Alert: Board of Supervisors to Turn Marijuana Ordinance Upside down
A secret and small committee ofCounty personnel known as the Ad Hoc Committee on Medicinal Marijuana and headed by lame duck Supervisor Valerie Brown, Supervisor Shirley Zane and the District Attorney Jill Ravitch will make some really bad recommendations to the fullBoard of Supervisors, Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 2:30pm. If you care: BeThere!
Theyare recommending significant changes to the current Medical Marijuana protocols.The three recommendations are:
(1) reduce the number of plants that are legalfrom 30 to 6
(2) adopt penalties for growing in an unoccupied house and
(3) establish a (regulatory) Marijuana Task Force to develop “sustainable and defensibleregulatory and enforcement programs to reduce marijuana impacts.”
The Agenda material is now on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors website here. It is item 58.The arguments are way contrived. Somehow the fact we have a higher percentage of young people who smoke than the State average means we should reduce thenumber of medicinal plants? Most young people I have talked to take their marijuana from their parent’s stash. So the Board of Supervisors in a County where probably 30% of the people smoke marijuana, which had a 20,000 vote plurality voting to legalize it (Prop. 19) in 2010, where a 62,000 plurality for compassionate care in 1996 is now becoming our parent and following the lead of a lame duck Supervisor to turn ordinary citizens and medical marijuana patients into criminals.
Who says we need stronger limitations as the Report states? In fact, we should decriminalize and legalize marijuana rather than increase the penalties. The hard approach has been tried and it has failed. Mainly, minorities and youth are the victims of over aggressive suppression.
The report quotes an increase inmarijuana arrests as one basis for further limiting possession to six plants. Huh? So the answer to increased arrest is to criminalize more medical marijuana patients? If a citizen pays no attention now, how is he or she going to treat the new limits?
Another part of the report says organized crime comes here and grows because we are too liberal. Huh? Organized crime is going to go along and limit their operations to six plants? The report states that we spend $2,000,000 per year on marijuana enforcement and they need another $250,000 in 2012 to start the new regulations. If the County wants tobust everyone who has over six plants that budget will go to $4,000,000 per year. And, how are they going to get convictions in a jury trial?
I am rather shocked to see the Board elevate medical marijuana to a punitive overregulated issue. Apparently the Committee was asleep when both the discussion on effects of Prohibition of alcohol and past Sonoma votes on marijuana tookplace. The Committee is silent on accidents and arrests from winery tasting rooms. If they applied this marijuana logic to the wine industry, there would be recalls. They’d also find out there are more problems associated with alcohol than marijuana.
Firstly, they have not adequately defined a problem. Secondly, the unintended consequences have not been discussed and this includes increased enforcement cost and making criminals out of citizens. The County did not bother to involve the current legal clinics and growers in the discussion. Most importantly, what about patients’ rights? Patients are being thrown in with drug cartels in theCounty’s mind. What are they thinking?
In short call the Board of Supervisors (565-2242) and leave a message that this cracking down on medical marijuana is a waste of time and taxpayers money. Better ,attend the meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Board of Supervisors.