Hardly ANY of the dog feces tossed in our faces by the enactment of AB266 is actually constitutional under CA State law. The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, enacted by the citizenry through a statewide ballot measure, was a very permissive, open document which allows a lot of latitude for qualified patients. The state legislature is permitted to make additional laws which grant improved patient access or otherwise allow more patient rights. Unfortunately for the citizens, those Bozos in the legislature cannot be prevented from passing unconstitutional restrictions on citizen enacted ballot measures. Impermissible modifications to a citizen enacted ballot measure are ones which reduce citizen rights. Their version of the law does have the force of law in CA until various chunks of AB266 are declared unconstitutional in court. There will be years of delay and millions of dollars in legal fees. Of course the state will resist, so some of the challenges will eventually end up being decided in the CA state supreme court – but in the meanwhile, the practical implementation of the Compassionate Use Act will be crippled rather than enhanced. Your tax dollars at work.
Humboldt County medical cannabis advocate Robert “Woods” Sutherland has weighed in with detailed commentary on the latest shaft job perpetrated on qualified patients by the criminal legislators in Sacramento who allegedly represent the citizenry. It’s obvious from what they’ve passed that the interests represented are really “big money”, in all its various forms. Here’s what Woods has to say:
The new marijuana law!
Friends, this is a long piece I have written. But it is about MAJOR marijuana legislation and you need to read all of it. Sorry. Best regards, Woods.
I have read carefully the three bills passed Friday, September 11, 2015 (AB 243, AB 266, SB 643). They are your new marijuana law. This is a commentary on some of the flaws. Broad outline: Three different state agencies will license the marijuana industry, in addition to other agencies such as Fish and Wildlife and Water Quality, plus a new marijuana agency is created (I’ve seen some speculation Mark Lovelace may head it). Cultivation is put under the Department of Food and Agriculture, which we have always believed is a good idea but I am now more unsettled. The new law is scattered among the three bills, so this writing may seem a little disjointed. I spotted only one drafting error: in H&S 19326 (c)(1) “by” should be “from”. Well, on to the lurid details:
1. We’ll start with a small matter that not only is mind boggling but also hints darkly of the tenor of the new law: Health and Safety Code (H&S) 19300.5 (n) (in AB266) specifies bongs can only be sold in dispensaries. Or, more accurately, places that sell medical marijuana delivery devices must have a dispensary license. This would include vape pens and all that other stuff. Could they really have intended such a thing? Sure. Greedy vultures hovered closely around the bill writings, and occasionally or very often succeeded in grabbing something – maybe even the very pen. There is no sense to this provision otherwise. Could local jurisdictions change this? No. H&S 11362.777 (c)(3) (AB243) clearly specifies that local governments may not adopt any standards less stringent than the state standards. Local jurisdictions must have their ordinances in place by March 1, 2016, or the state takes over for them (H&S 11362.777 (c)(4); 243). This rush will crush a lot of public process.
2. Much can be seen as appalling. Take the innocuous-looking “Labor peace agreement” (H&S 19300.5 (v); AB266), obligatory if you have 20 workers (H&S 19322 (a)(6)(A); SB643). It is a setup for corruption, as Dan Rush apparently has already proven. He’s the labor leader organizing marijuana workers who was just busted by the feds for selling secret labor deals to dispensaries. I strongly suspect Rush himself had a hand in this new provision of law. I missed finding any explanation whether seasonal workers such as trimmers can cumulate to 20. It is probably hidden somewhere in relevant labor law. Btw, trimming must occur only at a cultivation site (H&S 19300.5 (x); 266).
Another relatively minor issue I’ll briefly mention is that the rules for testing are poorly developed and quite unsavory (H&S 19326 (b), (c)(1), 19347 (a)(2)(I); 266). Marijuana is wrapped and sealed; given to the distributor who then selects a batch for testing; the testing lab then destroys the sample. This is an open license for the distributor to commit fraud, and what if my packages are ten pounds each? All ten pounds of the sample destroyed?
3. Small farmers are now very vulnerable, and many there are who want to force them completely out of the market. The new laws reek of new taxes, fees, charges, fines, ad infinitum. For example, check out H&S 19320 (d), (e); 19322 (a)(1)(C); 19322 (a)(11), all from SB 643. H&S 19348 (a)(1) (643) even allows the taxing of donations! Onerous fees such as these can by itself kill small farming, but what do bureaucrats know or care? A lot of this bad energy was in the bill by the Cooley cop crowd, block, punish, and confiscate. Take a look at H&S 19327 (f) (266): If you fail to maintain records you shall be fined $30,000 per individual violation. What kind of info? Well, it verges on the invasive. Cultivators along with all others must provide a detailed description of the license applicant’s operating procedures, as if this voluminous information from thousands of growers would serve a valuable purpose (H&S 19322 (b); 643). Thousands? With these requirements it seems as though they want to trim it down to about six.
4. And introducing Mr. Big. He was colored in with Brown. The Governor in his August 26 backdoor raid on Constitutional government provided that outdoor grows can be one acre and indoor grows can be 22,000 square feet (over half an acre) (H&S 19332 (g)(7), (8); 243). What about the huge energy footprint of all those grow lights? I guess global warming is not more important than pandering to greed. Big boys and girls who want virtually all the licenses have to settle for four acres of indoor or outdoor (H&S 19328 (a)(9); 266). One of the arguments I saw was that, why, this is small for agriculture. Hm. Well, when did you last buy an eighth of an ounce of wine on the street? Or put $1000 worth of tomato on your BLT? Marijuana and ag products are not comparable. Gravel and diamonds are both rocks, so can you order ten cubic yards of diamonds for your driveway? With the Governor’s sub rosa amendments, have no doubt there was a Big contribution. Grows of this size are for one purpose: greed. They are bad for the consumers, the environment, the workers, and the community.
Think about it: The small farmer grows for himself or herself and sells the surplus. The emphasis then is only on quality, and because they reside right there, they care. The money grower wants to maximize profits and avoid risk, so he or she uses Avid® or other poisons, cuts wages, bulldozes big flats and cuts trees, runs noisy generators and bright lights, buys trucks from out of the area, refuses to contribute to road associations, spends most of the time out of the area, and so on. These growers won’t even smoke what they grow. We who live here see it all the time! It’s no coincidence that most street marijuana is dangerously polluted. It’s the world of Mr. Big.
5. How does this medical marijuana legislation play to the indigent who medically needs marijuana? H&S 11362.777 (g) (243) allows local jurisdictions to ban Proposition 215. It allows the ban of cultivation, storing, transportation, provision, and all other marijuana activities by exempt persons – patients cultivating less than 100 square feet for themselves, and caregivers. Such a ban is flagrantly unconstitutional, but Jim Wood, the author of AB 243, is apparently clueless. The bill by Senator McGuire, SB 643, imposes sanctions on medical people who recommend marijuana beyond its most severe medical uses. Already it is very difficult to find a medical person who will recommend marijuana because of the huge wall of intimidation against them. We need encouragement, not threats. This then is yet another attack by the police mentality on the “evil” of marijuana. And the legislature’s love of capitalists glows in its permission for employers to deny any employee the right to use medical marijuana even if there is no legitimate reason to do so (H&S 19330; 266). According to the bill, it is the employer’s right to deny the Constitutional rights of others. All in all, it’s better to say that it is the legislature’s hatred of the public’s right to use marijuana for any reason, and their resentment of the initiative process. They have kicked and screamed their way to this new law and done a poor job with it. Blame a lot on the Governor too – the very guy who initiated CAMP back in the 1980s, as I recall.