Riverside Co. BOS Permits MJ Businesses While Cops Raid Anza Valley Growers
Buried deep within the consent calendar for the July 2 meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors was the following item:
TRANSPORTATION AND LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Receive and File Cannabis Request For Proposals Results. All Districts.
The vast majority of consent calendars items are voted on en masse with no discussion although a supervisor can pull a specific item for discussion. At the July 2 Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, not one supervisor thought any discussion about allowing cannabis businesses to operate in Riverside County was worth discussing.
WOW! Marijuana is now just an item mentioned in the consent calendar and no one cares? Seems that the controversy over marijuana businesses is now somewhere between shoe stores and 99¢ emporiums.
What now seems to be a ho-hum ordinance is the outgrowth of over two years of meetings, deliberations, hearings, recriminations, quarrels and more – not to mention over a decade of contentious contention between medical marijuana patients and reefer mad BOS, cops and district attorneys.
The little noticed notice in the consent calendar announced that Riverside County has broken free of the mindset of 2/3rds of California counties and cities which have banned any and all cannabis businesses. The County is now actually, really and truly considering the applications of 69 would be cannabis entrepreneurs consisting of 24 retailers, 30 cultivators and 15 other marijuana-related businesses.
A county that was once considered to be the backwaters of cannabis promotion, is entering the still somewhat rarified airspace of local governments allowing Prop 64 to be fully implemented.
The conversion of Riverside County from reefer madness to reefer sanity began back in 2015 when Riverside County enacted one of California’s most sensible medical marijuana patient cultivation programs allowing a patient to cultivate 12 plants with two patients per household and most importantly permitting indoor and outdoor cultivation.
Considering that it wasn’t all that long ago that Riverside County was putting the screws to anyone and everyone who dared to cultivate cannabis even for their own personal use, this transformation is beyond amazing – it is mind boggling.
I have written previously of this new ordinance objecting to its cumbersome, complicated and convoluted developer’s agreement model of licensing and regulating, but perhaps the silver lining is that the developer agreement model will generate far less money for the county then a standard tax and regulate model.
In theory this should mean the cost of production and distribution will be considerably less. Whether that cost saving is passed onto the consumers by the cultivators and business owners remains to be seen, but I would advise against holding one’s breath in anticipation of more affordable cannabis products as a result of the developer’s agreement model.
The upshot of Tuesday's meeting is that the county is going ahead with allowing cannabis businesses and this is just the beginning. It is has been made fairly clear that the county will be issuing more licenses as the program is implemented and county staff become more seasoned in dealing with applications, approvals and regulating existing cannabis businesses.
With cannabis businesses operating throughout the unincorporated areas of the County, how much longer will cities continue to ban cannabis business when their residents can merely drive down the road a bit to an unincorporated area to purchase their cannabis for which the county will get all of the taxes and fees and the cities getting nothing.
The one area in which there is a great deal of unfairness and bitter resentment is found in the Anza Valley. The Anza Valley is a beautiful and idyllic sparsely populated locale nestled in the Santa Rosa Mountains 40 miles southwest of Palm Springs and 90 miles northeast of San Diego. Long a small agricultural community with an ideal climate and rural location, it has for many years been a Mecca for cannabis cultivation.
With the advent of Prop. 64, many of the growers there have sought to legitimize their endeavors through inclusion in Riverside County's newly developed commercial cultivation ordinance, but have been thwarted by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Not letting a murder investigation that had begun in the area on Tuesday evening interfere, approximately 80 search warrants were served on cannabis cultivators on Wednesday, June 5. With a staging area established at the local Hamilton High School in the unincorporated town of Anza, over 600 personnel including deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's office, Army National Guard, Code Enforcement and Animal Control and other public safety agencies swarmed over the rural area serving warrants, confiscating crops and arresting local residents
You can hear the story on the current podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense. Presenting a fascinating history of cannabis cultivation in the Anza Valley and insights into a community divided, Edison Gomez, Jesse Carroll and Jacob Baird from the High Country Growers Association provide a first-hand account of the raid including why it happened, how the raid was conducted, who was affected and the how community is coming together to deal with its aftermath. To hear the radio show now CLICK HERE or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews anytime you want 24/7.
July MAPP Meetings
The MAPP meetings are back on again so let’s get together this Saturday, July 6 in both Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Lots to discuss including Riverside Co.s foray into legal cannabis businesses, new bills in congress to end federal marijuana prohibition, the positions on marijuana legalization of the Democratic candidates for President as well as Trump, what’s happening in California, 2,500 year old archeological discovery, cannabis for Fido and Fluffy and lots more.
Cookies, milk and punch will be served plus there will be a drawing at each meeting to win a free silicone pipe and a copy of Cannabinomics by Dr. Christopher Fichtner
The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, July 6 at 12 noon takes place at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon, downtown Palm Springs CA 92262
The Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley MAPP meeting Saturday, July 6 at 3 p.m. takes place at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree CA 92252
July is Sizzling!
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Light Up and Join our 420 Club
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