California Weekly Round Up
February 29, 2008
San Francisco Board of Supervisors Vote to Further Protect Safe Access From ASA SF Core Member, Alex Franco This week, the medical cannabis community celebrated the approval of two important pieces of legislation that will help to protect safe access in San Francisco, when the Board of Supervisors passed two key resolutions. The first resolution voted on re-establishes the city's sanctuary status and calls on the U.S. Congress and Mayor Gavin Newsom to stand up for patients rights and put an end to DEA's interferences. This passed by a 7-2 vote with Supervisors Sean Eslbernd and Carmen Chu. This legislation was introduced by Supervisor Chris Daly, drafted by attorney Pat Goggin, and worked on by activists from San Francisco ASA, Harvey Milk Club and Axis of Love. The second is a resolution that allows for dispensaries to stay open after the March 1st deadline pending an amendment to the current ordinance. The resolution passed unanimously! This legislation was also championed by Chris Daly and was worked on by activist of ASA SF, Americans for Safe Access, the Compassionate Care Council, Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project. Supervisor Allioto-Pier was absent for both votes. Congratulations to all who worked tirelessly on these resolutions! Check out CBS's coverage of the resolutions. ASA Urges BOE to Protect Sales Tax Revenue ASA's California Director, Don Duncan, testified at the Board of Equalization (BOE) hearing in Culver City this week. There were approximately fifty people present and a dozen speakers -- although only one talking about medical cannabis. Don Duncan sent Chairwoman Chu and the other Board Members copies of ASA's sales tax fact sheet, along with Senator Carole Migden's sales tax amnesty bill and non-cooperation resolution. Duncan praised Vice-Chairwoman Yee for the op-ed piece she authored with Senator Migden in the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month. He emphasized that the timing of the op-ed's release was perfect because it coincided with the recent meeting with the Governor's senior staff in Sacramento. During his testimony, Duncan reiterated that dispensaries are legal in California and generated an estimated $100 million dollars in sales tax revenue in 2007. He also told the Board that federal interference and intimidation threaten both patients and revenue. Duncan asked the board to support Senator Midgen's efforts and to encourage the Governor to take visible action. Following his comments, Vice Chairwoman Betty Yee thanked the staff for working so hard on the issue and said it was a very tough time for dispensaries. A larger group of advocates and collective operators will be attending a similar hearing in Sacramento next month. Contra Costa County Votes to Thwart Safe Access This week, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to limit safe access in the unincorporated regions of the county. The unanimous decision banned the opening of any new dispensaries in Contra Costa County. The ban, however, allows the one current dispensary in the unincorporated area of the county to stay open, M.E.D. Dispensary in El Sobrante. Since M.E.D. Dispensary was approved for a land-use permit prior to the 2006 moratorium in Contra Costa, the Board of Supervisor's decision will not affect the dispensary. Thank you to the medical cannabis supporters and activists who attended and spoke at the hearing. Read more about the ban in the Contra Costa Times and the Mercury Times.