Save Vallejo — A Perspective on the Cannabis Issue

By Doug Darling


There has been a lot of comments in the local newspaper and other media outlets about a recent City Council meeting here in Vallejo that resulted in 2 Major Policy decisions getting addressed. It should be pointed out, neither decision will be implemented overnight.

Here is what happened on the evening of 1/13/15

1, City Council agreed to regulate MMDs.
2, City Council agreed to close down ALL storefront businesses currently selling marijuana. (To enforce land use codes)

The Medicinal Advocates got what they wanted, a Policy decision to approve and regulate Medical Marijuana in the City of Vallejo.
It will take 6-9 months to get the Regulatory Framework in order.

The concerned community got what they wanted, the proposed elimination of the proliferation of stores selling marijuana in Vallejo.
The concerned residents are not celebrating or dancing in the streets, we are just glad to know that Vallejo is willing to regain control of how storefront businesses operate in Vallejo. No comment yet from City Staff on a time line for closing down current storefront operations.

As much as this should be a WIN-WIN for both sides, this does not appear to be the case. The MMD Operators and Advocates are crying FOUL. I will point out and rebut some of the most common complaints. During the City Council meeting the City Attorney made it clear, that regardless how you attempt to regulate, there will be Litigation. Because they will have to be shut down sooner or later and regardless how you attempt to do that, lawsuits will follow.

These are the most common complaints, in no specific order.

#1, Clients will be denied access to their Medicine.
Answer, The City is not denying anyone’s rights under Senate Bill 420 or Prop 215. State law clearly states that any collective or otherwise must be in compliance with local codes and ordinances. Here in Vallejo, none of the storefront businesses are in compliance with local codes. If people want to help other people in a collective nature, they are welcome to do so, just as they were doing before all the storefronts popped up.

#2, This decision goes against the will of the voters, (referring to measure C, taxing the dispensaries).
Answer, Measure C is still active, if your operating, your supposed to be paying taxes. Measure C is not being revoked. The voters only approved taxation, they did not approve, operations in City limits. Measure C is a misconception, it was putting the cart before the horse. The message City Staff put before the Council back then was this, “since they are here we might as well tax them” Measure C does not over-ride land use codes for the City of Vallejo. These storefronts are still in violation of land use.

#3, Why is Mayor Davis so set on closing down the clubs.
Answer, While I cant speak for the Mayor I can say, Mayor Davis opposed Measure C in 2011. He precisely stated it was putting the cart before the horse. Having 20-40 businesses in Vallejo selling marijuana without business licenses is a quality of life matter. It is an Image matter. It sends a negative message to other businesses that do have business licenses. It is a Land-use matter. Storefront sales of marijuana is not an approved land-use.

#4, The City took a step backwards.
Answer, The City took 2 steps forward! City Council approved to regulate MMDs in Vallejo. Council also agreed to enforce local land-use policies. That is a win-win.

#5, Heads should roll. (those who voted to shut down dispensaries should be recalled)
Answer, The majority of Council members who voted to shut down and stop the proliferation of clubs also voted to approve regulating MMDs in Vallejo. Therefore, you would be recalling those who support MMDs.

#6, What about liquor stores and pharmaceuticals.
Answer, Please see “Bait and Switch” try Wiki….

#7, All those with tax certificates should be allowed to stay open.
Answer, Sure, why not, if I was a club owner, I would say the same thing:) Vallejo does not need 11 clubs. The Council made it clear that 11 clubs is too many. Some Council members made it clear that 2 would be their preference, others suggested 4 would be OK. The only rational way to address this is to close them all down, again, they are ALL in non compliance. There will be litigation and the only responsible way for the City to address that is to close all the storefronts at the same time.

#8, Wasted tax dollars (by closing all MMDs)
Answer, If the City attempted any other way to regulate, without 1st closing down ALL MMDs, the cost of Litigation would far outweigh any proposed lost tax dollars. By allowing some to stay open while others were shut down would be inviting lawsuits based on discrimination.

Lets get to the bottom dollar! This is after all, about the DOLLAR! Understand that there will be lawsuits regardless how the City handles this matter! Understanding the threats of Litigation is key in going forward. One of the storefront operators made that perfectly clear when he spoke at the Council meeting, he promised to sue if the City attempted to shut him down. He just couldn’t hold his tongue. That is the nature of the beast that we are up against!

Council was smart enough to realize, you cant pick and choose who stays open and who doesn’t. To reduce litigation, they must all receive cease and desist orders. You do not have to be a lawyer to see that showing favoritism in this case would not bode well in front of any Judge. Since they are all equally in non compliance with land use codes, they can all equally be issued orders to cease and desist. (The City Attorney alluded to that in absolutely as few words as possible).

The MMD Industry will no doubt attempt to stop the closures here in Vallejo. Measure C is their argument, that the voters have spoken, they say. Well, Measure C is alive and well, it is not going anywhere. It was not a vote to approve land use. It was not a vote to regulate. It was not a vote of amnesty. It was a vote to TAX those who were operating in non compliance, that is what Measure C was and still is. The Measure C argument is moot.

Even though City Council agreed on 1/13/15 to create Policy for MMD regulations here in Vallejo, the Industry is preparing to fight back. Even though we approved to regulate them, they are going to attempt to sue this City when cease and desist orders come out against those who are in non compliance with land use. They are willing to let you and I, the taxpayers pick up the cost of Litigation. They have no problem letting you and I pick up the tab and at the same time they will blame the City for these lawsuits and expect you to blame the City too:)

It is simple to understand that the ONLY possible way to move forward is to stop and start over. Of course the Industry will never admit that. Future Regulatory Framework will most likely include an RFQ process for determining qualified MMD operations.
Odds are that few if any of the current storefront operators would be able to fill the requirements of an RFQ process for Vallejo.

Because City Staff and City Council dragged their feet through the recent years does not make them at blame for the current violations of land use policies. The aggressive nature of this Industry (lawsuits) is much of the reason City of Vallejo has acted slowly. Storefront Operators gambled here in Vallejo, they knew that from the beginning and they know that now, though none will willingly admit it.

MMDs should not threaten lawsuits. They should accept the recent decision to Regulate by complying with cease and desist letters when those letters arrive. Instead they are spreading a campaign called, Save Measure C. Suggesting that all taxpaying storefronts be allowed to stay open. That would be about 1 dozen. Like a scene out of a Reality show, they will organize now in groups, to take the others. When the time comes, will this dozen then attempt to take out each other?

Are the MMDs really that oblivious to the reality of what is happening? Do they really believe for a moment that the City of Vallejo or the Residents would approve of 11 storefront locations in Vallejo? There is no chance in hell of that ever happening, but they are willing to dupe you into fighting this battle for them. They are willing to dupe you, the taxpayer into paying the legal expense when they file frivolous lawsuits against the City.
If your willing to support this campaign, than you better be willing to pay for it too:) This is the Measure C propaganda being proposed after City Council voted to approve regulating MMDs in Vallejo.

Vallejo, wake up, don’t be duped, or should I say, doped. If you buy into this propaganda, than you, have been roped and doped!

Apparently the City Council agreeing to regulate MMDs wasn’t good enough, now the MMDs want to put the spin factor on Measure C. Question is, how naive are you??? Don’t be naive, be informed.

Chapter 5.05 Marijuana Business License Tax can be found here. It is cut and dry. 1652 – Marijuana Tax Measure.pdf.

Enough is enough. Write or call your Mayor and Council, tell them, the MMD advocates got what they wanted. Tell them to “Save Vallejo” Tell them NOT to allow 11 MMDs in Vallejo.

Osby Davis
(707) 648-4377
Robert Sampayan
(707) 648-4130
Robert McConnell
(707) 648-4135
Katy Miessner
(707) 648-4133
Rozzana Verder Aliga
(707) 648-4134
Pippin Dew-Costa
(707) 648-4132
​Jesus Malgapo
(707) 648-4131


Note: All opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.

'Save Vallejo — A Perspective on the Cannabis Issue' have 35 comments

  1. January 28, 2015 @ 8:31 pm Anonymous

    Mayor Osby Davis clearly said during City Council meetings and while campaigning that the reason he wanted to shut down the MMD was because it was “against the law to sell marijuana according to the federal government”. He also has stated that he believes it leads to further drug use and is a detriment to the community, all which have been disproven.

    When the vote was taken to regulate, Osby’s motion was to ban all MMD, which wasn’t passed. He said when the vote was made to close while regulating them, “I’m not saying we will allow them to reopen and won’t ban them”. It’s clear his intention is to attempt to ban them completely based on his moral objections.

    Businesses are regulated all the time and regulations change. When you regulate a business, you don’t have to shut them all down first. That’s silly. When you change regulations for a grocery store, you don’t go shutting them all down before you can push new regulations. This is what is called a “red herring”.

    You can push for whatever you like, and you can point to Osby Davis as some sort of rational example, but that doesn’t mean people are going to swallow it. The past fiascos in trying to shut down MMDs have left us with a liability which when the payout comes, is going to cost our city millions due to the overzealous attempts to control the distribution of legal medicinal marijuana.


    • February 27, 2015 @ 4:13 pm Me

      Funny how Vallejo city council and the Mexican Cartell families are all in agreeance on this issue.
      I don’t trust the “good guys” that tend to agree with the “bad” ones. Just saying.


  2. January 28, 2015 @ 9:35 pm Anon

    Good points Doug. Wouldn’t the regulation of MMD’s been faster and less expensive if there was support for Nichelini closing them down so the regulation process could have started years ago?


    • January 29, 2015 @ 10:41 am Anonymous

      Nichelini (via Osby Davis) tried shutting down dispensaries. What happened is that they illegally seized property and assets which were shown by courts to be illegally handled. Now the City of Vallejo is faced with several multi million dollar lawsuits. The City is going to end up paying not only for multimillion dollar payouts to compensate, but also pay for the legal costs, probably of both sides. It was an amateurish attempt, and once again put our city in legal and fiscal jeopardy. I’m sure this next round will be much worse.


    • February 27, 2015 @ 4:19 pm Me again

      I just love how this ploitition says we will have to pay to support the MMJ Clubs. Meanwhile the same fool is denying $50,000 in revenue and raising our property taxes. Seems like we are paying to not have the MMJ Clubs. Take the $50,000 in tax revenue and lower our property taxes. This politition is a joke. He might have fooled my third grade little sister, but he is never going to fool me.


  3. January 29, 2015 @ 12:13 am some sense

    Doug common sense if vallejo gives u a business license after going thrue building inspection,fire inspection,and any other APPLICABLE Inspection. Then u invest time,money, and alot of it On a bulding a business you agree to pay a extra 10% tax. THen with out a way to conform they ask you to close.Thats not right and i would hope you sue.
    But anyhow i actully emailed the and had a good conversation with the guy he said they were going to try to organize a ballot initiative and the last thing any licensed dispensary wanted to do was sue he also told me that they will be reaching out to the communitty to work with as many conzerned citizens,leader and business to get there suggestions and incorporate them to there initative.

    Im sure it will go back to the ballot on this one……….


    • January 29, 2015 @ 7:29 am Doug

      Business license? None of them have a Business License. They might have a business license application, none have the license. As for the Ballot, this local code issue is not got going to the ballot. What is proposed for the Ballot is the legalization of Marijuana in 2016.


      • January 29, 2015 @ 10:36 am Anonymous

        Once again, false information. All businesses with a tax certificate require a business license. Many without tax certificates also have business licenses. You need to do your research.


        • January 29, 2015 @ 4:21 pm Doug

          False Information, me? That’s a terrible thing to suggest. I do my very best to be informed when I speak on Policy matters. Meanwhile, until you can come with an MMD business license, i will leave you with this. Getting a business license for an MMD right now or a year ago, would be the same as getting a business license for a Nuclear Power Plant, they are just not available. There are no regulations, therefore there are no zoning codes and with out zoning codes there is no listed use, the City cannot issue a business license to a business that is not defined in the use category.


          • January 29, 2015 @ 9:46 pm

            Doug here u go more business license coming as well as other approvals from city of vallejo for medical marijuana

          • January 30, 2015 @ 4:16 pm Doug

            What a tangled web, indeed. Yes, that says, Business License, it is apparently at the same time, “The Tax Certificate”. In order to collect money from a business, that business must have a license, therefor, yes, you have a Business License. For the other side of the equation. The License refers to itself as a Certificate, it states, “Issuance of this Certificate is not an endorsement, nor a certificate of compliance with other Ordinances or laws, nor an assurance that the proposed use is in conformance with the Cities Building/Fire/Zoning regulations”

            The consensus I took from Business License Dept. Planning Dept. and the Attorneys Office is that this certificate is required for you to pay your Taxes, (perhaps for them to receive your taxes). All Depts acknowledged, it is not a document that puts you in compliance with local ordinances.

            So do you have a Business License? Obviously so, thank you for providing that. Staff has always contended, they do not provide business licenses, they provide Tax Certificates. The term used today was, Nomenclature.

  4. January 29, 2015 @ 5:07 am Bong Hit

    I’d proceeded with great caution here. Are there any metrics available to support the case for shutting down these businesses?

    1, How much crime is associated with MMD businesses? Who has done this analysis and where is the data?

    2, How many other businesses operate in Vallejo in violation of municipal codes? Who has done this analysis and where is the data?

    3, Is this primarily an emotional reaction to these storefront businesses? Are residents having a knee jerk reaction to the mere sight of these store fronts? What tangible harm to taxpayers and residents is occurring due to these MMD business operations? Who has done this analysis and where is the data?

    Once again our city leaders appear to be working at cross purposes. On the one hand city leaders have actively sought to bring poor people into our town through welfare housing and in the process destroyed the downtown district. On the other hand, MMD popularity is driven in large part by the poor and illiterate customer base created by Vallejo’s welfare housing policy. It seems to me we’ve made our bed long ago and now we have a large demographic of the population that wants this kind of business. Given our present financial condition, shouldn’t we also be exploring ways to exploit this business boom?


    • January 29, 2015 @ 8:16 am Doug

      I cant speak to whether or not such data exists. For me, I do not need to be informed of such data. I live nearby these storefronts, I’m subject to the trash, the foot traffic, the disrespectful driving, the music and more.
      I’m sure the Planning Dept could answer question 2.
      The community has complained about the proliferation for years, harm need not be tangible in order to reduce the quality of life. We may have a demographic that supports this industry in Vallejo, I think the bigger demand is coming from outside Vallejo. Vallejo has agreed to regulate, but not 35 , not 11, more like 2-4. The foremost reason the process to regulate must start from scratch is to reduce the impacts of litigation. Vallejo has been held hostage to the threat of litigation for years, we are still threatened, you need only to watch the Council meeting to see and hear it. Perhaps others think its OK that these businesses knowingly open up and proliferate in Vallejo against local codes, I simply do not. Its become a free-for-all, that needs to be nipped in the bud. The only way to do that is to start from scratch.


      • January 29, 2015 @ 11:16 am Anonymous

        Funny how it’s all the MMDs fault and none of the liquor stores, convenience stores, or any other business’s faults. No one has advocated shutting down all liquor stores or all corner groceries while we come up with a set of regulations. As for the claim that they cause trash, increased foot traffic, loud music, disrespectful driving…. Doug wants us to believe that even though there are “20-40” dispensaries in Vallejo, he lives near them all and knows them to be the cause of these problems.

        What we have here looks more like some crazy old man yelling “Get off my lawn” to a bunch of kids.


        • January 29, 2015 @ 11:43 am Doug

          Crazy , sure. Old man, not yet.


        • February 3, 2015 @ 2:25 pm Morgainne

          What about these so called Massage Parlors? Open, never see many people go in. Looks like a front for something else. And yes, no one minds all the liquor stores and they were once illegal store fronts. Doug, I hope u r never seriously ill or in CONSTANT PAIN. Until u r, maybe you should stay out of it. Your hate is VERY OBVIOUS. Perhaps u had a relative who was an addict, I don’t know but that is usually where such venom comes from. Frankly, I have MORE problems with the DRUGS the Doctors are pushing on me than I EVER have had on Cannabis. And yes, Cannabis! Not pot, marijuana or any other slang term that was created to vilify minorities. Don’t just look at the now, learn some history. Even the doctors who wrote ALL those reports in the ’70’s have said it was a lie! Stop thinking Reefer Madness is a documentary. As for the Mayor, the stories of his misdeeds are rampant! He even admitted, during the city counsel meeting, that he used to deal cocaine! His greed is also OBVIOUS!


  5. January 29, 2015 @ 9:10 am some sense

    I actually got emailed a picture of one of the dispensarys business license. And its joust like mine i run a local vallejo business they also send me a a aproved business licence aplication picture showing that its a for a medical marijuana dispensary. He said they where working on adding a link to show there licensing


    • January 29, 2015 @ 4:29 pm Doug

      I’m more than happy to send business their way if they are legit! My research leads me to believe otherwise. Them posting it would certainly resolve the matter, now wouldn’t it. I look forward to seeing that.


      • January 29, 2015 @ 9:37 pm
        here u go Doug more to come in the coming days our members do have business license for medical marijuana and they do contribute to our city coffers also.The measure c dispensaries are not planing on sueing the city they are planing on working with the community to bring a BALLOT initiative to the people.


  6. January 29, 2015 @ 10:05 am wharf rat

    Other north bay Cities do not have store front mmd’s – head shops , rather they simply have discreet delivery services’s for those that truly need mmw . Remember the State law is for the compassionate care act to allow Canabis to Patients who have a real medical need , to date recreational use remains technically , not legal by both the State and Fed , eventhough it probably comprises a major percentage of the weed ‘dispenced’ in Vallejo . Neighbourhoods being exploited by mmd’s who have no zoning designation and approval would probably be disallowed were there comprehensive zoning and associated permiting/ regulations . The Industry has shot it’s self in the foot by not creating quality standards and business plan models that fit well in the communities they profuse to serve , all while issuing propaganda that usually causes mass ‘eye rolls’ . After all when is the last time your Doctor wrote you a prescription for Train Wreck


    • January 29, 2015 @ 10:30 am Bong Hit

      Doug, I hear what you’re saying and I can appreciate the concern you have for the downtown. It does ring a little hollow, however, considering Vallejo’s long standing welfare housing policy that has essentially done the same damage you describe to the quality of life for all of us before MMD’s. Still, I get where you’re coming from.

      This is the argument I think the MMD legal team will take. The criminalization of marijuana falls most heavily on the black community. Vallejo has knowingly created a large enclave of poor black residents downtown. The welfare housing policy has concentrated poor blacks downtown and the business community has reacted in an organic way to the demand for marijuana. People who are not poor, both black and white, don’t need to get their marijuana from these downtown storefronts. People who have resources continue to the their “medicine” from their associates through the grey market. Closing down the storefront dispensaries amount to a defacto racial bias in the regulation of the MMD business.

      This is the attack they will try IMO, we shall see.


  7. January 29, 2015 @ 7:56 pm Bong Hit

    a city on a hill
    so beautiful to behold
    social justice and housing so fair
    long in the tooth, root canal and bills
    i wish I were young, so many regrets


  8. January 29, 2015 @ 8:53 pm wharf rat

    If a picture is worth a thousand words a map is worth two thousand , with the exception of a recent popup every other north bay City has no store front / brick and mortar dispensary’s the mmj patients receive their medicine via a discreet delivery service this is evidence of superior business plans and much higher IQ’s . When the numerous scofflaw storefronts in Vallejo are forced to close, Patients will have seamless access to medication via the numerous delivery services operating in north bay counties. Gone will be the street scene and crime in front of these store fronts , many which have become hang out’s with open smoking and often violence we have come to know . See the map it also shows that all the mmd’s are concentrated in west Vallejo- that once again gets dumped on with an excess of social challenges and crime creation due to ‘concentrations’ and high densities often a result of very poor planning and policy . The residents of west Vallejo are currently experiencing HIGH levels of crime and are organizing neighbourhoods to combat it , all while we are a continuing destination for a majority of the AB109 early release people from the center for positive change pipeline to our neighbourhoods and then often back to prison . We are done being a dumping ground for social experiments and inept Government , this will be reflected in the next election .


    • January 30, 2015 @ 9:23 pm

      Almost Every city in California Has dispensary most are underground and are not listed or advertise. Delivery Services are less regulated and at times operated out of residence they have no oversight and there is no real regulations for them. Besides San Francisco no one else permits delivery services to operate. The collectives that are members of are association strive to improve the community all have security cameras and discourage loitering,most have extremely good rapport neighboring business


  9. January 30, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

    Before any business gets a business license in Vallejo they have to get approved from city departments zoning,fire,planing,and code. or they cannot be issued a business license.All the Measure C Collectives went through inspections from city departments passed and where signed of like any other business so they are not illegal.zoning is the location where business operate or areas they can operate and for the past 3 years Measure c collectives have not been allowed to relocate.


  10. January 31, 2015 @ 7:16 pm wharf rat

    So what exactly is the zoning designation for MMD’S is it general retail or clinical services or retail pharmacy ? , lets see a punch list with the various City depts signing off on one . The tax measure has been roundly confused with an actual approved site use, and no comprehensive zoning ordinance has been drafted or approved by Council . Expect a model similar to alcohol outlets followed by an exaustive public process .. An Auto repair shop must meet certain zoning requirements certainly you don’t expect an MMD to have to pass a lower bar , there are so many red flags with this industry at this point in time that I doubt seasoned business operators would take the risk .


  11. February 3, 2015 @ 10:44 pm Vallejo Voter

    Cart before the horse, yes, but not the way anyone here or Davis has stated. The council should have had an ordinance in place before closing the MMD’s. Then, the city would have some legal legs. Now, all the MMD’s will be closed, driven underground and the city will lose whatever tax money they’ve been collecting from the dispensaries that have tried to operate “legally”. To Davis, it’s better to tax everyone (Measure B) than to receive revenue from a source of which he disapproves – just ignore what the voters have said. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an ordinance to be on the council’s agenda. By closing all MMD’s, Davis has now gotten what he wanted from the beginning of this controversy and will bury any ordinance the same way he has done with everything with which he disagrees.


    • May 14, 2015 @ 2:01 am Morgan Lindsay Hannigan

      There are many things we can do. A lot of what we have done has changed minds. Osby himself now takes every opportunity to claim he supports “MEDICAL marijuana, but not recreational…” which he then (usually) qualifies with something like “75% of the people buying marijuana here are recreational users…” which is an absolute fallacy, and as the mayor is not a doctor, I wonder where he got this number…


  12. February 5, 2015 @ 10:39 am John_K

    Any dispensary operator who refuses to shut down when requested to do so by the City should be removed from consideration of permitting under the new ordinance. A refusal to comply with the City’s request to cease operations would indicate an unwillingness to comply with any future regulations. Such operators don’t really want to be “regulated” – they simply want to operate as they have always done and let their “patients” pay the measure C tax.


  13. February 11, 2015 @ 12:39 pm morgan hannigan

    so on 1/27, the council voted to stop accepting all measure c taxes. here we come, bankruptcy and blight – we will see you soon as more and more patients are pushed into the black market and Vallejo’s tax base plummets yet again – all for the sake of a “quality of life” issue. we better start taxing all the massage parlors popping up in town to compensate.


  14. March 1, 2015 @ 11:32 pm Justdesserts

    Please take an English class at Solano Community College. Your grammar is terrible, and it’s hard to trust the opinion of someone so ignorant.


    • March 3, 2015 @ 12:07 pm morgan hannigan

      Sorry for the poor grammar, but really, the substance of what I was trying to convey is not hard to pull from my post. Perhaps a critical thinking class would be in order for you, JUSTDESSERTS. We could even carpool.


      • March 3, 2015 @ 5:38 pm Doug

        I have to give credit where credit is due, love the reply:) LOL…


  15. May 14, 2015 @ 1:52 pm wharf rat

    We need a one hundred percent tax on weed , once the profit motive is stripped away, true Hypocratic philosophy can then evolve
    all the proceeds could go to truly altruistic missions while ”qualified medical professionals” manage the advice and dispensing of medication.. Amateur practitioners have no place in a managed care environment let’s see some diplomas and licences and for once
    do it right in Vallejo ..


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