On Friday, AB 473 which would have placed the regulation of medical marijuana collectives under the control of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was defeated 35-37. All Riverside County Assembly members voted against it. The bill needed 41 votes to pass.
The idea behind AB 473 was that if the ABC regulated the collectives, some cities, so cash-starved that even the police departments need money, might go ahead and allow them in order to get the lucrative and substantial tax revenues. Reaching out to these cities, AB 473 sponsor Tom Ammiano attempts to calm their fears and gain their support by stating “The answer to many of the problems that many of our communities are having with medical marijuana is this bill, because without this regulation the bad actors will proliferate and the violence will proliferate.”
Bad actors proliferating? Violence? Talk about pandering to our opponents, but Ammiano knows what he is doing - we are lucky to have such a powerful member of the assembly willing to pander for us.
Most disappointing was that Riverside County’s two Democratic assembly members, Manuel Perez and Jose Medina, voted against this truly mild piece of legislation. We have met with both of them and they are well aware of our concerns, but they surrendered their ethical compass to the cops and voted against it.
Yes the cops are against AB 473 and yes they were joined by some mmj advocates. But you can bank on it - if the cops are against this bill, it is good for mmj patients. It might not be the perfect piece of legislation, but it must be a step in the right direction for safe, reliable and local access or the cops wouldn’t oppose it.
The votes of the Assembly members in Riverside County could have delivered the votes needed for passage and have made that difference but they didn't.
I was not aware that AB 473 was coming up for a vote until the day before it was voted on. I was not prepared to coordinate any kind of effort to contact our Riverside Co. state assembly members in such a short period of time and so our elected officials did not hear from us.
Would it have made a difference if we had? Probably not, but if we had meetings with their offices and made a host of calls to their offices, the outcome could have been different. It certainly wouldn’t have made anything worse if we had.
To prevent this in the future, I am going to contact some of the folks who worked with Assemblyman Tom Amminao’s office and see if some kind of early warning system can be set up so the next time maybe we can do something to influence our elected officials’ votes. There is lot of us out here, but if we don’t contact them, they won’t know that.
Hopefully an early warning system can be devised and I can let you know that your voice needs to be heard and for you to telephone our state legislators offices and let them know that there is lot of us out there and we would appreciate a vote in support of medical marijuana patients.
Contacting our elected officials and asking them to support legislation that is favorable to us is critical, but we are never go to succeed if all we ever do is ask for this and ask for that and never do anything in return. Because we do not have public financing of campaigns, unless they are filthy rich in their own right, elected officials have to raise oodles of money for every election.
Even lowly assembly members need to raise millions every two years to retain their seats. They are always holding campaign fund raisers and they always pay close attention to those who donate.
Which brings me to a fundraiser that is being held in Indio this Friday, June 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It is being sponsored by Assemblyman Manuel Perez for Eduardo Garcia, the mayor of Coachella, who is running for Perez’s 56th Assembly District seat. Perez cannot run again because he is termed out and is eyeing a run for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors against current Board Member John Benoit.
Going to fund raisers is one of the most important things we can do collectively and as individuals if we are ever to gain the clout we need to get elected officials to understand our concerns and support legislation that protects our rights. I am going to this Friday, June 7 fundraiser and I already know four others who will be joining me. I hope that some of you reading this might join us as well.
You do not have to be a resident of the 56th District to attend. This is a fundraiser and no one is turned down just because they do not reside in the candidate’s district. The information attached to the flyer lists donations starting at $500, but it also lists $50 for a ticket and $25 for a contribution. Now I have never seen a flyer for a fundraiser which said tickets are $50 and a contribution is $25. Does $25 get you into the fundraiser or is just way to contribute a bit even though you can’t go. I have no idea and although I have placed a call to try and get this clarified, I have not received a return call.
I realize that the cost can make a difference for some of you, but for now if you can go, put it on your calendar and let me know by either sending me an email or calling me at 760-799-2055. As soon as I get an answer on the cost, I will personally let you know and you can decide then whether you want to RSVP for the event.
This is the way the game is played and if we don’t play it, we forfeit any chance of ever winning. We will never secure the right to safe, reliable and local access and will continue to have to skulk around secretively and furtively for the marijuana that so improves our lives.
Wondering how you are going to get medicinal marijuana now that almost all mmj collectives are closed and the few that remain open won’t remain open much longer? That’s going to be the main topic of conversation at the Wednesday, June 5 MAPP meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wondering what avenues will be available to once again restore mmj distribution to the ease of access that has been available for the last couple of years? That too will be explored.
Join your fellow patients and advocates in organizing to regain the rights which the California Supreme Court has so unfairly and unjustly taken from us. Staying home is not an option, so mark your calendar and take the time to come down and network to obtain medicinal marijuana and to restore your rights.
The Wednesday, June 5 MAPP meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and is held at the Presto Qualify Care Patient Center, 647 Main St., Riverside 92501. As usual and as so benefiting for a marijuana meeting, cookies, milk and punch will be served.