#UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action Demanding the State of Massachusetts Put Patients Before Politics

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Medical Cannabis Patients, Families and Supporters to Protest Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Tuesday, October 14th to Let Them Know Their Inaction is #UNACCEPTABLE. Protest, Press Conference, and Solidarity March.

Boston, MA, October 7, 2014 – On November 6, 2012 Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly to allow citizens to have access to medical cannabis. Nearly two years later the will of the people has still not been implemented and patients are still forced to go without cannabis medicine, or to seek it out from often dangerous black market sources. It is unacceptable.

The program has been hampered by incompetence and seemingly political positioning. The DPH received millions of dollars in fees to vet applications, and failed to do so. It took media sources reviewing the applications and publicly acknowledging their shortcomings to realize many inconsistencies and politically charged issues. The DPH was forced to delay the program and rescinded nearly half of the original 20 dispensaries that were selected for approval. Because of their inability to review the most basic of issues in the applications, this has resulted in them dragging their feet resulting in thousands of patients being forced to suffer needlessly.

To date, patients still do not even have a simple identification program for law enforcement to verify their patient status. The planned caregiver program is non-existent due to cumbersome and unnecessary regulations. Patients cultivating their own cannabis have no way to know if their gardens are legal or if they are violating the law, as DPH has no guidelines or registration. Dispensary groups approved for the inspection phase continue to be limited by unsure direction and confusion from the DPH. Patients with serious and life-threatening illness are being denied access and are suffering diminished quality of life (and even death) as a result of the State’s failure to implement the program.

This is no longer okay and we demand the Department of Public Health immediately begin to open up the program and allow for patients to access safe and quality cannabis medicines through experienced caregivers able to serve multiple patients; and clean, well-lit dispensary facilities.  We demand DPH limit restrictions on hardship cultivation and allow more patients the opportunity to grow their own safe medicine. We demand the DPH expedite the current dispensary applications waiting for approval, immediately issue permits in counties without access as required by law, and allow for at least 35 dispensaries statewide to serve the needs of the tens of thousands of Mass residents who qualify for medical cannabis. Hundreds of patients and activists will gather on October 14th to make these demands heard at the MA Department of Public Health offices in downtown Boston.

What: #UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action demanding the State of Massachusetts put Patients before Politics.

When: Tuesday, October 14, 2014: 11:00 a.m.- Protest Rally • 11:30 a.m.- Press Conference (Community Leaders, Physicians, Patients and Families to speak out) • 12:00 p.m.- Solidarity March to State House

Where: Massachusetts Department of Public Health • 250 Washington Street Boston, MA 02108

Why: To demand the DPH and state quit putting politics before patients and implement access to medical cannabis immediately. To bring public awareness to a cause that has forced people to suffer needlessly, including children and families dealing with major health issues. To call for immediate change and progress.

END

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2014: Year of the KILLSHOT. How we finally end this thing.

History is a funny thing. It is hard to predict and happens in short rapid bursts.

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But make no mistake….history is being made. As the news of Colorado’s first sales of weed to non-medical patient adults over 21 floods the airwaves, the walls of prohibition crumble. America is absorbing this slow-moving revolution. As people watch responsible adults purchase their weed at well-lit and clean facilities, their vision of the criminally shady element that cannabis has been portrayed as melts away. The sky has not fallen; and when the sky continues to not fall after being told by prohibitionists for decades that it would, Americans will wake up to the fact that they have been lied to.

People hate being lied to. That is why this thing ends this year.

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The toothpaste is WAY out of the tube. There is no putting it back. It is over. We can work out the details of what it all looks like in real time, but the writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time now before this is all a distant memory, and cannabis is returned to its rightful place in our society as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. But there is still a lot of work to make that happen in a way that is reasonable and fair. There is a lot to overcome in a short period of time, but I think we are up for the task.

Now is the time to go for the killshot. We should be applying every ounce of pressure we have to the neck of these drug warrior assholes. There is no looking back. It is time to storm the castle for the final time. This will end; and it will end very soon if we are effective in our strategic planning.

Do not listen to the voices that say “Be patient. Just wait.” There are reformers within our movement that would have you believe that we must wait and not create real tension. These folks would have you believe that “if we play our cards right we could see the end of prohibition in the next five years.”

Fuck those people. They are in on it.

They are PART OF THE PROBLEM. Nothing worse than a pathetically transparent effort of self-preservation through retarding growth by eroding people’s confidence. I am not trying to be mean, but I hope every person who makes their money “reforming cannabis laws” is out of a job this year. I hope we get the laws reformed, and those folks (like the DEA) can move on to greener pastures. That is what we are all fighting for, right? An END to prohibition?

In the now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, penned by Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the civil rights struggle, this is what he said about “waiting.”

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

For years now I too have heard the word “wait.” From lawmakers….from law enforcers…from probation officers….from people opposed to cannabis….and all too often from those who stood beside me.

I can wait no longer. I will not.

I am touched by the response we see happening in the press, as adult use legalization rolls out in Colorado (and soon to be Washington and Uruguay). The world has certainly changed from the days I stood on the street in Santa Cruz, CA gathering signatures for Prop. 215.  The long and tiring journey will eventually come to an end, and if I have anything to do with it that end will come quickly.

So what is the big plan? How do we do it? Well, I am glad you asked…..A strategy of direct action and a demand for accountability at all levels is a good place to begin.

I refer back to Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail when discussing the type of non-violent campaign we must orchestrate to end this thing. He wrote:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

After the determination that the injustices were very real and attempted negotiation, Dr. King began the difficult process of “self-purification” leading to direct action. He stated:

We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

The struggle of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s was an amazing effort that taught our communities and the world many valuable lessons. We can learn from the successes (and even some failures) of prior social movements where we can use our influence as citizens to create real change.

One of the most effective tools used were economic boycotts of goods and services that supported the unjust policies of segregation; and those same types of pressures could be used to end prohibition now. We need to identify the groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are propping up the drug war, and encourage our networks to not support them, or spend their money with them. If we can drive enough folks to quit doing business with companies that fund prohibition and support mass incarceration policies, we can force them to change their positions this taking pressures off lawmakers to make more reasonable policies for drugs in our society. Shit rolls uphill sometimes.

If we can create a platform of awareness, and a powerful enough social movement that begins to make a real dent, it becomes more difficult for them to continue these charades. We must also attack funding sources for law enforcement that are used to fund this bullshit war. Lawmakers want to talk about “fiscal responsibility?” How about the trillion dollars we have wasted arresting and imprisoning mostly poor people for petty drug crimes?

As citizens, we must organize campaigns at every level of politics to demand a change in how our law enforcement resources are spent. I do not mind having a robust law enforcement presence, but let them work on REAL crimes and REAL public safety issues. Quit pressuring good cops to arrest their neighbors on stupid weed charges to pad the arrest statistics to justify even more spending. Let good cops do a good job; and if they arrest a few million less people for stupid shit every year, but maybe catch an extra drunk driver, or investigate fraud, or track down actual violent criminals, that is great. We do not need less cops. We need the cops to be allowed to actually investigate and do their fucking jobs instead of feeling the need to rummage through some guys car because he smelled some weed.

Economic-based boycotts are something that we can do relatively easy through social media and word of mouth. They do not have to be massive to work either. Small local boycotts can be extremely effective too. Why would we give our money to people who support putting us in jail for our choice to use weed? I still do not eat Kellog’s cereal because they fired Michael Phelp’s after the infamous bong picture. There are a lot of companies that support prohibition because it is good business for them. Look at a company like Victoria’s Secret that uses mass incarceration as a source of cheap labor for their goods. Yup…we can boycott companies that use prison labor, which in turn pressures prison lobbies and privately owned prisons, who in turn have influence with lawmakers, who can end these policies once and for all.

But economic influences are only part of the story. It will also take hard work, sacrifice, and likely some real pain to end this deal. We will also need to accomplish major messaging points through civil disobedience and organized protest. Folks must be willing to put some time and energy into taking the killshot. We must go to the meetings. We must speak up loudly. We must organize WEED-INS. We MUST demand to be heard.  We cannot allow our opposition’s position to go unanswered anywhere….not in the media, at local meetings,  or in a conversation at the grocery store. WE MUST BE VIGILANT…….we like weed and we are good people.

Check out the movement happening in Philly right now as they Smokedown prohibition. These kids are doing it. Taking criminal charges and suffering real consequences for their right to burn and to call for an end to prohibiton. Amazing stuff:

 

It is also an election year and we can influence politics on many levels. We should make every effort to influence local. state, and national politics with our weed message. Be at the town hall meetings to ask the tough questions. Write a letter to the editor about how you do not think this candidate should not be elected because they still believe in mass incarceration and locking up our neighbors for weed. Gallup’s recent poll showed that 58% of our communities (at least) are in our corner. I imagine that number will increase rapidly once the world sees that a legal cannabis market is possible, and that the results will actually be a net positive.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are already discussing the issue:

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Politicians listen to money, public safety, and opportunities for the communities they serve. Learning to tailor our message to influence politics is key. The cost of prohibition is an absolute failure. It is not hard to see how locking up 5x the people as the rest of the world is expensive and wasteful. As people see that public safety levels are either unaffected, or (gasp) more favorable after legalization takes hold in areas, the myths will be debunked and the real safety cost of prohibition black markets  will be exposed. Sorry…any time you take billions of dollars in illegal drug sales off of the streets and put them into regulated tax paying business structures your community will be safer. The more we can prove positive attributes and opportunities to communities with little risk to public safety, the easier it will be to get politicians to allow for, and even promote, cannabis in their communities.

Direct action campaigns at politicians events who are running for office is an easy way to create awareness and drive the conversation. It only takes one courageous person with a marker and a piece of cardboard to make a powerful impact at a campaign event, or local happening. Be that person….and bring a friend. And the next time bring another friend….Then get those friends together to write some letters. Get those friends to invite even more friends; and then take your group of friends to meet other groups of similar cause for larger action….and the walls will crumble action by action, and voice by voice.

This is going to happen. We must ride the wave and drive the conversation. It is the end of prohibition if we want it to be. Will you pull the trigger with me?

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The Airing of the Grievances

A Fesitvus for the rest of us….one of my favorite traditions. Please review and take in my airing of the grievances for 2013. Feel free to add your own in the comment section….

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THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES:

1. Weed is still not totally legal. (Though two states, a country, several cities and a federal stand down was a hell of a year)

2. People are still going to jail for weed at alarming rates in many areas. This must stop. However we get there, I just want to get there.

3. People are still losing their kids for weed. This is pure madness by any civilized standard. We must put an end to cannabis abductions.

4. Parents are still having to worry about treating their sick children with safe and effective cannabis medicines. What kind of evil people would put parents of sick children through this?

5. Folks are still losing their job for weed. If it were not for weed most companies would not even piss test people. We should end prohibition and at the same time end having to give body fluid to people for employment.

6. People are still looking down their noses at cannabis users. We must continue to shift the paradigm through admitting we are good people that like weed. For too long it has just been the fringe willing to step up. You garage weed smokers need to be accounted for. We all know you get high, dummy.

7. Why the fuck are people still hungry?

8. Too many losers running around claiming to be experts in this fucking industry who do not know shit except how to steal other people’s work and talk suckers out of their money.

9. Meth torches…..

10. Weed is still not totally legal…..

A New Hope: Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014

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So here we are again. Trying to make weed legal in California. Who ever knew that it would be so difficult?

Well…I did. California is not your average state. This is a huge state with over 38 million people. Within the state there are several regional aspects that make the state almost like 10 states in one. There is the liberal Bay Area, the Sierra foothills, the agricultural Valley, the central coast, the emerald triangle, the republican stronghold of San Diego, and then of course the monster that is Los Angeles in all of its glory with Hollywood, Venice and Compton wrapped up into one.

To give you a little perspective…Colorado and Washington both have about 6-7 million people. That is the population of the WEST SIDE of LA. Not all of LA by any means…but just the West Side. So if we wanted to run an initiative on the West Side of LA, I think we could pull it off; but the entire state is a much bigger and more complex task. Which is why there are so many ideas of how to get this thing done.

Let me recap briefly the situation to give a little background. In October I wrote a piece called Welcome to the Hotel California where I spelled out some issues with two initiative efforts being put forth in Cali.

The first is Jack Herer’s CCHI campaign. This is an initiative I like for the most part, but that just does not realize the most important aspect of any effort when dealing with initiatives….electability. The group decided to keep the language that Jack left them, and make no adaptations based on the political realities from recent elections or shifts in our society and culture over the past few years. Their argument is that Jack was infallible and that like Moses, left the perfect documents behind even though he will not make it to the promised land. The problem is that the campaign is being ran unprofessionally, and is mired in chaos. I saw one of the campaign directors, Mikey Jolson, at the Emerald Cup this weekend and let’s just say that he seemed less than confident in his chances at this point. But when you disregard all advice  and throw caution to the wind, can one really be surprised when folks decide to not back their effort?

The second initiative is the MCLR, which is being put on by Dave Hodges, John Lee, Bob Bowerman, and the ever creepy Dege Coutee. That last name on there is enough to disqualify the effort for me, as I think that broad is a parasite. But beyond that, the effort is less than stellar and the language filed is super muddy. They are very proud of their “crowd sourcing” of the document, but this is where I saw the language have the most issues. Why? Because you cannot give everyone everything they want in this industry. What you end up with is 30 pages of garbage language that attempts to hang on to everyone’s pet project from yesterday. The initiative is cumbersome, and will not get the support of any real money players who can get it on the ballot.

Enter the THIRD initiative. PAY ATTENTION HERE. The Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana Act was written and filed by an attorney at Drug Policy Alliance in conjunction with Peter Lewis’ liaison Graham Boyd. This is an EXTREMELY restrictive model that is unacceptable to anyone who has worked in the cannabis industry for more than 10 minutes. The big issues are it allows for only 4 plants, sets super high tax rates, bans certain extraction methods, and gives a lot of power to law enforcement. It is basically prohibition light and a huge step backwards for California. I am not sure how anyone would think giving Cali residents less plants than Colorado residents would EVER fly. These folks have obviously never been up the hill. But here is the kicker….THEY HAVE THE MONEY, DUMBASS. I wrote Graham Boyd, who helps oversee Peter Lewis’ estate and asked him if they were putting money behind this effort. Here was his response:

Hi Mickey,

Thank you for your kind words about Peter.  It’s very hard to lose such a good friend and mentor

You’re right about the initiative.  We haven’t made any decisions about going forward with a campaign.  We’ll get the ballot title and summary, test viability, get input from stakeholders and a few other things before making a decision in February.  I would welcome your input.

Best,

Graham

So do you get it now? The two initiatives that are filed ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE SUPPORT OF DPA OR PETER LEWIS’ MONEY. They WILL NOT make the ballot without it. They are such poor efforts that DPA filed this piece of shit as an alternative, and what I hear Peter Lewis was directly involved in the development process before his unfortunate passing. It is a very real possibility that unless there is a better option on the table that the big money will push their shitty language onto the ballot. They see the writing on the wall and know that 2016 is a big risk with the pace things are evolving on the ground. Here is what Graham Boyd said about it in a recent news article:

“The main thing is growing public support. I think you can look at the list of 2016 states and argue that any of them could go in 2014,” Boyd said. “If the public is ready in 2014 and something happens before 2016 and that lift tails off, we may find ourselves saying we missed the wave.”

So make no mistake….they are looking very seriously at this effort and may push it forward regardless of cannabis community support.

Enter the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. This is language developed by proponent Ed Rosenthal, in conjunction with many influential California reform leaders. The core of it is based on the RCPA2012 effort, which is awesome. It adds a more comprehensive regulatory model, which is well-thought and extremely reasonable. It allows for 2600 indoor watts per individual to grow at home…and up to three individuals per household. That is an 8 lighter if you got two roommates. Or 100 sq. ft. per individual, or 300 sq. ft. outdoors if there are three adults. That is awesome for personal use levels. If folks want to cultivate more they can on agriculture zoned or commercial properties. It sets more than reasonable tax rates and includes all aspects of the industry to chip in. It also differentiates between medical non-taxed cannabis, and high-cbd medicines which will also not be taxed in the recreational market. The Act removes criminal penalties and deals with the industry in a civil infraction manner. The language is damn good. Even I was impressed with how well-thought it was. I probably would not have written it much different if I had done it myself.

So this effort is a hopeful alternative that DPA and Peter Lewis’ estate can put their funding behind that is conservative enough to actually pass, while still supporting the movement/industry’s norms and needs. The goal is to convince the big money players that this is the direction we want to go. Their development and filing of their own language shows that they will not be supporting the two that were previously filed; but there is still hope that they may decide to move on this language. Ed is a respected advocate for cannabis freedom and can generate support from the cannabis community. I will be putting any support I have behind this language. I would encourage the rest of the community to do the same.

The language is below for you to read for yourself. Digest it and take it in. I understand there are folks who have already dedicated time and energy into the two efforts being put forth. It is disappointing to realize that we may have been spinning our wheels. But I can assure you that this is our best option going forward.

I would encourage everyone to reach out the Ethan Nadelmann and Graham Boyd and encourage them to support the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. If they want to put millions into putting something on the ballot, this is by far the best language and the most capable option that is out right now.

Only time will tell, but you can either start kicking and screaming now, or do not be surprised if you wake up January 2015 limited to 4 lousy plants and a bunch of unnecessary red tape. The choice is ours. Squeaky wheels get oil up in this bitch….

CANNABIS POLICY REFORM ACT OF 2014

This initiative measure is submitted to the People of the State of California in accordance with provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution.

An initiative measure to add Chapter 6.7, entitled “Cannabis Policy Reform”, to Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code and adds Section 420 to, and to add Chapter 14.5 (commencing with Section 25400) to Division 9 of the Business and Professions Code, to amend Section 68152 of the Government Code, to amend Sections 11014.5, 11054, 11364.5, 11370, 11470, 11479, 11488, 11532, 11703, and 11705 of, to add Division 10.3 (commencing with Section 11720) to, and to repeal Sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, and 11485 of, the Health and Safety Code, to add Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to repeal Section 23222(b) and amend 40000.15 of the Vehicle Code, and to amend Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to cannabis.

SECTION 1: Title

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014.

 

SECTION 2: Findings and Declarations

The People of the State of California hereby find and declare all of the following:

(A) Existing marijuana laws have created a violent, criminal drug market.

(B) Millions of criminal justice and court resources are spent each year enforcing marijuana laws that could otherwise be spent on preventing violent crime.

(C) Existing marijuana laws have a disproportionate impact on African-American and Latino communities.

(D) Marijuana has been used medicinally to relieve pain and treat medical conditions by thousands of people in California for more than fifteen years.

(E) Regulating, controlling, and taxing marijuana like alcohol will save criminal justice resources, reduce violent crime, reduce racial disparities, and generate revenue for California.

(F) Industrial hemp isproduced in at least 30 nations to produce thousands of products including paper, textiles, food oils, automotive parts, and personal care products.

(G) Hundreds of millions of dollars of industrial hemp products are sold in the United States.

(H) California manufacturers of hemp products import tens of thousands of acres worth of hemp products from other parts of the world that could have been produced by California farmers.

 

SECTION 3: Purposes and Intents

The People of the State of California hereby declare that the intents and purposes of this Act are:

(A) To remove all existing civil and criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use cannabis subject to the provisions of this act, without impacting existing laws proscribing dangerous activities while under the influence of cannabis, or certain conduct that exposes children to cannabis.

(B) To ensure that the proper regulatory apparatus for cannabis sale and cultivation is implemented.

(C) To prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors.

(D) To prevent revenues from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels.

(E) To prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(F) To prevent state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(G) To prevent violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

(H) To prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.

(I) To prevent the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands.

(J) To clarify and standardize regulations statewide regarding personal use and production, as well as the commercial manufacture and sale of cannabis and its derivatives.

(K) To raise tax revenues for California for education.

(L) Nothing in this act is intended to require any individual or entity to engage in any conduct that violates federal law or to exempt anyone from any requirement of federal law.

(M) To make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes.

 

SECTION 4: Definitions

Section 11018 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

11018. “Marijuana” or “cannabis” mean all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.  It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.  It does not include industrial hemp as defined in Section 11018.5, except where the plant is cultivated or processed for purposes not expressly allowed by Division 24 (commencing with Section 8100) of the Food and Agriculture Code.

 

Section 11018.5 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11018.5. “Industrial hemp” means a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to non-psychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L., and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than five-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, and that is cultivated and processed exclusively for the purpose of producing the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, the flowering tops, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.

 

SECTION 5: Repeal of Marijuana Prohibition

The following sections are herby repealed from the Health and Safety Code: Section 11054(d)(13), Section 11054(d)(20), Section 11357, Section 11358, Section 11359, Section 11360, Section 11361, and Section 11485. Section 23222(b) of the California Vehicle Code is hereby repealed. Cannabis related activities are hereby removed from the prohibitions contained within Health and Safety Code Sections 11014.5, 11364.5, 11364.7, 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, 11470, 11488, 11488.5, 11570, 11703, 11705.

(b) Health and Safety Code Section 11361.5 is amended to include prior violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, as well as cannabis related violations of Health and Safety Code Section 11365, 11366, 11366.5, 11379.6, and Vehicle Code Section 23222(b).

(c) Section 11421 is added to the Health and Safety Code to read:

11421. Except as provided herein, it is lawful, and not a crime, public offense, or cause for incarceration, for an adult to use, possess, share, cultivate, process, transport, distribute and sell to other adults, or otherwise engage in cannabis related activities. It is lawful and not a violation of California law to sell cannabis to a person 21 years of age or older. It is lawful and not a violation of California law for a person 21 years of age or older to smoke or consume cannabis in one’s home, in any privately owned property, or in public in a manner that does not endanger others. It is lawful for adults 21 years of age or older to cultivate cannabis. Cannabis may be cultivated on privately owned property with the consent of owner, resident, or tenant of such property.

 

SECTION 6: Cannabis Regulation

Sections 11422, 11423, 11424, 11425, 11426, 11427, and 11428 are added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11422(a). The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) shall promulgate rules and regulations concerning the industrial, research, scientific, medical, and commercial cannabis regulatory regime.  The ABC shall have exclusive power, except as herein provided, to control, license, permit, or otherwise authorize the commercial and industrial cultivation, manufacturing, processing, testing, transportation, distribution and sale of cannabis and to collect license fees or taxes on account thereof.

(b) The ABC shall fully implement the regulatory regime created herein within 12 months from the passage of this Act. The commercial cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sale of cannabis shall not be lawful until 12 months from the passage of the Act.[ER1]  All regulations promulgated and enforced by the ABC shall be unified, to the extent possible, with the California Alcoholic Beverages Control Act.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to ensure only adults aged 21 and over can purchase marijuana, an allowance of safe onsite consumption of cannabis at cannabis related businesses, environmental protections, and penalties for diversion to minors.

(c) The ABC shall have exclusive power to suspend or revoke any specific cannabis license if it shall determine for good cause that the granting or continuance of such license following analogous procedures as those used for alcohol and set forth herein. These regulations shall include appropriate controls on the licensed premises for commercial production, cultivation, processing, transportation and sale of cannabis.  This includes, but is not limited to, age verification measures to prevent the diversion of cannabis to minors, prohibitions on the use of firearms at cultivation, processing, or distribution facilities, and regulations concerning zoning, land use, locations, size, hours of operation, occupancy, protection of adjoining and nearby properties, and other environmental and public health controls. These regulations may not include bans, actual or de facto, of the conduct permitted by this Act.

(d) Any regulations created and enforced by the ABC shall not infringe on the individual rights set forth in this Act.  Any taxes, regulations, fines and fees imposed pursuant to this section shall not be imposed on adults, aged 21 and older, with personal amounts of cannabis.

 

“Personal amounts of cannabis” includes all cannabis produced from a personal garden, or three pounds of dried processed marijuana, whichever is greater.

 

(1)   An indoor personal garden using electric lights will be measured by the total wattage used by the lights in all phases of growth. The total watts used by the lights can be no more than 2600 per individual.

(2)   An outdoor personal gardens or greenhouses are permitted. Their total size can be no more than 100 square feet per individual.

(3)   Up to three individuals can maintain a personal garden located on a residential property. More than three individuals can maintain a personal garden collectively or cooperatively in an area zoned industrial or agricultural. A residence on this property does not preclude cultivation of such a garden.

(4)   The presence of persons younger than 18 years of age in a household does not make the cultivation unlawful nor shall it be used in any manner to diminish parental rights or justify the removal of a child from the home unless the child’s physical health and wellbeing is in actual imminent danger.

(5)   These size limitations do not apply to medical gardens.

 

(e) The California Department of Food and Agriculture shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.  These agencies shall work together to control commercial and industrial cannabis cultivation. The regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall be consistent with the provisions of the Food and Agriculture Code related to the production of consumable plant crops and vineyards. This shall include provisions for the permitting, tracking and inspection of all cannabis that is cultivated for commercial or industrial purposes.

(f) The California Department of Public Health shall be designated by the ABC Commissioner to oversee the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis pursuant to Section 11425. These agencies shall work together to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis and the issuance and enforcement of the Class M license pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 420.1(m).

(g) The ABC shall consult with the California Environmental Protection Agency to create any rules necessary to protect the environment, including regulations limiting the use of pesticides, controlling water diversion, and preventing other forms of pollution generated by the commercial and industrial cultivation of cannabis.

11423(a). The ABC shall work with the California Board of Equalization and any other executive and legislative entities to develop a fee and taxation structure that can be implemented for cannabis in a manner similar to that of alcohol subject to the provisions of this Act.

11424(a). Local jurisdictions shall have the right to restrict personal gardens that are in visible from the street or other publicly accessible property. Counties and cities retain the ability to regulate land use, zoning, and nuisances of cannabis related activities in a manner consistent with this Act and subordinate to all State implementations of this Act. Local jurisdictions may not pass ordinances that restrict commercial cultivation in agricultural districts; neither may they ban access in their districts to medical cannabis by qualified medical cannabis patients.

All proposed regulations by local government agencies specific to marijuana businesses or proposed businesses otherwise within proper zoning and otherwise compliant with state and local law are subject to a referendum to be held at regular elections on any proposal to restrict cultivation, processing, or its sale for on-site or off-site use. The proposals are not enforceable until they have been approved by vote.

(b) This Act authorizes the State of California to prevent the diversion of marijuana to states where it is illegal and generally control the importation and exportation of cannabis through the provisions of 21 U.S.C. Section 873.

11425. This Act shall not adversely affect the individual and group rights and protections afforded by California Health and Safety Code Sections 11362.5 through 11362.83.  Schools, employers, and/or landlords may not discriminate against, nor penalize a person, solely for their status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver unless failing to do so would put the school, employer, or landlord in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a federal contract or funding.  A person may not be denied medical care, including organ transplants, on the basis of their status as a qualified patient.  A patient’s use of marijuana shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance.

11426(a). Except as authorized by law, every person under the age of 21 who possesses, cultivates, or transports, cannabis in a manner as defined by section 11422(d), is guilty of an infraction. (b) Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 18 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Except as authorized by law, every person 21 years of age or older who furnishes cannabis to a person under the age of 21, but 18 years of age or older, shall be guilty of an infraction. Cannabis related conduct that contributes to the delinquency of a minor may also be punished by Penal Code section 272.

(c) It is an infraction to consume cannabis while operating a vehicle, boat, aircraft, upon a school or public bus, on school grounds other than at a college or university, in a children’s playground, on a public street or sidewalk, in any manner that endangers others.

(d) Driving while impaired by cannabis shall be punished by Vehicle Code Sections 23103, 23152(a), and 23153.  Impairment occurs when a person’s mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. This is the sole standard to be used in determining driving under the influence allegations.

11427(a). Except as provided in Section 11427(c) the unlawful cultivation of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction.  Unlawful cultivation occurs when cannabis is grown on public or private lands without consent of the owner or government agency supervising that property or the unlicensed cultivation outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11422(a), 11422(b), 11422(c), 11422(e), 11422(f), 11422(g) and 11424(b). Nothing in this Act shall prevent prosecution under other statutes related to environmental protection.

(b) Except as provided in Section 11427(c), the unlawful sale of cannabis shall be punished as a misdemeanor or an infraction. The unlawful sale of cannabis occurs when cannabis is sold outside of the regulations promulgated pursuant to Sections 11423 and 11424(b).

(c) The following activities may be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony:

(1) The sale of marijuana to children under the age of 16.

(2) The diversion of marijuana to states where it is not legal.

(3) Cannabis related activity that is being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of illegal drugs or other illegal activity.

(4) The use of violence, coercion, or duress in the unlawful cultivation or unlawful distribution of marijuana.

(5) Gross pollution or environmental destruction caused by the unlawful cultivation of marijuana.

(6) Cultivation on public land or on private property where prohibited by the owner.

11428(a). No public agency shall alter, amend, assess, condition, deny, limit, postpone, qualify, revoke, surcharge, or suspend any certificate, franchise, incident, interest, license, opportunity, permit, privilege, right or title of any person because of cannabis use or other conduct permitted by this Act.

SECTION 7

Sections 420, 420.1, 420.2, 420.3, 420.4, 420.5, 420.6, 420.7, 420.8, 420.9, 430, 430.1, and 430.2 are added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

The regulation of commercial cannabis cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sales shall fall under the purview of the ABC. The ABC shall issue licenses authorizing the cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and wholesale and retail sales of cannabis, cannabis seeds, and cannabis plants.

420.1. The classification of the licenses administered by the ABC is initially set as delineated herein.  The ABC, or the Legislature, may later modify these licenses in order to better effectuate the purposes of this Act. The ABC shall issue licenses to all qualifying applicants. Unless otherwise provided herein, a holder of any valid license may hold any of the other various licenses permitted herein, except they may hold a license for only one class in Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D.

Commercial cultivators and processors involved in germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, conversion, extraction, and wholesale sales of cannabis to licensed manufacturing, processing, or cultivation facilities that produce only CBD-containing cannabis need not apply for a special license. Vendors of products containing only CBD also need not apply for a special license. Both these groups must register with the ABC and maintain regular business licenses. These businesses are subject to inspection for compliance by the ABC.

(a) A “Class A” license shall apply to outdoor commercial cannabis cultivators who cultivate 43,560 square feet (one acre) or more of plant canopy. This license shall authorize the germination, cultivation, processing, packaging, and wholesale sale of cannabis to a licensed manufacturing, processing, cultivation, or retail facility. A holder of this license may sell cannabis to any licensee holding a valid license authorized pursuant to this section and licensee may hold various classes of licenses.  All holders of this license must declare how the cannabis will be processed consistent with similar regulations enforced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Holders of this license must comply with all environmental rules and regulations pertaining to the cultivation of an agricultural crop produced for human consumption. Any processing occurring at the cultivation site may be subject to additional zoning requirements, and inspection by the local health department. The holder of a Class A license may not be issued more than one Class A license. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) A “Class B” license shall authorize the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 21,780 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(c) A “Class C” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license, but shall apply to cultivators who are cultivating up to 10,000 square feet of plant canopy. The holder of a Class C License may not be issued more than three Class C licenses. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

(d) A “Class D” license authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as a Class A license.  This class of license shall apply to cultivators who use in excess of 2600 watts of light in their indoor garden or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy, or who cultivate in excess of 100 square feet of plant canopy outdoors or who process amounts of cannabis commensurate with that amount of plant canopy.  This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(e) of the Health and Safety Code.

Holders of this license shall be subject to additional regulations relevant to the indoor cultivation of cannabis.  A holder of this license must maintain the requisite electrical and plumbing permits as required by the city and/or county in which the indoor cultivation facility is located. This license may also be subject to controls related to electrical consumption and the disposal of waste associated with the cultivation facility. Outdoor cultivation is subject to relevant zoning laws.

(e) A “Class E” license authorizes the manufacturing and packaging of processed cannabis.  The ABC shall develop the rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for the inspection, tracking, and labeling of all licensed cannabis manufacturing facilities and the cannabis contained therein. This license may be issued for continuous use or for specific seasonal operations.  The California Department of Public Health or local health agency may be designated to enforce the provisions of this class of license.  The ABC shall create separate subclasses of the Class E license for the manufacturing of edibles and the manufacturing of extracts and concentrates.  The holders of this license may distribute cannabis to a licensed retail or wholesale entity.  All cannabis subject to the Class E license must be clearly labeled to show the following: compliance with the California Health and Safety Code for food packaged and labeled for human consumption, the THC and CBD (cannabidiol) content of the cannabis, and a warning that reads: “For Adult Consumption Only, Not For Children”.

(f) A “Class F” license authorizes the sale of cannabis for consumption on the premises where sold. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any bona fide eating or drinking establishment seeking to permit cannabis consumption on premises. This license authorizes the on-premises retail sale of cannabis and on-premises consumption of cannabis indoors and/or outdoors. A city or county may mandate that air- cleaning equipment be used for premises seeking to permit indoor cannabis smoking in their jurisdiction.  The number of Class F licenses issued may be capped by the ABC pursuant to population density in a manner identical to similar caps as related to alcohol. The ABC shall promulgate regulations necessary for the tracking and inspection of all retail sales of cannabis.

(g) A “Class G” license authorizes the sale of cannabis only for off-premises consumption where sold. This shall include seeds, clones, and larger plants. The cultivation, production, processing, distributing, and manufacturing of cannabis is not subject to this class of license. This license shall be used for any establishment exclusively dedicated to adult cannabis use and sales as well as to any establishment not primarily dedicated to the sale of cannabis, such as convenience stores.

(h) A “Class H” license is a private club license that authorizes the same privileges and restrictions as Class C, Class D, Class E, and Class F licenses and applies to members and guests only, for production and consumption of cannabis only on the premises where sold.  The ABC may issue further regulations related to this class of license including a cap on the number of members that a private Class I club may have. It is subject to the same taxation regulations as other licenses.

(i) A “Class I” license is a license authorizing the scientific and medical research of cannabis. The cultivation, production, processing, conversion, extraction, testing and other related activities are subject to this research license. This license does not confer the right to transfer or sell consumable products containing THC except for use in specific research projects.

(j) A “Class J” license is a special event license is issued to event producers who do not qualify for a Class G license. It authorizes the sale of cannabis during an event to guests and attendees for on or off premises consumption. This license shall be used for farmers markets, festivals, parties, and other similar events.  This license only becomes valid when the license holder has obtained event insurance. Holders of Class J licenses will be subject to the same taxes as other retailers.

(k) A “Class K” license is a license authorizing the brokering of cannabis and cannabis-containing derivatives between the various classes of license holders.

(l) A “Class L” license is a license authorizing the testing and labeling of cannabis produced and distributed by other classes of license holders.

(m) A “Class M” license is a license authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5 through 11362.83. This license shall also be used for the commercial cultivation, processing, distribution, and sales of medical cannabis. This license shall be subject to the provisions of Section 11422(f) of the Health and Safety Code.

420.2 The ABC shall levy fees on the issuance of licenses pursuant to this Act in a manner designed reasonably to cover to costs of assuring compliance with the regulations to be issued.

420.3 The ABC shall issue and enforce regulations concerning commercial cultivation, manufacturing, distributing, transporting, testing, and selling of cannabis that provide for all of the following:

(a) Adequate security measures to protect against the unauthorized access or diversion of cannabis from the cultivator, processor, distributor, transporter, tester, manufacturer or seller in a manner not permitted by the Act. These regulations may include recordkeeping provisions to ensure transparency of finances and non-diversion into a criminal market.

(b) The holder of a Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class H, Class I, Class K and Class M Licenses must submit to an inspection and tracking system to ensure non-diversion and that all cannabis produced by the licensee that is sold is assessed pursuant to Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. The license holder must also provide a detailed crop security plan, along with satisfactory proof of the ability of the licensee to provide for that security.

(c) Holders of all Classes of licenses shall be subject to an inspection and tracking systems to ensure that cannabis is not sold by a licensee if that cannabis has not been manufactured subject to an assessment provided for in Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) of Division 2 of the revenue and Taxation Code.

(d) The holder of any commercial license may be subject to regulations adopted by the ABC pursuant to this chapter.

(e) Punishments for violations in actions against licensees shall be in substantial accord with those applicable to the regulation of alcohol sales, including penalties for permitting persons under 21 years of age to purchase THC containing cannabis products and other appropriate regulatory provisions concerning such matters as the time of sale, deliveries, and signage. It is the intent of the people in enacting this act that the regulation of cannabis sales be consistent with the statutory guidance regarding alcohol sales in Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 25600) to the extent that consistency is feasible.

420.4. Beginning 60 days after the operative date of the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, the ABC shall begin to enforce the provisions of this chapter.[ER2]

420.5(a). The ABC will appoint a Cannabis Appeals Board. The Cannabis Appeals Board, (the “Board”), shall exercise the powers as are vested in it by this chapter and may adopt such rules pertaining to appeals and other matters within its jurisdiction as may be required.

The Board and its duly authorized representatives in the performance of its duties under this chapter shall have the powers of a head of a department as set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. 26081. Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the ABC issuing, denying, suspending, revoking, or ordering any penalty assessment against a registration for the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transportation, storage, distribution, sale, purchase, or possession of cannabis may appeal to the board, which shall review the decision subject to the limitations that may be imposed by the Legislature.

(b) No decision of the ABC shall become effective during the period in which an appeal may be filed, and the filing of an appeal shall stay the effect of the decision until such time as a final order is made by the board.

(1) The review by the Board of a decision of the ABC shall be limited to whether:

(A) The ABC has proceeded without, or in excess of, its jurisdiction.

(B) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(C) The decision is supported by the findings.

(D) The findings are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

420.6. Each order of the Board on appeal from a decision of the ABC shall be in writing and shall be filed by delivering copies to the parties personally or in the manner prescribed by Section 1013 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Each order shall become final upon being filed as provided in this section, and there shall be no reconsideration or rehearing by the Board.

420.7(a). Any person affected by a final order of the Board, including the ABC, may apply only to the Supreme Court or to the Court of Appeal of the appellate district in which the proceeding arose, for a writ of review of the final order. The application for writ of review shall be made within 30 days after filing of the final order of the Board.

(b) No court of this state, except the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to the extent specified in this article, shall have jurisdiction to review, affirm, reverse, correct, or annul any order, rule, or decision of the Department, or to suspend, stay, or delay the operation or execution of it or to restrain, enjoin, or interfere with the Department in the performance of its duties, but a writ of mandate shall lie from the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal in any proper case.

(c) No decision of the ABC that has been appealed to the Board and no final order of the Board shall become effective during the period in which application may be made for a writ of review, as provided in this section.

(d) The filing of a petition for, or the pendency of, a writ of review shall not of itself stay or suspend the operation of any order, rule, or decision of the Department, but the court before which the petition is filed may stay or suspend, in whole or in part, the operation of the order, rule, or decision of the ABC subject to review, upon the terms and conditions that it by order directs.

420.8.  The writ of review shall be made returnable at a time and place specified by court order and shall direct the board to certify the whole record of the ABC in the case to the court within the time specified. No new or additional evidence shall be introduced in the court, but the cause shall be heard on the whole record of the Department as certified to by the Board.

420.9(a). The review by the court shall not extend further than to determine, based on the whole record of the ABC as certified by the Board, whether:

(1) The ABC has proceeded without or in excess of its jurisdiction.

(2) The ABC has proceeded in the manner required by law.

(3) The ABC of the Department is supported by the findings.

(4) The findings in the ABC’s decision are supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

(5) There is relevant evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing before the Department.

(b) Nothing in this article shall permit the court to hold a trial de novo, to take evidence, or to exercise its independent judgment on the evidence.

430. The Board, the ABC, and each party to the action or proceeding before the Board shall have the right to appear in the review proceeding. Following the hearing, the court shall enter judgment either affirming or reversing the decision of the ABC or the court may remand the case for further proceedings before or reconsideration by the ABC.

430.1. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure relating to writs of review shall, insofar as applicable, apply to proceedings in the courts as provided by this article. A copy of every pleading filed pursuant to this article shall be served on the Board, the ABC, and on each party who entered an appearance before the Board.

430.2. Whenever any matter is pending before the Board or a court of record involving a dispute between the ABC and a registrant, and the parties to the dispute agree upon a settlement or adjustment of it, the court shall, upon the stipulation by the parties that an agreement has been reached, remand the matter to the Department.

SECTION 8

Section 4. Part 14.6 (commencing with Section 34001) is added to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:

PART 14.6. CANNABIS TAXES

CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS

34001. It is the intent of the people in enacting this part to utilize any revenues generated from the commercial regulation of cannabis for the public benefit by enacting a tax on cannabis.

34002. This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Cannabis Tax Law.”

34003. Except where the context otherwise requires, the definitions set forth in Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) govern the construction of this part.

34004. The Cannabis Tax may be imposed on all classes of license other than a Class I or Class M license.

 

CHAPTER 2. IMPOSITION OF TAX

34011(a). All businesses that sell cannabis related products shall be subject to a tax based on their gross sales of the THC related products. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes. It will be collected in addition to any other taxes that apply, except as provided in Section 34011(b). There shall be a minimum of three sectors of cannabis production.

(1)   Cultivation and manicuring

(2)   Wholesale sales

(3)   Retail sales

In addition there may be a fourth sector: Processing into edibles, concentrates or other products for consumption. There may also be other sectors that have not yet developed but that may develop in the future.

The businesses from each sector shall pay the tax at the rate of six percent (6%) of gross receipts from sales of THC containing products whether produce or processed products.

 

Vertically integrated companies shall pay the tax on the “virtual sale” of the product as it transfers from one sector to another. Direct sales by farmers to the public will not be subject to a wholesale tax, but shall be subject only to the retail tax.

 

For the purpose of this section a farmer is defined as a business that derives more than seventy-five percent (75%) of gross cannabis income from cultivating cannabis.

 

 

For the purpose of this section a “virtual sale” is defined as a transfer from one sector to another. In each sector, the “value or cost” of each transfer will be determined as a percentage of the retail price and the customary industry mark-up policy. These taxes cannot be collected before the final product is sold.

 

(b)  Exemption for medicinal preparations.   Products licensed solely for medicinal use pursuant to Section 420.1(m) may be exempted from taxes under Section 34011(a) at the processing, wholesale, and retail levels upon the determination of the Department of Health.   This category shall include (1) products whose cannabinoid content exceeds 66% CBD (cannabidiol); (2) herbal balms, poultices and cosmetics formulated for external use only; and (3) other purely medicinal products designated by the Department of Health.  This exemption shall not apply to any product that is also licensed for non-medicinal use or is mainly used for non-medical purposes.

 

(c) Class L facilities shall be subject to a one percent (1%) tax based on the gross receipts received for their cannabis testing services. This tax is not a substitute for any other taxes.

 

(d) Cities or Counties shall be allowed to impose up to an additional five percent (5%) sales tax on retail sales of non-medicinal THC marijuana products. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax. Patients requiring cannabis for the treatment of serious debilitating illnesses shall be exempt from all retail taxes on cannabis upon the approval of their primary care physician. The State Department of Health will oversee and issue identification for these patients.

 

(1)   Should a county impose a sales tax, it will share the revenue from the tax with the city in which the sale was made with the county receiving sixty percent (60%) and the city receiving forty percent (40%). Cities and towns within a county that imposes a special-marijuana sales tax would be precluded from adding additional taxes on the sale. This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the county and city.

 

(2)   Should there be no sales tax imposed by a county, cities within the county are permitted to impose a special-marijuana sales tax of five percent (5%). This tax will be configured with the regular sales tax at the time of purchase but the full amount of the additional tax will be retained by the city.

 

(e) Neither the county or city, nor state agencies may impose any cannabis-specific or cannabis business–specific taxes other than those specified in this initiative.

 

CHAPTER 3. COLLECTION AND ADMINISTRATION

34021. To the extent feasible or practicable, the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6451), Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6701), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6901), and Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 7051) of Part 1 shall govern returns and payments, determinations, collections of fees, overpayments and refunds, and administration under this part.

34022. The ABC shall enforce this part and may prescribe, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the administration and enforcement of this part. The ABC may prescribe the extent to which any ruling and regulation shall be applied without retroactive effect.

 

CHAPTER 4. DISPOSITION OF PROCEEDS AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE TAX

34031(a). 34031. Any amount due to the state under this part shall be paid in the form of a remittance payable to the State Board of Equalization.

The Cannabis Tax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The Fund shall consist of all revenues deposited therein pursuant to this Part.

(b) Moneys in the Fund shall be appropriated as follows:

(1) Forty percent (40%) to the county government in which the funds were collected. If it was collected in a city, the county and the city will divide these funds equally.

(2) Thirty percent (30%) to the state’s General Fund.

(3) Twenty percent (20%) to education, divided as follows:

a)      Five percent (5%) to preschool education for student instruction.

b)      Five percent (5%) to primary school education for student instruction.

c)      Five percent (5%) to secondary school education for student instruction.

d)     Five percent (5%) to community colleges for student instruction.

 

(4) Five percent (5%) to research programs to:

(a) Evaluate the safety and efficacy of marijuana for medical and social purposes

(b) Assess and advance scientific methods for addressing drug abuse, driving and employment safety concerns

(c) Evaluate the impact and implementation of this act.

(5) Five percent (5%) to drug education, and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs.

SECTION 9

Section 18901.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18901.3. (a) Subject to the limitations of subdivision (b), pursuant to Section 115(d)(1)(A) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(d)(1)(A)), California opts out of the provisions of Section 115(a)(2) of Public Law 104-193 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 862a(a)(2)). A convicted drug felon shall be eligible to receive food stamps under this section.

SECTION 10

No reimbursement is required by this Act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this Act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SECTION 11

The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

SECTION 12. The provisions of this Act shall become effective November 5, 2014.

 

Come check out the #MCKF in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth Mass!

Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum announces 3 Events to Inform and Educate about Cannabis and Developing Mass. Marijuana Industry

Check out our radio advertising! We had to go all activist on Clear Channel to get them to run it!

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 21, 2013 — Three informational events across the state with the cannabis industry’s best and brightest will be hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum (MCKF) in association with the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis on Sept. 28-29 in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth.

Ed Rosenthal

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 21, 2013 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Three informational events across the state with the cannabis industry’s best and brightest will be hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum (MCKF) in association with the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis on Sept. 28-29, 2013 in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth.

Goal of these events:
* To provide education and training to potential dispensary applicants, employees, and patients;
* To hold an interactive forum for people to learn more about the cannabis industry and how the application and regulatory processes will be implemented;
* To develop a strong activist community;
* To celebrate the overwhelming support of 63 percent of Mass residents who voted YES for medical cannabis.

WHAT: A series of three events being held in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth that will bring the industry to Massachusetts for an informative event. The speakers have nearly 100 years in experience to share. The event will cover the regulatory model and competitive application process, including presentations on best practices, quality assurance, production/cultivation methods, legal/social/political environment, and coalition building. Segments will be interactive, allowing people to communicate directly with the speakers.

Each event will be unique because it will be guided by the questions and. Attendees will receive a copy of “Medical Marijuana 101,” the “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook,” “Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook,” and course binder with materials on the application/regulations/best practices.

WHO: The MCKF is proud to present industry leading authors, consultants, business operators, and researchers to provide three days of informational access to the business.

Ed Rosenthal has been writing about cannabis cultivation for over four decades and is the world’s leading expert in the field. Ed has sold over a million books, and his book the “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook” has revolutionized the field.

Mickey Martin, author of “Medical Marijuana 101,” and an expert in the competitive application process, will give attendees a breakdown on best practices, regulations, and the entire application process.

Founder of Steep Hill Labs, Addison Demoura, will present on quality assurance and discuss the latest technology being used to help people better understand cannabis medicines.

Dr. Keith Saunders, Ph.D. is a sociologist and host of the Boston Pot Report who will educate people on the evolution of cannabis in Mass. over the years, and discuss the positives and negatives of the proposed industry. The event will conclude with speakers being joined by local activists to discuss community building and cooperative response to issues.

WHEN and WHERE: Three dates. Three locations across the state.
* Saturday, September 28, 2013 in Boston, Mass. at the Seaport World Trade Center Auditorium;
* Sunday, September 29 in Lowell, Mass. at the UMASS Lowell Inn and Conference Center;
* Monday, September 30 in Dartmouth, Mass. at Rachel’s Lakeside Event Center.

WHY: To inform and educate the community about cannabis and the developing marijuana industry.

For more information, contact Mickey Martin 508-289-1779 or email cannabisknowledgeforum@gmail.com – or visit: http://www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com/ .

INTERVIEW A CANNABIS OUTLAW. MASSACHUSETSS CANNABIS KNOWLEDGE FORUM.

mmjraid.1

Have you ever wondered what it is like to wake up to Federal officers swarming your home because you provided cannabis to sick people? Do you want to know what it is like to realize that your medical cannabis company has been raided and is on every major news network in America? Are you interested in understanding how cannabis intolerance affects families and their children?

Our panel of experts not only has nearly 100 years of experience directly working with cannabis, and they have the scars to prove it. They are true-to-life cannabis outlaws.

The “Guru of Ganja,” Ed Rosenthal, was one of the first people to be raided and charged in Federal court for providing medical cannabis. His landmark case propelled the cannabis movement into the mainstream and his story was heavily covered nationally. Ed became the poster boy for the battle between the Feds and states with medical cannabis laws.

Mickey Martin ran a company called Tainted Inc. that made medical cannabis foods for patients in California. His company was raided and he was charged with several felonies. At his sentencing, the Judge noted that he was not motivated by profit and believed he was providing a service to sick people, and sentenced him to two years of community confinement.

Addison Demoura operated a dispensary in Oakdale, Calif. and was raided by intolerant local authorities in Stanislaus County. During the raid officers traumatized his wife and children, and charged him with several felonies for operating his dispensary. After finding officers left out important information when requesting the search warrants the case was dropped and Addison Demoura successfully sued the local authorities for damages.

DO YOU WANT TO INTERVIEW ONE OF OUR CANNABIS OUTLAWS?

Our speakers are making themselves available to all media from now until the event to do interviews. Their colorful and interesting stories make for a great special interest piece and their interviews always provide good information for readers, viewers, and listeners. To set up and interview with one or all of our speakers feel free to contact us by phone or email. Thanks.

* PHOTO: http://cannabisknowledgeforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Ed-Rosenthal-in-greenhouse_high_res.jpg

* Photo Caption: Ed Rosenthal in greenhouse.

NEWS SOURCE: Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum

For more information regarding this press release, please visit:
http://www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com/
 

Massachusetts: Learn from Real Cannabis Outlaws

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Foreman of jury in Rosenthal case issues apology for guilty verdict

Have you ever wondered what it is like to wake up to armed Federal officers swarming your home because you provided cannabis to sick people? Do you want to know what it is like to realize that your medical cannabis candy company has been raided and is on every major news network in America? Are you interested in understanding how cannabis intolerance affects families and their children?

While there certainly are many lawyers and consultants coming to Massachusetts touting their cannabis business bona fides, none of them have experienced firsthand the real dangers of the cannabis business…facing charges for doing the right thing.

Our panel of experts not only has nearly 100 years of experience directly working with cannabis, but they have the scars to prove it. They are true-to-life cannabis outlaws.

The Guru of Ganja, Ed Rosenthal, was one of the first people to be raided and charged in Federal court for providing medical cannabis. His landmark case propelled the cannabis movement into the mainstream and his story was heavily covered nationally. Ed became the poster boy for the battle between the Feds and states with medical cannabis laws. An incredible activist effort (and a team of great attorneys) kept Ed from going to prison, as the Judge gave him a sentence of one day time served.

mickey.pressconference.1Mickey Martin ran a company called Tainted Inc. that made medical cannabis foods for patients in California. His company caught the feds attention for producing candy’s that mimicked mainstream brands, such as the world famous Reefer’s Peanut Butter Cup. His company was raided and he was charged with several felonies for his role in providing cannabis foods for qualified patients. At his sentencing, the Judge noted that he was not motivated by profit and believed he was providing a service to sick people, and sentenced him to two years of community confinementinstead of the three years in prison the US Government was asking for.

Addison Demoura operated a dispensary in Oakdale, CA and was raided by intolerant local authorities in Stanislaus County. During the raid officers traumatized his wife and children, and charged him with several felonies for operating his dispensary. After finding officers left out important information when requesting the search warrants the case was dropped and Addison Demoura successfully sued the local authorities for damages. Stanislaus County settled with the Demoura’s out of court for a hefty sum, and was forced to return what was taken in the raids.

So while many so-called experts come to Massachusetts touting their credentials, none of them have the real life experiences to help people understand the true risks and rewards of the cannabis industry like the speakers of the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum. If people want to learn the honest truth about the industry and learn from the experiences of our cannabis outlaws, then they have got to buy the ticket and take the ride on July 12th, 13th, and 14th for the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum events in Lowell, Boston, and Dartmouth.

Come and learn from our panel of cannabis outlaws and pioneers. Before it was cool to provide medical cannabis our speakers were doing it, and doing it well. Their colorful and interesting stories make for a great special interest piece and their interviews always provide good information for readers, viewers, and listeners. Come out to the events and find out not just about the beautiful side of the industry, but also the very real challenges that we all still face.

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To set up and interview with one or all of our speakers feel free to contact us by phone or email. Thanks.

CONTACT: Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum/ p. (508) 289-1779 e. cannabisknowledgeforum@gmail.com

www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com

Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum

This is going to be a great event….I promise.

www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com

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KNOWLEDGE

Thanks for your interest in the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum. We are excited to bring to you three exciting and unique days of cannabis knowledge with some of the industry’s leading experts. For those interested in opening a dispensary, working at a dispensary or production facility, or being an active part of the medical cannabis community and industry developing in Massachusetts, this is a must have cannabis knowledge experience.

Participants will enjoy interactive learning experiences with speakers who have dedicated their lives to developing the cannabis movement and industry. Come and ask the experts questions about how the industry works and how you can be a part of this exciting opportunity.

  • The Ganja of Guru and world-renowned author of the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook., Ed Rosenthal, brings you decades of firsthand experience in cannabis cultivation and breeding. He will present the basics on cultivation for hardship cultivators, as well as principles of commercial growing for those interested in dispensary production. Come and meet the legend himself and ask him about your garden, or future gardens. Ed has written about cannabis cultivation for forty years and has been a leader in the development of cannabis cultivation technology. He is also an expert witness for marijuana related court cases

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Guru of Ganja Ed Rosenthal

 

  • .Sociologist and host of the Boston Pot Report, Keith Saunders, Ph.D, will provide background on the Massachusetts cannabis community, economy, and social and legal norms of the local cannabis community. His work on the ground with Massachusetts cannabis activism, including ongoing support of the Boston Freedom Rally, gives him a unique perspective as to how the Massachusetts cannabis laws and regulations may be implemented, and how they will affect the Massachusetts community.

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Boston Pot Report Host Keith Saunders

 

  • Author of Medical Marijuana 101 and Director of T-Comp Consulting, Mickey Martin will present the basics of medical marijuana, understanding the Massachusetts medical cannabis regulations, preparing and dispensary application and industry best practices. He has worked on cannabis business development for over a decade, and has helped several clients succeed in the competitive application process. Mickey operated the nation’s first major brand of edibles, and has developed best practices for producers of cannabis medicines that have become industry standard.

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Medical Marijuana 101 Author Mickey Martin

 

  • Founder and Chief Operating Officer for Steep Hill Labs, Addison Demoura, founded the nation’s first cannabis analytical lab, He will be speaking on the importance of quality assurance and technological innovations in the cannabis testing industry. His work in bringing quality control and potency testing to the industry has revolutionized the way patients access and understand their medicine. Steep Hill’s innovative program has helped in creating better understanding of the industry by providing third party oversight and detailed information about the medicine patients consume.

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Steep Hill Lab Founder, Addison Demoura

 

All tickets include over $70 in books and materials. They will get a copy of Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower Handbook ($29.95)Mickey Martin’s Medical Marijuana 101 ($14.95), Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook ($18.95), as well as a course binder with documents on Understanding the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis RegulationsMedical Cannabis Best Practices, quality assurance and handouts for approaching cities and your community about the benefits of medical cannabis.

The event will be held on July 12th in Lowell, MA; on July 13th in Boston; and July 14th in Dartmouth. Sessions will begin at 9 a.m. with a 90 minute break for lunch at noon and end around 4 pm. the ticket price is $200 and will be made available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Buy tickets for Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum- LOWELL

Buy tickets for Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum- BOSTON

Buy tickets for Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum- DARTMOUTH

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT ONE, OR ALL, OF THESE GREAT EVENTS!

Out of the Frying Pan

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Some folks do not really seem to get it.

There is a sector of this movement that chooses to live in a utopian state of denial. They continue to fight for some undefined and bizarre cannabis reality that only exists within the text of their emails. It is fairly comical to watch these folks make statements that border the insane, and it is even better when they take a victory lap for something they a.) had ZERO to do with; and b.) will result in a far worse scenario than the one they just claimed victory over.

It is the classic out of the frying pan and into the fire scenario. Yesterday in California a bill put forth by Assembly member Tom Ammiano that would have regulated the industry through the Alcoholic Beverage Control failed due to a procedural mishap. Here is a statement released by Rep. Ammiano’s office explaining what happened, and declaring that they will work to get the bill passed through several vehicles already moving in the Senate on the issue::

Medical marijuana regulation efforts continue, Ammiano says:

SACRAMENTO – Medical cannabis regulation is alive in the Legislature, despite a procedural mistake that stalled AB 473 on the Assembly floor today.

“This is not an easy bill, but it is a needed bill that has the necessary support,” said Assemblymember Ammiano, author of the groundbreaking bill to regulate medical cannabis under Alcoholic Beverage Control. “Unfortunately, the vote was closed prematurely and in error, preventing all the votes from being registered. I’m going to make sure my legislative colleagues stay focused on getting this to the Governor’s desk for his signature this year.”

The bill would call on ABC to set up a division that would monitor production, transportation and sales of medical marijuana, preventing criminal control and ensuring that marijuana was not easily accessible to those who are unauthorized.

Ammiano and supporting Assemblymembers spoke on the floor to clarify that the bill would not interfere with cities seeking to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.
“The issue of local control on this bill has been addressed,” said Assemblymember Susan Bonilla.

I hope cities will allow dispensaries so their residents who need this product can get it safely, instead of illegally,” Ammiano said. “I believe that a Division of Medical Marijuana Regulation and Enforcement will help cities see they can authorize dispensaries. Not only will the division’s oversight ensure there is no increase in crime, more cities will begin to recognize the economic benefits that others have already seen.”

The bill is fully within the spirit and letter of the Compassion Use Act of 1996, approved by voters, and is consistent with public polling on marijuana policy.

Despite today’s incomplete vote, Ammiano is continuing to work on the bill and is already in talks with members of the California Senate.

But here is the big fucking problem…..and I hope I am wrong….but the Senate will likely pass a much more strict version of the bill and I would bet a million bucks that the Senate version not only will contain a similar but more restrictive regulatory model as designed by Ammiano’s bill, but will also include the DUI provision that Senator Correa’s office was pushing for, as well as incorporating the non-profit requirements that Senator Steinberg’s bill is pushing for, which results in higher weed prices.

This is how legislative bodies work….I will give you yours if you give me mine. I will see your amendment and raise you another amendment.

What will result IMO is a far worse bill than AB 473 would ever have been. The tin-foil hatters who would lead you to believe that the ABC overseeing the industry would be the end of access and small providers are simply idiots. They make ignorant statements based on lies and fear and have no more credibility inside, or outside, of this movement than any other crazy person standing on a street corner yelling about the end of the world being near.

What they fail to tell you is that they have no idea what they are talking about. These “conservative activists” (Keep things like they are! Everything is so great! Fight everything!) would have you believe that any regulation is totally unacceptable because it will end up in a “monopoly” and “family farms and mid to small size businesses” would be destroyed. Idiots….

It is apparent that most of these folks have NO IDEA what the CA Alcoholic Beverage Control does. Has anyone seen a huge “monopoly” on bars, or does your town or city have several small, independently owned watering holes for people to choose from? Is there a lack of real choice in the beer aisle, or are the literally A MILLION small label independent micro brewers that are enjoying such a percentage of the market that they have Budweiser scrambling to buy Modello to keep up with market share? Are small independent wineries ALL OVER the state? Are there thousands of small independent farms that grow grapes for these wineries? How about liquor stores? Any shortage of them in your area?

Me neither.

The reality is that we would have been lucky to see AB473 become law. As a person who works on regulations and helps develop businesses in the industry all over the nation, I have read a hell of a lot of regulations. I would call myself an expert. I know exactly how burdensome and unfair regulatory models can be, and AB473 was a walk in the park compared to the regulations put forth in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and even Colorado. I am betting it will look pretty awesome compared to what ends up getting passed through California later this year too. Some folks just do not know when to say “Yes.”

Some days I am embarrassed to be lumped in the same group with these folks. Many are not activists at all, yet are simple obstructionists likened to the Tea Party assholes. They would rather watch the industry crumble than give an inch on anything that might interfere with their current ability to make money in the industry. Most of them make their money, or find their sense of importance, from the chaos. They claim to be activists, but they are really just folks who have an agenda, and to whom defeating their common enemy is far more important than moving the industry forward. I disagree with ASA too on a lot of stuff, but if your only goal is to shit on them at any chance, then cannabis and freedom have very little to do with what you are up to.

They hide behind patients and claim to be do-gooders…but the reality is that most are protecting their interests like everyone else. It is shameful.

I am not bashful to say that I welcome regulations. I have experienced firsthand how loosely worded and defined law can allow for law enforcement to trample people’s rights, and have allowed for irresponsibility and ignorance to thrive in the industry. I think a clearly defined and regulated market would be a huge positive for the California environment. I am so exhausted by the current situation that I have become ultimately depressed.

At some point something has got to give…..and it will. My fear is that continuing to work counterproductively will result in far more restriction than we could ever imagine. Mark my word….AB473 will look awesome compared to what we now end up with. If I am wrong, then I will eat my shoe.

So as the wingnut circus takes their victory lap, and call a true cannabis champion like Tom Ammiano a “turncoat” and “opportunist,” just know that they have jumped right out of the frying pan and into the fire. You have turned your back on the best friend we have in the CA legislature and have left things to chance. The most likely scenario is that SB439, a bill put forth by State Senator Darrel Steinberg, will be amended and passed. How it will be amended is anyones guess, but even Steinberg agrees it will be heavily amended. Here is his comments on it from the Sac Bee:

Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, has co-sponsored a regulatory bill in the Senate that he says will be heavily rewritten before getting a vote. He said he is troubled by pot stores that sprouted long after Proposition 215 legalized use for people with ailments such as AIDS or cancer or “any other illnesses for which marijuana provides relief.”

“I don’t think there is any secret that, with the dispensary system, there has been a lot of license taken and there is very little distinction between those who suffer from serious illnesses … and those who can easily get a piece of paper to get the marijuana,” Steinberg said.

Steinberg said he wants to regulate pot businesses and protect access by sick people to marijuana. But he said, “I do not support the legalization of marijuana.”

So rather than supporting Ammiano’s effort, which allowed for a regulatory model similar to that of booze which are everywhere, the crazies have decided to back an effort that is put forth by a person opposed to legalization which attempts to codify “guidelines” that contain statements such as, “a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana MAY be lawful under California law”…..or it may not?

Here is what US Attorney from the Eastern District of California, who has been actively cracking down on providers of medical cannabis had to say to the Sac News and Review on it:

Sacto-based U.S. attorney Benjamin Wagner told guests at a speaking engagement last week that Colorado andWashington face less federal scrutiny because their weed laws were written better, while it remains a pot “free-for-all in California.”

Hey…so I have a great idea! Let’s just keep the laws that make cannabis a perceived free-for-all!

Sometimes I am ashamed to be a part of this movement…..If these idiots do not quit pulling us all out of the frying pan, I am gonna have to move.

CHANGE.ORG: Quit taking people to jail for weed by summer…

Petitioning People Against Jail For Weed

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People Against Jail For Weed: Quit taking people to jail for weed. Make cannabis legal by summer.

The drug war is an absolute failure. We are destroying people’s lives for a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that is safer than alcohol, tobacco, coffe, or any other “legal” drugs. we can no longer afford to continue taking our friends and neighbors to jail for their choice to use cannabis. American citizens inherent right to use cannabis must immediately be restored and law enforcement must quit violating people’s 4th amendment rights because they suspect or smell weed. The time to end this is now. #LegalBySummer

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!

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More IS Better

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A week from today, Los Angeles is set to vote on the future of medical marijuana in their City. There are 3 competing ballot measures to regulate the industry.

The first is Measure D. This is the MOST restrictive and MOST expensive measure. It limits the number of collectives to an arbitrary 135 that were listed in 2007 on the City’s illegal moratorium and Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) and raises the tax rate for weed by 20%.

It was crafted by the ultra-corrupt City Council who has recently voted to ban dispensaries altogether and was written by cannabis enemy LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. The LA Times has suggested that instead of opposing all three, that Measure D is the closest thing to accomplishing NO medical marijuana. Here is their quote on that:

It would be easy enough to urge a no vote on all three, and to call on the city to impose a full-scale ban instead. After all, The Times opposed Proposition 215 from the outset, partly because it was sloppily written and partly because it set up an inevitable conflict with the federal government, which continues to classify marijuana as illegal and dangerous….

Measure D will come the closest to accomplishing that goal, or at least will put us on the right road.

Most important, it would impose limits on the number of marijuana businesses in the city, allowing about 135 dispensaries to remain open — those that were operating and registered under city laws in 2007 and that sought to re-register in 2011.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-end-marijuana-measure-d-e-f-20130510,0,448078.story

So get that…the super conservative LA Times who thinks dispensaries should be outright BANNED, and the City Council, who also thinks dispensaries should be BANNED, agree that the closest thing to an outright ban they can get passed is Measure D, and they are supporting this effort to severely limit and cripple the local market.

The dumbfounding part is that people in our own industry are backing this play….Which brings me to Measure E.

Measure E was put forth by a coalition of UFCW, Americans for Safe Access, and the Greater Los Angeles Caregivers Alliance. It also limited the number of collectives the the 135 listed as pre-ICO/illegal moratorium, but did not raise the tax rate. When the City made the power move to put their initiative on the ballot, ASA, UFCW, and GLACA all folded their efforts to back the City’s in an unprecedented and puzzling move that can only be seen as protectionism at its finest. There is no other explanation for a group spending their hard earned money to gather signatures for an initiative only to abandon their own initiative in favor of a more expensive model.  It is simple collusion with City Hall at its finest.

The problem is that these folks are now in bed with those who have spent the last 5 years undermining their businesses and trying to get rid of them. Way to go.

Which brings us to Measure F, which to me is the no brainer of the choices on the ballot if you are for MORE ACCESS. Silly me….I thought that is what we were standing on the street corner fighting our asses off for all of these years.

Here is what the LA Times says about Measure F:

Measure F, by contrast, sets no limits. It includes some strong rules and protections — in some cases stronger than those in D. But the city simply can’t sustain an unlimited number of dispensaries. Supporters of F say there would be de facto limits as a result of the requirements about how close dispensaries could be to schools, parks and one another, and that the final number would be in the hundreds. But what guarantee is there? Certainly nothing in the law.

So when the conservative hacks at the LA Times state that Measure F is bad because it provides too much access, even though offering stronger protections, my liberal freedom-loving radar goes off and tells me to do the opposite of what these right wing zealots are pushing. I am seriously surprised that more of the activist and reform community leaders are not joining me in my support of Measure F. I am seriously disheartened that a large contingency of activist groups and community leaders would turn their back on MORE access. It is appalling.

Of course, there is the CANORML lack of position at all stating that people should vote on all three. Great…way to take a stand there. There is also the mudslinging position of dispensary operators who would be protected by Measure D in the press trying to paint their competition as outlaws and thugs. Here is what one dispensary operator told the LA Times:

Yami Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, is backing Proposition D, which would shrink the number of pot shops to about 130. Only dispensaries like Bolanos’, which opened before the adoption of a failed 2007 city moratorium on new shops, would be allowed to continue operating.

At the City Hall rally and news conference, Bolanos accused some newer shops of catering to drug dealers by not requiring doctor’s prescriptions and selling more than 8 ounces of marijuana per visit to customers, more than twice what her store allows.

“Who needs 8 ounces, unless you’re going to break it up into dime bags and sell it in the street?” she said.

Apparently Yami has completely lost her mind and has taken the position of a prohibitionist. Who needs 8 ounces? People traveling long distances to access their medicine from places like Bakersfield with no access who may not want to come down every week, so they stock up. People who do juicing, or make edibles may use larger quantities. People who find a strain that works for them and want to stock up on it may buy 8 ounces. What business is it of yours anyways? When SB420 passed in 2003 state lawmakers, another scared and normally conservative group of humans, thought 8 ounces was a good number. Why is a dispensary operator supposedly on the side of patient access questioning patient need and rights in public like this?

Because of money and power basically. There is no other explanation.

But here is that basic rule of thumb for me on this….MORE IS BETTER.

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I will be damned if I have worked my ass off to defend access to cannabis over the years so that some wannabe good ol’ boys club can dictate the market to their own competitive advantage. That is just bullshit. When the defenders of Measure D try to paint the non-protected dispensaries as some sort of scofflaws and “people who just got here 10 minutes ago” it is easy to point out that for one, most of these places opened up right after the moratorium under the City’s own stupid hardship clause in 2008, meaning they have been open for the better part of 5 years; and two, most of the original dispensaries protected by Measure D have changed ownership or have been bought out by management groups.

The bottom line is that Measure D arbitrarily closes hundreds of dispensaries based on a bad law in an irrelevant time, and severely limits access. Measure F, on the other hand, does not attempt to close down the dispensaries operating pre-ICO, and even allows for new great operators to apply for a permit. As a person who has been shut out of the business for 5 years by the feds, I would not mind an opportunity to apply for a dispensary permit in LA down the road if I chose to. That my friends is called FREEDOM.

I have heard some conspiracy rumblings that some weirdos think that Measure F contains a “poison pill” for language in it stating it does not authorize the breaking of Federal law. This is a statement in response to the Pack v. Long Beach decision, and I personally included similar language in the initiative I wrote for Sac County. The fact that these are the straws folks are grasping at shows clearly that Measure F is the BEST OPTION for more access to cannabis and a more competitive and level playing field.

Measure D closes down hundreds of dispensaries. Measure F does not. This is not hard to figure out….

The folks backing Measure D are working to shut down their competition, whereas Measure F makes no attempt to shut down the proponents of Measure D, or anyone else for that matter who complies with reasonable restrictions.

I have even heard an activist who I respect greatly say “1,000 in Los Angeles is too many.” When I remind them that the City of Denver, Colorado has a population of about 600,000 people and they have 235 dispensaries who all do well and compete and have succeeded in driving prices for cannabis way down, and that Los Angeles is a city of 11 million people (18 million in the metro area) that by that rate Los Angeles should be able to sustain several thousand dispensaries and still manage to thrive, they have no immediate answer.

Yeah…Real life has played out and the sky did not fall, Chicken Little. So now what is your big excuse? Too many? You mean too much access?

We live in a world where free markets help increase competition and in turn, drive innovation and value. IMO. Measure F is the only measure that allows for our true American freedom principles to thrive and is the only real choice on the ballot for anyone who loves cannabis freedom.

I have a lot of friends who would do quite well if Measure D passes, but the ones who believe in themselves and believe in their business do not see legally handicapping the industry as the solution. In fact, it is the problem.

I have no idea which measure will pass, but I know as a community we should ALWAYS back the measure that provides for MORE access….MORE IS BETTER. Duh…

More Access. More Jobs. More Weed. Vote Yes on Measure F. Fuck the rest….