The Only Way Not to Get Busted for Smoking Cannabis in Public Places
but where the hell are they?
One of the major problems of Prop. 64 is the provision that bans any consumption in public places. That means that streets, parks and almost all places that the public has access to, including private businesses, are verboten to consume cannabis.
This includes smoking in your car just before you go to a movie, concert or a restaurant. In fact smoking in a parked car could be even more problematic then smoking on the street or in a park as the police officer could reasonably conclude that you were consuming prior to driving which would make the offense possibly more serious.
Fines of up to $100 can be levied if you are cited while consuming cannabis in a public place.
The only place you can legally consume is in a private home or a licensed cannabis lounge. However there are very few licensed cannabis lounges due to the requirement of Prop. 64 that a facility offering on-site consumption must possess either a retail sales license or a microbusiness license. As I am sure you are all aware, these are very difficult, costly and time consuming to obtain in addition to the number available being very limited if they are available at all.
This restriction is not found for alcohol or tobacco in which there are literally hundreds if not thousands of places in most cities and counties where you can consume these legally. Restaurants and other businesses can provide for tobacco consumption if they choose to have a designated smoking area available which is usually in open-air patios.
As for alcohol, restaurants and clubs can obtain liquor licenses or beer/wine licenses. As you probably know from your own observation there are lots of them out there but for the record in California there are almost 48,000 bar and tavern licenses or about one business selling on-site consumption of alcohol for every 8,350 people.
Not having places other than one’s home to legally consume cannabis can make it especially difficult for people to consume cannabis at all if where they live cannabis consumption, especially smoking or vaping, is prohibited. This is true for many apartment dwellers and folks who live in Section 8 housing. Ellen Komp from CaNORML informed me that she was at a National Cannabis Industry Association conference in which the difficulties that seniors and the disabled have in regards to finding places in which they can legally consume cannabis was discussed.
Due to the Prop. 64 requirement mentioned above that a restaurant or business must have a retail cannabis license or microbusiness license, there are very few onsite cannabis consumption places available. A few dispensaries have obtained on-site consumption licenses and do have lounges but they are very few and far between. In addition Prop. 64 does not allow dispensaries to sell anything other than cannabis, so they cannot sell food or beverages.
Many allow their customers to bring their own food and beverages and some provide them free. It would seem only fair though that if customers can bring their own food and beverages to an on-site cannabis consumption lounge, then customers should be able to bring their own cannabis to an on-site food consumption business like a restaurant.
This glaring problem of practically nowhere to go to consume cannabis except home needs to be solved. An attempt to do this was undertaken in the 2019 State Legislature with the introduction of AB 1465. This bill would create a new license category known as a consumption cafe/lounge license. This license would allow the sale of cannabis products, but is different from a regular dispensary license as it would only allow sales of cannabis in amounts suitable for on-site consumption. It would also allow for food and beverage service.
The bill did pass the Business and Professions Committee but did not make it out of the Appropriations Committee. The bill will most likely be introduced again in the next legislative session, but even if it passes it is not likely that sufficient onsite consumption lounges will open up to meet the need for providing places where people can consume cannabis outside of their homes.
If a bill like AB 1465 allowing cannabis lounges that sell cannabis passes, it is likely that the regulations and licensing procedure for obtaining a cannabis café lounge license will be as complex, convoluted and expensive as obtaining a retail dispensary license. With the numbers most likely being as severely restricted as retail dispensary licenses, there will still be relatively few places available to consume cannabis outside the home.
Of course Prop. 64 could be amended to make public consumption of cannabis akin to public consumption of tobacco which is allowed on streets/sidewalks, specific areas of many businesses and in public parks and beaches unless prohibited by local ordinance. However that doesn’t allow for one of cannabis’s most major benefits to take effect.
As an RN, I have always been in favor of legalizing marijuana as it is the most viable alternative to alcohol for socialization, celebration and consciousness alteration. Depending on the size of a municipality, there are hundreds to thousands of bars, taverns and restaurants where a person or groups can go to consume alcohol.
If we truly want to reduce the negative consequences associated with alcohol consumption - unruly behavior, fights, sexual assaults, drunk driving and exceedingly negative health consequences resulting in over 80,000 deaths a year at a cost in the U.S. alone approaching a quarter trillion dollars every year – then there must be a significantly high enough number of these cannabis friendly businesses that people can go to in place of going to an alcohol based bar or tavern.
Although it may be possible to license enough cannabis café lounges that sell cannabis to reach that significant number of locations, I would caution against holding one’s breath waiting for that to happen. A far easier, less expensive and less restrictive option would be to allow businesses to have cannabis consumption areas in the same way they have tobacco consumption areas.
Although some bars and restaurants may sell tobacco most do not as tobacco vending machines have been outlawed. They do, however, allow their customers to bring their own tobacco with them for consumption in areas set aside for tobacco consumption.
In the same way, businesses can allow their customers to bring their own cannabis on the premises to consume in specific cannabis areas. Many businesses that do not sell alcohol would chose to allow cannabis consumption as it could significantly increase their customer base and most importantly the frequency in which customers return to their business.
The business would make money selling food and beverages and might even have a cover charge or at least a minimum food and beverage purchase requirement for admission. I have spoken with several owners of independent Starbuck’s like coffee shops that would welcome being able to set aside a portion of the business space for cannabis consumers who bring their own cannabis.
With less severe and restrictive licensing requirements then a business that would be selling cannabis, the number of licensed premises could easily reach the point where they will draw a significant number of people away from alcohol based bars and taverns.
Of course, legislation that will allow this will be strongly opposed by the alcohol industry which has always opposed the legalization of marijuana. They are well aware that if marijuana consumption is easily and affordably available that alcohol consumption will decrease significantly. This explains why some of the largest financial political contributions made to politicians and political action committees opposing marijuana legalization come from alcohol businesses and trade associations.
Businesses which allow marijuana to be consumed on the premises but not sell it should increase the sales at retail cannabis dispensaries as people will have to purchase their cannabis from them before going to a business that permits onsite cannabis consumption but doesn’t sell it. As for the handful of dispensaries that obtain a cannabis lounge license, they will be in the very unique situation of being able to sell cannabis to their customers in the same way a bar sells alcohol to its customers. That novelty in and of itself should draw in significant numbers of customer all of which will continue to add to the decrease in alcohol consumption.
To make this happen will require amending Prop. 64 by the state legislature. I am beginning the process with the introduction of a resolution at the August 23 - 25 California Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting in San Jose. If it passes, and I think it will, we will then go to asupportive State Senators and Assembly members to draft and introduce legislation in support of the Party’s resolution. To read the resolution CLICK HERE.
As noted above, having a plethora of onsite consumption locations available is important for the health and safety of our community. For that reason alone as well as providing legal places to consume cannabis, the introduction and passage of a bill allowing for onsite consumption businesses as described above is critical.
AUGUST MAPP MEETINGS
Hear all the newest riverting cannabis news political, social and health plus onsite consumption updates and actions to take in the IE to make it happen where you live!
It’s hot outside but the MAPP meetings are really cool. Lots has been happening on the federal level as we inch closer to ending federal marijuana prohibition. Some action happening on the state level too regarding dispensaries, delivery services, compassion programs and yes cannabis café bills – can the Beatnik Café become a legal cannabis lounge – it could happen.
Join with old friends, meet new ones, network with activists, cultivators and consumers and enter the drawing to win a silicone pipe and Dr. Fitchner’s Cannabinomics. Plus enjoy a delightful assortment of cookies with cold milk and punch.
The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, August 3 at 12 noon takes place at the mystical Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs CA 92262
Historic Federal Vote Protects and Defends Cannabis Legalization
In what has been immodestly heralded as an historic vote, the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin of 267 to 165 voted to approve an amendment protecting the laws in states that have legalized marijuana to the multi-billion dollar super large-scale Appropriations bill that funds major parts of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2020.
This amendment denies funding to the Dept. of Justice to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized not just medical marijuana, as it has done since 2014, but expands the funding prohibition to all states that have legalized marijuana for any use. Most notably the amendment received more “yes” votes than the 2015 amendment protecting only medical cannabis states.
Almost all Democrats supported the amendment with only eight voting in opposition. While the majority of Republicans voted against the amendment to deny funding to the DOJ, 41 GOP members supported it.
Not only does this amendment extend the enforcement ban to Washington DC and U.S. Territories like Guam, but in a separate bill passed the following day, the House approved a similar amendment protecting the cannabis laws of Indian tribes. It is interesting to note that this amendment was passed on a voice vote as no member called for a roll call vote.
Additionally, Democrats excluded a longstanding rider from the Appropriations’ bill which prevented Washington, D.C. from using its own local tax dollars to implement a legal marijuana sales program that had been approved by DC voters in 2014.
The rider preventing Washington D.C. from setting up a voter approved distribution program had been authored in previous years by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD). The anti-cannabis congressman bitterly responded to the rider not being included complaining “we’re not in charge anymore,” presumably referring to the Republican Party's loss of control of the House in last year’s midterm elections.
To make up for the rider not being included, the congressman introduced legislation to prohibit the decriminalization of sex work in D.C. Like his rider, it was also rejected during an Appropriations Committee hearing. Hmmm - are Democrats in favor of allowing local governments to decriminalize prostitution? Just which party is the party truly protecting states’ rights?
Of course passing in the House does not guarantee its passage into law. It still remains to be seen how the Senate will approach the appropriations amendments when that chamber takes up its version of this massive funding bill over the next several weeks.
The Senate through a coalition of almost all Senate Democrats and about a fourth of Senate Republicans had gotten the amendment approved in previous years when it only protected medical marijuana. With the amendment now protecting medical and adult-use of marijuana, the opposition may get stronger.
The key player will be Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. He is an old-line drug warrior that has always supported War on Drugs legislation including marijuana prohibition. He did vote in favor of the bill allowing farmers to cultivate hemp as he knew it would be a boon for Kentucky farmers who have seen their farming income from tobacco significantly decline. If it’s about money for farmers who vote for him, he will throw his decrepit principles under the bus.
It is interesting to note that last year when the House passed the First Step Act, the first federal criminal justice law reform legislation in just about forever, McConnell claimed there wasn’t enough time to bring the bill to the floor. His claims of not enough time were bogus and showcase his antagonism to any criminal justice reform legislation, let alone marijuana law reform, even when the reform is supported by a bi-partisan coalition of Senators. This is not a good omen for the amendment passed by the House denying funding to the DOJ to enforce federal marijuana law in states that legalized its use.
All hope should not be lost. Since marijuana legalization is now supported by a majority of Americans including Republicans, there is always the possibility that McConnell and other Senate Republicans might come to their senses especially when they recognize that stakes for Republicans in the Senate for being re-elected are very problematic. In 2020 there will be 20 Republicans up for re-election and only 12 Democrats almost the reverse of 2018 when 26 Democratic Senate seats were up for election and only 9 Republicans.
It was the fear of losing votes by those Republicans up for re-election in 2020 that played a major role in McConnell suddenly finding the time in 2018 to allow the First Step Act to be voted on and passed on the Senate floor. It may very well be the same fear that will motivate McConnell to allow the Appropriations bill with the DOJ defunding amendment to be voted on and passed.
Then of course there is our mercurial President Trump. My hunch is that he will sign it - just like the First Step Act which he signed. Even though he had nothing to do with it, he now highlights the bill as one of the notable achievements of his administration - at least when speaking to minority audiences. I am sure that after signing the Appropriations bill with the DOJ cannabis defunding amendment, he will tweet grandiose statements taking full credit for the amendment even though he had nothing to do with it either.
He will do this not because he gives a damn about marijuana legalization, but rather because it is not an issue that motivates his all-important base – at his rallies they neither chant “free the weed” or “lock tokers up.”
THE Cannabis Celebration Event
Sales, Consumption, Entertainment, Music, Seminars and FUN
A wonderful and exciting summertime cannabis event is taking place at The State of Cannabiz 2019 Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday, August 10 at the Adelanto Sports Stadium, 12000 Stadium Way, Adelanto CA 92301.
The all-day event is a tribute to the recreational and medical uses of cannabis highlighting its use for health, socialization and celebration. It’s a fun event that recognizes the importance of cannabis in our modern day lives. Geared more to a slightly older crowd then other cannabis celebratory events, the 2019 Health and Wellness Fair welcomes adults 21 & over, seniors, medical patients, veterans and other cannabis consumers to join in for a day of art, music, meditation, seminars, food and of course cannabis.
Yes cannabis can be consumed and purchased in all its many forms - flowers, edibles, vapes, topicals, tinctures, concentrates and more. Spend the day with your friends and make new ones as you visit the many booths featuring your favorite cannabis products, enjoy the music, activities and educational workshops all the while consuming your favorite herb in a safe and welcoming environment.
Music and entertainment is provided all day beginning at 12 noon including a comedy show at 4 p.m. The event’s entertainment culminates at 5:30 p.m. with a special performance by QUNTO SOL, one of the best of the Border Bands - A border band is a band that lives on or near the international border, where the duality of their location influences the music they create. Fusing elements of blues and reggae, and inspired by the sound of the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean, the sound of QUINTO SOL is as unique as it is diverse.
I am really looking forward to the workshops and seminars as I will be the moderator introducing the speakers and their topics ranging from health, wellness, fitness and nutrition to the latest bio-science technologies, innovation, products and consumer trends.
Not only will you have a great time, but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to attend – general admission is only $25 and $20 for seniors, medical marijuana patients and veterans PLUS you get an additional 20% discount off your admission price by clicking on PROMO CODE on the order page and entering the promo code MAPP. CLICK HERE to order your tickets and save now.
With each admission you get a free swag bag with lots of swag and a ticket for the raffle where you can win great prizes.
If you have never been to a licensed cannabis consumption event, then don’t miss the opportunity to come to one of the best. If you have been to one before, you know how much fun they are and you won’t want to miss this one.
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Riverside Co. BOS Permits MJ Businesses While Cops Raid Anza Valley Growers
Buried deep within the consent calendar for the July 2 meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors was the following item:
TRANSPORTATION AND LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Receive and File Cannabis Request For Proposals Results. All Districts.
The vast majority of consent calendars items are voted on en masse with no discussion although a supervisor can pull a specific item for discussion. At the July 2 Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, not one supervisor thought any discussion about allowing cannabis businesses to operate in Riverside County was worth discussing.
WOW! Marijuana is now just an item mentioned in the consent calendar and no one cares? Seems that the controversy over marijuana businesses is now somewhere between shoe stores and 99¢ emporiums.
What now seems to be a ho-hum ordinance is the outgrowth of over two years of meetings, deliberations, hearings, recriminations, quarrels and more – not to mention over a decade of contentious contention between medical marijuana patients and reefer mad BOS, cops and district attorneys.
The little noticed notice in the consent calendar announced that Riverside County has broken free of the mindset of 2/3rds of California counties and cities which have banned any and all cannabis businesses. The County is now actually, really and truly considering the applications of 69 would be cannabis entrepreneurs consisting of 24 retailers, 30 cultivators and 15 other marijuana-related businesses.
A county that was once considered to be the backwaters of cannabis promotion, is entering the still somewhat rarified airspace of local governments allowing Prop 64 to be fully implemented.
The conversion of Riverside County from reefer madness to reefer sanity began back in 2015 when Riverside County enacted one of California’s most sensible medical marijuana patient cultivation programs allowing a patient to cultivate 12 plants with two patients per household and most importantly permitting indoor and outdoor cultivation.
Considering that it wasn’t all that long ago that Riverside County was putting the screws to anyone and everyone who dared to cultivate cannabis even for their own personal use, this transformation is beyond amazing – it is mind boggling.
I have written previously of this new ordinance objecting to its cumbersome, complicated and convoluted developer’s agreement model of licensing and regulating, but perhaps the silver lining is that the developer agreement model will generate far less money for the county then a standard tax and regulate model.
In theory this should mean the cost of production and distribution will be considerably less. Whether that cost saving is passed onto the consumers by the cultivators and business owners remains to be seen, but I would advise against holding one’s breath in anticipation of more affordable cannabis products as a result of the developer’s agreement model.
The upshot of Tuesday's meeting is that the county is going ahead with allowing cannabis businesses and this is just the beginning. It is has been made fairly clear that the county will be issuing more licenses as the program is implemented and county staff become more seasoned in dealing with applications, approvals and regulating existing cannabis businesses.
With cannabis businesses operating throughout the unincorporated areas of the County, how much longer will cities continue to ban cannabis business when their residents can merely drive down the road a bit to an unincorporated area to purchase their cannabis for which the county will get all of the taxes and fees and the cities getting nothing.
The one area in which there is a great deal of unfairness and bitter resentment is found in the Anza Valley. The Anza Valley is a beautiful and idyllic sparsely populated locale nestled in the Santa Rosa Mountains 40 miles southwest of Palm Springs and 90 miles northeast of San Diego. Long a small agricultural community with an ideal climate and rural location, it has for many years been a Mecca for cannabis cultivation.
With the advent of Prop. 64, many of the growers there have sought to legitimize their endeavors through inclusion in Riverside County's newly developed commercial cultivation ordinance, but have been thwarted by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Not letting a murder investigation that had begun in the area on Tuesday evening interfere, approximately 80 search warrants were served on cannabis cultivators on Wednesday, June 5. With a staging area established at the local Hamilton High School in the unincorporated town of Anza, over 600 personnel including deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's office, Army National Guard, Code Enforcement and Animal Control and other public safety agencies swarmed over the rural area serving warrants, confiscating crops and arresting local residents
You can hear the story on the current podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense. Presenting a fascinating history of cannabis cultivation in the Anza Valley and insights into a community divided, Edison Gomez, Jesse Carroll and Jacob Baird from the High Country Growers Association provide a first-hand account of the raid including why it happened, how the raid was conducted, who was affected and the how community is coming together to deal with its aftermath. To hear the radio show now CLICK HERE or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews anytime you want 24/7.
July MAPP Meetings
The MAPP meetings are back on again so let’s get together this Saturday, July 6 in both Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Lots to discuss including Riverside Co.s foray into legal cannabis businesses, new bills in congress to end federal marijuana prohibition, the positions on marijuana legalization of the Democratic candidates for President as well as Trump, what’s happening in California, 2,500 year old archeological discovery, cannabis for Fido and Fluffy and lots more.
Cookies, milk and punch will be served plus there will be a drawing at each meeting to win a free silicone pipe and a copy of Cannabinomics by Dr. Christopher Fichtner
The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, July 6 at 12 noon takes place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs CA 92262
The Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, July 6 at 3 p.m. takes place at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252
July is Sizzling!
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Cops Moan While Civil Liberty Advocates Rejoice
Asset forfeiture, more colloquially known as “policing for profit” and “theft by a cop” is one of the most onerous vestiges of the War on Drugs. Trampling civil liberties, flouting the constitution and being ethically, morally and fundamentally bankrupt, asset forfeiture laws undermine good policing by placing the emphasis on making money rather than protecting the public from dangerous criminals.
Enacted ostentatiously to reduce crime by depriving drug traffickers, racketeers and criminal syndicates of their ill-gotten gains, the program quickly morphed into a gigantic cash cow for police agencies who were allowed to keep the money taken in by asset forfeiture.
What made asset forfeiture so lucrative was that no one had to be convicted of a crime before police could seize their property. More often than not, no charges were ever filed. All cops had to do was claim that they suspected that someone’s property like cars, boats and cash were tied to crime in order for them to keep it.
Like all drug laws, there was a racial component to its enforcement. It should come as no surprise that minorities, immigrants and low-income communities were significantly more likely to fall victim to “theft by cop.” The ACLU reported that over 85 percent of forfeiture payments went to agencies where people of color made up more than half of the local population.
In progressive states like California, legislators realized that this was wrong and passed laws curtailing the ability of police to seize property. Police got around this obstacle by working with federal agencies to enforce loosey-goosey federal asset forfeiture laws thereby not needing state law any longer to seize an innocent person’s assets. Federal law allowed local police agencies to keep up to 80% of assets seized keeping the money spigots open and flowing.
Here is why it great to live in California. Introduced in 2016 and going into effect in 2017, SB 443 made it more onerous for police to make money seizing a person’s assets as the law now required a conviction in most cases before state and local law enforcement agencies could permanently keep anyone’s property.
According to Mica Doctoroff, legislative attorney with the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy, “The goal of SB 443 was simple: to rein in policing for profit in California and reestablish some of the most basic tenants of constitutional law and values. In particular, the bipartisan-backed law was designed to prevent California law enforcement agencies from circumventing state law in order to use the federal civil asset forfeiture process to profit off the backs of property owners who have not been convicted of an underlying crime.”
While the federal government continues to police for profit and cheer lead the failed war on drugs, through SB 443 California has said enough is enough and we are not going to allow policing for profit in our state.
The police were totally opposed to SB 443 and now it is easy to see why. The amount of money California police agencies have lost because they cannot keep innocent people’s assets any longer is staggering.
LA IMPACT —compared to what they took in during 2015, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force lost $3.2 million. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department lost $1.6 million.
In the Inland Empire, San Bernardino police agencies went from $2.9 million in 2015 to $258,996 in 2018 while Riverside agencies went from $2.1 million to $1.2 million. Santa Ana and Anaheim police departments lost $2.5 million.
Police are bemoaning the loss of all this money claiming it will put public safety in jeopardy. Of course if police are paying more attention to crimes in which there are real victims instead of spending time going after victimless crimes where they can make more money, our communities will be safer and our constitutional rights and liberties will be respected.
NURSE NAVIGATOR TO SPEAK ON CANNABIS NURSING CONVENTION
Palm Springs and Joshua Tree MAPP Meetings on Saturday, May 4
Ruth Hill, RN, a cannabis nurse navigator specialist, will report on the 2019 Cannabis Nurse Network conference with the latest information on cannabis research, cannabis magazines published by women, new laws being considered by the California legislature and innovative developments in cannabis nurse/patient consultation programs.
The Cannabis Nurse Network is a global network of registered nurses who include Endocannabinoid System health, and implement cannabinoid therapeutics in support of a patient’s journey to holistic balance. The organization sponsors an annual professional development and education conference designed exclusively for cannabis nurses & licensed medical professionals to advance their understanding of cannabis medicine, the endocannabinoid system and its practical application in day-to-day patient care & practice.
In addition to discussing these important issues, RN Hill will provide handouts on many of the conference’s programs.
Ruth Hill brings over 50 years in nursing from a multitude of settings including hospice and palliative care. She is a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association, the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Cannabis Nurses Association. Ruth joined Holistic Caring two years ago, a consulting organization that focuses on educating clients on the safe use of medical cannabis.
Cookies, milk and punch will be served plus win a genuine silicon pipe at each meeting.
The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, May 4 at 12 noon takes place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs CA 92262
The Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m. takes place at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252.
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Assert Your Power It's Your Government
Join Us at the ASA/CaNORML
Citizens MJ Lobby Day in Sacramento
The ASA/CaNORML Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento has always been a special event that is informative, productive and fun. For 2019 they are putting together the largest, most rewarding and successful Citizen Lobby Day ever and you can be a part of it!!!
On Monday, May 6, they are expecting over 200 participants representing patients, advocates, providers, industry workers and others to participate in the state's largest cannabis lobby day.
It’s an amazing experience in the democratic process as you take part in the legislative briefing and lobbyist training which will give you the information and skills you need to meet with your state assembly member and state senator at California's state Capitol that very same day. Citizen lobbying works - Research shows that an in-person visit from a constituent like you is six times more likely to influence an undecided lawmaker than a visit from a paid lobbyist.
Lobby day begins with a continental breakfast at 8:00 AM in the Metropolitan Terrace on the 7th Floor of the Citizen Hotel located at 926 J Street, Sacramento. The morning program starts at 9:00 AM, where you will be presented an overview of the bills on which you will be lobbying, along with tips for effective lobbying. You will then be armed with fact sheets on all the bills for your afternoon meetings with lawmakers, along with forms to report on your meetings. Return the forms at the evening VIP reception for lawmakers and attendees in the Scandal Lounge back at the Citizen Hotel starting at 5:30 PM.
Here are some of the bills you will learn about and be trained to lobby for:
• SB 34 (Wiener) to protect compassion programs in California
• AB 286 (Bonta) To Temporarily Lower Cannabis Taxes
• SB 233 (Hill)To Allow Medical Cannabis Access in Schools
• AB 1465 (Bloom) To License Cannabis Consumption Cafés and Lounges
• SB 305 (Hueso) To Allow Qualified Patients Medical Cannabis Access in Healthcare Facilities
ASA/CaNORML’s Citizen Lobby Day has always been extraordinary – everyone who has participated has always felt it was one of the most satisfying days they have spent in a long long time and look forward to participating again
Want to join in – you can!
Every year we rent a van and bring 10 to 15 IE residents to Sacramento for Citizen Lobby Day. Let me assure you that getting there is half the fun!
We will leave on Sunday, May 5 at 8:30 a.m. from Palm Springs and will pick up at several locations along the travel route in the IE from Palm Spring to Riverside and San Bernardino. We arrive in Sacramento at around 6 p.m. and check in at a local motel. We go for dinner and after dinner get together for a social cannabis-friendly event.
On Monday, May 6 we go to the Legislative Briefing and Lobbyist Training at the Citizen’s Hotel in downtown Sacramento. In the afternoon you will go to the State Capitol Building and to the offices of your state assembly member and senator. ASA will make appointments for you, so you will be expected. You will most likely meet with the legislator’s Chief Legislative Aide, but it is not unusual to meet with your actual state assembly member and senator.
After the lobbying, we reconvene in the Scandal Lounge at 5:30 p.m. in the Citizen Hotel for a VIP Reception with lawmakers and other state officials. We leave about 7:00 p.m. for home arriving back in the IE around 2 or 3 a.m.
Yes it is a very full day – one that you will tell everyone you know about. You are not on the sideline looking in – you actually participate in our democracy! And it’s all for cannabis – your right to safe, reliable, local and affordable access in California.
Yes you will actually be able tell your grandkids what you did to end marijuana prohibition.
The cost is only $85 per person. This includes transportation, lodging (two to a room) and all registration and reception fees. We will dine together if you chose, but all food purchases are on your own. We will be staying at the Red Lion Roy Inn in Sacramento. All rooms have microwaves and refrigerators as well as free-internet. Although there is a continental breakfast served at the Citizen Lobby Day morning briefing, there is also a continental breakfast served at the hotel. For those inclined, there is also a fitness center.
There is only room for 12 people in the party van and there are only six seats left – so don’t delay and miss out on this enlightening and fun trip. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and reserve your seat in the van, your room in the Inn and most of all you participation in grassroots cannabis activism.
For those who want to go but need some FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, we have a limited number of SCHOLARSHIPS to cover all costs except for meals. Just ask when you make your reservation.
If you can take off on Sunday May 5 and Monday May 6 and don’t need much sleep to function on Tuesday or can just sleep on Tuesday, then don’t miss this extraordinary day. I guarantee you will not regret attending and will look back on it for many years as something that you participated in and accomplished and are very proud of.
Space is limited so if you want to join us, contact me ASAP. Send that email to email@example.com and I will get back to you to sign you up for an experience that will make you feel proud to be an American, a Californian and a cannabis consumer!!!!!!
LOOKING FOR A 420 PARTY ON 420 DAY?
There is one in Palm Springs and It's FREE!!!!
As if you ever needed an excuse to come to Palm Springs, how about a 420 DAY celebration party with live bands, DJs spinning hot dance music, speakers, information booths and more - it is everything you could ever want in a 420 Day celebration except for maybe consuming cannabis. Palm Springs has some weird on-site consumption laws and even though the location is a licensed dispensary where you can buy enough weed to zap a cat, on-site consumption is still verboten.
No matter what PS does and doesn't, the event takes place on Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the PSA Organica Dispensary, a licensed facility just east of downtown Palm Springs. It is an open-air event and since it is Palm Springs, you know the weather is going to be just perfect.
There will be a special ceremony at 4:20 p.m. honoring the amazing health and recreational uses of this ancient medicinal herb. You don’t want to miss celebrating the rapidly approaching collapse of marijuana prohibition and the end of 80 years of reefer madness.
Best of all it’s all FREE – all you need to bring with you is proof that you are at least 21 years of age and you can be a part of an amazing 420 Party.
PSA Organica is located at 400 E Sunny Dunes Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264. For more information, call them at: (760) 778-1053
Celebrate 420 DAY all year - feel good all year by helping us all year!
From working with local governments to establish reasonable and workable regulations for cannabis businesses to protecting cannabis consumers from losing their jobs for using legal cannabis, MAPP is there. Please help us be there for you.
Riverside County Will Lose $30 Million with Proposed Marijuana Biz Ordinance
Riverside County has just released its proposed ordinance on marijuana businesses and will hold a Board of Supervisors hearing on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 9 a.m. As expected, the ordinance is a morass of overly complex regulations, byzantine bureaucratic application procedures designed as a full employment program for lawyers and a Developer Agreement finance scheme that will result in massive losses of tax revenues to Riverside County.
Now am I sure about what I wrote above? No I am not because this ordinance is as transparent as lead. There are 9 lengthy, complex and obtuse attachments for the BOS to consider when this ordinance comes up for consideration on Tuesday, Jan. 29. If you want to peruse this entangled amalgamate of regulations, permits, fees and more CLICK HERE.
Under this ordinance the county will issue 100 permits broken down into 50 for cultivators, 19 for retailers, 22 for manufacturers, 4 for nurseries, 4 for distributors and one testing laboratory. The rational behind these off-the-wall numbers is that this is the most the Planning staff can handle in 2019.
The major flaw in this entire ordinance is that it is based on a Developer’s Agreement model instead of a Regulate and Tax model which is used by every other municipality that has allowed cannabis businesses to exist. The problem with a Developer's Agreement is that fees cannot be based on sales as then it would be a tax and would require a vote of the people.
If you do not know what a Developer Agreement model is and how absurd it is to apply to cannabis businesses, check out my Oct. 2018 newsletter by CLICKING HERE. With an understanding of what a Developer Agreement is and what it does, it becomes crystal-clear see why no other city or county in California has gone the Developer Agreement route.
The Riverside County BOS had no concept of what they were doing when they went along with Supervisor Chuck Washington’s insistence that a Developer’s Agreement be used for legalizing cannabis businesses. After passing this absurd ordinance, they dumped the problem on figuring out how to implement a Developer’s Agreement onto the backs of the Riverside Co. Planning Dept. The Planning Dept. had no idea how to do this so they spent an unknown amount of taxpayer dollars to hire HdL Consulting Company.
HdL bills themselves as “the only consulting firm with professionals who have direct experience regulating cannabis operations at the local and state level.” They have made millions developing ordinances, writing regulations, crafting licenses and constructing tax programs for befuddled cities and counties throughout the state.
Not knowing what to do the Riverside County Planning staff punted to HdL to essentially reinvent the wheel as no one has ever done this before with cannabis businesses.
Did the County get its money’s worth? As far as I can tell from my reading of the HdL Companies report, they didn’t - that is if they were expecting a scheme to produce the same $30 to $40 million a year in revenue that a traditional regulate and tax system would produce.
Why is this? It’s the nature of the beast of what a Developer’s Agreement is and is supposed to do. The ordinance is exceedingly complex but I will endeavor to make the following explanation easy to understand. If you take the time to methodically explore it with me, I believe you will come away with an understanding of why this is a prime example of our county government not knowing its ass from a hole in the ground.
In explaining what a public benefit fee does the HdL report noted “The public benefit contribution presents an anticipated range of additional benefits that cannabis business applicants may offer and commit to as a competitive part of the development agreement process.”
The report then offers an example of a typical public benefit fee.
“For example, a cannabis business applicant may offer to pay an additional contribution per square foot (on top of the baseline fee), or they may offer to fund a specific service, such as the full or partial cost of an additional Sheriff’s Deputy, or a public works project that improves the neighborhood where the business intends to locate.”
Here is where it really gets cagey as the report notes:
“These public benefit contributions are presented as a range, from high to low. These ranges are based upon common cannabis tax rates among 25 local government ballot measures on this past November’s ballot. It is common to base cannabis cultivation taxes on square footage, but it is uncommon to do so for retailers, manufacturers or other types of cannabis businesses.”
The report tries to pull its punches by saying “it is uncommon to do so for retailers . . .” – the fact is it is beyond uncommon – it is non-existent.
Now the HdL report shows just how goofy a Developer’s Agreement is when applied to cannabis businesses when it states:
In this case, the public benefit contribution is not intended to be proportional to earnings in any way, but is rather intended to be proportional to the amount of impact that the business may have broadly on the community.
This is followed up with this zinger:
“The rates are generally tiered so that smaller operations (by square footage) pay a lower rate than larger operations.”
For a retailer, that means a dispensary with 1,000 square feet and $100,000 a month in sales will pay a lower Community Benefit Fee then a dispensary with 2,000 square feet but only $60,000 a month in sales.
The HdL report then list four scenarios for how much money Riverside County will generate using the Developer’s Agreement. Depending on the scenario the amount of money generated from retail sales will range from $2,870,000 to $4,300,000 – a far cry from the $30 to $40 million the county could have earned from conventional regulate and tax programs.
To explain how they arrived at the figures in these hypothetical scenarios, HdL presents a truly off-the-wall and disingenuous justification:
“The range of public benefit contributions is intended to approximate the amount of contributions that cannabis businesses around the State are able to reasonably provide, based upon typical profit margins and operational costs converted to a reasonable square-foot apportionment.”
The HdL report is totally silent on how to actually in a real-world sense determine a benefit fee “based upon typical profit margins and operational costs converted to a reasonable square-foot apportionment.” I guess they are dumping that on the County, but since HdL couldn’t figure it out I doubt if the County’s Planning staff can either.
The HdL report is a rip-off and Riverside County should ask for their money back. Then again they were asking HdL to do the impossible so they shouldn’t be surprised when HdL can’t do the impossible but writes a report in order to justify the amount of money the County paid them to write a report.
Now it may be argued that the lower fees under the Developer Agreement model will mean lower costs for cannabis consumers. Now that would be worth celebrating but I really doubt if cannabis consumers will see much in cannabis price reductions. They certainly haven't seen much in retail price reductions even though wholesale prices of cannabis have plummeted from an average $2,500/pound pre-Prop. 64 to about $1,250/pound post-Prop. 64.
I have no idea what Riverside County is going to do with the HdL report and the ordinance under consideration at the Tuesday, Jan. 29 meeting of the BOS. If you are looking to get into the cannabis business in Riverside County then you need to be at this meeting if you are ever going to understand what is happening in Riverside County and what you will have to do if you want to have a cannabis business whether it is a farm, an edible’s manufacturer, a dispensary or a mom-and-pop microbusiness.
It is possible that the BOS may just put this off for another year or two, so if you are a cannabis consumer, you should be there too and let the County know that you expect to have safe, reliable and local access sooner rather than later.
For political junkies who live to see elected officials tie themselves up in knots made under the influence of reefer-madness, this will be a most entertaining government meeting.
The Riverside County BOS meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. but it is anybody’s guess when it will come up for consideration. I have been told by a reliable source that it is unlikely to be discussed before 10 a.m. BUT if you want to testify it might be best to get there earlier just in case the BOS limits public testimony to just one hour.
The Riverside County BOS meeting is held in the first floor council chambers in the Riverside Co. Administration Building at 4080 Lemon St., in downtown Riverside 92501.
I will be making contact with Riverside County staff and officials on Monday and I may learn a few things – like I got everything wrong and I don’t know what I am talking about or I may get my worst fears confirmed. For those who are interested in learning about what I learn on Monday, I will be holding an open-to-all teleconference on Monday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. If you would like to participate in the teleconference, call 605-475-3235 and use access code 275905# to join the conversation.
February MAPP Meetings
Learn about what happened in Riverside, get the latest news, join in the discussions, network, make new friends, stay in touch with old friends, enjoy cookies with milk and win a genuine silicon pipe.
Coachella Valley/Palm Springs MAPP meeting – Saturday, Feb. 2 at 12 noon at the exotic Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Morongo Basin/Joshua Tree MAPP meeting – Saturday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. at the legendary Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252.
Western IE/Riverside MAPP meeting – Our meeting place has closed so the Feb. meeting is canceled until a new place to meet is located..
Celebrate Valentine's Day and show your LOVE for cannabis by joining MAPP’s 420 Club and donating $4.20 every month to help us keep you informed and solidify your right to safe, reliable, local and affordable access.
From working with Riverside County to establish reasonable and workable regulations for cannabis businesses to protecting cannabis consumers from losing their jobs for using legal cannabis, MAPP is there. Please help us be there for you.
#marijuana #marijuananews #marijuanalegalization #cannabis #medicalmarijuana #MAPP #marijuanaantiprohibitionproject #drugpolicyreform marijuanalawreform #marijuanaaccess #drugwar #warondrugs #reefermadness #marijuanacompassionandcommonsense #riversidecounty #marijuanaregulations #marijuanaliceneses
As America Recovers from 80 Years of Reefer Madness, So Does the World
As 2018 comes to a close and 2019 looms, Americans, according to most pundits, are as divided and polarized as they have ever been going all the way back to the times of the Civil War. One of the very few issues that is enjoying bipartisan support across the political and cultural spectrum is the end of marijuana prohibition and the beginnings of various state sanctioned legalization programs.
Polls universally show the majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. A June 2018 poll conducted by GBA Strategies for The Center for American Progress found 68% of voters support marijuana legalization. This support cuts across party lines with 77 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of independents supporting legalization.
Support for legalization also cuts across racial lines with 72 percent of African-Americans, 69 percent of whites and 64 percent of Latinos in favor. There use to be a major gender gap with women opposing legalization, but now the sexes see marijuana almost identically with 69 percent of women and 66 percent of men supporting the legalization of cannabis.
With Michigan legalizing the recreational sales of marijuana in 2018, nearly 80 million Americans — 25 percent of the total U.S. population — live in a state or jurisdiction that has legalized recreational marijuana. What began with California’s passage of Prop 215 legalizing the medical use of marijuana has morphed into a nationwide push for ending marijuana prohibition that appears unstoppable. The genie is definitely out of the bottle.
As America recovers from eight decades of reefer madness, it should be expected that there will be bumps in the road as states implement their own legalization programs with varying degrees of success. The predictions by marijuana opponents of rampant crime, addicted children, carnage on the highways and the end of civilization have not materialized.
With over $8 billion in sales in 2018, which are expected to reach over $23 billion in just four years, marijuana businesses are springing up like flowers in spring. Overcoming the byzantine regulations and licensing systems enacted by nervous-Nellie legislators and government agencies, these newly enfranchised businesses are a remarkably diverse lot notably giving the lie to the predictions of the "nattering nabobs of negativism" who claimed that legalization will lead to the take-over of the marijuana trade by Monsanto and Marlboro.
As noted in a previous newsletter, with the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, there is a real possibility that federal marijuana prohibition may end in 2019. As proof of their commitment to allowing states to move forward with legalization programs, the Democratic staff of the congressional Joint Economic Committee published The National Cannabis Economy highlighting the “economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels.” To read the full report CLICK HERE.
Since it was the United States that spread reefer madness throughout the world, it is incumbent upon the United States to spread reefer sanity. Fortunately other countries are not waiting for the United States to start the process before they legalize cannabis. Canada legalized cannabis sales throughout the country in July 2018 and Mexico, whose Supreme Court already declared that it is unconstitutional to prohibit the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by individuals, has a new president who is committed to not just legalizing marijuana but upending America’s War on Drugs.
It is not just Western industrialized nations that are changing their attitudes on marijuana. In the African continent Lesotho and Zimbabwe have legalized marijuana for medical use and the South African Supreme Court unanimously legalized the private use of cannabis ruling that it was “unconstitutional and therefore invalid” to criminalize the drug.
Most significantly as reported by Newsweek Magazine, a number of Asian nations, with some of the most severe and repressive laws “have taken note of cannabis legalization movements in North America and other countries, with several moving to chart a similar path.” Citing progress in Asian countries as diverse as Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, the magazine noted that “India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan also becoming interested in looking at medical cannabis in part because they see how much money the rest of the world’s companies and countries are getting out of it.”
Hmmmm – “how much money” they “are getting out of it.” No matter how much we might wish it was otherwise, the bottom line of marijuana legalization, like just about everything else, is that it’s all about money. We may very well have “freed the weed,” but weed still has its price.
A 4,000 Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana
Be dazzled and inspired by the newest edition of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense when you learn about Tokin' Women, a must-read book that delivers amazing descriptions of amazing women who over the last 4,000 years have been been consumers and purveyors of cannabis from the ancient goddesses of milleniums past right up to the film goddesses of today.
Elaborately researched, delightfully written and colorfully illustrated, author Nola Evangelista, seeks to counter today's male dominated marijuana culture by infusing the spirit of women along with the freedom to enjoy this most celebrated herb. Tokin' Women reveals the story of over 50 remarkable women and their intimate connection to the world of cannabis.
Our interview is with Ellen Komp, Assistant Executive Director of California NORML, who has chosen the pseudonym Nola Evangelista to be the listed author of the book. Discussing why she wrote the book, the work that went into research and its relevance to the current age where marijuana is once again reclaiming its rightful place alongside humanity, Ellen will explain why the subjugation of women in human culture has conincided with the supression of healing herbs and plants like cannabis.
CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF CANNABIS AT MAPP MEETINGS
IMPORTANT: Riverside County has received the report from HdL on how to implement the absurd and obscene Developer's Agreement for the proposed Cannabis Business ordinance. The Planning Dept. is refusing to release it to the public - I am working on getting it. The Board of Supervisors will be discussing the ordinance and the HdL plan at their Jan. 29 Board meeting. I will present at the January MAPP meetings what I have learned about this.
In addition there will be a free-wheeling and open-ended discussion of marijuana in 2018 and what needs to happen and will happen in 2019. We have come a long way so recount some of your stories of how you got to where you and we are with marijuana. Please see the special note about the Moreno Valley meeting.
Network, socialize, get informed, enjoy a delicious assortment of cookies, milk and punch and win a genuine silicon pipe.
Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Wednesday, January 2 at 7:30 p.m. -. This will be the last meeting of MAPP at Greenview Medical as the office is closing mid-January. Locating a new meeting place will be discussed. Meeting takes place at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley CA 92553
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting – Saturday, January 5 at 12 noon - Meeting to take place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting - Saturday, January 5 at 3 p.m. -. Meeting takes place at the fabulous Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252.
Just before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, raise your left leg so that you will start off the year on the right foot.
Then continue 2019 on the right foot by joining MAPP’s 420 Club and donating $4.20 every month to keep us going throughout 2019.
From working with Riverside County to establish reasonable and workable regulations for cannabis businesses to protecting cannabis consumers from losing their jobs for using legal cannabis, MAPP is there. Please help us be there for you.
#marijuana #marijuananews #marijuanalegalization #cannabis #medicalmarijuana #MAPP #marijuanaantiprohibitionproject #drugpolicyreform #drugwar #warondrugs #DrugPolicyAlliance #reefermadness #feminist #womenandmarijuana #marijuanacompassionandcommonsense
Is Marijuana Prohibition Coming to an End?
Although President Trump attempted to put a positive spin on the outcome of the November 6 election, there was no getting around the fact that the equation in Washington DC has undergone a major change. Although the Senate remains in control by the Republicans, the Democrats picked up an impressive 39 seats in the House of Representatives.
Being in control of the House gives the Democrats tremendous clout as under the Constitution, they now have the exclusive authority to initiate tax and spending legislation. Other powers the Democrats didn’t have but now do is the ability to summon cabinet officers and other officials to appear before various House committees to explain and defend Executive policy, rule making, conduct and more.
Oh, oh - they also now have the power to initiate impeachment proceedings.
Most importantly as far as cannabis consumers are concerned is that they now have the power to not only introduce legislation but to get it out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. Except for continuing to remain a part of the bi-partisan coalition behind the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment (now the Rohrabacher/Blumenauer amendment after Rep. Sam Farr retired) which began back in the days of President Obama and prevents the Department of Justice from spending any money to enforce federal marijuana law in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana and enacted a state regulatory program, the Republicans have done essentially nothing during the two years in which they had total and complete control over both the Legislative and Executive branches of government.
With the Republicans in control of the House, marijuana reform legislation never made it to the House floor as Republican representative Pete Sessions used his position as Chairman of the House Rules Committee to block House floor members from voting on over three-dozen cannabis related bills and amendments. Sessions blocked a number of popular, bipartisan-led reforms — such as facilitating medical cannabis access to military veterans and amending federal banking laws so that licensed marijuana businesses are treated like other legal industries.
If Session had allowed these bills to be sent to the floor for a vote, the vast majority of Democrats and about 1/3 of the Republicans would have supported them giving them enough votes to be passed. But he didn’t so they couldn't.
Rep. Sessions was caught by the blue-wave and failed in his re-election bid for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, being defeated by Democratic challenger Colin Allred. As noted by former Republican Representative Bob Barr on FOX News, “the question of marijuana legalization appears to have been a factor in his race.” Sessions received an F grade in NORML’s latest Congressional Scorecard. By contrast, Allred received a B+ grade as a result of his stated support for cannabis decriminalization and medical marijuana access.
Chairperson of the House Rules Committee is one of the most powerful chairpersonships in Congress and it will not go to a freshman like Allred. That position is going to Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) which portends good times ahead.
With McGovern as chairperson, 2019 may very well be the year the cannabis paradigm undergoes a seismic shift as reform legislation is expected to move forward in the now Democratic-led House of Representatives.
The Boston Globe reported that McGovern has promised to permit federal lawmakers to debate and vote on marijuana-related amendments when he assumes control of the Committee in January. “Unlike my predecessor, I’m not going to block amendments for marijuana. Citizens are passing ballot initiatives, legislatures are passing laws, and we need to respect that. Federal laws and statutes are way behind.”
Rep. McGovern intends to prioritize legislative measures that limit federal interference in legal marijuana states, expand medical cannabis access for veterans and amend federal banking restrictions on the legal cannabis industry.
Can we trust Democrats to do what they say? With the Party’s platform and almost two-thirds of Democrats across the county in support of marijuana legalization, I expect we can.
That doesn’t mean we should let our guard down and take a Pollyanna attitude. We need to hold Dems’ feet to the fire and that means letting your Congressional Reps, whether they are Democrat or Republican, know of your support of marijuana reform legislation. That means taking some of your precious time to send letters and emails, phone their offices and absolutely best of all if you want to make your voice heard for sure, making in-person visits to their offices and speaking up at their town hall meetings.
Of course the fly in the ointment is that the Senate is still in control of the Republicans. It’s not that the reform legislation wouldn’t pass in the Senate – it would as there are enough Democrats and Republicans who support marijuana reform to get it passed, but Republican leadership may prevent it from going to the floor for a vote.
Foreshadowing Senate Republican leadership antipathy to marijuana reform legislation is the reaction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that has bipartisan support including the support of President Trump.
The House passed a version of the First Step Act in spring, but the House version was limited to reforms on the “back end,” such as slightly increasing good time credits for federal prisoners and providing higher levels of reentry and rehabilitation services.
Revised in the Senate, the First Step Act now lowers mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses, reduces life sentences for drug offenders with three convictions (“three strikes”) to 25 years, allows thousands of prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses to petition for a reduced sentence and provides enhanced services for reentry and rehabilitation programs.
Just because McConnell has come to his senses regarding industrial hemp doesn’t necessarily portend well for ending federal marijuana prohibition as McConnell’s support for hemp is due to the financial desperation Kentucky’s farmers are undergoing as the nation continues its revulsion to tobacco.
McConnell, claiming there isn’t enough time to bring the bill to the floor, said he will not allow the bill to be voted on this year. His claims of not enough time is bogus and showcases his antagonism to any criminal justice reform legislation even when supported by a bi-partisan coalition of Senators and the President. This is not a good omen for marijuana reform legislation that makes it out of the House and into the Senate.
Since marijuana legalization is now supported by a majority of Americans including Republicans, there is always the possibility that McConnell and other Senate Republicans might come to their senses especially when they recognize that stakes for Republicans in the Senate for being re-elected are very problematic. In 2020 there will be 20 Republicans up for re-election and only 12 Democrats almost the reverse of this year when 26 Democratic Senate seats were up for election and only 9 Republicans.
Could marijuana be a factor in which party takes control? If House Democrats fail to pass marijuana reform legislation or if Senate Republicans fail to pass the legislation sent from the House or if President Trump veto’s these bills, then it most surely will be a major issue for the House, the Senate and the Presidency in 2020.
Will 2019 be a banner year for marijuana law reform or will it fall victim to machinations of timid Democrats and reefer mad Republicans? Whatever happens will be fascinating to watch and even more exciting to get down in the trenches and be involved in.
GETTING DOWN IN THE TRENCHES AT DECEMBER MAPP MEETINGS
All three December MAPP meetings will be about gearing up to end marijuana prohibition once and for all. Up for discussion and analysis will be what bills will most likely be considered in 2019, what the legislative path will be, who in Congress will be supportive and who will be opposed to reason and common sense.
2019 may be the year that the feds get out of the marijuana prohibition business – it could happen and will be more likely if you get involved. If you live in the IE or just happen to be visiting, join us at the MAPP meeting nearest you.
Plus win one of two silicone pipes plus network with friends and enjoy a delightful assortment of cookies with milk at each meeting.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting - December 1 at 12 noon - Meeting to take place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meeting - Saturday, December 1 at 3 p.m. -. Meeting takes place at the fabulous Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252.
Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Wednesday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m. -. Meeting takes place at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley CA 92553.
It's almost winter! Time to kick back with a steaming cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a bowl of quality bud in the other and JOIN OUR 420 CLUB
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Judge guts Fontana personal cultivation ordinance
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.
A 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.
That 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.
On 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.
Judge 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 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,”
Fontana 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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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.
In 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.”
Openly 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 that “The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.”
The 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.
Although 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.
Not 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.
A 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.
Whether 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.
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NOVEMBER 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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