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Vallejo City Council Approves City Attorney’s Plan to Close all Tax-Paying Dispensaries—and Give 4 Cronies Licenses to Profit off of Patients

Mayor Davis

Smooth Devil (mayor)

Devil in the Details (city mgr)

Quintana, Claudia_068

Devil Advocate (city atty)


Angel Baby Madison: Why do the Devils want to take my medicine and hurt me?

May 12, 2015

The city council made a few cosmetic changes to the city attorney’s Ordinance 2015-05-12. It was a bad ordinance to begin with, and it was a bad ordinance when they passed it. The ordinance will close all of the tax-paying collectives. And then supposedly hand out permits to hand-picked city favorites.
Even though the April 21st disqualification was removed from the ordinance, make no mistake: the chief of police and the city attorney will never give a permit to a dispensary that refused to close when ordered to do so. And the change does not affect the letters that the city sent out ordering every dispensary to close or face fines and other punishments, including court orders enforced by the Sheriff.
The other changes were equally meaningless. Reducing the proximity limits to 600 feet instead of 1000 feet isn’t going to keep any tax paying dispensaries open, dispensaries that have paid a 10% receipt gross tax for the last three years, amounting to millions of dollars to the City. Moving the merit based criteria out of the ordinance itself and into a future resolution will not keep any of the tax paying dispensaries open either.
This is a bad ordinance. It closes all of Vallejo’s tax paying dispensaries. Then, supposedly, it will grant some kind of permit to four chosen “good boys” who will be the captive cronies of the city.

The only option for the survival of the tax-paying dispensaries is to stop this bad law in its tracks. On May 26th the City Council will make the final formal vote. At that point, the tax-paying dispensaries have 30 days to get 9,000 signatures on a petition to stop this bad law through a process called Referendum whereby the voters will get to vote on the new ordinance. Until that election, the ordinance does not come into effect—assuming we raise the money and get the signatures. That means that 4 good boys won’t get their permits—and the City won’t be able to say: we have 45 with permits, close all the other illegal ones!
The Referendum signature process is going to cost $60,000. In addition, the tax-paying dispensaries should also write their own law and begin collecting signatures for it. That process will cost another $90,000.
There is no time to waste. Unless the collectives have at least that first $60k in the bank by next Tuesday May 19, they are unlikely to be able to take this political action for their survival. And therefore they will be shut down by the city one by one, especially after there are four “legal” dispensaries that the city will compare them to.
While this is expensive for the collectives—it’s also another huge waste of money by the City. A special election will cost Vallejo $800,000. That in addition to the hundreds of thousands that it will spend on lawsuits, and the hundreds of thousands in lost taxes. Instead of wasting millions of tax-payers’ dollars, the City should be talking the collectives and finding a workable regulatory system.
The only way the City Council can get back on track is to delay final passage, convene a task force of stakeholders, and remove the city attorney as lead policy-maker: she cannot be expected to both fight with the dispensaries in court and at the same time work with them to craft good policy. She must be replaced as policy-maker.
If the City proceeds to final formal passage on May 26, then that means Referendum. And Referendum is WAR. Which is supposedly what the council wanted to avoid. It’s not too late stop this war before it happens. But after May 26, it will be.

Oh, and yes, Angel Baby Madison and her dad Tad came and testified to the City Council that the special CBD Juice that she gets from their dispensary is the best medicine for treating her terrible epileptic seizures and other symptoms of Dravet Syndrome. But they Devils didn’t care: her medicine provider must close and is not eligible for a city permit. Nice work, Mr. Mayor, Mr. City Manager, Mdm. City Attorney. Sleep well.

If you want to email them and ask that they get back on track, delay final passage, convene a task force of stakeholders, and remove the city attorney as lead policy-maker, here they are.


Another Victory in Vallejo! (The Battle, not the War…)

Last Tuesday, March 24, Vallejo’s valiant medical cannabis patients and activists, turning out by the hundreds, pushed the City’s ban on dispensaries back by 8 weeks.

The turnout was awesome: hours before the meeting, 2 rallies were held and both marched on City Hall, uniting there for speeches and testimonials. and a show of People Power rarely displayed in the sleepy little city. Dozens gave testimony in a 2-hour public hearing. See pictures and videos at my Instagram @MCDLawyer

When it came to deliberation, the Council had so many changes to the City Attorney’s draft ordinance that she became confused as the night wore on, and said that she would have to come back at a later meeting with all the revisions. The Council set the return date for May 12. On that date, rather than just have an automatic approval as they would have at their next meeting if they had just approved her first draft this time, the Council will have to have another public hearing–AND WE CAN ALL SPEAK AGAIN!

The Mayor looked very very unhappy with this outcome. He thought he had the votes to just run us over and proceed with his plan to close all the tax paying dispensaries in Vallejo–and replace them with his hand-picked cronies.

Time is Victory. A Battle Won is more time to gain strength, build our community alliances, and refine our strategies and tactics to win the longer war. Our cause is Just: Vallejo must continue to provide safe access for patients without interruption, and it must finally give permits to the dispensaries that have paid their heavy taxes for years. Taxation without recognition is Tyranny.

It is time for Vallejo’s Mayor to stop his insane plan to waste millions of dollars fighting law-abiding, tax-paying medical cannabis dispensaries. Or we will stop it for him.

Time is

Vallejo Set to Waste Millions Fighting Medical Marijuana

Contact the City Council now and tell them to be sensible: leave a few of the dispensaries open and enact reasonable regulations. They could start by respecting the dispensaries that are well-managed and pay their taxes–that would eliminate over half of them. It’s time for peace with marijuana, not an expensive and unwinnable war.

Next week Tuesday 3/24, the Vallejo City Council will waste over $2 million dollars on an issue that is not a major priority—and that should be making money for the City, not costing it.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are not a priority issue on anyone’s list in Vallejo. There are plenty of other important projects to fund: the $6 million dollars in unfunded pavement maintenance would be a good place to start. Investing in high speed broadband for Vallejo residents and businesses would be another. Neither one of these projects will move forward because the city budget is barely breaking even for the first time since bankruptcy.

Instead the City has budgeted at least $550K for lawsuits against dispensaries and will probably spend at least twice that. The City will also forego at least $600K in revenues by refusing to accept taxes from dispensaries. Earlier this month, they refused over $50K in monthly taxes.

This week the dispensaries will sue the City to stop giving away public taxes—taxes that 76% of Vallejo voters approved in November 2011. Last week the dispensaries filed an initiative ordinance to let voters decide on dispensary regulations. When that goes to special election because of the Council’s stubborn fixation on this non-problem, it will cost the City’s taxpayers another $875K. But like the Mayor said, he will spend any amount of the people’s money to close down the dispensaries—leaving legitimate patients with no place to get their medicine and costing Vallejo taxpayers millions.

You can also email the individual Council members here (updated with new emails):

San Jose Collectives on a Collision Course with City Council

City staff has at last tipped their hand in a recent memo: If left up to them, the City Council will  ban virtually all existing collectives (with perhaps a few exceptions in the Commercial General and Light Industrial zones). Having swept the field clear, they would then be free to hand pick their favored landlords and operators.

But their regulations would make any reasonable operation impossible: they require that each collective grow ALL its own medicine (flowers, concentrates, edibles–all of it) in one location in San Jose. That is a disaster for patients. It eliminates the huge variety of strains and medicinal consumption options now available for the health and convenience of patients in collectives that get their medicine from their members according to state law. That system provides amazing variety and vitality of supply. That’s all gone under staff’s proposal with zero consideration for the needs of patients.

And staff’s plan is an environmental disaster too, requiring gigantic indoor grows that consume insane amounts of electricity. To produce the roughly 9,300 pounds of medical cannabis distributed annually in San Jose will consume 16.3 million Kilowatt Hours of electricity and dump 13 million Kilograms of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, roughly the same as an additional 1500 houses or driving a million cars for an hour. (See the Evan Mills Study, “Energy Up in Smoke” for calculation details.) Much of this can be avoided with outdoor medicine from rural California as allowed by state law.

Federal Law Enforcement will not tolerate such gigantic grows–they blocked Oakland’s giant indoor cultivation plan in 2010 and nothing has changed since: they continue to insist that cultivation must be regulated under STATEWIDE law, not a patchwork of local regulations.

Some amount of indoor growing is a necessity under federal prohibition and has its place. But to deny patients the right to obtain sun-grown outdoor medicine produced legally in rural California is both cruel and environmentally irresponsible.

The only viable option is the Sensible San Jose initiative petition. Sign it today. It will allow about half or more of existing collectives to register and at last have recognized legal status under San Jose law–and it will allow cultivation to continue under existing and future state law.

James Anthony


San Jose Govt: Every Collective Must Grow All Medicine at Just One Site!

Once again, San Jose city staff has come up with an impossible plan of medical cannabis regulation.
1) Every collective must grow all its medicine on-site, or at one off-site location in San Jose.
2)  Only 135 parcels in the entire city meet the zoning criteria: 55 in Commercial General, 3 in Combined Industrial/Commercial, and 77 in Light Industrial. That’s it: just 3 zones. IP is not permitted. Nor is HI or CP or CN.
That will close Elemental, Palliative, Harborside, Purple Lotus and South Bay Healing Center–all sponsors of the Sensible San Jose initiative. And it will close almost all other collectives too and create a mad scramble for the few qualified properties, many of which are gigantic–over 20,000 square feet.
And it means no sun-grown outdoor medicine, and little to no variety in each collective because they have to produce everything they carry at just one site.
Those impossible recommendations  are included in the attached planning staff memo for the 4/23/14  Planning Commission meeting. It includes the Title 20 Zoning Code proposed ordinance–and it refers to the Title 6 regulatory ordinance, which exists of course in draft form written by Angelique Gaeta, but that has not been publicly released.
The Sensible San Jose initiative will leave cultivation to state law, and will regulate, register, and control the storefront collectives. It will allow about half or more of the existing collectives to remain open. It is vastly better than the City’s impossible plan. And it can win an election by the voters of San Jose (unlike the other earlier initiative that lets all stay open).
Sensible San Jose is the sensible alternative to the City’s impossible plans.
Do what’s practical and workable: sign the Sensible San Jose petition, and control and regulate medical cannabis–sensibly.

Title 20 Med Marij Ordinance-Pl Staff

US DOJ memo = Legal Cannabis Market Explosion

James Anthony

On Thursday August 29, 2013, The US Department of Justice issued a memo titled, “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement.” (Attached, below.) While it has some legal and political implications, its most profound effect will be to reduce the perception of risk in cannabis economic activity. Investment capital will then flood into the market, and the legal, or semi-legal, marijuana economy will boom.

That boom will ultimately have its own legal and political implications: it will accelerate the momentum towards legalization.

Legally, the memo does little: like its predecessors, it purports to “guide” the discretion of the regional US Attorneys (the federal prosecutors). But less than a week later, the prosecutors are already trash talking the memo like kids on a playground. Maybe they’ll follow it, maybe they won’t. it’s up to them, and according to them, they’ve already always followed it, so there.

Politically, though, the memo is hugely significant. It marks the beginning of Obama’s legacy of cannabis regularization. The Democratic party can begin to neutralize this issue now, in advance of the next presidential election, so that it will be a non-issue by then. They can do this because the issue has no political value between the parties. No party can win the presidency without the eight swing states, and that includes Colorado. Colorado loves cannabis and cannabis revenue. Therefore, both parties must allow state legalization to go forward.

Economically, the memo fuels a boom that won’t stop until legalization is fully realized. There will be fully regulated adult-use markets in both Colorado and Washington state. The California medical market will accelerate its already phenomenal growth. In all legal and semi-legal markets, capital will flood in. That will allow existing operators to expand–and it will allow new operators to enter and compete. Competition makes markets thrive. These markets are about to receive a shot of financial fertilizer that will cause an explosion of blossoming new commerce in the sunlight of social acceptance.

The California Legislature might pull a September Surprise and pass statewide medical regulations in the next week or so–partly emboldened by this memo. Regardless, more California local governments will pass regulations and taxes. More landlords will make their properties available. And if the rumors of solutions to the banking and tax problems have any truth to them, then all major impediments to the financial explosion will soon pass.

And even if they don’t, the mere perception that the risk is lower (and falling fast) will cause a green rush that will make your head spin. Hold on to your hats, ready or not, here we go.