On Wednesday, June, 3rd, California State University Fresno hosted Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and his Blue Ribbon Commission on marijuana policy. It was a big day for a lot of Central Valley cannabis activists and almost everyone seeking sensible regulation in regards to Cannabis Hemp. Quite a bit of the Central Valleys hardest pavement pounders for legalization where in Attendance. Diane Valdavinos, Jeffery Faure, Dawn Marie Jobe, Jeff Clark, Brenda Linder, and Derek Payton. At least we all thought it was going to be. We all had to endure quite a bit of Reefer Madness at the Blue Ribbon Commission On Marijuana Policy. It started with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom beautifully pandering to all the various different groups, organizations, and different Initiatives in the room. He really did a great job speaking to the crowd in attendance. Which is also why he has had such a successful political career.
After Gavin Newsom was done giving his introduction to the audience he then began to introduce the rest of the panelists. You can find the entire list of panelists below.
Speaker and Working Group Commissioner Bios
Gavin Newsom is the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy. He was elected as the 49th Lieutenant Governor of the State of California on November 2, 2010. His top priorities are economic development and job creation, improving access to higher education, and bolstering California’ environmental leadership. Newsom came from a successful background in both the private sector, starting 15 small businesses and creating more than 1,000 jobs, and local government, having served as a Supervisor, and later, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.
Elizabeth Cox is a Research Specialist at UC San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, where her focus is on state and local tobacco control policymaking. Ms. Cox recently authored a comprehensive report on tobacco control efforts and tobacco industry tactics in California.
Rick Crane is a Strategic Programs Coordinator for UFCW 8-Golden State. Based in Bakersfield, he has been in the retail business for 46 years and a contract negotiator for UFCW for over 20 years. The UFCW represents 160,000 private sector workers in retail food, agriculture, retail drug, non-food retail, cannabis and healthcare industries in California.
Joe Garza is the Chief of Police for the City of Reedley. He has 25 years of experience as a law enforcement professional beginning his career as a patrol officer for the City of Reedley and rising to the position of Chief of Police in 2012. He serves as a board member of the California Police Chiefs Association and in a number of regional law enforcement and civic groups in the Central Valley.
Mihae Jung is Prevention Education Manager at KYCC, an organization that provides comprehensive community services in the Koreatown, Westlake and Pico-Union neighborhoods of Los Angeles. In addition to policy work on alcohol outlets, she has worked directly with youth through organizing, restorative justice, and treatment. She is part of the Los Angeles Rethinking Access to Marijuana collaborative.
David Lampach is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Steep Hill, a leading cannabis science and technology firm. He is a leader in the technological and business advancements of the cannabis analytics and testing market. He has also advised a number of jurisdictions on local and state regulation of marijuana, including in California, Washington and New Mexico.
Rob MacCoun is a Professor at Stanford Law School. He is a social psychologist and public policy analyst who has published numerous studies on illicit drug use and drug policy, including a major recent study for RAND Corporation. He is a preeminent scholar working at the border of law and psychology.
Pat Oglesby is a tax lawyer, and former Chief Tax Counsel, U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the former International Tax Counsel, Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation. He has also at the law and business schools at the University of University of North Carolina. Pat serves as the co-chair of the Regulatory and Tax Structure Working Group of the Blue Ribbon Commission.
Ben Rice is a criminal defense and medical cannabis attorney. He has represented cultivators, dispensaries and doctors involved in medical marijuana, as well as advised policymakers. Ben serves as a member of the Regulatory and Tax Structure Working Group of the Blue Ribbon Commission.
Abdi Soltani is a member of the Steering Committee of the Blue Ribbon Commission, with Lt. Governor Newsom and Stanford professor Keith Humphreys. He serves as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California. Abdi worked previously as a community organizer on issues of educational opportunity and civil rights.
Steve Worthley is the Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, and represents the northern portion of the county. He is active on the California State Association of Counties and the Rural County Representatives of California. In his private practice as an attorney, he previously represented the forest products industry, including in relation to public lands.
Here You can view the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy at California State University Fresno in its entirety.
Well if you went to this panel and discussion expecting to hear sensible regulations and cannabis policy reform you were probably sadly disappointed. The very first guest speaker on the panel Mihae Jung started out the conversation with dropping the “Oh the Children” fear tactic without referring to any specific data or polls supporting her claims. Her argument pretty much boiled down to we have to over tax, and over regulate in order to keep prices high to protect the children, because low costs equal greater access for children. She worries that all collectives, clubs and dispensaries will end up in the migrant and low-income areas and the dispensary owners will offer up 3x to 4x the going rate and will make it very attractive to low-income property owners to permit the dispensaries in these low-income communities.
She claims it will put a huge strain on the local police, Schools and families in those areas and already has in some areas. In which all cases mentioned it has not and will not. It actually lowers crime in the surrounding areas due to increased security and video surveillance. I also hate to break it to you but most collective owners move into the lower-income parts of the cities or counties because they know the city most likely doesn’t care and won’t come into that area if hardy ever. They also find tenant hungry property owners looking for anyone to fill their vacant properties in these lower-income areas. They do stimulate and boost local economies in those impoverished areas. They also employ people.
Not to mention most local governments view them as a nuisances and only permit them in those specific areas. If they permit them at all. You know? The forgotten parts of town that the city has long forgotten. Nor do they even pretend to care about the people who inhabit those areas. That speaks to the fact that most cities and counties can care less about safe access for qualified and valid medicinal cannabis patients any more than they do about the homeless and impoverished, the hungry and struggling working class families. Especially the ones on a low or fixed income who need the most assistance in obtaining quality organic medicinal cannabis versus the alternative Over-prescribed toxic pharmaceutical industry that does kill our children every day.
They love to permit the Clubs and dispensaries in those forgotten and underfunded areas of the city or county. Why? Because where there is a higher concentrations of poverty, there is always higher amounts of criminal activity. If the only place you permit those establishments is in the areas with the most criminal activity. You can then always turn around and say they attract a lot criminal activity just by simply having a presence in that specific pocket of the community. Even if the establishment was never vandalized, robbed or broken into. Even if the establishment has an impeccable record and is in good standing with the surrounding businesses. Even if it was actually shown to decrease crime in the immediate surrounding area. They would never talk about that nor research into it. They will only cite the high amounts of criminal activity in the only area they permitted them to be in. Which also just so happens to be the epicenter for criminal activity in their town or county.
That was just the first panelist. Im afraid it only got much more disappointing as the panel continued. The second Panelist to totally blow everyone’s minds in regards to over taxation was Rob MacCoun a Professor at Stanford Law School who’s fantasy would be to see a scheme where Californian cannabis consumers are taxed specifically to the THC to CBD ratios in the cannabis they purchase. He also suggested a higher tax on more potent strains of cannabis. Why? To prevent people from breeding and consuming more potent strains of cannabis? Yes! He thinks it is a very serious public safety issue and he doesn’t believe people have any will power. Nor will they be able control their own limitations of consumption. Which will in turn equate to an epidemic of cannabis pandemonium and everyone’s tiny infants and sweet children will actually be exposed to ample amounts of highly potent killer cannabis that will apparently be the first cannabis in recorded history to ever kill someone.
Or maybe we will see the first strain of cannabis to actually impair people to the point of not being able to operate a motor vehicle and millions of high drivers will hit the road and kill millions. Oh the Horror! Anyone that is to high to drive, doesn’t. That is the difference between alcohol and cannabis. I have never came across a cannabis consumer who just got so stoned he could barely move off the couch tell me, ” I’m so high right now, I think ill drive home.” It is always, “I am to high to drive right now. I need to chill for a bit.” Not to mention they are never impaired to the point of intoxication. Mainly because there is no toxic substances in the natural non toxic cannabis plant. Everyone likes to say, ” You just never know. The science and studies are still out on the subject.” Well, I’m pretty sure we know! We have a pretty long track record of coexisting and evolving with the cannabis plant. To the extent the Human Species has developed an intricate Endocannabinoid System to process, distribute, and utilize the many compounds that come from only one place in nature, the cannabis plant.
Nobody has ever died from the consumption of Cannabis! Nobody! More potent strains, means less overall consumption, while receiving the same health benefits or effects. Every doctor or physician that recommends cannabis will tell you that, the more potent the concentrate the patient consumes means they will find faster relief and have to consume far less carcinogens than through the traditional ways of smoking the medicinal cannabis. Which perfectly ties us into another guest panelist who is actually from and apart of the cannabis industry, David Lampach of Steep Hill Labs. Who did not refrain from using scare tactics to insist that all cannabis should be properly tested. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the company he works for just so happens to be the largest private industry cannabis testing company in the United States and possibly the world? Maybe!
I mean this kind of harkens back to the previous point that, Nobody, I mean nobody has died from the consumption of cannabis. David Lampach tried to play a very a shady game of connect the dots. He cited a recent incident at the UC Davis school of Medicine where, ” Several Immune Compromised patients had died of fungal pneumonia after recently using medical cannabis.” He followed that up with, ” It was unknown if the medicinal cannabis use contributed to the cause of death, and due to current federal restrictions the doctor was unable to drill down further on the matter.” He then went on to push blame towards the dispensary and owners that ran the establishment from which they were purchasing their medicine.
Where he said, ” However one of the doctors was able to recall one of the locations of the dispensaries where the patients had been getting their medicinal cannabis, and as it turned out, sadly, they where not testing for mold.” So there you have it folks. First people to ever die from cannabis ever and its all that dispensary owners fault. Eureka says the owners and proprietors of Steep Hill Labs! So? Because these immune compromised patients, ( Already really sick people ) who decided to try a homeopathic natural alternative died of fungal pneumonia they are all dead from the moldy medicinal cannabis they bought from a dispensary that was not using Steep Hill labs to test their medicine? Wow! What a perfect storyline and product pitch for your company.
You could end up just like them if you don’t test everything. Dead! All because a Cannabis Testing Company and their rep found the perfect case scenario where, maybe, and we are talking about a really huge maybe, that some already very ill patients may have possibly died from using moldy medicinal cannabis. And don’t forget his statements earlier. ( ” due to current federal restrictions, (That is pretty Convenient for claims ) the doctor could not drill down further on the matter.” ) Are these the first recorded cases of deaths associated with cannabis in human history? I highly doubt that is the case. People have been consuming cannabis for thousands upon thousands of years and there is no recorded deaths associated with its consumption. That would even have to include the nastiest, pesticide, fungicide, herbicide laden cannabis that’s ever been sold on the legal and illegal markets.
Show me one single recorded, documented, and factual case of anyone even dying from just the poisoning of consuming badly grown, herbicide and pesticide laden cannabis. Please! I have looked and I can’t find one. I may be wrong. please prove me wrong. But, guess what? Even if you found one. I could just use the very same vague reply he uses to defend his argument. I can turn around and say, ” Well, sadly, federal restrictions deny factual testing and statistics on this subject matter, so,,,,, we will never truly know if the moldy cannabis did in fact kill those poor people.” Death and the fear of death equals sales, sales, sales! Even though there has never been a legitimate fear or reason to believe that any moldy cannabis has ever killed anyone ever. They make millions insuring that you believe it has, it can, and it will continue to kill people unless every single bud, and every single leaf of cannabis cultivated is tested for everything. Preferably done by them, at Steep Hill Labs of course.
Then like a breath of fresh air enters Ben Rice from Santa Cruz, Ca. Ben has been a Criminal defense lawyer for 30 years. He was one of the few sane voices on the panel that day. He pointed out the huge disparities between Fresno county and Santa Cruz in regards to cannabis regulations. When (WAMM) The Wo-Mans Alliance for Medical Marijuana was raided in 2002 the city and County of Santa Cruz actually came to the defense of the collective after being raided by the DEA. He represented the city and county of Santa Cruz along with the ACLU and some other fine lawyers in federal litigation concerning WAMM. The city and county both embraced and supported WAMM. I doubt we will see the fresno city or county board of supervisors educating themselves about Cannabis let alone supporting and embracing a collective here anytime soon.
He also spoke to the fact that California was actually the first state to prohibit cannabis. While later being the one of the first states to pioneer reforms in cannabis regulations and laws. But the absolute best moment was when Ben Rice kind of looks over at the Reedley Chief of police and pauses, ” Well, Santa Cruz being, well, Santa Cruz we had a Sheriff who had seen that our district attorneys office was not interested in losing in court anymore. And they stopped filing the cases or they were resolved for next to nothing.” Wait it gets even better. He then says ” Our Sheriff said, look my budget is limited.” pauses and looks directly into the face of the Chief of Police and says, ” and he decided to eliminate his marijuana eradication team and use those resources for more serious crimes in Santa Cruz.” Like a Boss!
The next panelist to hit the mic was Rick Crane. He is the Strategic Programs Coordinator for UFCW 8-Golden State. He discussed the importance of legitimizing cannabis workers. He also closed with saying, ” Proposition 215 is now settled law. If California moves forward with outright legislation next year, it will only underscore the urgency that we believe is needed to regulate an already big industry that could thus grow exponentially.” So let me decode that for you. He does not care about legalization one bit. Him and his handlers do not favor legalization. They want the unregulated medicinal cannabis industry fixed before addressing legalization. Sound familiar? Do you remember Americans For Safe Access claiming the same thing during the prop 19 campaign ? Well The UFCW 8- Golden state is (ASA) Americans for Safe Access. Same tent. They are only concerned about the collectives they own and operate and securing restrictive permitting that insures they maintain a healthy leg up on their competitors.
Hold on to your butts it only gets worse from here folks. The next Speaker on the Panel was Tulare county board of supervisor Steve Worthley who started out his reefer madness by stating, “In Tulare county we chronicled over 600 grow sites and contrary to many of the speakers I’ve heard this morning many of ours are really wrapped around organized crime.” Then he went on to say “With over 440,000 residents in Tulare county its safe to say the number one business is export and marijuana is no different.” He then insisted that, ” People are even growing in backyards.” Oh the horror! He then pulled the same card as the first speaker and claimed, ” People are offering poor families and migrant workers $5000 if they can grow on their property or backyards and they will receive another $5000 when they are done.” He pretty much bragged about how extreme Tulare county is in enforcing Tulare’s unconstitutional bans on valid, legal medical cannabis patients. So that just goes to show the two extremes. In Santa Cruz the entire county and city rise up in defense. In the Central valley the cities and counties invent new ways of scapegoating state law by using code enforcement.
Now the next speaker Joe Garza is the Chief of Police for the City of Reedley and he actually got booed and it was well deserved. If he is in fact a father of four children than he does a lot of lying to his children to defend his job, title and income. He started his uneducated and non factual rant with, ” Although this is a forum on taxation and regulation it needs to be known that, California Police Chiefs association DOES NOT support ANY legalization or decriminalization of MARIJUANA.” No kidding? Cant take away the California Police departments bread and butter. He has to know that even after the passing of prop-215 there are actually 14 times as many cannabis prisoners in California then in 1980. This does not include federal prisoners like Eddy Lepp, Dale Schafer and many more.
He goes on to say, ” Legalization of MARIJUANA is just bad public policy because the DRUG is addictive and significantly impairs bodily and mental functions.” Even though its cured cancer and he knows it’s never killed anyone. Cannabis is no more addictive than sugar or caffeine and it is a non toxic plant. If Cannabis impairment is such a serious issue? How come we are not seeing this epidemic of stoned drivers crashing and killing people on California highways and byways ? Mainly because Cannabis is a natural non toxic plant that does not intoxicate or impair motor skills. In fact for most people it increases motor skills, brain activity and even helps regenerate new brain cells.
Now prepare yourself for this one. It is a huge jumble of lies. ” Policies aimed at legalizing marijuana have resulted in unintended but predictable consequences. Including increased use amongst minors, additional drug trafficking by criminal syndicates, and an increase of crime.” Here is the stretchiest of stretches for you though. ” Despite claims to the contrary the social cost of legalizing marijuana will dwarf the meager taxes that it raises.” Seriously dude? He then added, ” Unfortunately at a certain point those high taxes will simply encourage an illicit market that can come in, under grow, and undercut the high-priced legalized market.” Your killing me smalls. Do you understand your job? At all?
Ok lets start with his absurd claim that increased usage amongst minors is an unintended consequence of legalization. WRONG! Lie #1. Teen alcohol and drug use — including marijuana use — was down across the board in 2014. Click here for the full story. Now to prove him wrong on his quack pot theory that despite contrary beliefs the social cost of legalizing Cannabis would cost more than it would actually generate nonsense. You have to really be living under a central valley rock to believe this. Colorado raked in 76 Million dollars in marijuana taxes and business fees last year alone last year. These allegations are largely based upon the premise that present taxes on alcohol and cigarettes fail to adequately pay for the social costs associated with these drugs’ use and abuse.
His premise is all but irrelevant to the cannabis legalization debate. Do you Know why? Cannabis is 1000 times safer than alcohol! According to US Centers for Disease Control, alcohol plays a role in about 41,000 fatal accidents a year and in the commission of about 1 million violent crimes annually. Worldwide, the statistics are even grimmer. Stated a February 2011 World Health Organization report, alcohol consumption causes a staggering 4 percent of all deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence. Cannabis deaths ? Not a single recorded or documented case of death from consumption of cannabis has ever been recorded or catalogued. Not to mention 94 percent of social costs for cannabis are linked to law enforcement.
He is not done dropping the Reefer Madness bomb on you. He then says, ” However before we can really speak about the legalization of marijuana we have to look at where will it be sold? Will our neighborhoods become red light districts like in Amsterdam? Accompanied by the same crimes and social disorder? ” Yes folks he really said this nonsense and yes last I checked this was the modern age of technology and the 21st century. Just to finish off all the crazy BULLSHIT this man spewed off that day. He then followed that up with, ” Lets not forget the nuisance caused by the powerful odor of mature marijuana plants.” I actually find the smell of his bullshit wafting from his mouth to be a bigger nuisance than the lovely perfumes of the cannabis plant. Now hear is the part where everyone in the room bursts into laughter or boo’s him. ” In my 26 years of being a police officer, I’ve known it to be a gateway drug, and it is a gateway drug.” The room erupts into giggles and laughter and the host has to ask the guests to refrain from doing that again. So he again states, ” Again as a police officer this is a well-known fact.” Room erupts into laughter once again.
All I can say at this point is please just watch the video and decide for yourself. This Panel and discussion took place on the 3rd of July and I just finished this article today. There was one more panelist. She talked about the similarities of the Tobacco Industry. Just like Before Cannabis is not Tobacco. All this Reefer Madness makes head want to explode. Look for a detailed article about the Central valley Reform meeting that took place in Goshen just an hour after this panel and discussion took place. Not in Visalia, or Fresno like some had advertised.
P.S —-> Please listen to the Comment and question sections in the video. Some serious and good questions were asked from dedicated activists from the central valley.
BY: Dustin Frazier Lowery
Are you looking forward to the potential of Cannabis legalization in California come 2016? So am I! Have been for quite some time now. Since 2009 I have actually dedicated my life to sharing and educating people about the truths and potential of Cannabis Hemp. Its one of the main reasons I am writing this article today. The future of Cannabis legalization in California may seem almost destined to pass with flying colors in 2016. I assure you, it is not going to be as simple as it is perceived. What some may consider legalization, doesn’t necessarily equate to the legalization you may be expecting. Now with that being said, there are only a few ways to ensure that real legalization happens in 2016. And almost all of them start and end with you. Yeah you, the reader. Not just you, me and everyone else also.
First things first. If you’re sitting back waiting for the (DPA) Drug Policiy Alliance, (Norml) National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, (ASA) Americans For Safe Access, and other so-called activists groups to deliver legalization for you. You probably would not get to excited about the final result. Do you believe they will form an initiative that favors the average patient, or consumer over the current medical marijuana industry leaders and stake holders? If you do, you have been sadly mislead. Why? Because these very organizations are ran and supported by, you guessed it, the very Industry leaders and business owners who enjoy their absorbent profits from the current unregulated model. How could I possibly know this? I have seen it first hand. I have traveled up and down this state to several cannabis events sponsored by these groups. I have seen the subversion they use to promote the Industry over the plant itself. I specifically recall the big ASA lobbying event at the state capitol a few years back. Where they specifically advertised the weekend as a patient lobbying day. So I wanted to check this lobbying day out for myself. I figured at least it would be an educational experience. Which it was, for several reasons.
When we arrived at this local union hall in the middle of nowhere in Sacramento one of the first things I noticed was there was a lot of dress shirts and Dockers. Everywhere! They all had their ASA lobbying day badges around their Necks looking professional. They had very nice and lavish charter buses they had rented to bus the “Patients” from other districts to Sacramento. Where were these patients? After clambering around during their meeting recording what I could with my camera I had seen virtually no patients. Every word out of their mouths was about lobbying there representatives the following day at the capitol building . All about regulating the medical marijuana industry. The thing I found most interesting was after the meeting I wanted to speak with some of these patients and get there take on the meeting. Almost every single person I spoke with was a patient in the legal sense, but not your everyday average patient. They were all Industry insiders, and Dispensary owners there to lobby their representatives for more restrictive regulations in regards to the medical cannabis industry. I think one of the most telling signs was how excited Don Duncan got once Stephan Deangelo and his Brother showed up at the capitol building. My point is, they tell you one thing to your face, and do another behind closed doors. They verbally promote legalization, regulation and reform. But not the kind that benefits the everyday consumer and patient. If you are relying on them to author something that will meet your needs as a Consumer or a Patient. Think again!
One of my favorite Hemp activists Chris Conrad wrote a really good piece back during the TaxCannabis prop-19 debate. ( http://weedactivist.com/2010/07/25/another-word-on-jack-and-prop-19-from-chris-conrad/ ) (Excerpt) – Initially Jack deeply hated Prop 215. He literally stumped up and down the state cursing out hemp activists who backed it. He screamed at us, called us traitors for working on medical use, and claimed that Dennis Peron was secretly against legalization. When 215 was filed, Jack filed the California Hemp Initiative (CHI) on the 1996 ballot to block it. and changed the name to “California Hemp _and Health_ Initiative” so people signing it would think they had signed Prop 215, to mess with the signature count. When I called him on it, he said he was trying to keep Prop 215 off the ballot because, among other things, “people will stop working for legalization and we’ll be stuck with medical forever. No hemp, no legalization; that will be the end.” Later he circulated the CCU petitions for pay, then before the election came to support it completely. Now some people actually credit Jack for ‘passing Prop 215. Jack vociferously opposed Senate Bill 420, but he loved the dispensaries it allowed to open. ( click the Above link to read the entire piece).
Jacks words – “people will stop working for legalization and we’ll be stuck with medical forever. No hemp, no legalization; that will be the end.” Jack Knew it then, and they also knew it then. Guess what ? They still know it now! This is exactly what we have been dealing with for the last 19 years. The industry leaders and club owners don’t want there quasi legal black market profits going anywhere. So enter the DPA, Norml and ASA with their attempts at dividing the legalization movement as a whole. They certainly don’t want the everyday average consumer to be able to cultivate their own Cannabis at home, over buying their middle man marked up products in their stores. Do you think (Norml), (ASA) and the (DPA) want everyone in California cultivating a possible 99 plants legally? Do you think they want to lose that revenue stream? Not just the dispensary owners and industry leaders but the activist groups themselves? No they don’t! and they are very active right now at subverting attention away from the CCHI 2016 initiative for other initiatives that have not even been written yet. Yet they all love to invoke the legacy of jack Herer. Like Stephan Deangelo of Harborside in Oakland Ca. One of the Worlds largest dispensaries in the world by the way. He constantly speaks of how good friends him and Jack were, and how they shared the same vision in regards to legalization and cannabis, Well I will have to beg to differ here. I personally asked Stephan Deangelo during the CCHI 2012 signature campaign, at Harborside’s yearly shindig called The Deep Green Festival if he supported the Jack here Initiative. He simply replied, I do not support any initiative until they have already registered for the ballot. So the man who makes the most money, and the most profits in California, from the Patients of the medical cannabis industry no less, won’t support or finance any legalization effort until it has already officially made the ballot. Share the same vision my ass!
The point is, if you rely on industry leaders, and activists groups to do the work for you, you’d better get ready for a heaping pile of disappointment. Trust me when I say they will let you down every time. In the words of Jack Herer – “You guys have to be warriors for your own freedom. You can’t depend on me or anyone else to do it for you. This freedom comes from our willingness to put our acts on the line and teach people all the comprehensive information we have learned about cannabis hemp.” We don’t need big money, we need big motivation and big determination from an educated base of citizenry. The CCHI 2016 is organizing up and down, and throughout the entire state as I write this article. We are organizing a base of volunteers and supporters to get the signatures necessary to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Please click the link at the top right of the site for more information on how you can get involved with the fight to liberate cannabis 100% for everyone.
Only in Fresno, I tell ya! Only in Fresno California could the vast amounts of misinformation be seen as evidence to support the passing of an ordinance that prohibits any and all cultivation of Cannabis. Retroactively handing all cultivation back over to the black market and criminal enterprises. Wait it gets worse! They have also retroactively criminalized the California legal qualified patients themselves through land use and zoning ordinances. Yup that’s right! What the people of California made Legal, Fresno has made Re-illegal!?. They have even found a way to circumvent the due process of law when it comes to qualified medicinal cannabis cultivators. First they mail them a certified letter threatening to fine you administratively $1000 for every plant on the property. The county’s 15 Day Notice tells the grower they have to remove all plants within 15 days, or face extremely stiff administrative penalties. In the only 2 cases on record so far, the abatement was done on the same day the individuals were given their 15 Day Notice to abate. does that sound like due process? Wait? Do you feel these fines and levees against you are unjustifiable and unwarranted? Don worry you can always appeal to the Fresno county board of supervisors and hope they understand that your a legal qualified medical marijuana patient of the state California, and not of Fresno. The Fresno county board of supervisors has implemented such an evasive ordinance that it not only circumvents the true written intent of the (CUA). It circumvents the very constitution of California.
Well it still gets worse unfortunately. No dispensaries or medicinal cannabis store fronts or collectives allowed either. So they have also retroactively returned all access, or purchases to the criminal enterprises and black market. The only viable options left for the legal medicinal cannabis patients are traveling to other progressive cities and counties within California that does not seem to have regressive leadership or governance. Which in turn puts huge financial and travel burdens upon the medicinal cannabis patients. Or the final and last result, simply move away from there delusional ideals of governance that exist in this time warp called Fresno. Welcome to my home town people Where the boards of supervisors and city councils are the deciding factor and regulator of your health, medicine, and well being over the recommendations of a licensed physician. Where local law enforcement continually suggests that the Drug Cartels and criminal enterprises should have 100% control of all Cannabis grown in Fresno so they can better serve and protect you. Does any of this make sense to you? Welcome to the wild, wild west of Fresno folks, where the dumb folk roam, and the skies are all smoggy all day!
The City and County of Fresno has gone far beyond just banning large illegal commercial cannabis grows in there districts and county. (Those where already illegal ) They have thwarted the the intent of the (CUA) compassion use act of 1996. Or as its more commonly known and referred to as, Prop 215. They act as if the law never existed in the first place. Not only trampling on the (CUA)-Prop-215, but the later clarifications of the (MMPA) Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2003. Or as it is more commonly known and referred to as SB-420. Senate Bill-420 was an act of the legislators that helped further clarify and define the guidelines of the (CUA) because Law enforcement in places like FRESNO county were continually arresting qualified legal patients. The actions of these misinformed law enforcement and local governments out right thwarted the intent of the law as written and passed by the voting populous of California.
No legal cultivation allowed at all. No legal indoor cultivation in the privacy of your own home. No legal outdoor cultivation on the privacy of your own property. No legal dispensaries or store fronts in your own city or county. All through the power of land use and zoning? But the Fresno county health department will gladly take the peoples money and there doctors recommendation and supply them with a (MMPA) California State Medical Marijuana Card, with a Fresno county health department logo on it. You can even get your doctors recommendation directly through the Fresno county health dept. Through one of there licensed physicians. So the County of Fresno is not only participating in the (MMPA) SB-420, its profiting from the state medical marijuana card program then turning around and telling those qualified patients to access there medicine anywhere but in Fresno? Oh, and good luck out there, I here, it can be pretty shady. Does this make sense to you? Is it legal? I am not lawyer, but I am pretty sure there is some illegal activity taking place here.
you know that old saying? Ignorance of the law is no excuse? Well have you ever considered applying that phrase on those who continually love to throw it in your face. Well the Sheriffs department, Local police department, and Local governments of Fresno are all guilty of that very thing and are hoping the common voter never discovers that. For if you did, you would find that the only people acting as criminals and tyrannical thugs are the ones wearing the suits, costumes and uniforms of local Law enforcement, City Attorneys, and the elected representatives of Fresno. In my personal opinion it is an outright infringement of not only our California constitutional rights. It is also an outright infringement of our United States constitutional rights. Now bare in mind, I am no lawyer or law professor. and this is no way to be construed as legal advice. But I am pretty sure Banning me from access to my medicine recommended by a licensed physician is infringing on my right to “Life”. Banning me from cultivating my medicine on my own personal property,whether indoors or out is infringing on my my right to “Property” and “Life”. And both of those actions are inherently infringing on my right to “Happiness”. Are you catching on here people ?
Law enforcement never has and never will want to decriminalize anything. Especially Cannabis. That is one of Law enforcement’s “bread and butter’s” shall we say. More Specifically it is one of Margaret Mimms of the Fresno county Sheriffs departments personal blundered legacies she plans on leaving behind her. It would also appear that the Fresno city chief of police Jerry Dyer seems to be riding her coat tails with exact same nonsense. Margaret Mimms headed up the Marijuana Eradication task force here in Fresno county. Unfortunately her and many other small sheriffs dept statewide have been confusing and arresting qualified legal patients since the passing of prop-215 (CUA). The very Reason SB-420 (MMPA) was drafted and passed in 2003. To further clarify prop-215 (CUA). Either they where confused or ignorant of the law, or they simply didn’t give two flying farts to the wind either which way. That would put to many good officers on the unemployment line. As if to say needing less police is a bad thing? or focusing those officers attention to more pressing criminal matters is a bad thing. Therefore when they don’t like laws passed by the legislators, or governing bodies they simply ignore them as if they never existed to begin with. Hence the ignorance that billows about the room at these very council and supervisor meetings in regards to the actual law as written. 95% percent of the time the elected representatives only repeat and spew out what is interpreted and handed to them by Law enforcement. Never the actual law as written and defined. that is a serious problem folks. How the (CUA) was written is not the true problem at play here.
Have any of you ever read the California constitution? Did you know unlike most of the states in the union, here in California the people have the unique ability to pass there own laws through the statewide voter initiative process. Well that is exactly what happened with prop-215 (CUA). it was not law enforcement or the legislators that authored and circulated prop-215. It was the grassroots activists and citizens of California that wrote, circulated, and passed prop-215 (CUA). Did you know that not even the highest California legislators in the land can change the laws passed by the voter initiative process? The only way to to change voter initiatives is by another voter proposed initiative. The California constitution states, “what the voters have done, the Legislature cannot undo.” Interesting!? Well if you can not undo it? what do you do if you don’t like it? pretend it does not apply? Or simply imply it was so vaguely written as to allow certain localities to opt out or not participate in way shape or form? NO, it does not work that way. But is that not essentially what Fresno is trying to accomplish here with the passing of this unlawful ordinance? If the Legislator Cannot undo what the voters have done? Neither can the city and county of Fresno right? No matter how much they hate it. No matter how vague there interpretation. The legalese, wording and actual intent remain the same and can only be changed by the voters. are you starting to truly understand the malicious hatred and fury this ignites in law enforcement and the governing bodies its controls? This is truly of, for, and by the people governing. something they have no control over. And regardless of Prop-215 and SB-420’s flaws, We the people should, and shall defend it with dignity and due diligence. regardless of whether or not you like or dislike Cannabis. This not just a game of politics anymore. If the only law Fresno answers to is the laws written of, by and for Fresno? are they circumventing state laws themselves ?
I would now like to raise some very concerning questions and points of notice in regards to this intrusive unconstitutional ordinance being forced down the unwilling peoples of Fresno’s throats. Question #1 – Could you possibly conceive that the county board of supervisors, or city council representatives in the city in which you reside where the ultimate dictators and regulators of access to you medicine, health and well being, over the recommendation of a licensed physician? Is this an oligarchy or a democratic republic in which we reside? Question #2- Do you Honestly believe that passing this ordinance will curtail the illegal activity and crime associated with cannabis cultivation? Because the sad truth is, your only insuring that all cannabis cultivation is a criminal act. Including legally qualified medicinal cultivation. Which directly conflicts with the peoples law of California and protections guaranteed by the California constitution.
The plain and simple truth is the only way to insure you lower criminal activity associated with Cannabis is by decriminalizing, legalizing and properly regulating the legal industry which arises. Weather it is strictly a model for only legal qualified medical patients, or a model for outright recreational use for responsible adult consumption. The very reason people steal, kill and commit crimes over or for Cannabis is because of the very laws that prohibit it. And the fact they will fetch a very high price in the illegal black market created by its prohibition. Where the demand never really went away by choice or organic methods. It was forced out by unnecessary and unjustifiable means. If it where Legal, easily accessible and cultivated by everyone in there yards, and sensibly regulated and controlled it would be easily accessible to all. and you wouldn’t have Criminals jumping fences and killing people over a natural plant. effectively eliminating the intrinsic criminal enterprises and aspects of the failed models of prohibition. Wake up People of Fresno! we do not have to continually stand by while these regressive leaders of our governing bodies are constantly trying to move the progressive needle backwards. We must stand up and be heard. For they will continue to oppress and and trample on anything and everything they deem a NUISANCE. Remember this point right here! the very reason they hold that much power is because we willingly sent them there to speak for us. Citizens and people of Fresno, Stand up and speak for yourselves!
By: Dustin Frazier Lowery
Let me start by saying that I have been to my fair Share of County, and City supervisor meetings. Even a few planning commission hearings as well here in Fresno. The most prominent notion in regards to Medicinal Cannabis that is thrown around is the notion that every single cultivator of Cannabis is a Criminal, or is somehow involved in Criminal activity associated with Cannabis. By either abusing the medicinal cannabis program set in place and not following the guidelines, which they do not seem to want to draft any sensible regulations on behalf of the patients. Nor do they seem to care, quite frankly. Then there is always Margret Mimms and our local supervisors favorite and most popular line of defense, Any and every single plant is illegal at the federal level, therefore we have a zero tolerance policy on the basis of all cannabis cultivation is a federal crime. If I had a $100 bucks every time I heard them say “it’s all illegal on the federal level”. I would be wealthy man.
Well in no way shape or form should Margret Mimms, or any other California law enforcement officer be enforcing or even suggesting Federal law within the state of California. Let alone a county supervisor. It is the duty of the Sheriff, as well as the district attorney to enforce state laws. The federal Government cannot compel state law enforcement. The Supreme Court has even stated that Congress cannot require state officers to enforce federal law. The court said that ” the constitution contemplates that a states government will represent and remain accountable to its own citizens.” So when are they going to be held accountable for suggesting we enforce federal law within our states borders, Over the laws passed by the citizens of California?
Well I hate to be the bearer of Bad news, (Not Really) But, These are exactly that, nonsensical notions with no factual statistics to support them. Do not get me wrong though, there are plenty of illegal grows on state and federal property that need eradicating and proper policing. There are also people within the system that do abuse it. You will find that in just about every system though. And yes those are criminals in which I believe deserve the full brunt of law enforcement. What I do not understand is why local law enforcement and county supervisors seem to conveniently confuse, or purposely bunch criminals and qualified patients together. Coincidence? Two birds, one stone. It’s pretty convenient on behalf of the supervisors. They just allow Law enforcement to do what they do best. Policing. And it allows our county and city supervisors to never have to tackle the tough job of working on sensible regulations that are desperately needed for the Fresno citizens that are LEGAL California Prop-215 and SB-420 medicinal marijuana patients. It’s a win, win, for everybody but the patients of course.
The worst part of it is. That the very criminals you are trying to prevent are the very same people set to make larger profits from the criminal black market, effectively increasing crime. Because you successfully eradicated the patient’s ability to either purchase from a licensed facility, known as a collective or a dispensary. And through this outdoor cultivation ban you are once again going to completely diminish the LEGAL California Prop-215 and SB-420 medicinal marijuana patients ability to produce quality outdoor medicine for themselves on their own property. Prop-215 Patients ability to cultivate their own plants outdoors is crucial to not only greater access, cheaper medicine, better quality, but increased safety as well.
Forcing patients to only cultivate indoors is far too expensive for the average patients who are usually on fixed incomes. Most are on disability and cannot cultivate for themselves. Hence the need for Collective grow sites that require larger numbers of plants for those who are disabled and cannot produce their own medicine by their own means or on their own property. We are not just talking about putting a few light bulbs above a few plants in the bath tub. To equal what can be produced outdoors, patients would have to spend upwards of 5000 to 10,000 dollars to produce a room that is up to code and efficient enough to produce what can easily be done by Mother Nature. Not to mention the high amounts of energy consumption that must also be paid annually for each harvest. Along with things like, soil, nutrients, pots, and so many other hidden costs that simply make it ineffective to ban outdoor cultivation. If we want to stay true to the requirements of the compassionate use act, Banning outdoor cultivation is not an effective method of creating greater access for qualified patients. However it is an effective method of avoiding the tough questions and hard work of coming up with sensible regulations for patients, and law enforcement to abide by. Thus making it easier to identify the criminals.
So what? We are all just simply criminals now, and should all be treated as such? That is not very compassionate. I think it is important to note the actual name of Prop-215, the Compassionate use act of 1996. That is why I am writing this today. That is why I am going to read this very post before the Fresno county board of supervisors today. Compassion! I do it for the patients who can’t raise their voices in opposition here today. I do it for the patients that I have personally witnessed amazing life altering changes thanks to cannabis. I am here because I take great pride and solace in seeing the Joy cannabis brings to those who are bright enough to look past the lies and see the truth for themselves. And that is what I ask all of you here today to please consider today, Have some compassion and some consideration for those that you are so blindly throwing out along with the bath water.