In case anyone was unaware, I am working on a campaign in Sacramento County that will allow for dispensaries and return the rights of patients and collective groups to cultivate there. It is called the Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 (PARMCA2012) and we have formed the Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis (CSPARC) to push the effort forward. The language has been filed and can be found at www.RegulateSac.org. I wrote the initiative over a long weekend based on my vast experience in pouring over these ordinances in cities and counties all over the State, and in other states. Great cannabis mind and attorney James Clark worked with me to write some of the finer legal points and word things so that they represented the needs of our community, while still being rigid enough to pass with the voters in November. Many have commented that PARMCA2012 has the potential to be one of the best written ordinances in the State of California, and I agree.
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Some have asked me “Why Sacramento County?” Simple. Sacramento County would be the biggest victory for our community, as it embodies the issues our community faces across the State and with the Feds. Just one year ago there were up to 100 dispensaries in Sacramento County providing hundreds of jobs and access to thousands of patients. The County brought lawsuits against most of the organizations, and eventually turned to the Feds after the crackdown to seal the deal with a round of forfeiture threats to the landlords there. To make a bad situation MUCH worse, the County Board of Supervisors enacted a backdoor ban, outlawing ALL uses inconsistent with Federal law. They admitted in doing this that they were also outlawing personal and collective cultivation, a move I still believe is unconstitutional based on municipalities not being able to simply opt out of a State law passed by the voters. But a lawsuit to prove this unconstitutional could drag on for years, so after the Board of Supervisors passed their draconian and cowardice zoning ordinance, I marched right out to the press and told them we were going to take the issue to the voters. I do not make threats in the press without backing them up, so I began to reach out to patients and providers there to gain support for this effort.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We drafted the language in January and went through 15 drafts after giving it to members of the local activist community for review. We believe, after long thought and careful consideration, that this initiative will be a model for the State; and after our victory in November we look forward to bringing similar efforts to other areas of the state where they lack access.
The local community has come together in an incredible show of camaraderie to help us with our efforts. We have amassed an army of 40+ volunteers who are currently circulating the petitions in Sacramento County. The volunteer effort is going well, but we are working to do fundraising to be able to pay some professional gatherers, as well. We understand that we have a challenge on our hands and we are okay with that. We believe in this effort and have faith that the road will rise up to meet us on this journey, and that we will have our signatures in the bag by our goal of May 24th.
BUT WE STILL NEED A LOT OF HELP! So if you can volunteer to gather signatures for a great cause, or if you know of some folks that can donate to this worthy cause and who want to be a hero to tens of thousands of displaced patients in the State’s Capital County, have them contact us at email@example.com or visit our volunteer sign up page at http://www.regulatesac.org/volunteers. Your efforts on this will be much appreciated. We have been blessed by our initial response and look forward to a victory party on November 7th, where we can thank each and every person who is helping to move this mountain.
The Committee for Safe Patient Access is comprised of patients, activists, doctors, collective operators, lab representatives, former law enforcement, and our awesome volunteers. The Board has come together in an unprecedented show of local force in Sacramento to help champion this cause, and the response has been amazing thus far.
I will say, there have been some poor responses by a couple of Sac City collectives, who have expressed that they “do not want the County collectives to reopen because it will hurt business.” This response has been far and few between, as 90% of the dispensaries in the City and delivery services in the area have been SUPER supportive. To the one’s who oppose our effort based on greed and self-interest are simply mislead and should know- KARMA IS A BITCH. I will not name you by name just yet, but it is unthinkable for an organization who provides cannabis to not support an effort that a.) allows patients and collectives to grow without being outlaws; b.) allows for patients in far reaches of the County to have convenient and local access without driving long distances; and c.) will show that Sacramento City and County support medical cannabis. So if you are one of the collective’s who have spoke out against this initiative to serve your self interest, just know it is not too late to come around and join the fight before getting called out for your bullshit.
But enough about the haters. We have too much love to focus on them. Like I said, 90% of local medical cannabis organizations have declared their support, and there are many local dispensaries where patients can go to find the petition and sign it. The Committee also has its own website that provides more information to volunteers and signature gatherers at www.CSPARC.org, so check it out if you want to get involved and help us make history in Sac County. It will take a major commitment from many in the community to pull this off, but we are confident that the support is there and that we will make the November ballot, no doubt.
We plan on showing the world what a group of dedicated cannabis activists can do to change their political reality. Sacramento County was decimated by intolerant enforcement and PARMCA2012 is the first step in restoring sanity there. We believe that in a local campaign we can control the message and focus on the realities facing people in Sac County. The Sacramento News and Review ran a story called “Sacramento County binges on liquor stores” where they state:
Sacramento doesn’t have a drinking problem. It has a drinking solution. County supervisors last year approved a flood of new liquor licenses for high-crime and booze-saturated neighborhoods. On the upside, the county can make up for tax dollars it lost when the feds changed their tune (again) and began raiding medical-marijuana dispensaries (again).
So the dialogue is happening there and we are seeing overwhelming local support on the ground for our effort. People understand that just because dispensaries are gone that cannabis is not gone, and they understand that a well-lit and clean facility is the best place to have these transactions happen; not in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The measure will also include a supplemental tax rate that mirrors the City of Sacramento’s, to create a level playing field, and to provide a $2 million dollar a year carrot on a stick for the voters. We expect it to pass overwhelmingly once we make the ballot.