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 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.
Assembly and Mayor Candidates to speak at September MAPP meetings
42nd AD Candidate Takes on the Issues at Palm Springs & Joshua Tree MAPP meetings Saturday, September 1
42nd 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 Mayoral Candidate Discusses City's Marijuana Policies & Local Issues at Moreno Valley MAPP Meeting Wednesday Sept. 5
Moreno 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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Will 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
Democrats 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
Senator Feinstein Kinda Sorta Working On It
As 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 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.
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.
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Victorville’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).
It 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.
A 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.
Attending 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.
If 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.
This 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.
Restricting 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.
Marijuana 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.
A 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.
I 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.
A 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.
BMD 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.
BMD 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.
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.
As 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.
July 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.
For 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 firstname.lastname@example.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
Palm 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.
Joshua 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.
In 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.
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Decent 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.
Medical 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:
All 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: email@example.com and I will send you a special email with whatever information I can uncover.
There 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.
In 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.
However 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.
A 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.
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 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:
“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.”
I 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.
It 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 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.
I 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.
Both 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.
Whether 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.
Protecting Good Samaritans
Valerie 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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Legislature Kills Major Marijuana Bills
Keeps Door Open for Minor Ones
Legal Cannabis Remains Hard and Expensive to Get But You Can Still Get Fired
Most 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.
AB 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.
Also 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.
AB3157, 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.
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.
AB 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.
Senate 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.
We 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;
SB 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.
One 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.
The 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.
It’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.
Many 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.
BRINGING MARIJUANA TO HEMET and SKULLDUGGERY IMPERILS RIVERSIDE 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.
Hemet 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.
Marie 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.
How 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.
I 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.
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.
The 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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Riverside County Is California's Most MJ Business Friendly County
A report from the OC Register lists Riverside Co. as the number one county in California to allow and facilitate marijuana businesses. With only 15 of California’s 58 counties allowing marijuana businesses it is almost inconceivable that Riverside Co. has risen to the top or maybe it shows just how successful marijuana opponents have been in stalling implementation of the commercial provisions of Prop. 64 everywhere else.
The report sets up a scale of 0 to 100 based on a number of factors. One of them is how many types of business are allowed as there are cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distributing and other types and not all cities and counties allow all of them to operate. To get above 96 points, cities and counties must allow every type of marijuana business licensed by the state - medical and recreational licenses for cannabis sales, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing licenses as well as allowing residents to grow marijuana at home, both indoors and outdoors.
As unreal as it may seem considering all the horrors many have been through in Riverside County, it is practically inconceivable that Riverside Co. is the only county in the state to score above 96 points with seven cities in the County scoring at 96 or above – more than any other county in the state.
Four of the six cities are in the Coachella Valley area. Perris and Lake Elsinore along with Blythe on the extreme east end of the County are the only cities outside of the Coachella Valley permitting marijuana businesses. If Riverside Co. with seven cities is on top that only goes to show how poorly Prop. 64 distribution programs are being implemented throughout the state.
Fewer than one in three California cities (144 out of 482) allow any kind of cannabis business to operate in their jurisdiction. And just 18 of the state’s 58 counties permit cannabis businesses in their unincorporated areas. Riverside Co. is not one of these 18 although they are in the process of drafting an ordinance to allow cannabis businesses of all types.
With Riverside Co. having the most cities of any county in the state to permit all marijuana business, it sure seems that all the protests and testimony before elected officials we have done over the years has paid off albeit in a very limited manner. As I have pointed out multiple times over the years, it’s all political. Except for Blythe, beginning with Palm Springs in 2008, every one of the cities in Riverside County that are allowing businesses to operate have been the focal point of marijuana activism at one point or another.
Our numerous appearances before city councils and the County Board as well as the infamous case of IEPHWC Collective vs. City of Riverside have familiarized elected officials with marijuana production and distribution systems making these seven cities more cognizant and consequently more willing to move ahead with permitting them to operate once it became legal, safe and profitable for them to do so. And yet this number is paltry and only goes to show how far marijuana consumers need to go in Riverside County and in the other 57 counties in the state.
Moving forward and getting more cities and counties to allow for commercial operations as well as outdoor personal cultivation will continue to require the same dedicated and coordinated efforts of marijuana consumers working with marijuana businesses. This should be a primary topic of discussion up and down the state and will be one of the topics of discussion at MAPP meetings in May. See below for meeting dates and other topics to be covered at the May meetings.
High Times Gets Spanked by SB City Council
High Times planned 420 Cannabis Cup at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino was thrown into disarray when it suddenly dawned on them four days before the event that they needed the permission of the San Bernardino City Council to hold the event if they want to have their always over-the-top on-site sales and consumption.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control had stated that they would issue High Times the state event permit if the city of San Bernardino would allow it. Thinking it would be a cake-walk, High Times Event Director Sameen Ahmad appeared before the SB City Council asking for permission to hold the event as planned.
The cake-walk turned into an insurmountable mountain as the SB Council turned down the permit with council member Virginia Marquez stating “I feel like it’s being shoved down our throats at the very last minute.” It even got intimidating when council member Fred Shorett asked “Is it possible this event will go on illegally without our permitting it?” and then threateningly intoning “We’d have to shut them down.”
It is no surprise that High Times had little community support as involving the local community in their events has never been a priority for High Times. Very few community members were there so it was just two High Times staffers vs. the SB City Council. If High Times had consulted local community activists, it might have turned out differently.
Without the local and state permit, the Cannabis Cup went on with the musical performances but with very little cannabis as no sales were allowed and in order to consume you had to have a doctor’s recommendation. As a result turnout was considerably less than the 20,000 they expected.
William Cioci, SB resident and cannabis voice-of-reason at many SB City Council meetings was not at the meeting, but has become well-versed in what happened. His insider take on the entire situation is very illuminating and his conclusions might not be what most people would expect. He will be at the Wednesday, May 2 MAPP meeting in Moreno Valley to give us the gossip and a behind-the-scenes look at what befell the high and mighty High Times. More info on the MAPP meeting below.
Make Your Voice Heard
Be Part of ASA/CaNORML
Citizens MJ Lobby Day in Sacramento
For the last eight years, ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento has always been a special event that is informative, productive and fun. In 2018, ASA is being joined by CaNORML to coordinate and create the largest, most rewarding and successful Citizen Lobby Day ever!
On Monday, June 4, 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 that very same day. Citizen lobbying works as legislative staffers readily admit 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.
ASA’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. Take a look at the complete schedule of events and lobbying and you will see why - just CLICK HERE.
Want to join in – you can!
As we have before we have rented a van and can bring 7 IE residents to Sacramento for Citizen Lobby Day. Let me assure you that getting there is half the fun!
We will leave on Sunday, June 3 at 9 a.m. 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 then there is usually an event or private party that attendees can hob knob, net work and just kick-back and relax in preparation for the big day.
On Monday, June 4 we have a light breakfast at 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. Now that can be exciting and memorable.
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 – including your kids and grand-kids who will think you are so cool. 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.
The cost is only $85 per person. This includes transportation from the IE to Sacramento and back, 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.
There is only room for 7 people in the party van and 3 people have already signed up – so don’t delay and miss out on this enlightening, productive, rewarding and fun trip to our state capitol. To join in on this most memorable adventure, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 760-799-2055 and reserve your seat in the van, your room in the motel and most of all your participation in grassroots cannabis activism.
If you want to go, but needs some help to cover the cost, let me know and I will see if I can rustle up a scholarship or two.
If you can take off on Sunday June 3 and Monday June 4 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.
NO TWEETS FROM TRUMP ALLOWING STATES TO PURSUE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
A marijuana blockbuster came into the open Friday when it was revealed that President Trump, according to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), will be supporting legislation to undo marijuana prohibition to the extent that states can enact their own marijuana legalization laws without fear of federal interference.
In response to the Department of Justice’s January 4th announcement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had rescinded the Cole Memorandum, Senator Gardner placed a hold on all DOJ nominees until he received a commitment that Colorado’s rights would not be infringed. After what the Senator termed as positive discussions with DOJ, Gardner lifted some of his holds but kept the rest in place until he received a full commitment that the guidelines of the Cole Memo would be respected. He seems to have received what he considers a full commitment as he released the following statement:
“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana. 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.”
“Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees. My colleagues and I are continuing to work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution that can pass Congress and head to the President’s desk to deliver on his campaign position.”
Although Sen. Gardner referred specifically to Colorado, one would hope that Colorado is a symbolic metaphor for all states. If Trump sticks to this position, it will truly be as much of a watershed moment as it was in 2012 when Colorado and Washington legalized the adult-use of marijuana.
The question, of course, is will Trump stick to it. His unpredictability and capriciousness is legendary so it has to be taken with a measure of skepticism, but apparently Sen. Gardner does not share this concern. In a live Facebook interview with KDVR-TV in Denver, Gardner said it would be a “universal fix” for federal issues faced by cannabis businesses, including access to banks. CLICK HERE to see and hear the interview.
Several reasons to be skeptical:
Sen. Gardner had placed holds on all nominations to the Dept. of Justice creating a major backlog of appointments. This has caused major problems and could cause even worse problems in the near future as FOXnews reported “The action came amid widespread speculation that Trump will remove Justice officials overseeing the Russia investigation. Replacements of any of those officials would require new nominations.” Is it possible Pres. Trump told Sen. Gardner what he wanted to hear so as to get Gardner to withdraw the hold and allow his nominees to be confirmed and will then backpedal once his nominees are sworn in?
This is not idle speculation as others are concerned such as U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who wrote on Twitter “This cannot be another episode of @realDonaldTrump telling somebody whatever they want to hear, only to change directions later on”.
Republicans in Congress are lopsidedly in support of continuing marijuana prohibition. When bills come up that will ease up on marijuana prohibition, only about 25% of Republicans support the legislation whereas upwards of 85% of Democrats support such legislation. It is the overwhelming number of Democrats coupled with a minority of Republicans that kept alive the Rohrabacher/Bluemenauer amendment which prevents the DOJ from spending money to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legalized medicinal marijuana.
It is the majority Democrat/minority Republican Senate and House members that would pass marijuana reform legislation, but they never get to vote on it because the Republican leadership does not allow any marijuana law reform bills to get out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.
If Trump really is going to go to bat for a “federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all,” he is going to have to convince the Republican leadership to let these bills get to the floor for a vote. How many Tweets he sends out on the issue will be a good indication of just how serious he is.
The one big fly-in-the-ointment is police. It is unlikely that Trump consulted police groups, one of his biggest supporters, before leading Sen. Gardner to believe “he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.” When his police supporters find out about this, they most certainly will not be happy. Prohibition of drugs and marijuana is one of their major sources of money and power and their actions over the past five decades has clearly shown they will not let go of this money and power without a major down-and-dirty-below-the-belt fight.
Already opponents of legalization have taken to criticizing and threatening the President. “We hope the president — who doesn’t want to be known as the ‘Pot President’ — will reverse course soon,” said Kevin Sabet, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “This reckless plan will not go unanswered.”
Surely more police and War on Drug recipients will join Sabet. They will make it known to Trump that doing anything that promotes marijuana legalization is anathema to them. Trump loves to surround himself with cops and bathes luxuriously in their adulation, so the blowback from police could be very unsettling to him leading to waffling, backpedaling and then opposing allowing states to move forward on marijuana legalization in violation of federal law.
Several reasons not to be skeptical:
President Trump is more than just a little upset with AG Jeff Session who feels he has let him down big time when he recused himself from the Russian investigation. Rumors have it that Trump wants to fire Sessions but is reluctant to do so because of opposition from Republican congressional members.
Coming out in favor of allowing states to proceed with marijuana legalization and putting the imprimatur of his administration on it, would be an abomination to old-line drug warrior Sessions. This would put Sessions in the untenable position of having to stop his bellicose actions against marijuana legalization and watch helplessly as marijuana legalization spreads through the country. That might piss Sessions off so much that he quits and Trump wouldn’t have to fire him.
Reportedly Sen. Gardner is on good terms with President Trump and anybody on good terms with the President often gets what they want.
Although the majority of Republican in Congress oppose marijuana legalization, recent polls have shown the majority of Republicans in the United States now support marijuana legalization so he won’t be upsetting the all-important base that he caters too and counts on to continue supporting him.
In a campaign rally in Nevada in 2015, then candidate Trump stated “in terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state." Admittedly that wasn’t a major campaign promise like building a wall, but it was a campaign statement nonetheless. Considering how most of his campaign statements remain unfilled, this would be one that he could point to as having fulfilled.
The best reason not to be skeptical came when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders corroborated Gardner’s account stating:
“I can confirm the President did speak with Senator Gardner yesterday and again today. We’re always consulting Congress about issues, including states’ rights, of which the President is a firm believer. And the statement that the Senator put out earlier today is accurate.”
Celebrating MJ in the Middle of Nowhere
420 + 1 Seminar at Wonder Valley Community CenterSaturday, April 21 at 4:20 p.m.
Marijuana is everywhere even in the middle of nowhere and if you are living in the middle of nowhere marijuana is even more essential. On Saturday, April 21 at 4:20 p.m. I will be celebrating 420+1 Day in the middle of nowhere with a special presentation at the Wonder Valley Community Center which really is in the middle of nowhere at 80526 ½ Amboy Rd., Wonder Valley CA 92277.
My presentation will take a brief look back at the evolution of California’s marijuana laws, discuss how the implementation of Prop. 64 is going and how it affects the individual consumer and those who want to jump into this burgeoning business. Being out there in the middle of nowhere where many of these folks live on acres of land makes them very interested in Prop. 64’s commercial business provisions especially the microbusiness license.
Other topics I will cover will be driving laws, personal cultivation laws, the advantages of having a doctor's recommendation and what is happening or should be happening but isn’t in San Bernardino county. A nod to what is happening on the federal level including President’s Trump’s latest revelation will be included. I will conclude the presentation with the latest information on health issues including using marijuana for insomnia, depression and the opioid crisis.
The 420+1 Seminar will also feature a special birthday tribute honoring Yippie living legend, political satirist and cannabis advocate Paul Krassner, author of countless pro-pot articles and books including "Pot Stories for the Soul." According to the sponsors of the Wonder Valley event, Paul has indicated he may be phoning in to join the celebration.
Closing out the day will be live music courtesy of local Wonder Valley musicians.
Refreshments will be served. There is no charge for admission but donations will be accepted to help cover the cost of the event.
If you have never been out to Wonder Valley and been wondering what it is like to live in the middle of nowhere on the way to the Amboy Crater and the Route 66 town of Amboy, then take this marvelous opportunity to make the drive to the middle-of-nowhere and celebrate the marvels of 420 at 4:20 with the folks of Wonder Valley at the Wonder Valley Community Center.
An Unapologetic Progressive and Marijuana Advocate Running for the U.S. Senate
Featured on the newest installment of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense is Pat Harris, an unapologetic progressive running for US Senate from the State of California in the 2018 election against incumbent Dianne Feinstein. He believes it’s time for a truly progressive leader who is ready to not only fight the Trump agenda but can set a strong vision for California to act as a blueprint for the rest of the country.
His platform includes building more affordable housing to address homelessness, providing student debt relief, improving public education, upgrading our crumbling infrastructure with increased public works spending, implementing paid parental leave for all working men and women, and supporting common-sense gun safety legislation.
And yes it includes promoting marijuana legalization and removing the barriers to the implementation of Prop. 64 so that access is available throughout California safely, reliably, locally and affordably.
Pat will speak of his pilgrimage to the booming marijuana town of Adelanto and how this woe-be-gotten berg has emerged as a model for the opportunities marijuana businesses afford.
He believes that by bringing all voices to the table, including those of cannabis consumers and producers, a truly progressive agenda can be forged that will benefit the vast majority of Californians.
Pat grew up in a middle class family in a small farming community in Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas where he was awarded the J. William Fulbright Award as the outstanding history student. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist in the state of Arkansas. In 1993, he graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
For the past 23 years, Pat has practiced law, first in Tennessee as a public defender, later working in private practice as a criminal defense attorney, and most recently as a civil rights attorney representing Hispanic, Black and Armenian minority communities against cases involving excessive force, wrongful death, and false imprisonment involving law enforcement.
He has never backed down from fighting the establishment and has a proven-track record of winning difficult battles, including taking on the Catholic Church over the abuse of children. To learn more about Pat Harris and his campaign for the U.S. Senate, go to: www.patharrisforsenate.com.
For a new look at politics in California as well as the role marijuana plays in them, grab a doobie, an edible or your dab rig for the latest installment of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense. CLICK HERE or log on 24/7 at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews.
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When It Comes to Marijuana, Common Sense Goes Out the Window
Why is it when it comes to marijuana, way too many politicians tie themselves and their constituents into the most egregious knots? Their eyes cloud over, their minds become befuddled and their facial features dissolve into a morass of overbearing forbearance and perplexed bewilderment.
All this and more was on display at a special Riverside County Board of Supervisors “marijuana workshop” on March 20 where at least two of the Board members were hoping to derail the BOS commitment made in August 2017 to move forward with implementing the provisions of Prop. 64 allowing commercial marijuana businesses.
Why two Board members developed cold feet now after the original commitment was made over a half-year ago may have something to do with that these two Board members, Marion Ashley and John Tavalogne, are not running for re-election and will be ending their careers in public service at the end of 2018.
Although they may not quite qualify as being consumed with reefer madness in their approach to normalizing marijuana use, they are certainly far removed from any attachment to a rational perspective on this issue. No doubt they are dismayed that the voters of California legalized marijuana and even more dismayed that the voters in Riverside County also came down on the side of reason and common sense in voting in favor of allowing the use and commercial cultivation, production and distribution of marijuana.
I doubt if they wanted to end their lengthy years of service and endanger what they see as their legacy of conservative prudence on the Riverside BOS by enacting enabling legislation for commercial marijuana businesses. With this perspective, it is understandable why they wanted to derail the implementation of these regulations and let the new Board members elected in November 2018 to vote in favor of the sin, degradation and moral decay that comes with marijuana use.
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries who had been instrumental in advancing Riverside County’s rational and reasonable patient cultivation ordinance, wanted to move Riverside County towards a tight and regulated commercial marijuana market as he felt it was his obligation to enact the will of the voters when they approved Prop. 64. Supervisor Manual Perez was on the same wavelength and was very supportive of enacting an ordinance that would allow Riverside County residents to obtain marijuana in a strictly regulated environment that would also produce significant tax revenues for the fiscally challenged County.
That left Supervisor Chuck Washington as the key vote in whether the County would be going forward or ending the program. This is where the discussion went off in a direction that was totally unexpected.
Supervisor Washington, fearing the gates of hell would open wide if marijuana was treated like Riverside County’s bustling wine industry, broached the idea of utilizing a Development Agreement instead of the customary tax and regulate system that is the norm just about everywhere else for legalizing the commercial marijuana business. I certainly didn’t and I don’t think the almost over-capacity crowd in attendance at the meeting had the slightest idea what he was talking about.
I am not even sure the Supervisors understood all the ramifications of what a Development Agreement is and how it could be successfully applied to the marijuana industry. So what exactly is a Development Agreement?
A Development Agreement is a voluntary contract between a local jurisdiction and a person who owns or controls property within the jurisdiction, detailing the obligations of both parties and specifying the standards and conditions that will govern development of the property. Although the agreements are voluntary, once made they are binding on the parties and their successors.
So how does that apply to the burgeoning cannabis industry? That is the million dollar question – in fact that is the multi-million dollar question and the answer is no one really knows.
Although Riverside County has used Development Agreements before, it hasn’t happened often and it has never been applied across the board to an entire industry. There are very few examples to serve as a model for what Riverside is attempting to do explaining why it can get very confusing when put in practice.
Rather than a tax and regulate scheme that applies equally to all businesses, a Development Agreement is far more cumbersome and complex as it 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 agreement with each must be created. And the complexity only goes up from there.
A person or business that obtains a Development Agreement pays a fee in exchange for being able to operate a business - in this case cultivate, manufacture or distribute marijuana. What these fees are depends on what the impact to the community will be as the fees are allotted for a “community benefit” of the community impacted by the operation of the business.
Understand these fees are not taxes but are allotted for a “community benefit” to mitigate the negative impacts the business has on the community. What the community benefit would be is decided in each individual agreement based on the extent of the impacts the business has on the community. Depending on the community's needs and the impact of the business, the community benefit could be road improvements or a community health center. Each agreement would make an individual and specific determination of impact and benefit.
The “community benefit” fee, consequently, can vary dramatically depending on the impact the business has on the community it is located in. A cultivation or manufacturing business in the middle of nowhere will have less of an impact on a community then a business in a populated area and hence their community benefit fees can be substantially less.
An advantage of a Development Agreement is that unlike a tax which goes into the general fund of the County, the community benefit fee stays in the local community so it can directly help the community it is in.
Another feature that the BOS repeatedly stressed is that the community benefit fee, unlike a tax, does not require a vote of the people which was estimated to cost $750,000. Elected officials generally love that aspect.
Of course, it will be argued that this community benefit fee is an end-run around a tax which would require a vote. If it 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.
Remember that each Development Agreement is separate and each one is unique to the community in which it is located. If the community benefit is essentially the same in all of them it could be argued, and most assuredly will be argued, that this is a scheme by the BOS to avoid the requirement of Prop. 218 that all taxes be voted on by the people.
On top of that, there is the problem on how to assess the community benefit fee. That would not be too difficult for a cultivation community benefit fee as the fee could be based on the number of square feet under cultivation like $20 per square foot. Of course this means that a cultivator will pay the same fee whether they have a successful harvest or not.
Manufacturing and retail stores are far more problematic. The size of a warehouse or store is not indicative of the amount of product manufactured or sold. Most assuredly it cannot be an excise tax on sales. At the BOS meeting no one seem to know how this could be accomplished either, but the BOS have an unlimited amount of faith that their staff can figure it out.
Another issue is that since the community benefit fee only serves the local community, cash-starved Riverside County won’t see any benefit for its general fund that could use a multi-million dollar infusion that a tax and regulate system would provide and a community benefit fee would not.
The bottom line is that on a 4-1 vote, the BOS decided to go ahead with implementing Prop. 64’s commercial provisions and with a 3-2 vote, decided the way to regulate it was through Development Agreements.
Riverside County has given itself a headache that even marijuana will not relieve. Marijuana consumers and the other good citizens of Riverside County will just have to patiently wait and see if the sky falls. The point of critical importance is that they didn’t end the program and are going where Riverside County has never gone before. If the Development Agreement doesn’t pan out, hopefully the County will still have time to devise a “regulate and tax system” that could be ready for Riverside County voters to decide in November 2018.
Medical Marijuana in the Age of Marijuana Legalization at Moreno Valley MAPP meeting Wed. April 4
Medical marijuana in America today, the opioid crisis, the U.S. Congress and the Trump Administration will be under the erudite scrutiny of William Dolphin, Publications Director for Americans for Safe Access, at the monthly MAPP meeting on Wednesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenview Medical Clinic in Moreno Valley.
With the inclusion in the Appropriations Bill by the United States Congress of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment forbidding the Dept. of Justice from spending any money enforcing federal marijuana law against medical marijuana providers and patients, the presentation by Mr. Dolphin is both timely and informative.
Mr. Dolphin will be covering ASA’s “States Report” which reviews the status of medical marijuana laws in the 28 states that have enacted legislation allowing for the use of medical marijuana and how patients in the 8 states and Washington DC have been impacted by the legalization of marijuana in their states.
Of special interest will be his explanation of the “End Pain, Not Lives” campaign that is working to establish cannabis as an alternative to opiates to combat that crisis. With President Trump reigniting the War on Drugs and threatening to execute drug dealers, this reasoned and well-researched report provides a humane and effective alternative.
Mr. Dolphin will conclude his presentation with information on ASA’s May 2018 National Unity Conference in Washington DC which brings medical marijuana researchers, elected officials, patients and activists together to learn and strategize to protect and further the rights of medical marijuana patients. The conference features a day at the Capitol where conference attendees will meet in the offices of their congressional representatives and senators to discuss these issues.
The Moreno Valley MAPP meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4 will be held at Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley CA 92553. Milk, punch and cookies will be served plus bring a guest and you and your guest will both receive a cool little pocket pipe.
Palm Springs New MJ Ordinance Allows New Cultivation, Manufacturing and Dispensaries at PS MAPP meet Saturday, April 7 at 12 noon
Under discussion will be a proposed big new project being proposed for North Palm Springs and astonishingly, the new Palm Springs ordinance which allows the city to license more dispensaries all with on-site consumption lounges. Plus the latest news from near and afar.
The Palm Springs MAPP meeting begins at 12 noon on Saturday, April 7 and is held at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, across the street from the Hyatt Regency in downtown Palm Springs 92262. Milk, punch and cookies will be served plus bring a guest and you and your guest will both receive a cool little pocket pipe.
Enough is Enough – We Are Not Second Class Citizens
Dealing with Snub by SB Supervisor James Ramos at Joshua Tree MAPP meet Saturday, April 7 at 3 p.m.
Local MAPP folks are not taking no as answer from their request to meet with San Bernardino Supervisor James Ramos to discuss the County's refusal to allow commercial marijuana businesses. Ramos, it seems, is too busy running for the state assembly to be bothered with meeting with his constituents who are not in the 40th AD. San Bernardino County Democratic Party Vice-Chair Ron Cohen will regale us with local SB County politics and how to deal with Supervisor Ramos's cold-shoulder. Plus the latest news from near and far.
The Joshua Tree MAPP meeting begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 and is held at the fabled Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252. Milk, punch and cookies will be served plus bring a guest and you both will receive a cool pocket pipe.
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Riverside County BOS Flip-Flops on Allowing Marijuana Businesses
Four of the five Riverside County Supervisors appear to be backsliding on their commitment to implement the commercial business provisions of Prop. 64 as reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise. This is a major step backwards from their commitment to allowing marijuana businesses to operate when a committee was formed last year to develop an ordinance to license, regulate and tax marijuana businesses.
There will be a critical meeting by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) on whether to honor their commitment or to renege on it this Tuesday, March 20 at 1:30 p.m. at the Riverside Co. Administration Bldg, 4080 Lemon St. At this meeting, Board members will be discussing whether they want to continue with the drafting of an ordinance allowing for marijuana businesses or continue the total ban.
This poorly publicized meeting comes as a complete surprise. Last year the Riverside Co Board of Supervisors appointed a committee to draft an ordinance and tax measure to be voted on in November 2018 to allow for the regulation, licensing and taxation of commercial marijuana businesses as allowed under Prop. 64. Serving on the committee was Supervisor Kevin Jeffries and Supervisor Chuck Washington.
The idea was that a draft ordinance was supposed to be released in January 2018 for public comment. When January came and went and then February did the same, I should have been suspicious that some skullduggery was afoot. As far as I know, this committee had held no public meetings while the ordinance was supposedly being drafted. Also as far as I know, I have heard of absolutely no one being contacted for input on the drafting of the ordinance.
After Riverside County enacted one of the most enlightened personal cultivation ordinances in the state, I had been lulled into complacency believing that after years of fierce opposition, antagonism and hostility to all things marijuana, the BOS had seen the writing on the wall and was finally going to do the right thing. WRONG!!!!
Here’s the story:
In a report presented to the Aug. 29, 2017 BOS meeting, it seemed that the County was pro-actively moving forward as committee members Jeffries and Washington wrote “The ad-hoc committee concluded that developing a comprehensive regulatory framework, for the Board’s consideration, related to medicinal and adult-use cannabis businesses and a companion tax measure would enable the County to better manage an already growing and uncontrolled industry.”
In an August 2017 article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries is quoted as saying “Local government lost this battle when the voters of California and Riverside County decided to legalize marijuana in phases. The only question now for local government is do they want to keep spending taxpayer money while the black market thrives, or do they want to get out in front of it and do what government does best – regulate it and tax it? I didn’t vote for it, but we are obligated to respect the will of the voters.”
Now it appears that they may not give a damn about any obligation to “respect the will of the voters.”
Like when we were able to change the BOS mindset to ban all patient marijuana cultivation and instead institute a viable and reasonable cultivation ordinance, we need to be at this meeting in big numbers and make our voices heard to allow marijuana businesses to cultivate, manufacture and distribute marijuana in unincorporated Riverside County.
We need to not just remind but insist that Riverside Co. honor its commitment made in August 2017 to submit an initiative to Riverside Co. voters to license, regulate and tax marijuana businesses as permitted under Prop. 64 which, incidentally, passed in Riverside County.
MOST IMPORTANTLY we must emphatically insist that this ordinance allow for the licensing of microbusinesses as permitted under Prop. 64 so that small operators can cultivate, manufacture and distribute marijuana in the same way that small vineyards, wineries and microbreweries operate in the beer and wine industry. Most cities and counties that have passed ordinances allowing marijuana businesses have not made provisions for licensing microbusinesses. Riverside County with its large rural and agricultural base yet close to large metropolitan areas is the ideal county for cannabis microbusinesses.
We must also insist that the drafting of this ordinance not be made behind closed doors, but through a transparent public committee process similar to what Palm Springs did back in 2008 when it drafted and eventually enacted the first ordinance in the Inland Empire allowing for the distribution of medical marijuana. The Palm Springs committee was composed of two council members, the city attorney, chief of police, planning department director and a broad cross-section of community members. We should expect no less of Riverside County.
It is absolutely critical that as many of you as possible attend this meeting whether it is to speak or be an applauding member of the community demanding that this ordinance be drafted and submitted to the voters in November 2018.
If you chose to speak, you will have three minutes to make your presentation. I strongly urge you to incorporate the following three points into your presentation:
- Support the drafting of an ordinance to be submitted to the voters in Nov. 2018.
- Insist that the licensing of microbusinesses be included in the ordinance.
- That a public committee be appointed to oversee the drafting of the ordinance.
Get as many friends, family members and whoever else you can to attend the meetings at the Riverside Co. Administrative Center. Here’s the meeting info:
Date & time: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.
Location: Riverside County Administration Bldg, 4080 Lemon St, Riverside CA 92501 in the BOS Council Chambers on the first floor.
What if you cannot make the meeting?
If you cannot make the meeting, then send an email to the Riverside Co. Clerk of the Board at email@example.com. In the email tell Ms. Harper-Ihem why you are in support of the drafting of the ordinance utilizing the three points above and any other points you want to make. You can also call the Clerk of the Board at 951-955-1069, but do send an email as it will be included in the official record of the meeting and will be provided to every member of the Board.
Questions? Need more info? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 760-799-2055.
In my last newsletter entitled Gripes, Grumbles and Grouses over Prop. 64, I wrote:
Consumption in a moving car is prohibited as well as possession of an open unsealed container. It is permissible to transport an open container if it is stored in the trunk. Medical marijuana patients can have an open container of marijuana in their car just like they can have an open bottle of prescription medications.
That isn’t quite accurate. A medical marijuana patient can have a container that has been opened, but it must be closed while in the car so bottles must be capped, boxes closed and baggies zip-locked. Recreational users cannot have anything that has been opened and the seal broken – capping, closing and zip-locking is not an option. It must be stored in the trunk.
Loose marijuana is verboten for both medical and recreational users and must be stored in the trunk. Two things I am not sure of is:
1 - what if your car is a hatchback and does not have a trunk?
2 – would a baggy that is not a ziplock be considered closed if it is rolled up?
I don’t have the answers for that yet, but I will try and find out and have the answers in the next newsletter.
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Ending 80 Years of Reefer Madness Prohibition Ain't Easy
There has been grumblings, grouchings and grousings over the implementation of the commercial licensing provisions of Prop. 64.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is well aware of the bottlenecks and is doing its best to open them up. One of the major impediments it has little control over is to get cities and counties to stop banning implementation of Prop. 64's commercial distribution and business provisions. For that to happen it is up to folks in their local communities to bring the political pressure on their local elected officials to stop banning and to start implementing in reasonable and rational ways so this nascent industry isn't hamstrung from the get-go.
The State Legislature is considering a number of bills with more being introduced all the time. Some are good like Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer's bill to prevent cooperation between state and local police with federal police in busting legal marijuana businesses and arresting their owners. Others are not so good like State Senator Jerry Hill's bill that would make it illegal for drivers under 21 to have any marijuana in their system losing their licenses if they test positive for any amount of THC. We need to be vigilante and pro-active to make sure the good ones pass and the bad ones never make it to the floor for a vote.
Los Angeles got the message and has just announced that it will quintuple the number of positions in its Department of Cannabis Regulation. With the industry projected to reach sales of $3.7 billion by the end 2018 increasing to over $5 billion in 2019, legal marijuana will be a tax windfall for the state but only if the state gets its regulations streamlined efficiently and orderly.
With that kind of money involved, order will come but have patience. Prop. 64 is not wizardry that will undo 80 years of reefer madness prohibition with a wave of a magic wand - it is a major advance that we must not let get undone by those who benefited from marijuana's previous illegal status such as police, private prisons, drug warriors and the legendary pirate growers selling marijuana for $2,000 a pound and more.
In the meantime, there have been major benefits in states that have legalized marijuana that are accruing to California as you read this. Let's take a look at these facts and then see how California's new law will work and is working. There is a lot more to it than just legalizing personal possession and cultivation.
What has happened in states that legalized cannabis in 2012 and 2014?
Statistics From Prohibition to Progress: A Status Report on Marijuana Legalization issued by the Drug Policy Alliance
Cannabis arrests are down
Arrests for cannabis in all legal cannabis states and Washington, D.C. have plummeted, saving states hundreds of millions of dollars and sparing thousands of people from being branded with lifelong criminal records. The total number of low-level cannabis court filings in Washington fell by 98 percent between 2011 and 2015.
The total number of cannabis related court filings in Colorado declined by 81 percent between 2012 and 2015, and cannabis possession charges dropped by 88 percent.
In Washington, D.C., cannabis arrests decreased 76 percent from 2013 to 2016, with possession arrests falling by 98.6 percent.
In Oregon, the number of cannabis arrests declined by 96 percent from 2013 to 2016.
In Alaska, the number of cannabis arrests for possession and sales/manufacturing declined by 93 percent from 2013 to 2015.
Cannabis decriminalization and penalty reductions for youth and young adults
In several states, cannabis legalization is reducing historically high numbers of youth (under 18 years of age) and young adults (between 18 and 20 years old) stopped and arrested for cannabis offenses.
Cannabis legalization lowers opioid-related harm
Opioid overdose death rates are almost 25 percent lower in states with medical cannabis access, than in states with no legal access to cannabis. The reductions in overdose death rates increased over time. Legal access to medical cannabis has been associated with a 23 percent reduction in opioid dependence or abuse-related hospitalizations and 15 percent fewer opioid treatment admissions.
Youth cannabis use is stable
Youth cannabis use rates have remained stable in states that have legalized cannabis for adults age 21 and older. In Washington, Colorado and Alaska, rates of cannabis use among high school students largely resemble national rates.
Legalization has not made our roads less safe
DUI arrests are down in Colorado and Washington. The total number of arrests for driving under the influence, of alcohol and other drugs, has declined in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to regulate cannabis for adult use. There is no correlation between cannabis legalization and crash rates. The crash rates in both states are statistically similar to comparable states without legal cannabis.
Calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency departments for cannabis exposure remain relatively uncommon
In Oregon, less than one percent of calls to the state’s poison centers in 2016 were related to cannabis exposure. In Colorado, less than one percent (0.04 percent) of the state’s 2.3 million emergency department visits in 2014 were for cannabis exposure.
Cannabis tax revenues exceed initial estimates
Cannabis sales in Washington generated $315 million in tax revenues in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Cannabis sales have generated almost $600 million for Colorado since sales began on January 1, 2014. By the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, Oregon collected $70 million, more than double the predicted revenue.
The cannabis industry is creating jobs
Preliminary estimates suggest that the legal cannabis industry employs between 165,000 to 230,000 full and part-time workers across the country. This number will only continue to grow as more states legalize cannabis and replace their unregulated markets with new legal markets.
What about California?
Adults 21 and over may possess one ounce and cultivate up to six plants. Only six plants may be cultivated per household even if there is more than one adult in the household.
Medical cannabis patients with a doctor’s recommendation retain the right to cultivate as much cannabis as is medically necessary even if that amount exceeds the six-plant limit and may possess up to 8 ounces.
Local government cannot ban indoor personal cultivation but they can enact “reasonable” regulations. Some local jurisdictions have enacted regulations that many do not consider reasonable and they are currently being adjudicated in court. A greenhouse is considered indoor cultivation.
Local governments can ban outdoor personal cultivation, but if they do they forfeit receiving any public safety or other grants from the cannabis taxes collected by the state.
Prop. 64 allows for commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale of cannabis. Local government retains complete control over all licensing, operating and zoning regulations for commercial cannabis businesses and can totally ban or license, regulate and tax all commercial activities. If they do not allow commercial businesses, they forfeit any public safety or other grants from the taxes collected by the state.
The state collects a production tax at the cultivation level of $9.25/ounce dry weight for flowers, $2.75/ounce dry weight for leaves and $1.29/ounce per fresh plant. On the retail level there is a 15% excise tax. In 2018, the state expects to collect over $1 billion in taxes. The tax can be lowered by a simple majority of the legislature or it can be raised by a 2/3rd vote.
Local governments may impose an excise tax in addition to state excise and sale taxes. Medical cannabis patients can obtain an exemption from sales taxes, but not excise taxes, by obtaining the state medical cannabis ID card from their local county health department. Local governments can also impose licensing fees, but they must be reasonably related to the cost of issuing the licenses and enforcing the regulations.
In deference to small cultivators, commercial cultivation is limited to one acre per license until 2023. There is no limit to cultivation size after 2023 unless the legislature extends the limit which will require a 2/3rd vote.
Prop. 64 allows the cultivation of industrial hemp which is defined as any part of the plant not containing more than 0.3 percent THC.
Adults may consume cannabis at home or in businesses licensed for on-site consumption. Consumption of cannabis in all public areas, including areas where tobacco smoking is allowed, is prohibited.
Consumption in a moving car is prohibited as well as possession of an open unsealed container. It is permissible to transport an open container if it is stored in the trunk. Medical marijuana patients can have an open container of marijuana in their car just like they can have an open bottle of prescription medications.
People currently serving prison terms for cannabis offenses and/or convicted of cannabis offenses can petition the court to be released and/or have their records expunged. People convicted of non-violent cannabis offenses are not barred from participating in commercial cannabis operations.
Youths under the age of 18 may only be charged with civil infractions for cannabis offenses. They are no longer threatened with incarceration or financial penalties. Instead, they are required to attend drug awareness education, counseling or community service. All cannabis offenses will be automatically expunged from a young person’s record when they turn 18. The penalties for most cannabis-related activities were either decriminalized or reduced for young adults 18-to-20 years old.
Wed. March 7 @ 7:30 p.m.
We will continue our discussion on how the IE is proceeding with allowing cannabis businesses to operate. Unfortunately only a handful of cities have moved forward with licenses and regulations. Most are taking a wait-and-see attitude and more than just a couple are downright hostile.
The California Democratic Convention was a real barn-burner. You may have read about how Senator Diane Feinstein did not get the endorsement for her re-election from her own party. Although there were many reasons why, one was her opposition to drug law reform and refusal to support the voters of California in passing Prop. 64 by working to end federal prohibition of marijuana. I will have pics and a first hand account of what happened, who I met and what it all means for marijuana law reform.
There will be an update on the latest marijuana legislation being considered in the state legislature including information on Assemblyman Rob Bonta's bill to protect medical marijuana patients from being fired for using marijuana.
Also will discuss the strange behavior of Palm Springs’ City Attorney in refusing to allow a cannabis consuming fundraiser to go forward as well as discuss the refusal of San Bernardino 3rd District Supervisor James Ramos to meet with MAPP members from the Morongo Basin concerning implementing the provisions of Prop. 64 allowing for commercial marijuana businesses.
Meet with old friends, make new ones and network on all manner of marijuana issues. Cookies, milk and punch will be provided and if you bring a friend, you both will go home with a free pocket pipe.
Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting –. Meeting held at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
The Gospel of Psychedelics According to Rick Doblin
Meet Rick Doblin, Ph.D. and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on this exciting episode of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense where he extols the role of psychedelics and marijuana in science, medicine, therapy, spirituality, culture, and policy. Read on to learn more or if you can't wait to start listening CLICK HERE.
Founding MAPS in 1986, Rick Doblin has paid his dues and deserves to be listened too. He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's Thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients.
His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. which administered psilocybin based meds to 32 prisoners in an effort to reduce recidivism.
His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.
MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the use of psychedelics and marijuana. Using science to find solutions to mental health crises, MAPS is doing groundbreaking research into the development of psychedelic medicines to help heal people who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions using psychedelic medicines.
Listen in right now - just CLICK HERE or listen anytime 24/7 by going to: www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews
It's Not March Reefer Madness
It's March Reefer Sanity
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