Why The City Council’s Ordinance Is Bad For Vallejo


 

By Lani Cleveland

President, Vallejo Patient’s Coalition

On May 26th the Vallejo City Council passed an ordinance to license and regulate four medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of Vallejo. For those of you who are tired of seeing so many medical cannabis dispensaries on Tennessee this was welcome news. To those whose livelihoods are at stake and those who depend on the alternative medications that these dispensaries provide, this was tragic news. Why was this such tragic news? After all, the City will allow four dispensaries within city limits to meet the patient’s needs.

The first reason the decision by the City Council to pass their flawed ordinance is tragic is that it shuts down all of the dispensaries in Vallejo for an undisclosed amount of time. The City can choose to drag out the selection and regulation process for as long as they like, effectively shutting down the medical cannabis industry and the millions of dollars in much needed tax revenue that it brings into Vallejo’s coffers, or rather was bringing in until February when the City Council started refusing the dispensaries taxes. Not to mention the thousands of patients treating ailments from insomnia and anxiety to MS and cancer who will be without their medication or will have to drive to Oakland, San Francisco or Sacramento to get their medicine, or worse yet, into the hands of street dealers.

Why does the City Council feel that it is necessary to shut down all of the dispensaries during their selection process? That is a good question. They say that it creates an equal playing field. To me and many, many others it looks like a tactic to rid Vallejo of dispensaries and their tax dollars, tax dollars that helped pull Vallejo out of bankruptcy. Alternatives were offered to the City Council like grandfathering in those dispensaries who had paid their taxes and then go through a compliance process that would likely lower the number even more and focus on shutting down the blatantly illegal dispensaries. This approach would save the City millions in litigation and enforcement.

In order to reach the Council’s goal of four dispensaries their ordinance encourages dispensary owners to merge their businesses and provides extra points in the selection process for doing so. To the Council it makes sense for these dispensary owners to be forced into merging to stay alive. It seems the council envisions a future of Walmart-like cannabis supercenters, where the patients are herded through as quickly as possible because the lines are so long. With only four dispensaries in town it is likely we will lose most of the taxes from patients who travel from outside of Vallejo. Many only have to drive another 10-20 miles to get to another city with enough dispensaries to handle the traffic, like Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco. With few options, long wait times and hurried customer service the patients, dispensary owners and employees and tax payers are who will lose the most from this ordinance.

Now let’s talk about the jobs that will be lost. Approximately 150-200 people depend on the income they make, from medical cannabis dispensaries, to survive. That’s 150-200 people who will now be without a job, without a way to support themselves in a town that is already desperate for jobs. I’ve heard it said that not all jobs are good jobs and not all money is good money. This philosophy generally comes from the camp that believes cannabis is a drug and those who provide it are drug dealers. This is an antiquated philosophy, especially in the face of all the research that has been and is being done that proves this herb, this plant, has real medicinal properties. It is recognized in countries such as Israel, Canada, Czech Republic, Mexico, Spain, India and Argentina just to name a few and it is just a matter of time before our government also officially recognizes its benefits. What you currently believe about cannabis will likely continue to be challenged as more research is done and more benefits are found.

To those of us who depend on medical cannabis to lead normal, productive lives, the owners and support staff at these dispensaries are friends, advisors and partners on the path to wellness, not drug dealers. There are countless bars, liquor stores and tobacco stores in this city, businesses that don’t help to heal people but rather do harm dispensing legal drugs. Despite the harm these businesses do, the City Council would never dream of pulling the strong arm tactics with these businesses that they are currently pulling with the medical cannabis dispensaries.

Now imagine you take all of your savings and open a business in Vallejo. You go through all of the right channels, get your business license, go through all the inspections and you pay your taxes. Then one day the city says “Hey we don’t approve of what you are selling so we are going to shut you down.” What would your response be? Most would likely sue to maintain what they had worked so hard for and if they had done everything they were supposed to do they would likely win the lawsuit. Eventually the city will be forced to license more than four dispensaries because of the lawsuits they will most likely lose. A smarter approach would be to sit down with the tax paying dispensaries, the patients and the community to craft an ordinance that will not only work for Vallejo but also save millions of dollars.

The Vallejo Patient’s Coalition and the Measure C 11 have been at every city council meeting since this debacle started, begging the City Council to please take a step back and create an ordinance with the people it will affect the most- the patients, dispensary owners and employees and the tax payers of Vallejo. We do not oppose the City Council’s ordinance because we don’t want regulation, quite the contrary, we oppose it because it is not good, effective regulation for Vallejo. The dispensaries supported the charge to pass Measure C which called for an additional 10% tax on the sales tax that they were already paying. The dispensaries and the patients they serve genuinely care about this community and would like to see regulation put into place that will work long term for everyone it affects.

The Vallejo Patient’s Coalition, Measure C 11 and many members of the community would like to see the City Council reverse their decision and go back to the drawing board. The City Council has been repeatedly invited to the cannabis dispensaries to tour the places they wish to regulate. At the end of May the Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, took a tour of cannabis farms and met with growers because he is the head of a state commission that is looking into legalization in California, which looks inevitable in 2016. The Lt. Governor felt that this issue was important enough for him to travel hundreds of miles away to see what he was about to regulate but our City Council refuses to drive down the street. They have never been in a dispensary and have no concept what goes into running one yet they are writing regulation on these businesses. The Council is so divided on this issue that the ordinance barely passed with a 4-3 vote.

In 2016 cannabis will be legal in the state of California. The state will take over licensing and regulation of all dispensaries in this state. The way things look at the moment, ordinances that are already in effect will continue to be in effect, except for the licensing and operating standards which will be superseded by the State. This means we will be stuck with an ineffective ordinance that forced the closure of tax paying businesses (until the City Council refused to take their taxes) during a time that Vallejo is still clawing its way from the clutches of bankruptcy. The City Council can create an ordinance now that will be effective and will protect the patients of Vallejo well into legalization. With the state taking over licensing and regulation perhaps it makes more sense to grandfather in the tax paying dispensaries now, avoid the lawsuits the City will likely lose and let the state do the job they are preparing to take over, the state has at least done its homework. At this time Vallejo cannot afford to take the path the City Council is leading us down.

There is currently a petition circulating for a Referendum that will stop the City Council’s ordinance. This is currently our best and least costly way, to the tax payers, to stop the Council’s actions. If you see a signature gatherer, are a registered voter and you would like to stop the City Council from throwing away millions, please take a moment to sign the petition. If you are not a registered voter, now is the time to register and make your voice heard. Let the City Council know that they need to slow down and figure this out with their community.

The Vallejo Patient’s Coalition challenges the City Council to see the light and reverse their decision, go back to the drawing board, have a community forum, create a community advisory board for the ordinance, and tour the businesses that they will be creating regulation for. We simply ask that they take their time with such a complex and polarizing subject. Nobody wants the city to spend money on lawsuits or special elections but it is a human response to fight back when you see injustice. What is happening here is wrong but there is a solution that will work if we can just take a step back.

 

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



'Why The City Council’s Ordinance Is Bad For Vallejo' have 55 comments

  1. June 23, 2015 @ 8:23 pm Leave Us Alone

    Loss of jobs??? Look around Vallejo and you will see help wanted signs everywhere. Oh wait… You might have to pass a drug test or have a vocabulary able that of a thug.

    Some of us care about quality of life here. Leave us alone.

    Reply

    • June 24, 2015 @ 11:30 am Nimby nimby

      “Vocabulary able that of a thug”. Stop worrying about the dispensaries and GO BACK TO SCHOOL.

      Reply

      • June 24, 2015 @ 2:09 pm Leave Us Alone

        Able was supposed to be ability. I do worry about the pot clubs because I live here and am concerned about the quality of life.

        Reply

        • June 24, 2015 @ 3:09 pm Hope

          The citizens’ quality of life should be maintained no matter how many dispensaries are allowed in Vallejo. Patients, dispensaries and their employees matter, but so do Vallejo citizens who also make up the 76% of the voters who approved the tax. I intend to explore the options involved in allowing the ordinance recommendations and those proposed by the group who is creating the referendum to the ordinance. Out of the ashes of this conflict should arise a solution which is best for Vallejo as a whole. If anyone would like to join me in this research/effort, please respond.

          Reply

    • June 24, 2015 @ 11:11 pm Democracy b

      What jobs and we’re are they looking for help seems like if there was that many jobs
      Vallejos unemployment wouldn’t be so high
      I live in Vallejo and I guess I missed all the help wanted sign

      Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 10:21 am Hiope

      Marijuana Dispensaries are here to stay but at this time, I don’t believe that there needs to be more than four of them. Maybe in the future there can be more, but the City hasn’t even addressed how they are going to regulate delivery services. I have some ideas on how they can do that.

      Reply

      • June 26, 2015 @ 10:23 am Hope

        Oops! Name is “Hope”

        Reply

  2. June 24, 2015 @ 8:11 am anon

    San Francisco has a population 7x larger (800,000 : 118,000) than Vallejo. According to yelp (http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=medical+marijuana+dispensaries&find_loc=San+Francisco%2C+CA)
    San Francisco has 10 MMD’s.

    Why does Vallejo need more than 4? If we do the math and stay on par with the SF Vallejo only needs 1.5 dispensaries.

    The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported: “Medical marijuana is used to treat a host of indications, a few of which have evidence to support treatment with marijuana and many that do not.”

    Until there is more evidence, four dispensaries sounds like plenty to me.

    Reply

    • June 24, 2015 @ 11:36 am Nimby Nimby

      Look on weedmaps.com and you’ll see way more than 10 dispensaries in SF. Why don’t we let the market determine the number of MCDs in Vallejo? Seems to me that a city teetering on bankruptcy can use all the tax money that can get. These businesses have been in operation since at least 2009, the sky hasn’t fallen, so why is it so imperative to shut them down now?

      Reply

      • June 26, 2015 @ 10:27 am Hope

        The market will be plenty taken care of with 4 dispensaries to begin with. There can always be more later. The City needs time to educate themselves and experience proper dispensary operation and regulation; let them get the bugs out before more dispensaries are opened. There is time, no rush 🙂

        Reply

    • June 25, 2015 @ 12:32 pm Reader

      Do the Math: “The City of Sacramento just finished licensing 30 dispensaries without a single lawsuit or petition campaign and with a steady annual tax revenue that now exceeds $2.8 million. By the City’s own estimates, there are no more than 14 tax-paying dispensaries currently operating in Vallejo.” http://www.theweedblog.com/over-9000-vallejo-voters-sign-petition-to-stop-bad-medical-marijuana-law/

      Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 5:38 pm Lani

      Perhaps you should have done a little bit more homework on this subject. Perhaps this will help.

      http://www.alternet.org/drugs/science-media-analyzing-jama-meta-research-cannabinoids

      Reply

  3. June 24, 2015 @ 10:34 am wharf rat

    It says no where in this criteria that one can obtain licensure by bullying a elected public governing body or by means of political extortion . http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/applicants/index.shtml#site

    Community Pharmacy

    The licensure of a pharmacy is a critical process. No examination is required of the owners, and the owners can be non-pharmacists. However, the premise is highly regulated.

    The board performs a thorough investigation of the application for a pharmacy permit, which includes criminal background checks, completion of rules of professional conduct and financial reporting for all owners. The pharmacy is also required to meet security, sanitation and record keeping requirements and must have an area for confidential patient consultation.

    Every pharmacy must have a pharmacist-in-charge who is responsible for the day to day operations (Business and Professions Code section 4054).

    The Pharmacy License application forms may be obtained by download only.

    Please follow the application instructions completely. Failure to submit the necessary items will delay the processing of your application. You will be notified in writing of any deficiencies in your application. Any forms that were previously submitted with another application will not be pulled from the file. You must complete and submit all of the requested information.

    Reply

    • June 24, 2015 @ 11:42 am Nimby nimby

      They already have licenses!! They are not pharmacies, they are cooperatives and collectives that pool their resources to grow and consume a plant that helps their illness.

      Reply

      • June 26, 2015 @ 10:32 am Hope

        True, the dispensaries have business licenses (I’m not sure that all of them do as I am not sure that all of them have a good track record of paying their taxes), but just because one has a business license doesn’t make them legal, as a business license is just a tax. The Pharmacy license is a totally different thing.

        Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 5:48 pm Lani

      Of course pharmacies must adhere to such strict regulations, their medications kill thousands each year. Not to mention the millions who are addicted to prescription drugs. Marijuana has no such track record. As for trying to obtain licensing by “bullying a elected public governing body or by means of political extortion,” since when is exercising your democratic rights bullying. If you do not like what we are doing you are more than welcome to come down to city hall and let the council know how you feel. You could even start a coalition and fight back. That is the beauty of living in a democratic society, you are free to fight back. And apparently 9,000 Vallejo voters agree because the referendum received enough signatures. Signatures from all demographics of Vallejo. The more the truth come out about cannabis the more you can count on the minds around you changing. Perhaps it’s time to open yours a little bit.

      Reply

  4. June 24, 2015 @ 11:03 am curious

    why are you angry with the MMD owners? your anger should be directed towards the inept elected officials who have made a mess of the whole situation from the beginning.

    Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 10:49 am Hope

      I don’t believe that anyone is mad at MMD owners and one shouldn’t be mad the City Councilmembers either. Everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they have. The progressive MMD effort is fairly new in Vallejo so there are expected growing pains and tension as it appears that everyone wants different things. The end result of the MMD effort should not only benefit the dispensary owners, patients and City Hall, but also the general population of Vallejo; what’s in it for them? I think that legally allowing more than 4 dispensaries at this time will be too much for the citizens of Vallejo. I believe it is important to see how well 4 dispensaries properly operate and are regulated first. There is plenty time to open more dispensaries as Vallejo and the Marijuana movement aren’t going anywhere; in addition, the community needs to benefit more from the legalization of dispensaries than just the paying of fees and taxes. Dispensaries may feel that this is enough, but other jurisdictions ask and receive more for their communities per their ordinances and selection/application process. Everyone in the community is not a patient.

      Reply

  5. June 24, 2015 @ 6:11 pm Doug

    The MMDs ALWAYS knew there was a catch here in Vallejo, that doing business here was a gamble, a risk. They knew fully well they were not completely legit, they never have been, they all know it, but will never admit it. To say otherwise is to continue to manipulate the public into believing that these dispensaries have been wronged. When in fact, they all lied on their business applications the 1st time around. This industry has never been interested in complying with codes and ordinances in Vallejo. They bullied their way in back then and they bully now.

    So our City Council has been trying to accommodate these illegal businesses, Council gave in quite a bit to your requests, they gave you 9 inches and now you want a mile. You just keep taking and taking, all the while in non-compliance. You threaten to sue us and recall the Council:) I hope this Council wise’s up to your antics and says enough is enough. Enforce our local land use Ordinances, shut all these businesses down. Go to Fairfield and Vacaville and try your antics there, but, it wont work there.

    You may have just shot yourselves in the foot with your referendum. You folks seem to be doing a superb job of alienating the Counsel lately. The people can vote for 100 dispensaries if they like, but if Council does not amend the land use codes, watcha gonna do? Sue us again ? Another recall maybe?

    I support my City Council, even if they continue to cater to your tactics! But, I hope they put a stop to this continued bully tactic by these marijuana manipulators. The Council was receptive to many of your complaints and requests. I think you passed the point of collaboration, your demands are too much, if your so called patients were indeed your main concern, you should have been tickled to death to have 4 legitimate dispensaries in Vallejo as a starting point. Being sure little Madison and all others would have safe and available access, but NO, you want more, and more and MORE!!!!

    It will be interesting to see what the City Attorneys Office recommends to Council if your referendum gets accepted. Ya might wanna get those bandages ready to wrap those self inflicted wounds on your feet. Some cannabis oils might help….

    Reply

    • June 24, 2015 @ 7:06 pm Anonymous

      Well, Well, Well. So the efforts to transform Vallejo into the NEW San Francisco & Berkeley is backfiring on everybody, it seems. Vallejo was once seen as the “All-American” clean traditional family-oriented mid-sized town. Since then the LGBT flight from San Francisco to V-town and the Prop 8 issue has rubbed old-timers and traditional Vallejoans the wrong way. And today we see the Berkeley-type MMD crowd muscling their way into town, getting verbal with everybody, threatening lawsuits at City Hall, upsetting even the newly located LGBTs in town. Meanwhile, up-county folks watching this drama unfold in V-town still know that Solano County is supposed to be the conservative backbone of the Bay Area. We are definitely reaping what we have sown, aren’t we?

      Reply

      • June 26, 2015 @ 11:24 am Anonymous

        Complete “applesauce”. Vallejo has always been a rough and tumble, barely livable, bigoted (for the most part), hard drinking, fast driving, town with little regard for the legality of what they were doing. It’s been run for decades by a small cadre of cohorts who deal in nepotism and cronyism to get things done.

        Bad decisions have been the hallmark of Vallejo ever since the 60s when they bulldozed 27 square blocks, that contained historical landmarks like the Carnegie Mellon Library and built the trash we’re dealing with today. Bad economic choice, bad development choices, and bad ideas. Now some people want to try things differently. Let em at it.

        Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 6:12 pm Lani

      So your advice to the city council is to continue to ignore the will of the voters and try another underhanded, deceitful trick? That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

      Reply

  6. June 24, 2015 @ 6:32 pm Anon

    Regulate and tax the MMD’s the same as liquor stores. Then add a layer of protection and regulate and tax the same as tobacco.

    Reply

  7. June 24, 2015 @ 7:04 pm curious

    it is highly probable that in november 2016 recreational marijuana will become legal in california. it will be interesting to see how the city officials and citizenry will react.

    Reply

  8. June 24, 2015 @ 7:24 pm wharf rat

    Selfish – self centered – comes to mind when considering the effects of the threatened recall , have any of you brainiacs taken a moment to consider the outcome of a recall , you do know dont you that Council seats vacated are filled by highest past election vote earners . Consider the wrath that this could bring upon you
    and the entire Community . Your usefulness is dwindling by the day as your costs to this Community multiply.
    All while State and Federal statutes with upcoming elections will render current MMD’s obsolete , this can only mean you are impaired or attempting to leverage / extort a local franchise/monopoly . Your PAID signature gatherers with their crappy psycobabble and bizarre medical theories say alot as your propaganda becomes more pathetic by the day . So pray tell who the hell is really funding your program , the public deserves to know what we are spending our money on .

    Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 11:03 am Jessie

      I don’t know how else to respond to this other than by saying, you are wrong in every possible sense.

      1.) The city issued the permits under vague language.
      2.) Even after knowing that the dialogue was unclear, the city at that point, did not ask for those licenses/permits back.
      3.) The city made the choice to allow the clubs to open and stay open, for as long as they have, because they were not clear/educated, when they wrote their first ordinance.
      4.) The city had four years to go back and fix their mistakes.
      5.) The city made the choice to wait until the final hour to refuse the tax money, from the compliant dispensaries.
      6.) Because the city waited until the last minute and have to meet their calendar deadlines, they have now cornered themselves into having make rash decisions.
      7.) The city has the opportunity to STOP EVERYTHING and move forward where NO ONE is anymore negatively impacted, mentally, fiscally, spiritually and physically.

      How do you ask?
      By allowing the current dispensaries to stay open; under specific conditions, which a majority of dispensaries have already expressed interest to the council that they are willing to do.

      So, I’m sorry Mr. Rat, the only people here that are being the bullies, are the council. The council makes up of no more than five people. You now have a confirmed 9,000 registered voters saying, “YES, WE WANT THE DISPENSARIES AND I DON”T CARE IF I SMOKE OR NOT, I WANT THEM!” The council members who are continually and publicly expressing their opposition to a plant, that will be completely legalized in 2016, that is being showcased on the hourly how it has benefits that could potentially add longevity to a persons life, with continued and consistent use…

      It is your thoughts, that you had expressed, is almost a mirror image of the resisting council members and what you are witnessing in Vallejo is a capitalization of your mentality.

      It is the MC-11, several and particular dispensaries that are still in operation, the patients and the Vallejo’s Patient’s Coalition that are breaking down yours and the councils beliefs and now we are having the science to stand beside us and our “wild antics,” and it pisses you off to now end, that your arguments are no longer valid and will NEVER be valid, again. It’s a revolution baby and you can’t say anything to me or anyone else about it.

      Respond to this if you wish and anyone else,… just know that if you make the choice to verbally attack the people who consume cannabis, for medical and/or recreational, you yourself are a bully and you are making the choice to accept the consequences of your actions.

      Choose your words wisely.

      Reply

      • July 2, 2015 @ 10:35 am wharf rat

        Thanks so much for your defining of ”my mentality” and how it relates to the ”resisting Council members” none of which I voted for ,and thanks again for pointing out the (capitalization of my mentality) , ”frankly Im flattered”I never imagined my mentality would be so widely endorsed ”it’s kind of spooky that you can be so deep into my mind” are you telepathic ? . As for our Council
        pls see http://www.ci.vallejo.ca.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13423/File/CityClerk/charter.pdf it well defines the make up and number of our City Council as well as the filling of vacancys (such as would be created by a re-call) ”just thought it would be helpfull to share this” as facts are good to know . To date I have made no ”verbal attacks”on users of cannabis and in fact voted for measure C fully expecting wise legislation to follow , the lack thereof is largely why we are where we are today . By Demonizing our Council you are defacto Demonizing the Voting majority (Big money out of town PAC’s probably had a profound impact on who was elected and for this very reason those with similar ”mentalities” are very circumspect of this process and see this MMD political process as more of the same , ”another PAC spending big out of town money to impose their will on Vallejo”). Until all the financials are posted on ”the web” for all to see we can only assume this is business as usual . Being called a Bully is a first
        for Me ”perhaps I need a mentality modification” or a session with the thought Police to get on track , and just what ”pray tell” are the concequences of My actions , banishment from all MMD’s or the pillory ? , as (for choose My words wisely ) your diatribe frankly sounds a tad facist . So if the first Amendment conflicts with your ”mentality” or perception of our system of Government then perhaps an alternative would suit you better ”hear they are issuing visas to North Korea” …

        Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 6:07 pm Lani

      The recall initiative is not a product solely of the cannabis community. What group in their right mind would spend as much as it costs to get a recall started without first doing their homework. This council seems to have insulted and angered most of the demographics in Vallejo. Just the other day, at the last council meeting, Councilmember Verder-Aliga thanked the development committee for not including low-income housing in the the New Town area “because we all know how that turned out last time.” Mayor Davis sat at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, with members of the LGBT community present, while a bigot got up and spoke against homosexuality. The list goes on and on. There is a large number of people in this town that do not want to see a theocracy take over but because the cannabis industry is the first to really fight back we are called selfish. The recall is separate from this issue. The recall is happening because this council has made a huge mess in just a few months and have made their ulterior motives crystal clear.

      Reply

  9. June 24, 2015 @ 10:59 pm Democracy

    How is exercising democracy extortion and bulling we have rights in this free country to circulate petition it’ is a right reserved to the public and should be encouraged as it bring greater civic engagement
    fearmongering about exercising a constitutional right is bulling and extortion you have the right not to sign and it’s you’re free choice
    Worried about the cost a election would have then you’re anger should be directed towards you’re elected officials they have wasted/lost over 1 million dollars of you’re money without listening to the community way more any election would cost
    if the referendum passes it youst means that the public wants a sane approach to regulating these business there is no cost to the city of Vallejo (us the taxpayers)

    Reply

  10. June 24, 2015 @ 11:26 pm Morgan

    Doug, you know I never lied on any of my applications, we have been over this. Also, this is not extortion, this is democracy – and Vallejo decided in favour of the referendum process over one hundred years ago. Fascism didn’t work, and no self respecting American politician should ever publicly favor fascism over democracy, nor should they balk at their constituents’ use of the democratic process.
    Over five thousand Vallejo voters have agreed with us, and are repealing the City’s ordinance, so as loud as everyone has been, it seems that only one group has the backing of Vallejo voters. Let’s see if the City Council will finally listen to the voters.

    Reply

  11. June 25, 2015 @ 6:18 am wharf rat

    Looking past local bad Actors and their political machinations , bullying , and racketeering, Oregon has developed some legislative solutions to the MMJ conundrum
    one is to eliminate the taxing of it and requires Dispensaries be approved by the local voters . A determination of the Voter majority then decides weather a Community has Dispensaries at all and the tax issue is moot , this removes much of the ”politics and money” taint form the whole process . This Bill is a microcosm of legislation sweeping the Country , an example of what will be coming to California Cities shortly with huge Corporate interests and State regulation, local ordinance , referendums – MJ politics in general will be subsumed by more powerful forces , such to make obsolete any local efforts and especially spending public funds on a dead end . The Oregon Bill is far more Community friendly than current fiascos we have in Vallejo , a shame the bad Actors cant learn from all the wisdom out there , instead chose the path of political bludgeoning that might backfire on them when the Voters get the bill .
    http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2015/05/27/oregon-tightens-medical-pot-rules-as-

    The bill also prohibits cities from taxing pot, but allows local governing bodies to ban dispensaries and processing sites. Local voters can overturn local bans. Senate Bill 964 requires all medical cannabis items transferred or sold to be tested and adequately labelled and packaged. The state will get its first licensed, accredited testing labs and standards for testing.

    Reply

    • June 26, 2015 @ 6:25 pm Lani

      Actually if the council will sit down with the community they are trying to regulate then there will be no bill for the tax payers. The dispensaries have offered compromises like raising the legal age to 21 like in San Jose, something the council was not including in their ordinance, if they would just slow down and work with their community. It was the MC11 that paid for the referendum not the tax payers. Had the council’s ordinance gone into effect the cost of litigation and enforcement would have been in the millions. Should the council work with the cannabis community and community at large, like they are willing to work with Recology and other businesses (though it seems they are selective what businesses they are willing to work with), then the fight stops there. No-one wants to see this turn into a nasty fight but you don’t stop fighting because some don’t agree with what you are doing, you continue to fight for what you believe is right. The city’s ordinance was not right for Vallejo or its patients and now we have the opportunity to start over. The only question is, how much money is this city council willing to waste on this issue?

      Reply

  12. June 25, 2015 @ 9:05 am Bong Hit

    Don’t forget about the powerful interests in the alcohol business. Locally, our alcohol distributors have mafia connections and are probably hooked into the local labor unions. It will not be in their best business interests if a portion of the market shifts away from alcohol to marijuana. Follow the money and you’ll likely find where and why the political winds blow the way they do.

    Reply

    • June 25, 2015 @ 5:48 pm Anon

      Interesting correlation Bong, putting alcohol and marijuana as equals in impairment. Is one bad and the other good? Both good? Both bad? Both get you f:&$#d up.

      Reply

      • June 26, 2015 @ 6:30 pm Lani

        Actually one gets you f:&$#d up, can kill you, get you hooked, take away your car, freedom (DUI), or cause you to take someone else’s life. The other makes you feel mellow, relaxed, creative, hungry, sleepy or energized and healthier. There’s actually quite a huge distinction.

        Reply

        • July 3, 2015 @ 7:59 pm No more mmds

          Yah, Lani like that guy smokin weed at an mmd who plowed into innocent people killing one and maiming others. Right, just a little….way too mellow. Yes Marijuana had its medicinal properties. But I’m tired of the patient bs. There are patients and there are a lot of people who just want to get high. And they’re driving on our streets.

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  13. June 25, 2015 @ 12:30 pm Reader

    Thanks for an excellent piece Lani, and for all the work you and the coalition have done for everyone who benefits from medical cannabis.

    Reply

  14. June 26, 2015 @ 8:28 am wharf rat

    Interesting indeed , will be the next wave of carpetbaggers to hit town , the BIG PHARMA tactical operations are or will be soon to establish a beach-head in Vallejo . With certain Polotitions already having been bought , they will arrive with pockets full of money
    and lobbyists to try to ”knuckle down” this needy burg . We saw this same situation during the LNG fiasco where associations and loyalties were bought and sold ”while the money flowed” , but hey diversions are good for Politics and special interests and so called Council priorities can be bought and sold or dispensed for consideration as can signatures and votes . So buckle up Girls and Boys ”it’s gona be a wild ride” at least for those who enjoy political intrigue and Municipal murder mysteries .
    We sold Our Community to ABAG and MTC 20 years ago and many other ”low bidders” so why bitch about autonomy , identity , or scrap over what our economic engine is as it was defined years ago Vallejo’s prime commodity is and has been for sale for decades
    brokered freely and conveyed via no bid contracts , both on golf courses and backrooms or secret meetings this prime commodity
    is the SOUL OF OUR CITY .

    Reply

    • June 28, 2015 @ 11:17 am Chris

      Not sure why the old LNG proposal continues to be brought up to support one current position on something or other. But as long as it is brought forward as an example of something or other, a few observations.

      In the so-called deliberations about what to do with Mare Island when the Navy shut it down, a proposal to develop a huge liquid natural gas (LNG) shipping and storage facility on Mare Island was brought up. This was BEFORE any houses were built on Mare Island (2002 I believe it was). Fine and dandy. This proposal was met with fierce resistance by various groups and it was eventually dropped, never to be seen again.

      In that same year, 2002, the first and largest Mello-Roos Community Facilities District (CFD) on Mare Island was formed by action of City Council. With residential construction yet to begin, the creation of the CFD was included in the agreement(s) the City established with Lennar Mare Island, designated the Master Developer for Mare Island land to which a few hundred acres of land and hundreds of shipyard buildings would be turned over to Lennar. The Mare Island reuse plan was devised (later to become the Mare Island Specific Plan) that called for the creation of 1400 residential units on Mare Island, most of which would be new construction of single-family houses and condos. All of these would be subject to the extra property taxation under that CFD, the revenue used to fund the services and facilities on Mare Island that would be provided by the City of Vallejo government.

      And by ordinance, the rest of Vallejo–all of Vallejo east of the Mare Island Strait–was sheltered from the financial impact that would be caused by Mare Island. Taxes collected from the rest of Vallejo was not and is not used to pay for City services/facilities on Mare Island–Mare Island is financially separate from the rest of Vallejo and self-sufficient in this way. If you own property in Vallejo but not on Mare Island, you are not contributing tax money to Mare Island–but you have the unusual benefit of representation without taxation. If you doubt this, have a look at Section 14.45 of the Vallejo Muncipal Code, titled the Mare Island Services Financial Code.

      In 2005 two more CFDs were added to Mare Island, these encompassing ONLY the residential area of Mare Island. So now there are 3 active CFDs on Mare Island, and homeowners are subject to all of them. The commercial owners & tenants on Mare Island are subject ONLY to one CFD, that first one created in 2002.

      Had the LNG plant been permitted to go forward, there would likely be NO CFDs on Mare Island since the revenues to the City from that kind of massive operation would likely cover most or all of the City’s costs on the Island. The CFDs exist because the LNG proposal was eliminated. It may very well be that the LNG proposal was NOT a good one, that it had serious risks and dangers, and was simply too big for this town. Had it been permitted, it may have led to a decision to build NO residential units on Mare Island because of the marketing difficulties of selling pricey homes a mile or two from a huge LNG regassification and transportation facility. But the financial implications for Vallejo were massive and continue to distort the City’s finances and budgets.

      To a lesser extent, the same holds for the so-called ‘dredge pond’ proposal that was also shot down. It would have generated revenue to the City that would have contributed to reduction in the need for the CFD, perhaps making it unnecessary in the first place.

      It remains that there are significant issues with the CFDs, and they are generally counterproductive to any effort to develop Mare Island, burdensome as they are to property owners here.

      Reply

  15. June 26, 2015 @ 8:54 am Bong Hit

    @Anon

    All these substances carry health risks. The buffoons that fall for the marijuana is medicine and perfectly harmless lie are grossly mistaken. I’m for legalization, taxation and a portion of the tax money to be used in the schools to educate children on the dangers of smoking.

    Reply

  16. June 26, 2015 @ 9:29 pm wharf rat

    What / who’s in your bong ? please read this article http://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2015/06/22/need-strain-suggestions-start-with-2015-cannabis-cup-winners
    This article shows the complexity of this issue and the real need for TRUTH in the entire process . This plant used for a millenia both for curative and material purposes is being Frankenstein’d by ”Genetic Wizards” in sophisticated Genetic Engineering Laboratories , GMO = higher profits yet questions re Human health risks have yet to be determined . Unless certified organic or non GMO, commercial Marijuana can have dubious chemical components genetically Engineered into it such as pesticides , herbacides, opiates
    or any given ”cornucopia of compounds” the GMO Wizards feel would maximise sales . I remember the Paraquat days and the opiated Thai weed of the 70’s . This article reinforces the need for regulation and more importantly Consumer/ Patient protection , if Patients are ingesting MMJ to treat or relieve medical conditions with the assumption that they are choosing a natural – homeopathic ,Herbal treatment and unknowingly ingest a chemical cocktail such as this article suggests then regulation would be their only protection as it would require certification of purity and any levels of psycoactive constituants or even contaminates used for propagation . As it stands today a MMD in Vallejo could treat/taint their MMJ with anything they wish to . Just say some prime buds were dusted or soaked in a solution with some oxycontin, mabey bath salts with concentrated extracts
    or even a cocktail of drugs , how about a little LSD a pinch of Opium and a dash of meth — WOW what a head RUSH just like ”Phat” popular with Somalian Pirates , where doe’s it stop . Once regulation and consumer protection come’s to play and MMJ is addressed in the USP then Local Governments are ill prepared to really legislate anything, and by virtue should not spend ANY public funds on ”nebulous” vague legislation
    that is at best grounded by rhetoric and propaganda all while ”bigger food chain” legislation is pending that will make any current or near future local efforts temporary at best . Remember the Lawyers have the last laugh ”while counting their coin” . The MMD folks need a reality check and a pragmaticle examination , they tout their years of existence and just recently included ”the Patient’ as a concern to justify an Industry that never really evolved and will be subsumed by very broad influences both Corporate and Political .
    Our Municipal Corporation can not handle this ”it is way beyond the mandate of a Charter City” to expect to be leveraged or threatened to do what it can not do , the COV can not legislate nationally or even State wide . Your resources / ”that have not been disclosed to the Voters” would be better spent in Sacramento . Please have the spine to provide ALL FPPC info if only to give legitimacy to this ———————-.Main site below pls study .
    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/blogs/LegalizationNation

    Reply

  17. June 27, 2015 @ 5:46 pm tramky

    When selling marijuana is established as legal under Federal law, there is some case to be made for marijuana sales. Until then, what we are dealing with is an illegal winking arrangement between the Federal government and some states such as California.
    But aside from that, this ordinance is about as good as can be expected from this town. The notion that this or ANY city in California can and should have an unlimited number of marijuana dispensaries if absurd on its face. And, just for the record, how many of the ‘original’ weed dispensaries opened their doors AFTER obtaining a City of Vallejo business license?

    Reply

    • June 29, 2015 @ 8:35 am Morgan Hannigan

      You mean a winning arrangement between almost half of the states and the federal government. Pay attention.

      Reply

      • June 29, 2015 @ 8:44 am tramky

        What is a ‘winning’ arrangement? ALMOST half the states?! Wow! That’s impressive. Almost.

        And since when does state law override Federal law? Oh, that’s right–whenever there is a ‘winning arrangement’. Laughable nonsense. By that view, every law that is broken by anyone with intent is a ‘winning arrangement’ for that person as regards that law. They don’t like it, or don’t know about it, or simply ignore it, and they steal your car, mug your sister, or traffic in children from other countries, but it’s a winning arrangement for them.

        Here’s an idea: convince your Congressman to work toward repealing or rewriting the Federal laws. THAT might qualify as a winning arrangement.

        Reply

  18. June 28, 2015 @ 10:28 am TooManyMMDs

    I find it hilarious that MMD proponents argue Vallejo should allow the market to determine the amount. Free Market proponents? Replace MMD with any other business and these free marketeers would be up in arms.
    Four is enough.

    Reply

  19. June 29, 2015 @ 9:41 am wharf rat

    Well Dr Hannigan just who is winning ? , the Federal wink and nod is meaningless as a new Administration could shift l80 degrees
    and HMO’S will not prescribe without Federal approval due to the risk to their Federal funding or compensation for Members .
    Meanwhile big pharma and others are lining up to cash in on ”ditch weed” and bet your last OZ the legislation will exclude small operators , local MMD’s are temporary at best due to be subsumed by large Corporate interests in the near future . When your industry took an offencive position it became just that to many in town , who are appalled at the spending of general fund money to kick a dead horse . The word cooperative has become a joke , far beyond the intent of the statute , until all tax and profits are done away with this will continue to be an illigitimite enterprize with the associated risks that were well known when every MMD was set up and so called Licencee’s did not disclose what they were peddling on licence applications . Your cost to Our GF is becoming a issue with many . The State statutes wisley stripped the profit factor away knowing it would cause the problems COV now faces,
    REAL Cooperatives are legal and could well serve the Patients who need MMJ , your group highjacked and loopholed the real meaning of the Statutes and currently sell your product at a higher price than the underground market did while providing no
    true analysis or reportable levels of psycoactive components . I see this as a failed industry , having had three years to evolve it is aparrent that if any licences are granted the pool should be open to ALL and ranked by profesionalism and ability to serve real MMJ Patients with clinical standards such as found in qualified medical operations that put Patient care first .

    Reply

    • June 30, 2015 @ 10:56 pm Morgan Hannigan

      Whoever you are, you know full well I’m no doctor. And we’re spending zero money on this as a City, that’s up to the Council that Mr. Darling supports so blindly. Get your facts straight please.

      Reply

      • July 1, 2015 @ 12:08 am wharf rat

        Yes but if a real Doctor , likely you would have been a PROCTOLOGIST all the patterns are there ”ten fold” —

        Reply

        • July 1, 2015 @ 7:37 am John_K

          Comparing the civic knowledge of Wharf Rat or Mr. Darling to that of Mr. Hannigan
          is like comparing the noon-day sun in all its glory to the feeble glow of a lightning bug’s ass.

          Reply

  20. June 29, 2015 @ 2:42 pm wharf rat

    Without intending to Bogart this thread I felt it helpful to share this industry specific site and cant but wonder if MMD operators had followed these very basic guidelines, things and attitudes might be different . Upon reviewing this info I must further question the MMJ political machine that has landed in Vallejo and importantly who is funding it ? here is a snippet with a link to the main site .

    something remarkable has happened over the last few years in California. We will cover the story in more detail elsewhere but, in a nutshell, hundreds of marijuana compassion clubs have sprung up across California. Many of them operate as what would otherwise be conventional retail storefront operations. They have commercial offices or store space. They advertise and operate openly, just like any other business. They sell marijuana to anyone with a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor, and recommendations are not difficult to get. Just about any medical complaint will do.

    Marijuana is de facto legal in California for any adult who wants to go to the trouble to get it. It is sold on terms that are only slightly more restrictive and bothersome to the consumer than those for alcohol. With alcohol, you pay the tax in the form of a tax on each bottle sold. With marijuana, you pay the tax in the form of an annual visit to the doctor, with about a $100 fee.

    These clubs have opened to meet the existing demand for marijuana, and some of them are doing a huge business. Our research shows that some clubs have pulled in tens of millions of dollars per year.

    As a result, a rush is on to cash in on the boom. It is the New California Gold Rush. Only this Gold Rush is better, because you can grow this gold. Nationwide, the marijuana business is estimated to be in the tens of billions. California and a few other key states are destined to become the suppliers to the nation — replacing the drug lords of foreign lands. The billions that formerly went to the drug lords instead will go to good, law-abiding, patriotic, tax-paying Americans — and the communities they live in will experience an unprecedented boom.

    In response to the many requests for a guide on how to start these clubs, we have prepared this complete guide to take you from start to finish. If you are an entrepeneur, interested in making a lot of money, this could be for you. There are risks associated with it, but the potential for a smart business person is absolutely huge. ”PLEASE NOTE THE LIST OF RECCOMENDED LAWYERS”.

    http://www.marijuanabusinessnews.com/MedicalMarijuanaDispensaryGuide/club_guide1.aspx

    Reply

    • June 30, 2015 @ 10:59 pm Morgan

      I fully support local businesses, si why support the Council closing 34 of them with lawsuits and spending all that tax money on closing small businesses?!

      Reply

      • July 1, 2015 @ 8:48 am wharf rat

        Are you suggesting the COV has filed suit against 34 MMD’s , was this the ”meat” of the last special Council meeting in closed session no less . Some clarity please …

        Reply


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