For Patients: Has the cost of your medical cannabis been effected by the new CA regs?

For Providers: How are new CA reg effecting your ability to conduct business?

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.

Sincerely,

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?
"...one 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 - http://marian0280.wixsite.com/4pepper






AUMA Analysis by The Weedly News - Prop 64 – AUMA Legalization for the 1% - http://theweedlynews.com/2016/08/01/prop-64-auma-makes-marijuana-legal-only-for-the-1/



AUMA Analysis by Cal Growers Assoc. - Cal Growers divided on Proposition 64 - http://www.calgrowersassociation.org/proposition_64_julyconcerns



GEORGE SOROS AND BIG AGRICULTURE MOVE THE MARIJUANA MOVEMENT - http://katehon.com/837-george-soros-and-big-agriculture-move-the-marijuana-movement.html






Napster founder Sean Parker announces $250 million grant to fight cancer - http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/13/technology/sean-parker-donation-cancer-immunotherapy/



How Justin Hartfield could become the Philip Morris of weed - http://moneyweek.com/profile-of-justin-hartfield/



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!? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpM_bGrV1j0


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Friday, November 04, 2016

To Adam Ill, Getting High With and BREAL TV - friends & family


Greetings, Adam Ill -

It was great to see you.  Thanks for having me on your show.  I mentioned a number of resources during the debate and thought it best to provide you and your audience with a list of links instead of reading them all on air.   Hope this helps clarify the issues that were raised.   Thanks again. 


Truly,  

Degé Coutee
@PAN4Compassion


***



AUMA (Prop 64) Analysis by Attorney Letitia Pepper - http://marian0280.wixsite.com/4pepper



AUMA (Prop 64) Analysis by 151 Farmers - http://151farmers.org/2016/08/19/prop-64-aumaanalysis/



AUMA Analysis by The Weedly News - Prop 64 – AUMA Legalization for the 1% - http://theweedlynews.com/2016/08/01/prop-64-auma-makes-marijuana-legal-only-for-the-1/



AUMA Analysis by Cal Growers Assoc. - Cal Growers divided on Proposition 64 - http://www.calgrowersassociation.org/proposition_64_julyconcerns



Prop 64 Money Trail – from the Sac Bee


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



Why California Cannabis Growers Are Coming Out Against Prop 64



Wayne Resnick Show - KFI AM 640 - Degé Coutee, in-studio guest, explaining why she is Voting No On Prop 64.



[Video] - California recreational pot: Can Sean Parker puff puff pass recreational buddha with AUMA!? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpM_bGrV1j0



GEORGE SOROS AND BIG AGRICULTURE MOVE THE MARIJUANA MOVEMENT - http://katehon.com/837-george-soros-and-big-agriculture-move-the-marijuana-movement.html






Napster founder Sean Parker announces $250 million grant to fight cancer - http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/13/technology/sean-parker-donation-cancer-immunotherapy/



How Justin Hartfield could become the Philip Morris of weed - http://moneyweek.com/profile-of-justin-hartfield/



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



Penalties Chart from Tharp Consulting



O.C. Sheriff on plunge in marijuana-related arrests: 'It's essentially decriminalized already'



WikiLeaks: Clinton Told Wall St. She Is 100% Against Legalizing Cannabis




More links, videos and information here:


#####

VOTE November 8th!






Friday, October 07, 2016

A Message From Degé Coutee - Vote NO On Proposition 64

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

This November so-called ‘legalization’ will be on the ballot in California, and I write to encourage you to vote NO on Proposition 64 aka AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act).  Here’s why, with links and more information below:

None of the money generated by all the new taxes and fees will benefit California.  All of the money stays in Sacramento to pay for a large bureaucracy and enforcement.

Taxes, taxes and more taxes, even on medical.  Excise tax.  Sales tax.  Gross receipts tax.  Use tax.  Cultivation tax.  Flower tax.  Leaf tax.  All of this is expected to raise the cost of cannabis by at least 40%.  This doesn’t include all the licensing fees.

In addition to the significant expense for patients, Prop 64 ‘consolidates’ medical and ‘nonmedical’ cannabis into one system.  It interferes with the patient-doctor relationship and outlaws compassion programs.  A significant portion of AUMA works to overturn Proposition 215. 

The initiative is funded by interests in Monsanto, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco.  George Soros is a major partner in Monsanto and funds the Drug Policy Alliance, the authors behind Prop 64.  Billionaire Sean Parker, Napster founder, former CEO of facebook, CIA recruit, and good friend of Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom, is also funding Prop 64.  Weedmaps is also a significant funder with CEO Justin Hartfield supporting a big tobacco model for adult recreational use.

Prop 64 contains a lot of misleading language.  This 62-page initiative promises many lofty things in the first two pages.  For example, it claims to prevent DUI’s, stop the polluting of waterways, crackdown on cartels – all of which sounds great, except that there are already laws on the books in California that do this and these issues are not mentioned again in the rest of the initiative. 

The rest of Prop 64 is an expensive and convoluted regulatory scheme that absorbs authentic medical cannabis operations and favors mega corporations, and puts California’s unique cannabis heritage in jeopardy. 

If I thought this initiative would be good for patients, California, and the cannabis industry, I would applaud this effort and be helping in every way.  However, myself and a grassroots coalition of many thousands of cannabis advocates are reaching out to make sure everyone we know understands the implications of Prop 64 before the billionaires start dropping deceptive advertising.

Here’s the good news:  It’s quite easy to defeat Prop 64; we all simply need to vote NO on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  We will then move forward to get the right legalization on the ballot.  Please join me on Election Day to protect Prop 215 and say NO to the hostile corporate takeover of California’s #1 cash crop.  Please forward this letter to your friends, family and colleagues.  Also, for you convenience I’ve attached a window sign and flyers you can print out and display at your home or office. 

Here’s the other good news:  There are already good legalization initiatives drafted by the Cannabis Community with the input of good lawyers, that have received 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 ensure that medical marijuana patients are protected, to end bans on medical operations, to have fair permitting and taxes for all types of cannabis businesses - from patient non-profits to large for-profit companies, to release prisoners, expunge records, protect genetics and more. 

The proponents of these complimentary initiatives made the choice last fall to suspend our campaigns to focus on defeating Prop 64 and then promptly refiling our initiatives for 2018.  We knew that with billionaire players like Soros and Parker it would be impossible to raise the money we’d need to gather those 500,000 signatures. 

Please help me defeat this horribly flawed initiative so we can work together to establish the best laws for California in 2018, because California deserves better.  I thank you for your time and consideration.


Yours Truly,

Degé Coutee
Patient Advocate & Cannabis Activist

--

Some Links:




AUMA Analysis by Attorney Letitia Pepper - http://marian0280.wixsite.com/4pepper






AUMA Analysis by The Weedly News - Prop 64 – AUMA Legalization for the 1% - http://theweedlynews.com/2016/08/01/prop-64-auma-makes-marijuana-legal-only-for-the-1/



AUMA Analysis by Cal Growers Assoc. - Cal Growers divided on Proposition 64 - http://www.calgrowersassociation.org/proposition_64_julyconcerns



GEORGE SOROS AND BIG AGRICULTURE MOVE THE MARIJUANA MOVEMENT - http://katehon.com/837-george-soros-and-big-agriculture-move-the-marijuana-movement.html





Napster founder Sean Parker announces $250 million grant to fight cancer - http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/13/technology/sean-parker-donation-cancer-immunotherapy/



How Justin Hartfield could become the Philip Morris of weed - http://moneyweek.com/profile-of-justin-hartfield/



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


--

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.



Degé Coutee, guest on LA Talk Radio with Dave 4 LA (Starts around 8 minutes into show) - http://latalkradio.com/…/def…/files/audio/Dave4la-091816.mp3



Degé Coutee calls in to Coast To Coast AM during Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto to explain the problems with Prop 64. Call starts at 1 hr:11min:25sec with Ventura's perfect lead in... "Follow the money!"



Cannabis Activist & Patient Advocate Degé Coutee explains to reporter Jane Wells why she's leading the charge to Vote No On AUMA. The full report begins at 1hr:06min.


--

PAN’s Blog – Cannabis Patient Voice
The Corporate Billionaires’ Hostile Attempt To Take Over The California Cannabis Industry in 2016 – NO! California deserves better!!


How The Grassroots & Independent Expenditures Can Defeat Proposition 64


--

Social Media


[Video] - California recreational pot: Can Sean Parker puff puff pass recreational buddha with AUMA!? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpM_bGrV1j0




Independent Expenditure paid for by Degé Coutee – under $1,000.00.

#####

Please forward this message to all of your lists and social media.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  -- Margaret Mead

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

How The Grassroots & Independent Expenditures Can Defeat Proposition 64

Mainstream media is reporting in California that the opposition to Proposition 64 is coming from law enforcement and their campaign is poorly funded, compared to the millions already contributed by Sean Parker, George Soros and others in the billionaire boys’ club, people who have no empathy for the cannabis movement, but simply want to cash in and take over California’s cannabis industry.   What the mainstream is missing is that the primary opposition to Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), comes from within the cannabis industry itself and from patient advocates.  Spend any time on social or indy media and you will see dozens of efforts to get the word out to “Vote No on AUMA,” or “Stop Prop 64.”

The other thing the mainstream media is missing, and what seasoned activists already know, is that one does not have to form a political action committee or PAC to defeat Prop 64.  All hail the Independent Expenditure.

In California citizens are allowed to campaign and voice their support for or against a candidate or measure without forming a PAC as long as one individual spends less than $1,000.00 of his or her own funds.  This allows a citizen to run a small grassroots campaign without going through the effort of forming and filing reports for a PAC as required by law. 

A thousand dollars is generally not enough to purchase billboards or send out mailers or run a phone bank or run ads on radio or television, but it is plenty to print stickers, buttons, signs, posters and flyers or send emails or run a website.  The rest is volunteer time.  Here are some simple rules. 

1.) You are not allowed to take in funds for an independent expenditure campaign.  You can only spend your funds not to exceed $1,000.00.  Taking in funds makes your effort a recipient committee and requires you to file one once you accept $1,000.00 or more.
2.) If you distribute over a certain amount of materials, you are required to include a disclaimer with that message.  For example, distributing more that 200 door hangers, flyers, posters, and oversized campaign buttons (10” across or larger) and stickers (60 sq. in. or larger) requires a disclaimer in 14-point, bold, sans serif type in contrasting print color.  That disclaimer should read “Paid for by (your name).”

3.) For websites and emails the disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as the majority of the text and displayed conspicuously near the ad, on the site or in the message.

4.) Posting video or audio messages online requires a disclaimer.  Video messages require both written & spoken disclaimer at the beginning or end of the ad not less than 4 seconds and must be large enough to be legible to the average viewer.  Audio messages must be at least 3 seconds either at the beginning or end of the ad. 

5.) There is a difference between purely educational or conversational discussion about a candidate or measure and a political statement.  Once you venture into the territory of “Vote No on…” or “Vote For…” you are safest by following the disclaimer rules.  All of these rules can be found here:  http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/TAD/Campaign%20Manuals/Manual_4/Manual_4_Ch_9_Ad_Disclaimers.pdf

California is still getting caught up with the use of social media for political purposes.  If you have any questions about independent expenditures or disclaimers, contact the Fair Political Practices Commission at:  http://www.fppc.ca.gov.  Also, expenditures are cumulative, so if one works on multiple independent expenditure campaigns, it’s best to confirm your expenditures with the Fair Political Practices Commission to make sure you have not reached a point where you need to file a committee. 

So, don’t’ let anyone tell you a bad law can’t be defeated because you don’t have a lot of money or you didn’t form a PAC.  Our goal is to get everyone we know to Vote NO.  It worked in defeating Prop 19.  It can happen again… corrupt billionaires be damned. 

** This post is for educational purposes only and not intended to support or oppose any candidate, measure or committee.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Corporate Billionaires’ Hostile Attempt To Take Over The California Cannabis Industry in 2016 – NO! California deserves better!!


Since the failure of Proposition 19, a voter initiative to “legalize” marijuana in California in 2010, the grassroots have worked very hard to bring the community and industry together.  The goal has been to draft workable guidelines that the cannabis community could get behind and voters would accept.  Prop. 19 mainly failed because it created NEW criminal penalties and this was not acceptable to enough voters that the effort was gladly defeated.


As the 2016 election cycle drew closer and grassroots proponents of cannabis community supported legalization initiatives began their signature gathering efforts, rumblings began that someone with VERY BIG MONEY would throw in their initiative and derail the efforts of authentic cannabis activists and cannabis industry leaders. 


Interestingly, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom abandoned his Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy soon before the passage of the California legislature’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) in September 2015, in support of a gun control measure.  Almost immediately after the passage of MMRSA, Napster founder and billionaire Sean Parker, a good friend of Newsom, announced his support for an initiative of which no one in the legalization movement had heard, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), a 62-page legal mess.

Gavin Newson and Sean Parker


By this point all the grassroots efforts had websites where their initiatives were posted for review and input.  Multiple groups had already hosted panels and debates to demonstrate the differences and similarities between the initiatives.  What was demonstrated is that all the grassroots initiatives work together and not against each other.  The ‘Craft Cannabis’ initiative protects genetics and boutique growers; the ‘Jack Herer’ initiative releases prisoners and offers a broad and unrestrictive approach to legalization; and the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act was referred to as the ‘comprehensive piece’ providing Sacramento with specific directives as to regulation, enforcement and taxation. 

Most importantly, what these proponents agreed upon is that their initiatives were not in competition with each other, but complimented one other.  Just as MMRSA was comprehensively made of three legislative bills, these voter initiatives could all pass and together legalize cannabis in California and protect the existing industry.  A gentlemen’s agreement was reached and for the most part the grassroots efforts were working along side each other.



Then in walks Sean Parker, backed by George Soros, Monsanto and others that have no in-state interest in the cannabis industry, but the ability to completely take it over and destroy California’s unique cannabis heritage.  Despite all of the open statewide debate and conversation for the last 3+ years, the Parker camp never participated or asked for feedback or input.  AUMA is a hostile attempt by the Billionaire Boys’ Club to steal California’s cannabis industry.  





This is just the short-list of what is bad about the AUMA:

It decimates Proposition 215 by absorbing medical marijuana into the initiative’s ‘non-medical’ scheme and does away with the newly formed Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation;

It creates new criminal penalties that mostly affect people under 21 and establishes a number of new punishable provisions (Growing more than 6 plants? = $250 fine, 3 years in jail – Get caught making a ‘Rick Simpson’ type oil? = up to a $50,000 fine, 7 years in jail - Get caught smoking in public? = $100 fine  - If near a campus or children can smell it? = $250 – $500 fine, 10 days in jail);

It taxes both cultivation and sales including a 15% excise tax, a use tax and sales tax, and places an additional tax per pound on all dried flowers and leaves;

None of the money raised through AUMA: taxes, fees or fines, benefits Californians – all funds go directly to enforcement and its bureaucracy’s salaries and pensions.


AUMA has gathered a little over 600,000 signatures that are being verified as of the writing of this post.  Soon it will have a proposition number and Patient Advocacy Network will have voter education materials prepared.  Currently, all of the other legalization efforts are on hold and working together to defeat AUMA just as we defeated Prop. 19, because California deserves better!  NO on AUMA.



Thursday, February 04, 2016

A Look At Legalization & Legislation For California in 2016 – an update from PAN

2015 left us with one piece of good news.  A federal spending bill, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, prohibits federal authorities from using its funds to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries compiling with state/local rules.  In a recent court ruling, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer decided in favor of the dispensary, which allows the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana to reopen.  If upheld on appeal, other dispensaries currently under federal prosecution may see similar rulings.

Soon after this court decision headlines over-stated that marijuana prohibition had ended and the ‘war is over.’  The war is not over and while federal interference is blocked for now the battles are here at home.   In the final hours of the 2015 legislative session the California legislature passed the state’s first set of medical marijuana regulations known as MMRSA, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. 

These three bills: AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643, by authors Bonta, Wood, and McGuire, respectively, along with other co-authors, create the bureaucracy for licensing and enforcement, strict environmental compliance, and multiple business licensing categories for the medical cannabis industry.   The issue of fees and taxation was left out of the bills intentionally due to the lack of time and votes.  ‘Clean-up’ legislation is already underway, and the first of such bills already sits on the Governor’s desk to deal with the first of many arbitrary dates in MMRSA.

This date, March 1, 2016, has spread fear and consternation among local legislatures across the state resulting in dozens of new bans on medical marijuana activities.  The wording of the state law indicated that local municipalities lacking any rules for medical marijuana cultivation by or before March 1, 2016, would default to the state’s rules.  The bill’s author told reporters the wording was a ‘mistake,’ presumably one of many mistakes in MMRSA to be cleaned up this session.

MMRSA by design pulls the rug out from under many authentic medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in California, which is ironic because the driving force behind MMRSA, Governor Jerry Brown, was also the author of the AG Guidelines of 2008.  The AG Guidelines put into question the legality and compliance of storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and emphasized that a completely closed-loop, patient-to-patient, garden-to-distribution, non-profit business model as a way to possibly prevent diversion.  

All of this is turned on its head under MMRSA.  Under MMRSA the closed-loop is no longer allowed and dispensaries will have to be hands-off of some operations of the business and rely on a third party with the appropriate permits.  Producers, manufactures, transporters and other personnel are no longer required to be legally qualified patients or caregivers.  Businesses no longer have to be non-profit.   All of which appears to be fine for new applicants but MMRSA established another arbitrary date, July 1, 2015.  Any medical marijuana business operating prior to this date with local approval may seek grandfathering status with the state that allows the business to continue to operate as is until 2026. 

Consider upon release of the AG Guidelines, businesses wanting to operate in the spirit of the law created agreements and by laws to demonstrate a closed-loop, membership-based, not-for-profit organization of qualified patients and caregivers.  Some organizations chose to operate garden-direct and bypassed keeping a storefront dispensary altogether.   As a result there are a significant number of authentic medical marijuana producers and providers that have operated for years in the spirit of Prop. 215, the AG Guidelines, paid taxes, maintained good standing with the state, but never gained local approval because such a permit did not exist or was not required for non-storefront related activities.

While the veil of the necessary environmental protections in MMRSA keeps it looking shiny, there are many problematic provisions that could thin out the number of compassionate medical marijuana businesses in favor of a pocket of industry players with high-paid lobbyists in Sacramento seeking to drive the entire direction of California’s cannabis industry.  However, MMRSA is currently being challenged in court for violating Proposition 215, and there’s the effort to legalize cannabis in California in 2016.

PAN has always argued that the only way to legally broaden the Compassionate Use Act is through the voter initiative process.  PAN is supporting MCLR, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016. 

See the initiative’s proponents and read the initiative here: http://www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0085%20%28Marijuana%20V3%29.pdf?

PAN’s board members provided input and language to the initiative that protects low-income patient access and compassionate services.  Importantly, MCLR is the only initiative that provides communities with the tools to overturn the bans and start to undo the mess already being created by MMRSA.  Taxation, fees and the approval process under MCLR are fair and reasonable for all cannabis businesses, large and small, for profit or not.  Personal cultivation is lawful and there’s no jail time for pot.   Medical cannabis is protected, adult use is legalized, and industrial hemp agriculture is implemented under MCLR with reasonable regulations and safeguards.  MCLR is comprehensive and smart, and drafted as an open-source process with the input of over 1,200 people, most of which are patient advocates, industry experts, lawyers, political consultants and concerned citizens.   Several attorneys, specializing in various aspects of the law, have provided valuable input prior to the final filing with the Secretary of State.  I encourage you to read the initiative and get involved. 

Read the California Attorney General’s Title and Summary of MCLR here:


There are many initiatives filed to ‘legalize’ marijuana in California in 2016.  Therefore, it’s vital that you stay informed.   The battle to protect California’s unique cannabis heritage will be on the ballot this year.   I urge you to not be fooled by the power of persuasion that really big money buys.  The initiative touted by the media, the AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) backed by Napster and Facebook billionaire Sean Parker, is the adult legalization companion piece to MMRSA and written by Sacramento and law enforcement.  AUMA is a ballot initiative disguised as a voter initiative and backed by very large donors to ensure its place on the November ballot.

California has a great history of grassroots efforts and activism, and right now it’s the only action that will protect the cannabis industry from misguided bills, local bans, and a possible mega-corporation take-over.  Please contact PAN for more information, to become a donor, or to volunteer. 

We need to gather 500,000 raw signatures to qualify MCLR for the ballot.  PAN has already coordinated a supremely qualified professional team to execute the signature gathering effort for MCLR.  The only thing we need is your financial support to hit the streets.  Contributions pay for petition printing and signature gathering.   Please don’t let the AUMA be the only initiative to make the ballot.  MCLR will force the debate on important issues like bans and jail time and give voters a choice.  

PAN is uniquely positioned as a non-profit to take advantage of little known code that allows 501(c)(3) organizations to contribute to a political campaign.  This type of fundraising effort is most effective when the organization takes in many smaller contributions.  Donations are still 100% tax-deductible and election authorities do not require your personal information.  Large contributions can still be handled through our PAC. 

I ask you to please make a one-time contribution of $35.00 - $5,000.00, and please ask your colleagues to do the same.  There is a donate button set up for the effort here: http://legalizeitcalifornia.org/donate/.  The donate button here: http://cannabissaveslives.org can take your donation as well, just type MCLR in the memo.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.  I look forward to making this happen with you.


Degé Coutee
President, Executive & Program Director
Patient Advocacy Network