Monday, July 10, 2017

The Tedious Process Of Implementing Cannabis Laws In California

Since the 2016 Election, Patient Advocacy Network has watched the slow, steady process in Sacramento to combine MMRSA (the medical marijuana law of 2015) and AUMA (Prop. 64 of 2016).  As of this post 61 marijuana-related bills are active in Sacramento.  The unique and tedious situation in California is applying regulations to an extensive and thriving medical cannabis industry that has existed for decades.  The real test will be how the new rules affect the existing businesses. 

PAN communicates regularly with Sacramento officials about the affordability of medical cannabis mandated by the Compassionate Use Act.  One of the biggest threats to patients is a bureaucracy, and fees and taxes that will make medical cannabis too expensive for low and moderate income, and disabled patients.  The new rules make it very disadvantageous for dispensaries to provide free or greatly reduced medical cannabis to its most vulnerable patient members.   

Last few months PAN has also been extremely busy with medical cannabis providers preparing for local approval and state permitting.  Despite what seems like legislative chaos in Sacramento, the new regulatory bureau and associated departments state they will be ready to take applications January 1, 2018. 

We will not know what is working or not until full implementation.  PAN is seeking feedback from patients and providers as to how the new rules are impacting access and compliance, respectively.   Any grievances will be taken up with our state elected officials at that time.

PAN is also extremely effective in helping patients get regulations on the local level.  We have stopped bans and assisted with crafting workable guidelines to protect patients and communities.  Please contact us if you have questions about getting (better) medical cannabis regulations in your community. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Next Steps For Protecting Medical Cannabis Patients, Their Physicians & Providers

Greetings, Friends & Colleagues in Compassion –

I want to thank everyone who put in so much time and effort to make sure our serious concerns and reservations about Prop 64 were heard loud and clear.  We did not allow special corporate interests and the political machine to take over the cannabis industry without a fight.  The fact that the results were not a landslide lets our opponents know that there are still a significant number of voters and cannabis advocates that are dubious about this regulatory scheme and its intent.

National political momentum for legalization was on their side and it’s not all a bad thing.  The silver lining is this initiative allows the legislature to amend it; which means voters and concerned citizens still have a say in how this law is shaped moving forward.  Regardless of the outcome election night, we knew our work is far from over.

Our jobs now are to work with the legislature and amend all of the problematic provisions that jeopardize patient access.  This process will be tedious and time consuming.  However, it’s less arduous and a lot less expensive than a statewide voter initiative campaign. 

This is what you can expect in the upcoming weeks.  A broad coalition of cannabis patient advocates are compiling the most egregious provisions of the law and drafting suggested amendments.  We will then begin the process of communicating with the legislature to ensure these changes are made.

It is important that every one of you remains involved.  You will be informed of all upcoming hearings and where to send your comments and concerns, or attend these hearings with us.  Strong numbers are very important and we will walk the halls of Sacramento until this law is shaped how we want and need it to be.  

As I stated before, we knew that election night was not the prize.  Even if Prop 64 failed, we would still need to get our initiative on the ballot for 2018.  The process now is to put the pressure on Sacramento, and my colleagues and I have a lot of experience in working with the legislature.

So, please don’t be glum.  It’s a new day and we will prevail, in the name of Compassion.

Truly Yours,

Degé Coutee

Monday, November 07, 2016

Patient Advocacy Network Urges NO Vote on Proposition 64

PAN’s directors are unanimous in encouraging a NO vote on Prop 64.  This is a just a very brief list of reasons to vote NO:

*  Jeopardizes Prop 215 – On the first page of Prop 64 it states it is the proposition’s intent to ‘streamline’ medical and non-medical into one regulatory scheme.  The taxes and permitting fees that pertain to adult use will apply to medical as well.  While patients may be eligible to get a tax break at the register, the base price will be much higher as a result of the all the fees and taxes that were paid before it reached the counter.  This violates the affordability clause in Prop 215.  Prop 64 also gets rid of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and  interferes with the patient-doctor relationship. (Links with attorney analysis below.)

*  Too many taxes and undisclosed fees – Prop 64 includes a 15% excise tax, encourages local taxes, gross receipts taxes, and taxes on the flowers and the leaves.  No other agricultural product is taxed this way.  While Prop 64 lays out all of the permits required, the fees will be decided by the legislature because Prop 64 gives power to the legislature to amend Prop 64… and we know what a great job they do.

*  Funds stay in Sacramento – Prop 64 clearly states that none of the taxes, fees or fines will be used by the general fund (as in Colorado).  All of the money generated stays in Sacramento to fund the 11 different agencies, offices and departments that will enforce Prop 64.  The portion proponents state is going toward education is for after-school drug classes and a research program at UC San Diego.  Prop 64 creates the largest slush fund of any Governor’s office in the country and Lt. Gov. (CA governor-hopeful) Gavin Newsom is literally banking on it.

*  Not real adult legalization – If you’re over 21 and not a patient, you can still go to jail if you are caught with more than an ounce, six plants or 4 grams of concentrates.  Possession of an ounce or less was decriminalized in California in 2010, S.B. 1449.  Prop 47 released all non-violent cannabis offenders.  (See news article below.) Minors caught with cannabis will still be treated as felons.  (See criminal penatlies chart below.)

*  Written and funded by special interests and not the cannabis community – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom seated the Drug Policy Alliance to write Prop 64.  (In an article below DPA admits they don’t know how to regulate Cannabis.)  George Soros creates, funds and heavily influences DPA.  Soros also is a major partner in Monsanto-Bayer.  Do I need to continue?  Ok, fine.  Monsanto has been sued and/or tossed out of several countries and wants cannabis to be there next big venture, especially industrial hemp, GMO-you-can-only-buy-hemp-seed-from-Monsanto hemp.  They would also create the GMO seed for Bayer, GW Pharceutical, R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris.  A brief research into the history of Monsanto and you will learn that they have put small family farms out of business all over the world.  How do you think their involvement is going to affect California’s cannabis growers?  What is Newsom’s motivation for getting bed with these corporations while he blocked authentic patient advocates and long-time cannabis industry players from the table?

* Racist.  Classist. – This is a long socio-economic discussion that Axis of Love SF explores deeply.  I have included those links below.

Some of those asking for your NO vote: Ed Rosenthal, Valerie Corral, Steve Kubby, Scott Imler, Dennis Peron, several growers’ associations, numerous attorneys, dozens of patient advocates and many others.

Prop 215  =  less than 250 words
Prop 64  =  62+ pages

The good news is that there are already good legalization initiatives drafted by a broad coalition of our cannabis community members with the input of good lawyers, and have received favorable analysis from the Office of the Attorney General.  These complimentary initiatives take into account the California single-subject rule, which stipulates that proposed legislation can only take on one issue.  By having complimentary initiatives we aim to legalize marijuana, ensure that medical marijuana patients are protected, end bans, have fair permitting and taxes for ALL types of cannabis businesses, release prisoners, expunge records, protect genetics, small farmers, civil rights and more. 

Your NO vote protects Prop 215, allows legal challenges to MMRSA/MCRSA to move forward and let’s us get a much better set of laws passed in 2018.   Please help protect California’s unique cannabis heritage; and don’t let mega corporations and their lobbyists destroy it.

Be Safe.

Get out and vote.


Patient Advocacy Network

Some links:

Does Prop 64 Threaten, Diminish, or End Medical Cannabis?
(Answer: Yes, Yes, and Yes)
By Sasha Brodsky, Attorney at Law

Will Calif.’s Prop. 64 Really Free any Pot Prisoners?
" fact that can’t be ignored is that almost no one is in prison for cannabis in California... according to the the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, only 285 people are in prison for any cannabis-related offense."

California legalization: Prop. 215 author fights Prop. 64, here’s why

Why California Cannabis Growers Are Coming Out Against Prop 64

Strange bedfellows unite to oppose California pot legalization
"...there’s a lot we don’t know about commercial cannabis regulation..." -- said Lynne Lyman, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, authors of Prop 64.

Prop 64 Money Trail – from the Sac Bee

Penalties Chart from Tharp Consulting

AUMA Analysis by Attorney Letitia Pepper -

AUMA Analysis by The Weedly News - Prop 64 – AUMA Legalization for the 1% -

AUMA Analysis by Cal Growers Assoc. - Cal Growers divided on Proposition 64 -


Napster founder Sean Parker announces $250 million grant to fight cancer -

How Justin Hartfield could become the Philip Morris of weed -

Three Biggest Reasons Tobacco Giants Eye Lucrative $50 Billion Marijuana Market –

Marijuana Related Arrests Skyrocket In Colorado For Black And Latino Minors

‘Medical’ Marijuana Costs $500 More Per Pound In Washington State Than Recreational Weed. What’s The Difference?

Videos – Prop 64 San Francisco Patient Town Hall (Part 1 – 5)

Social Media Posts:

On the radio:
Degé Coutee is the in-studio guest on KFI AM 640 with the Wayne Resnick Show; She will be explaining why she is Voting No On Prop 64.

Even Asian Media has it figured out.
[Video] - California recreational pot: Can Sean Parker puff puff pass recreational buddha with AUMA!? -