Friday, October 28, 2016

OP-ED: Permanent regulation is best way...

    Permanent regulation is the best way to limit marijuana industry


      In May 2016 the Board of Supervisors, our county lawmakers, judiciously put into place an ordinance that stopped a land rush of would-be marijuana growers.

   This Urgency Ordinance carried both regulations and amnesty for existing Calaveras County commercial growers of marijuana who came into compliance wit those regulations.  It has successfully stopped the influx of additional and undesired growers.

  Almost simultaneously, a new sheriff was appointed by the Board of Supervisors. He told the Board that he would back their decisions, including pending regulation of commercial marijuana growing.

   Also in May, a version of a regulatory ordinance, Measure D, was gathering signatures as a voter initiative.  Measure D was designed to put into place permanent regulations.

   In a heated election year, Measure D provides voters opportunity to bypass personal politics and directly enact a common sense solution to a pressing problem.  At the time it seemed sure tat the sheriff would support strong and certain regulation.

   However, after the passage of the urgency ordinance, the sheriff took the position that Measure D did not allow him sufficient background checks on grower employees.  This became his continuing banner issue with Measure D.

     To resolve his objection, in August I provided the sheriff a legal memorandum indicating that the county can achieve background checks through Board of Supervisors action on the business licenses required in Measure D.

   This memorandum is from the respected municipal law firm Abbott and Kindermann.  To my knowledge, the sheriff has not asked the supervisors to modify the business license policy to give him that authority.

    Further, the county can limit the number of growers allowed in Calaveras through business licenses.  Have you heard about this from any of the opposition?  No. Opponents are falsely and publicly stating Measure D expands growing sites.

   This legal memorandum was also circulated to the Board of Supervisors.  There has been absolute silence from all county parties.  Could this be because law enforcement, in the form of the sheriff, the district attorney and the ranking captain of the Sheriff's Department, are acutely and officially campaigning against an initiative backed by thousands of Calaveras voters?

   One does not have to believe in the Tooth Fairy to think many officials who might otherwise support Measure D are avoiding this toxic subject for fear of appearing anti-law enforcement.

   The sheriff and others are being unrealistic about future regulation without D.  It is almost certain that the political storm they have whipped up will stifle any future regulatory ordinance.

   Consensus, if reached, could take years.  This means there will be a proliferation of outlaw growers and no law enforcement in this matter. when it's all boiled down, the only plan they offer is 'vote no'.  that's not a plan!!

   Is their support of Measure C also a false argument?  If Measure D fails, it will be a financial train wreck for the county.

   Officials promoting C and opposing D are familiar enough with the process to realize growers will have little incentive to pay taxes if no permanent ordinance is in sight, permitting them to be licensed and regulated by the state.

    No Measure C money means no law enforcement.  If they succeed in banning growers, both the sheriff and one supervisor-elect have suggested increasing YOUR taxes to fund marijuana eradication.

   Taxes from cannabis growers, or raise YOUR taxes. Which do you prefer??  those cannabis taxes are huge, permanent, come from willing taxpayers, and will benefit a county that is a state of perpetual deficit spending.

   So, in the end, where are we?  We have invited growers to form a treaty with us, promising them a link to future compliance with the state of California in 2018.  Law officers and others immediately, upon the surrender of the growers, decided to take a stance contrary to the treaty.  They want to tax the growers while they shoot down Measure D.  In business law, that is call 'dealing in bad faith'.

   This is not the path of legislation, enforcement and fairness that this county should accept.

   The sheriff has stated publicly that Measure D "shouldn't be on the ballot."  On the contrary, I urge the voters to seize the moment, overlook the trivia that the 'No on D' campaign emphasizes and VOTE YES on Measures D and C.

   Barden Stevenot



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great article! Very informative and fact filled
would like to read the Abbott and Kindermann memorandum Mr. Stevenot had done which explains some of the Sheriffs incorrect statements regarding employee back round checks and business licenses that can be regulated by the BoS

Sentinel thanks for posting the facts about regulation

Yes on D & C