Finding the Gun to Fire
Prop. 64's Magic Bullets
Although Prop. 64 allows for the implementation of laws allowing for commercial cultivation, manufacture and distribution of marijuana, Prop. 64 also allows local governments to totally ban any commercial activities. Unfortunately most cities and counties have been enacting bans rather than allowing commercial marijuana businesses forcing people in their communities to drive long distances to secure marijuana or more likely continuing to buy it from criminals.
To encourage implementation rather than bans, Prop. 64 has several carrots to entice local governments to allow commercial marijuana businesses. The most enticing is the ability to license and tax all phases – cultivation, manufacture and distribution. Local governments can make millions of dollars in taxes and for those that have allowed commercial production, developing a new source of tax revenue is the reason most allow it.
Financially challenged cities in the Inland Empire like Desert Hot Springs and Adelanto have literally bet the bank on marijuana licensing. Desert Hot Springs is permitting over 2 million square feet of cultivation and manufacturing in their industrial zones as well as permitting an almost unlimited number of dispensaries.
Another carrot found in Prop. 64 requires cities and counties that want to share in the grants from the billion plus dollars the state takes in from taxes and license fees, must permit commercial businesses. If they don’t, they don’t get any of the money.
It is so ironic that most of these grants will be for public safety projects meaning most of the money goes to the police. If police oppose allowing commercial businesses as they have opposed medical marijuana businesses in the past, they will be the biggest money losers. It will be interesting to see if police now call for licensing commercial businesses.
An unexpected carrot found in Prop. 64 that most people are not aware of is very important not for businesses but for personal cultivation. If local governments ban outdoor personal cultivation, they will also not be eligible for any of the state grant money. This can be really good news for people who are not medical marijuana patients and can only grow six plants. Growing six plants indoors won’t get you much pot, but growing six plants outdoors can get you pounds of pot.
Unfortunately, all those carrots don’t seem to be enough to get a lot of local elected officials to overcome 80 years of reefer madness. Marijuana advocates need as many arrows in their quiver as possible and California’s Democratic Party has given them a new and powerful arrow to encourage implementation rather than bans.
As a member of the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party and elected member of the Party’s State Central Committee, I can introduce planks and resolutions that if enacted become policy for the Democratic Party and elected Democratic officials on both the federal, state and local levels.
I have introduced a number of planks and resolutions including a plank in the 2014 Party platform calling for the legalization of marijuana. The adoption of the plank paved the way for the Party to actively support Prop. 64 in 2016 which played a crucial role in its resounding success.
The inclusion of a plank supporting legalization in the Party platform made it possible for many Democratic elected officials to support Prop. 64 who otherwise would have been reluctant to publicly support it. When something becomes Party policy, whether it is single-payer health care, immigration reform or marijuana legalization, Democratic elected officials are supposed to not just support it, but too actively develop programs to make it happen.
At the Nov. 17 – 19 California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting, I introduced a resolution calling on the California Democratic Party to encourage “ counties and cities to cease banning and to enact ordinances regulating the commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale of cannabis.”
The resolution was passed unanimously and is now the official policy of the California Democratic Party. If you live in a city or county that has banned implementation of Prop. 64’s commercial marijuana production provisions, you can inform your local elected Democratic officials that banning goes against Party policy and that they should be implementing regulations allowing commercial marijuana businesses. If the taxes to be made were not enough to move them in the right direction, this new policy directive from the state Party might do it.
The California Democratic Party is the largest state political party in the U.S. and controls the government of the 6th largest economy in the world. It has CLOUT. Since the state and local county Democratic Parties help many candidates with their campaigns both in financing and securing volunteers, many Democratic office holders pay close attention to policies favored by the Party.
Of course if you don’t have any elected Democrats on your local governing boards, then it won’t do much good. Maybe you can try to get the California Republican Party to pass a similar resolution, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
If commercial marijuana businesses are banned where you live and you want to see that ban repealed and regulations enacted that allow commercial businesses, there are far more arguments on your side now then on those opposing commercial businesses.
You just need to leverage those advantages with your local elected officials. I would be delighted to provide you with information on how to do that and help you in any way that I can to stop banning and start implementing in your communities. Feel free to contact me at any time by calling 760-799-2055 or sending an email to [email protected].
Marijuana in the Bible Belt
When it comes to marijuana, living in the south can be very dangerous. Georgia reflects that danger but change is afoot as Atlanta GA decriminalized marijuana possession in October 2017. Leading the charge to reform Georgia's draconian marijuana laws is Peachtree NORML battling for common sense marijuana laws where few dare to tread.
Dean Sines is the fearless Deputy Director of Peachtree NORML and has been involved for years working to end marijuana prohibition. On this special segment of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense, Dean speaks out about the current law in GA today, the political environment regarding changing the law, NORML's role in Atlanta's recent decriminalization of marijuana, the ease of finding and the quality of marijuana in Georgia, what is being done to change the law, what Peachtree NORML is up to and a few more intriguing tidbits about life in the deep south.
Listen to the award winning podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews and find out how marijuana legalization is changing the political landscape in the south and is helping bridge the cultural gap between north and south. It’s on right now – CLICK HERE to listen.
Looking Back - Looking Ahead
Join us for our last MAPP meeting of the year for a round-up of what happened in 2017 including a look at the one year anniversary of California's foray into marijuana legalization. Of special interest will be a look ahead as to what is in store for 2018. As you can tell from this newsletter, a main emphasis in 2018 will be to get local governments to implement the provisions of Prop. 64 which allow for commercial cannabis businesses whether it be cultivation, manufacturing or distribution.
Join us at one of our meetings to celebrate the advances in 2017 and help set the agenda for 2018.
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 12 noon - Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting. There will be discussion of Palm Springs’ recent actions regulating marijuana including regulating on-site consumption. Meeting held at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. - Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting. Information on the Yucca Valley marijuana initiative. Meeting held at the fabulous Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252
Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Milk, cookies and camaraderie at all three meetings.
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