After all the chest beating, screaming and counting chickens, by Northern California cannabis activists, it seems that the votes were just not there. The future of cannabis, both medical and nonmedical, is going to depend on local measures. Therefore, if those sounding off about how worried they are, want to change the current, local ordinances and gain some control, greater efforts are going to be needed to pass local measures and elect cannabis friendly politicians.


The only VICTORY, in yesterday’s election, came in Nevada County where voters came together to defeat Measure W, which would have solidified an outdoor ban. There was a victory, of sorts, in Davis where Measure C, a 10% tax on sales at recreational dispensaries passed. However, it was a pyrrhic victory as the City Council has made it clear that they will not permit dispensaries, either medical or nonmedical.


Other cities and counties didn’t fare so well:

Butte County passed Measure G that made cannabis exempt from the right to farm laws. Measure H also passed and it added teeth to the enforcement provisions of the cannabis ordinance.

The city of Sacramento failed, barely, to pass Measure Y, which would have placed a 5% tax on indoor grows.

San Jose easily defeated Measure C, which would have eased restrictions on dispensaries.

Siskiyou County passed Measure T, which strengthened code enforcement for cultivation, and Measure U which banned outdoor cultivation.

Yuba County easily defeated Measure A, a less restrictive cultivation ordinance and Measure B, which would have called for one dispensary for every 20,000 residents.


When the dust settles, it will be necessary for those wanting to move the cause of medical and recreational cannabis forward, to organize, cooperate, raise funds, communicate a clear message and, most importantly, get supporters out to vote.

The cannabis movement has entered into a new phase. There is now an industry, which covers 25 states, medically, and potentially the entire Western United States, recreationally, in November. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, if passed, will put power into the hands of local jurisdictions to control the permit and ordinance process. This local permit must be obtained before statewide licenses can be issued or maintained. No one can stand on laurels, reputation, feelings, beliefs or expect the other side to do anything for us from this point on.  



I have heard lot’s of chatter, recently, about concern over how MMRSA will effect medical patients. In response I am posting CA NORML’s Summary. Please pay close attention to the Patient Exemption and Physician Recommendation sections.


I would like to take some time

 to address some of the questions and comments

regarding both MMRSA and AUMA.


The 52 months I spent in federal custody helped me to understand that idealism is not enough to move cannabis towards normalization or to lessen the impact of the War on Drugs. Pragmatism is a necessary component of this process as well. 

Although I'm personally very angry

about what happened to me and my family,

that anger is only an impediment

to getting things accomplished.

To start with, if I had a choice, I would have chosen different legal mechanisms, and set different legal rules, than are contained in either MMRSA or AUMA. However, my opinion wasn't asked and I don't have a magic wand, to wave, in order to create and insert the perfectly written initiative. Additionally, there are some pretty compelling realities that are shaping the path forward and I believe they warrant some attention:

1.        The Controlled Substances Act has not gone away.

2.        The Cole Memo, of August 2013, lays out some guidelines for states to follow in order to avoid the wrath of federal enforcement actions.

MMRSA directs its attention to these by, among other things, setting up a regulatory scheme, track and trace, public health and safety as well as environmental protections. 

AUMA goes further by limiting legal access to those over 21, while modestly reducing criminal sanctions and offering some protections for parents, if they are a Prop 215 patient.

I would love to see more, but there is the other reality, the voters.

I believe that for there to be movement towards cannabis normalization here in California, the sentiments of the "average" voter will need to be considered.

If I understand correctly, voters are concerned about minors having legal access.

I believe the typical person, not involved in the movement or industry, sees our medical system as virtually recreational. so directing medical users to the language of SB 420 for attending physician, good faith prior medical exam and medical indication I believe is aimed at assuaging concerns of wink, wink, nod, nod barely medical.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for medical access for "any medical condition for which marijuana provides relief", as that language is used in Prop 215.

It is public perception that is being addressed in MMRSA, but as I read both MMRSA and AUMA, Prop 215 patients are exempted and will get their defense in criminal proceedings per that law.

As I read AUMA, it is designed to address "nonmedical" cannabis activity.

MMRSA is designed to address "medical" cannabis activities and both exempt Prop 215 patients.

I understand the concerns of my friends, in the medical community, about their future viability and the apparent aim at recommending "mills". However, the physicians I know don't run mills and even if a patient goes to a mill, as that term will become defined, the recommendation can still be used to defend against cultivation, possession and transportation charges in a criminal proceeding. 

In Colorado, I'm informed that 40% of the market is medical so I believe there will be room for physicians to continue a practice that involves recommendations. I would like to see incentives for patients to stay in the medical market, as well as room at the local level for patients to grow an amount that is adequate to meet their medical needs. Those things will require attention at the local level, at the Capital and in the courts as the issues surrounding local control continue to evolve.

Whether anyone likes it or not, the California Constitution gives local jurisdictions control over the land within their jurisdiction. The Courts have validated this and so many local jurisdictions have enacted full, or partial, bans. MMRSA does nothing to reign this in, however AUMA makes at least a modest step at this by allowing at least 6 plants that can only be limited by local jurisdictions to indoor or a fully enclosed building. Not what I would personally want to see, but at least a step in the right direction.

I am not going to say that AUMA is legalization, because it is not.

MMRSA is a reality and despite angry shouts about that being unconstitutional, I have yet to see any actions seeking such declarations or injunctions. I personally believe there is room for a challenge on the limit for growing, but I won't be filing an action over that.

I would like to see much more protection for parents, but AUMA is not devoid. 

The employment front is disappointing, but there are still many practical considerations when it comes to the average voter, whose support will be the critical factor in getting any initiative passed that moves us closer to cannabis normalization.

I see too, many wealthy white men getting the favored positions and too many women and people of color left swinging in the wind. I too can see the potential for problems and the forces of capitalism will step in and try to control the market. However, there are opportunities for "us" to be involved as the regulations are adopted.

What I sense going on is fear. Fear of the unknown, since we have all seen overreach by the forces opposed to more legalization. Fear that the efforts of so many for so many years will not be given consideration when it comes to licensure under the for profit system that is coming under MMRSA and is also part of AUMA. 

We can work to keep the industry moving towards those ideals we speak about; 




Attention to the little guy

Protections for local appellations and cultivars

Protections of the many patients that don't have the voice or power to effect this change and look out for themselves.

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