Humboldt NORML Jan. Monthly Meeting Notes


Meeting Notes 1/31/2018

LAST MEETING RECAP (Open Discussion Pre-2018 Regulations)

Local

  • Locals express more concerns about their future in the cannabis industry.
  • Humboldt County permitting discussion.

State

  • Emergency regulations and public comment for the proposed medical cannabis regulations.
  • California NORML sends letter on Dec. 3 to the Office of Administrative Law and CDFA about the missing 1 acre cap in emergency regulations.

National

  • No Discussion

RECENT UPDATES

Local

  • Local retail dispensaries begin recreational sales.
  • Mad River zoning and local cannabis permitting issues.
  • CGA has filed a lawsuit challenging the CDFA’s decision to allow unlimited stacking of cultivation license and Humboldt NORML announces public support to achieve the 1 acre cap.
  • Deception of Measure S: Measure S tax structure issues reported by Humboldt NORML:

Mr. Eugene Denson has identified a position to challenge the Measure S tax structure due to becoming law, unlawfully, if that makes sense.  Measure S and the sales tax were promoted as if they were special taxes, but both were written as general taxes.  Special taxes need a 67% approval, which they did not get.  If it can be determined that these were special taxes in disguise, there is a potential move to have them abolished. This is big as these costs are determined unaffordable for many 10,000 sq. ft. operators. Recent economic forecasts show that the 10,000 sq. ft. farms will not survive with all the red tape in existence, a lag to market, and the wholesale price reductions.

  • County Permit issuance reported by Humboldt NORML:

So far, the county has issued just over 100 cannabis permits, and possibly 200 or so cannabis interim permits.  Not much to reference in the pipeline.  This vague community update was delivered to us last week.  As you are well aware, Humboldt cannabis businesses cannot receive their temporary state permits without having a type of local jurisdiction authorization; being a regular permit or interim issuance from the county.  This creates a lull in business getting to market. The majority of business waiting in line does not have their documentation to move forward into this vast, emerging cannabis industry.  The county is months behind.  Once received, the state application process can begin and is another waiting game.  We cannot function as a legal entity without both permit types.  Because of this stagnant dilemma with the department, Humboldt will experience a decrease in economic activity, causing a ripple effect that will impact all local industries. Another huge risk is when operators do gain access to market later this year, it will become much more difficult to compete, even as a sustainable sun grown heritage.  For example, Santa Barbara is surpassing us at the state level and the majority of their acreage is also the sun grown model. Keep in mind SB county has 400 acres being cultivated.  Obviously not all permitted, but it exists. I will bring an update on state issuance to the meeting.

State

  • Cannabis prohibition ends in California and recreational sales begins January 1, 2018!
  • 15 Companies Take 10% of Initial California Cannabis Licenses

Based on research from the Cannabiz Media License Database;

1st) Honeydew Farms LLC = 29 licenses

2nd) Harborside = 12 licenses

  • BCC announces statewide track-and-trace and licensing workshops.
  • CA NORML 2nd Annual Legal Seminar on Feb. 17, 2018 in Oakland.
  • Rob Bonta (Oakland), the California Assembly’s Assistant Majority Leader, has introduced AB 1793, to create a simpler and expedited pathway for Californians to have certain criminal convictions for cannabis-related offenses removed or reduced from their records.
  • Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK today filed a resolution, HR 4779, known as The REFER Act, prohibiting the federal government from taking punitive action against those operating in states where the use and distribution of marijuana is legal.
  • CA NORML releases 2017 Accomplishments and Plans for 2018
  1. Over 60 cannabis bills, most of them regulatory, were introduced in Sacramento this year, a three-fold increase from last year. Cal NORML tracked bills with a focus on consumer rights and kept our members informed of pending changes and hearings. We fought for allowing mixed premises for recreational and medical cannabis businesses, and for temporary event licenses, among other amendments.
  2. Cal NORML protected driving rights for cannabis consumers, lobbying for changes to SB 65, which as introduced would have increased penalties for smoking while driving. We were able to get the bill amended to keep violations to infractions only.
  3. AB 6, would have allowed for oral swab testing for drivers, a still-unproven technology. With input from Cal NORML, the bill was amended to convene a task force on impaired driving, on which Cal NORML has a seat. A bill that would establish a per se standard for a marijuana DUI if found in combination with alcohol was defeated this year, but will likely be introduced again next year.
  4. We campaigned against legislation to increase penalties for smoking or vaping marijuana, including a bill that would have outlawed vaping on beaches, which was vetoed by Gov. Brown with help from our members who contacted his office.
  5. Draft regulations were issued by all three agencies that will govern cannabis commerce. Cal NORML reviewed them and sent comments requesting changes to promote affordable access. We worked with the manufacturing committee of the California Cannabis Industry Association on a petition drive addressing dosage and labeling of medical products. We also submitted comments on the state Environmental Impact Report on cannabis cultivation.
  6. We are making progress on our campaigns for employment rights and medical rights for patients, aligning with supportive groups and honing language for legislative measures we hope to see introduced in 2018.
  7. We held a Lobby Day in Sacramento in April that was attended by hundreds of advocates visiting scores of legislators’ offices, and we issued a comprehensive report titled “Marijuana Legalization and the Opioid Crisis” in November.
  8. CA NORML is working on redesigning our website with all the new information about laws and regulations, in a more user-friendly format. This will be a costly but worthwhile project, enabling us to educate and activate more Californians.

National

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to federal prosecutors which “directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities.”

The memo rescinds all previous DOJ memos that allowed both medical and recreational marijuana businesses to operate in legalized states, and came three days after California opened state-licensed shops selling recreational marijuana to adults 21 and over.

There has been quite a backlash and state representative do not seem deterred. An action alert was initiated to write representatives in order to protect their constituents state rights.

  • The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 Introduced

The bills, S. 1689 and HR 4815 would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

NEW DISCUSSION TOPICS?

  • Special Guest Kristen Nevedal:

The BCC has developed an advisory board and one of our community members, Kristen Nevedal, has a seat at the table. She is the board chair of the International Cannabis Farmers Association, serves as a board member for the CCIA, representing the agricultural committee. Their second meeting has been scheduled for March 18, 2018. The public will have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the industry. Humboldt NORML reached out Ms. Nevedal to invite her to briefly discuss this matter among others, at our next meeting.  She has agreed to join us.  We feel it is important for us to receive guidance on how to best approach the state’s podium so that NORML can be accurate with the information while making statements. This is our opportunity to become strategic and really have an input on how the next set of regulations become structured and placed into law.

  • Public Comment?

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