Complex, Unfair and Expensive
New Chief of the State Agency Implementing
MMRSA is Coming to Riverside and San Diego
to Speak with YOU!
Be Heard Online and In-Person
The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is going to have a major impact on mmj patients. Although it can be made to work, it is unfair, complex beyond all reason and is positively guaranteed to keep the price of marijuana exorbitant – some growers might approve of that!
Further it allows cities and counties to continue banning mmj dispensaries and even ban ALL mmj cultivation by patients.
It cracks down on doctors issuing “excessive” mmj recommendations most likely making recommendations more expensive and harder to obtain.
Now the legislature could have made MMRSA much more patient friendly by requiring cities and counties to allow patient cultivation, allowing for large scale cultivation, creating a simpler and less onerous licensing system and so on, but they didn’t.
It’s become obvious that our legislators are no longer besotted by reefer madness views on the dangers of marijuana to our community’s health, but they are sure wedded to the almighty cannabis dollar.
This week the legislature passed by a resounding and required 2/3 majority two mmj tax increases.
SB 987 puts in a place a 15% excise tax on all mmj sales by licensed distributors. The Senate passed it 27 to 10.
It was almost a party line vote with all Democrats supporting it and six of the 10 Republican opposing it. If the four Republicans who voted for it had followed the party line of no increased taxes and voted against it, it would have failed. This bill now goes to the Assembly.
AB2243 assesses a weight tax of $9.25 per ounce on bud, $2.25 per ounce on leaves and $1.25 on each plant sold. It passed 60 to 12.
One Democrat voted no, one Democrat abstained and 10 Republicans out of 28 voted no. This bill now goes to the Senate.
Since both bills passed their legislative chamber of origin by the required 2/3rd of the each chambers members for any bill increasing taxes, it is likely that they will also pass by that same margin in the chamber they are now going too. We could hope that in the Senate that one of those four Republicans that broke ranks with the Republican Party line opposing all tax increases gets back in-line and votes against AB2243.
Don’t hold your breath for Governor Brown to veto either bill.
Although a number of patients feel MMRSA is unconstitutional, a lot of us thought banning collectives under a city’s zoning laws was also unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, no case has been filed and even if one was filed tomorrow it would take a minimum of two most likely three years to reach the Supreme Court.
MJ is now all about money and not about reefer madness in the California legislature. As reported in last week’s newsletter, the Assembly Appropriations committee shot down the MJ DUI bill that if a person had 5ng/ml or more THC in their blood that they are presumed to be legally impaired.
That 5ng/ml threshold is nonsense and although I am sure law enforcement boogeymen were present predicting blood soaked mayhem on California highways if the mj DUI bill was not passed, our legislators did not buy into it.
What they did buy into was getting more money for the state from mmj making an already unaffordable medicine for many unaffordable for even more. Criminals sure like that part.
It looks like mmj patients are stuck with a complex and expensive cultivation and distribution system, pricey and multifarious local and state licensing fees, local taxes and now new state taxes. State license fees are not known yet, but they are coming too.
I sure wouldn’t want to be the person who has to explain it all to mmj patients, but the state is paying a yearly salary of $150,636 to do just that.
Lori Ajax is the new Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. She was the former Chief Deputy Director of Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Considering that medical marijuana advocates did not want regulatory power placed under the Alcoholic Beverage Control, as originally proposed, it’s kind of ironic that the new Chief comes from the agency they didn’t want.
When asked in an April 7 interview with the Los Angeles Times “Is there a legitimate reason for people to get medical marijuana? Ms. Ajax replied:
“Unlike regulating alcohol, I'm not a user of marijuana so I am not familiar with how that affects people or what it does. But from the outreach I've done since I got here, it appears there is a medical need and I'm tasked with doing this and I'm going to do it.”
She does seem determined to do it. Ms. Ajax spoke at ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day morning training session and as was reported at the last MAPP meeting by Mitchel, one of the IE patients who attended, she seemed to be “sincere and concerned with patients.” I totally agree - she really does seem to be saying the right things at this stage of the game.
She is making a tour throughout the state to meet with patients and hear their concerns and answer their questions about this new agency. She makes no bones about having all the answers – she hasn’t been there two months and actually that is what she was hired to do – come up with the answers.
This tour is a good example of her commitment to come up with the best answers possible to a piece of legislation that is totally oblivious of fulfilling the requirements of Prop. 215 which called on the legislature to develop a “plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”
Ms. Ajax is coming to Riverside and San Diego this week and you have the exciting opportunity to hear her and provide your input on how MMRSA should be implemented in Riverside.
San Diego– Thursday, June 9 – CalTrans Building, Garcia Room
4050 Taylor Street, San Diego, CA 92110
Riverside - Friday, June 10 - Riverside County Administrative Center,
Board Chambers, 1st Floor, 4080 Lemon St, Riverside, CA 92501
As you can see they are asking people to register to guarantee a seat. When you click on the above link for the meeting you want to attend, it shows the number of seats available dwindling so it might not be a bad idea to reserve a seat. It does ask for your name which some people might be uncomfortable providing. I guess you could put in a fake name, but I am fairly certain that putting in a fake email address could be a problem.
The Riverside facility is pretty large – like 500? – and I find it hard to believe that 500 people can be attracted to a marijuana event in which there is no marijuana, so there might very well be seats available but it wouldn’t hurt to make a reservation.
Whether you attend or not, the BMMR wants to hear from you with an online survey asking some pretty good questions that should guide them in developing the regulations. So take a couple minutes and take the survey by CLICKING HERE.
Medical Marijuana Patient and
Long Long Time MAPP member
Art Exhibit in Morongo Valley
You are cordially invited to attend the Art Show opening of Misty Sunshine on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Covington Park Gallery in Covington Park, 11165 Vale Dr., Morongo Valley 92256. Sunshine will have on display over 45 of her original art works.
Sunshine has been a member of MAPP for over 15 years going back to the time when we were still holding our only monthly meeting at the Cathedral City Library. Sunshine now attends the monthly MAPP meeting in Joshua Tree with her husband and just as long a time member Red. Both Sunshine and Red would look very forward to meeting old friends and making new ones at this very special event.
Now for many of you, going up to Morongo Valley is an hour or more drive, but make a day of it and visit the world famous Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve right next door. It is a pristine Desert Willow Oasis and is wonderful to walk through especially on a hot summer day.
The main trail is only .65 miles and is a genuine eco-friendly boardwalk that takes you not just through the Oasis but actually onto and over the Oasis. It is fully handicap and wheelchair accessible. There are more trails to hike for the more adventurous. For more information on Big Morongo Canyon Preserve CLICK HERE.
Check out the latest show about the
In With A Bang and Out With A Whimper
UN Drug Policy Conference and all past shows
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