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.
Here in California, the legal cannabis debate is often superseded by the fight for Medical Marijuana, which appears reasonable as ill patients are in need of medicine for their aliments more so than the casual user wants his civil liberties. However we should not forget that the legality of cannabis effects both our medical and civil rights.
While I hate to say that one right is more important than another. Rights are like our children or creations, we must love them equally or at least see them as equally important. Yes, the patient’s right for their doctor agreed upon medicine is more important than the wants of the recreational user. Yet, their want for open civil rights is still important and should not be overlooked.
Not to mention that the medical debate leaves the casual user stone cold sober, while the quest for legalization is all-inclusive.
To further the push for legalization, I give you five reasons why marijuana should be legal. They are not the only reasons for a legal cannabis country but a selection that I have deemed most shocking and/or logical to unlock the doors to a world of cannabliss.
#5 – End The Underworld’s Cannabis Profits
Currently, every week a news outlet somewhere runs a story about how the Cannabis trade is the largest profit maker for the Cartels. If we are to take these numerous reports to be true than One is left to assume that legalization is the only way to wrestle our marijuana money from the black market.
In the halls of history, we can find one example of how the largest profit maker for a black market was changed into an above-the-board non-profit organization that benefits society. I mean, of course, the lottery.
Long ago in the days when televisions had dials, one of the largest money makers for outlaws was to run illegal lotteries, or “running numbers” as was the term of the time. A Numbers racket worked like this:
How Numbers Ran:
1. A customer would walk into a bar / candy store / retail outlet.
2. They bought their numbers at the counter.
3. A mobbed-up “underworld type” would go around to the various outlets and collect the numbers.
4. On a prescribed day, a number would be picked and the customer with that number got cash.
This system worked for a long time. However since the 80’s, running numbers is no longer a profitable venture for the underworld. The lottery changed the game. You can no longer profit from running numbers as anyone, who is anyone, can now go into any convenience store and buy a lotto ticket. Yet, not only a lotto ticket but a legal, state verified lotto ticket.
How Lotto Runs:
1. A customer walks into a convenience store.
2. Customer buys lotto ticket at the counter.
3. Lotto Numbers are collected by state run machines.
4. Lotto numbers are picked and winning numbers collect cash!
As you can see from the example above, America did not stamp out the citizens ability to gamble. Instead we made the lotto legal. We took the profits out of the black market and put them to good use in our school and public health systems. Thus to END the machine of terror that collects our cannabis proceeds, we need to take the profits out of the black market and put them to good use in the general and legal economy.
#4 Cannabis Industry Means More Jobs
When we put the Black Market‘s cannabis proceeds into the general economy, then we also add all the jobs that once where part of the Black Market. Just look around the medical marijuana industry and see at all the different jobs that are created.
Sure, there are the growers and the dealers. On the farm, there are helpers, trimmers, and baggers, oh my. On the streets, there are wholesalers, drivers, and street-level traders. These are positions that directly trade over from the black market.
However, the industry in the medical marijuana industry create even more jobs. Here in California, there are bud tenders, security guards, and administration at all the dispensaries. There are labs, filled with scientist, that test the potency of cannabis. There are kitchens filled with cooks who make medicated snacks. Factories who make containers. And the list goes on.
Where the underground market sees marijuana as a commodity, with maybe three different levels; schwag, Beasters, and Nugs, with one basic effect. The medical marijuana industry sees an ever-growing list of strains and byproducts where each one comes with at least one taxable employment slot.
I was at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup and I marveled at the number of booths and the range of products displayed. As from above, each booth and product is another job that was added to the economy directly from the impact of Proposition 215.
Cannabis Numbers #3, 2, and 1 to Come…
Our first two reasons to end cannabis prohibition are down. We need to end the black market’s cannabis profits. If we end the illegal profits by legalization, then we will create an industry from the ashes of our misguided past.
While these two reasons maybe enough of a justification for Legalization, we still have three more reasons to go.
Join us next time for Pot 5 Reasons: Marijuana Should Be Legal Part 2
By: Red Eyed Kracker
This past Wednesday, may 16 2012. The Fresno Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Wednesday to recommend passage of a permanent ban on growing medical marijuana outdoors anywhere in the city of Fresno. I was one of three people to speak against the proposed ban and some of the underlying legal issues. I myself did not submit anything in writing because I felt that speaking from my heart works best for me. I asked the planning commission to please consider who will be effected the most by the passing such a restrictive ordinance. What about the patients who are on disability ? What about the patients who can barely afford to grow a few plants under the sun each season? The patients on fixed incomes who are already having a hard time scraping by ? Such a restrictive ordinance affects the poorest and most neediest of the medicinal cannabis patients here in Fresno, Ca.
I then went on to say that I am not here to advocate for thousand plant grow sites in the city limits. I am here to stand up for the patients right to legally cultivate their own medicine, on their own property. I told them that I was all for sensible regulations on outdoor cultivation within the city limits. But what the city currently had drafted was way to restrictive and would only further restrict patients access to affordable quality medicinal cannabis. Transplanting even a small 2 or 4 plant garden from outdoors to indoors can be very costly. It’s not as simple as ripping the plants from the ground, Throwing them in the bath tub and hanging a light bulb above it. Which by the way where the actual words of a judge here in Fresno recently, and also prior statements of the Law enforcement official giving the presentation before the planning commission just minutes before.
Actually to Give Lt. David Newton of the FPD narcotics division credit, he actually said cheap Led lights, which some growers are switching to, but are rarely used due to little information about production and output. personally there isn’t enough proven evidence to switch anything just yet. I also stated to the planning commission board that I myself do not hate Law enforcement, nor do I blame them for the position they have been in put in. But I am here to advocate Law enforcement does serve and protect the legal medicinal cannabis community like everyone else. I went on to say how I did agree that we needed to work with law enforcement to reign in those who are abusing the medicinal cannabis industry. But we also should not throw away the baby with the bath water. Dont punish the patients for the actions of the criminals.
After Comments from the other 2 whole speakers in opposition Diane Valdovinos ( Local Advocate ) and Micheal Green of Cal pot news. The commission board commended us for our statements. They then proceeded to vote on the ordinance. Many of the members of the planning commission said they understood our concerns but that they didn’t feel it was as restrictive and voted in favor. But one planning commissioner statements specifically hit home for me and made me feel as if we did have a very small victory in the overall battle. Luisa Medina of the planning commission said she was going to vote in favor of the ordinance but after hearing the statements in opposition from the three of us she had changed her mind. I was overjoyed with pride when I heard her say that. The fact that the statements of mine and that of my friends made a difference that day. Though we lost the overall battle, but through education and compassion we changed the heart and mind of just one person who would have otherwise just gone along with protocol and passed the ordinance.
After the planning commission meeting was dismissed we retreated to the front of the city hall building to gather our thoughts. We where then greeted by Luisa medina and Andy Hansen-Smith of the planning commission. they had some great words of encouragement and thanked us for coming out voicing our concerns to the commission. But the real highlight of that evening for me personally was when Lt. David Newton of the FPD confronted me outside of city hall and thanked me for coming. He also told me that I was a very good representative the for medicinal cannabis community and that he actually voted for prop 215 back in 1996. Lt David Newton also said that he looked forward to seeing me again. I jokingly replied, well I hope its at the next city council meeting and not anywhere else. We both laughed, shook hands and parted ways. Now those are the kinds of encounters with law enforcement I would prefer happen.
But for those who believe the opponent has the upper hand and it’s just to large a hill to climb. Dont give Up ! Three dedicated cannabis activists didn’t win the overall battle this past Wednesday, but they are winning the hearts and minds through the power of compassion and education. The key to ending patient discrimination in local counties and city’s here in the central valley is through education and compassion. Through this blog and various other social media I will keep you posted on when the ordinance will be going before the Fresno City council.
By: Dustin F. Lowery
There are some major questions that need some serious answers in regards to the Fresno county ordinance, and what I believe is an Unlawful intrusion of Californians rights under state laws. The first question that comes to mind is always this, Can a city board of supervisors, or a county board of supervisors superced state laws and in fact disregard them and enact their own local laws through code enforcement ? Because that is exactly what is taking place here in Fresno, Ca.
Fresno’s ordinance is very unique and more restrictive to patients then most in the entire state. On July 12, 2011, Fresno County unanimously passed an ordinance to ban dispensaries and sharply restrict cultivation. It requires a “Medical MJ Cultivation Business License” for anyone seeking to grow in the county. Cultivation can only occur only in a secure, locked, enclosed structure in industrial zoning districts if 1,000 feet from any school, park, recreation area, sports facility, adult business, church, etc; maximum # of plants is 99. It also hands over all Code Enforcement over to the Local Fresno county sheriffs office. That is just the part on cultivation.
What about the collectives and clubs here in the county of Fresno ? the ordinance clearly states the following,
10.60.030 Medical Marijuana dispensary as a prohibited use:
A. A medical marijuana dispensary as defined in section 11.10.020 is a prohibited use in all zone districts in the County of Fresno.
And that is all they had to say about that. No beating around the bush with it, straight to the point with it. Now section 10.60.050 clearly states the following.
10.60.050 AMORTIZATION OF NON-CONFORMING MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENCARY:
Any marijuana existing on the effective date of this ordinance, which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter, shall be regarded as non-conforming use which may be continued until six months after the effective date of this ordinance. On or before such date, all such non-conforming uses shall be terminated.
Now I am not exactly sure what that means in terms of exactly how they are gonna come down on them, but what i do know is they seem to have pretty clear stance on collectives and dispensary’s, NONE SHALL BE ALLOWED PERIOD ! The city and county board of supervisors and even the fresno police department and fresno county sheriffs office are wanting to prevent crime. Now everybody wants less crime and safer streets for their children to walk right ? Then banning of collectives and dispensary’s is not the way to go about it. It is a proven fact that where most of these collectives and dispensary’s are in the county of Fresno are in fact now safer being occupied with security guards and people watching the surrounding buildings. Not only that but it single-handedly provides a safe and comfortable environment for the a medical marijuana patient to get access to their medicine in a secure public location, most have security and very secure front doors.
As a parent of a 5-year-old boy, I would prefer that Medical marijuana patients who need access to their medicine go to a place like that then get it from some dealer on the black market. As a parent i know my 5-year-old, or a child of any age other than the age required by law or, if under age has adult permission, will not be getting access to cannabis through a collective or dispensary. That I can assure you ! and if they did, can you imagine the outrage ? As there should be. but at least there is a place or business to hold responsible or liable. On the streets and black markets there is no justice for those who sell to children, let alone the fact that they are more likely to have access to more deadly drugs then just marijuana, and they also do not check their patrons I.D’s. Collectives and dispensary’s without a doubt would and are reducing crime and increasing access to the people who need cannabis the most. Not only does Fresno take their citizens money for Medical marijuana cards issued by the Fresno county health department. They also have their own doctor on staff to offer their own reccomendations. Not only does Fresno profit from medical marijuana currently. It in turn uses those funds to abolish the very places in which you can get access to your medications in your county and city. They will give all you need to be legal to consume the plant, even take your money and provide with the qualified paperwork. Only to turn around tell you, you’re going to have to go somewhere else to get that stuff.
Now the Fresno county sheriff’s office, with administrative assistance from the department of public works and planning, shall have primary responsibility for enforcement of the provisions in this ordinance. Lets get this straight, because we are dealing with deadly criminals and drug king pins that are disguised as medical marijuana patients. At least that’s what the police and local law enforcement want you to believe because, they get a shitload of funding from the federal government to prevent any and all Cannabis cultivation, distribution and sales. Be it legal medical marijuana, or by any means necessary. And the Police do not want to lose that funding, Period !
So they portray the average medical marijuana patient as a criminal to the public. Everyone that is a provider for these patients is also considered a drug king pin. This is getting to be a bit ridiculous, don’t you think ? their is no other business or industry out there requires handing over the enforcement of code enforcement to Law enforcement. But when your dealing with those damn Hippies, disabled people, Sick and dying people, and people seeking natural alternatives to the daily poisons offered by the pharmaceutical company’s. The only way to get there point across and accomplish their goals of keeping there federal bankrolls coming in is to demonize those who have actually been gaining acceptance within their own communities.