, the bill to prevent police from cooperating with the feds and the bill to allow delivery services everywhere. All have been shelved and will not be coming to a vote anytime soon.

 

fired_for_mj.jpgAB 2069 is being held in the Assembly Appropriations committee so it will not be voted on in 2018. The bill, which would have only protected medical marijuana patients from being fired on Monday for smoking marijuana on Saturday, would have overturned Ross v Raging Wire, a California Supreme Court ruling that Prop 215 does not protect employment rights.

 

Hopes were high when AB 2069 passed the Assembly Labor Committee on April 25.

 

The bill was sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and CalNORML including a very impressive list of supporters from AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) to the Hispanic and Black chambers of commerce.

 

poll_results.jpgAlso in support was a poll taken way back in 2013 when marijuana was still legal only for medical marijuana patients. Conducted by the Huffington Post and You Gov, the poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans agreed that it would “be unacceptable for a company to fire an employee for off-the-clock marijuana use in states where using marijuana is legal.”

 

Even with this impressive list of sponsors/supporters and polls showing support for workplace protection for marijuana consumers and even though the bill had been amended multiple times to make it more amenable to business interests including allowing employers to fire marijuana using employees if the business had a federal contract mandating a drug-free workplace, the bill could not make it out of the Appropriations Committee.

 

Pressure applied upon the Committee by a consortium of powerful opponents including police, the State Building and Trades Council and state and local Chambers of Commerce sealed its fate no matter how impressive were its list of sponsors and supporters as well as the opinion of the people who elected them.

 

Tax-Cuts.pngAB3157, a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Lackey and Democratic Assemblymen Bonta, Cooley, Jones-Sawyer, and Wood would have lowered the state excise tax from 15% to 11% and eliminate the $9.25/oz. cultivation tax for three years. It was introduced principally to reduce the incentive of people to secure marijuana from the black market.

 

The bill was opposed by a consortium of Democrats, unions and the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the major advocates for Prop. 64 stating it was too soon to slash taxes without further evidence they were driving people to the black market. What drivel – it’s never too soon to reduce taxes on a product as important for the health of our communities as marijuana and DPA should be ashamed of their stance on this issue.

 

Marijuana cultivators and retail distributors fought the good fight sensibly pointing out that inordinately high taxes drives many marijuana consumers to the underground market where they can save significant amounts of money. Their successful search for cheaper marijuana may very well be the reason state excise and cultivation taxes have fallen far below projections for the first three months of the year. Expectations are for about $175 million to flow into state coffers by the end of June, but a paltry $34 million came in between January and March causing much concern and consternation amongst state officials.

 

black_market_hands_exchange.jpg

The failure of AB 3157 to get out of committee means that taxes will remain excessively high - a gift to the illegal market courtesy of the California State legislature.

 

dea_police_raid.jpgAB 1578, the “ganja sanctuary bill” which would have prevented state and local police from cooperating with federal police in arresting legal marijuana cultivators never even received any consideration. The bill had passed the Assembly in 2017 but stalled in the State Senate over fears that the immigration sanctuary bill, SB 54 which prevents local and state police from cooperating with ICE in the apprehension of undocumented immigrants, was enough sanctuary legislation for one year.

 

Confusion on the federal level between Pres. Trump telling U.S. Senator Gardner (R-CO) that states that have legalized marijuana will be left alone and AG Jeffrey Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo freeing U.S. Prosecutors to go after marijuana providers may have contributed to the bill’s inability to get any traction this year. Time will tell if it is necessary to re-introduce AB 1578 in 2019.

 

cannabis_delivery_van.jpgSenate BIll 1302, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would permit operators licensed by the state and a local jurisdiction to deliver marijuana anywhere in California, even in those localities that ban all marijuana businesses.

 

If the bill had passed it would have been a major game-changer, but with around 2/3rd of California municipalities banning any and all forms of marijuana businesses, it just wasn’t going to happen. State legislators were not going to piss off their locally elected city councils and county boards so that their mainly silent marijuana-consumring constituents can access marijuana legally and locally. This reluctance along with powerful forces opposing the bill - police, the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties - all but guaranteed its failure.  It came as no surprise that they were joined by marijuana retail businesses that did not want the competition from out-of-area marijuana businesses distributing in their neck of the woods.

 

finger_point2.jpgWe can point our collective fingers at all these nefarious characters and associations for the failure of these sensible and reasonable pieces of legislation, but ultimately our fingers must point back at us as we failed miserably in using our strength in numbers and public support to force our elected legislators to support these bills and get them passed into law.

 

All failures are not necessarily a bad thing as one bill that failed was a good thing. SB 1273, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), was a putative piece of legislation that would have suspended the drivers' licenses of drivers under the age of 21 who were found to have any amount of THC in their systems. Fortunately this bill did not make it out of committee.

 

There are number of lesser bills that appear to be passing in either the assembly or the senate and will now be considered by the other legislative body. These are:

 

SB 829 to license and protect compassion programs that give away cannabis to needy patients, many of them terminally ill;

 

SB 930 to create charter banks for cannabis businesses;

 

mj_bill_yes.jpgSB 1294 to create a state cannabis equity program;

 

SB 1127 to allow pediatric cannabis patients to take their medication at school;

 

AB 1793 to automatically expunge or re-sentence past marijuana convictions;

 

AB 2215 to allow veterinarians to talk about medical cannabis with their patient's owners;

 

AB 2641 to allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to grant temporary licenses for special events in jurisdictions where the events have been approved;

 

AB 2721 to allow a laboratory to test homegrown cannabis.

 

Yes there is some good, but the above bills still need to make it out of their legislative body and then signed by the governor. Holding one's breath could be dangerous to your health. Taken as a whole, this has been a disappointing legislative session. Realistically it should have been expected.

 

64_approved.jpgOne needs to understand that Prop. 64 was written so it would pass - it never was intended to be a dream initiative. However it contained the seed of a dream initiative with the unusual section that allows it to be amended.

 

organizing_mj.jpgThe drafters of Prop. 64 had some Pollyanna delusion that consumers and businesses with billions at stake and the health and welfare of their communities uppermost in mind would get their act together and develop trade and consumer associations. They would start hiring lobbyists and do the things that normal businesses and billion dollar interest groups do to influence legislators and advance legislation favorable to their concerns and desires.

 

In the 20 years that ensued during the time Prop. 215 was the only legal way to obtain cannabis, medical marijuana patients and medical marijuana dispensaries did essentially nothing to protect access. Patients did smoke marijuana and providers did count their dollars, but that is essentially all they did. This year’s disappointing legislative session and the lack of an effective response to make Prop. 64 better makes it seem like déjà vu all over again.

 

group_answer-page-001.jpgIt’s all about politics and who has the most influence over state legislators. In this case police, reefer-madness-infected elected officials and businesses won over consumers, marijuana organizations, marijuana businesses, most unions, legal associations, community groups and the voters of California who had overwhelmingly approved Prop. 64 in 2016 and expected a reasonable and rational production and distribution system to be put in place.

 

black_market_hands_exchange.jpgMany of these bills and some new ones will re-appear in 2019. If we are to have a more successful 2019 legislative session, marijuana consumers and businesses will have to realize that what we have in the United States is the best government money can buy and they better start pooling their resources and buy some. 

hemet_mj-page-001.jpgBRINGING MARIJUANA TO HEMET and SKULLDUGGERY IMPERILS MAPP_Logo.jpgRIVERSIDE CO. MARIJUANA ORDINANCE at MAPP Meeting on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Moreno Valley.

 

Nestled near Diamond Lake in Riverside County is the somewhat sleepy, somewhat bustling town of Hemet. With a population of 85,000, 1 in 4 residents live below the poverty level, 5.5% are unemployed and city government faces a looming three million dollar shortfall in revenue for its 2017-2018 budget.

 

citry_council.JPGHemet would seem to be the ideal city to receive an infusion of cannabis dollars, but with all five city council member being Republican and two having past associations with law enforcement, Hemet has never been a friendly town for folks wanting to access marijuana. The city had enacted a two-year moratorium on marijuana businesses in 2009 followed by a total ban in 2011.

 

Even with a ban in place, Hemet was not a marijuana desert with a varying number of illegal storefront and delivery distributors operating. Weedmaps currently lists five operating dispensaries in Hemet. The City does work to close them down but like almost everywhere else when a dispensary gets a threatening notice to close, they wait until just before court appearance time and then move a few blocks down the street and reopen.

 

Hemet resident Marie McDonald wants Hemet to get out of this “whack-a-mole game” and allow for legal, licensed and regulated marijuana businesses from cultivation and manufacturing facilities to retail distribution outlets.

 

mariespeak.jpgMarie is a long-time Hemet community activist serving on the HOA Board of Hemet West. She was an active proponent of measure E, the sales tax for police and fire services and measure U, a one percent sales tax increase and is currently Vice-chair of the Hemet Measure U Oversight Committee. Regularly attending and participating in Hemet City Council meetings, Marie is well-known and well-versed in Hemet political circles.

 

Involved with the Democratic Party, Marie was President of the Hemet-San Jacinto Democratic Club and is currently the appointed representative of U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz on the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee. 

 

Marie has approached us to help coordinate an organizing drive to get the Hemet City Council to develop an ordinance permitting marijuana businesses and to have it placed on the ballot in November 2018.

 

Like other cities, Hemet would benefit significantly from a legal and regulated market for marijuana. Marie wants to work with us to provide the Hemet City Council and the residents of Hemet with the information needed to make an informed decision and to organize public presentations at not just the City Council but to civic and community groups.

 

If you live in Hemet, this is an opportunity to utilize your position as a resident. It cannot be underestimated how important and critical your participation is.

 

Pathway.jpgHow we proceed in Hemet can help build a Post 64 pathway for getting other cities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to enact ordinances for allowing marijuana businesses. As in past efforts to assure access, everyone’s help is needed, so no matter where you live, your support is needed so please join us at the Wed. June 7 MAPP meeting in Moreno Valley and meet Marie and begin the process of bringing legal marijuana to Hemet.

 

At this meeting I had planned to make a presentation on my participation in ASA’s National Unity Conference and in ASA’s/CaNORML’s Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento. Unfortunately while traveling to Washington DC to attend the National Unity Conference, I visited with my cousin in Illinois and while on a hike I fell down a waterfall. Falling fifteen feet into a boulder strewn pool, I could have been killed, but I am lucky to have survived with only a severely damaged left leg.

 

snoopy.jpgI will recover, but my movements are restricted with a leg brace making it impossible to drive and participate in other activities. However, I will make it to this important meeting on Wed. June 7 and look forward to working with you and Marie McDonald in bring marijuana access to Hemet.

 

Although I will not be discussing what I learned in DC and Sacramento, I will be making a presentation on what is happening in Riverside Co. regarding allowing marijuana businesses. To be blunt, I am afraid the county is going down a dead-end street that will result in the continued ban on marijuana businesses in Riverside County rather than the enactment of an ordinance allowing for the implementation of the commercial provisions of Prop. 64.

sweep_under_rug.jpg

 

The entire issue is being swept-under-the rug by the BOS and ignored by the media. This needs to change and to change soon. My presentation on what is happening, why it is happening and what to do about it will give you an insider look at the debacle that is taking place right under our noses.

 

greenview_medical.jpgThe Wed. June 7 MAPP meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and is held at the Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd., 92553. As always, a delicious assortment of cookies and fresh milk will be served plus bring a guest and each of you will receive a free pocket pipe.

 

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