El Dorado County To Hear Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee and Chief Administration Office Recommendation For Ballot Measure

Tomorrow, July 17, 2018, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors will take up an agenda item hearing a recommendation, by the Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee and the Chief Administration Office, for a November ballot Commercial Cannabis Tax Measure. The agenda item reads as follows:

 Ad Hoc Cannabis Committee, in coordination with the Chief Administrative Office recommending the Board: 1) Approve and authorize the Chair to sign the following Resolutions to place the following ballot measures on the ballot for the November 2018 election which will enable voters to decide whether to allow different aspects of commercial cannabis and its taxation: a) Resolution 140-2018, which will be one ballot measure, create a general commercial cannabis tax, with tax rate ranges that allows for the Board to set the tax rates for different commercial uses (e.g. outdoor cultivation, indoor cultivation, dispensary/retail sales, etc.) and a discretionary permitting process, with public feedback and an extensive enforcement program with a fine schedule for illegal commercial cannabis activity or violations of the County regulations. b) Resolution 141-2018, allow for the outdoor and mixed light (e.g. greenhouse) cultivation of medicinal commercial cannabis with limits on the location of cultivation, amount of operations, and size of operations with rules to protect neighborhood

The agenda item, #35, is set to be heard in the 10:30am time slot. and 10 documents will be reviewed as a part of the Board’s approval process. Those documents can be viewed here.

Location, of the meeting, will be at 330 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA 95667

CDPH FAQ’s – Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol (CBD) in Food Products

California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch (FDB) has received numerous inquiries from food processors and retailers who are interested in using industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD products in food since the legalization of medicinal and adult-use marijuana (cannabis) in California.

In California, the CDPH Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products. However, food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.

California defines “food” as follows:
(a) Any article used or intended for use for food, drink, confection, condiment, or chewing gum by man or other animal.
(b) Any article used or intended for use as a component of any article designated in
subdivision (a).1

The definition of food includes pet food, but does not include products containing cannabis (which are, instead, cannabis edibles). Meat, dairy, poultry or eggs are regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

The federal Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, only legalized the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp by state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education (as defined in Title 20 of the United States Code section 1001) for purposes of research under a state pilot program or other agricultural or academic research. In addition, growing or cultivation is only permitted under the Farm Bill if growing or cultivating is allowed under the laws of the State in which
such state department or institution is located and such research occurs. In California, the cultivation of industrial hemp is regulated by the CDFA.

“Industrial Hemp” is defined as follows:
“a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, whether growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin produced therefrom.”2

Please refer to the CDFA for further questions about state requirements for cultivation of industrial hemp in California in accordance with the California’s Industrial Hemp Law (Division 24 of the Food and Agricultural Code).

California incorporates federal law regarding food additives, dietary use products, food labeling, and good manufacturing practices for food. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States.3 Currently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that it is a prohibited act to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any food (including any animal food or feed) to which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or CBD has been added. This is regardless of the source of the CBD – derived from industrial hemp or cannabis.

Therefore, although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What forms of Industrial hemp derived products will and will NOT be allowed in food in California?

Will be allowed in food (without any claim for health benefits):
• Seeds derived from Industrial hemp
• Industrial hemp seed oil or hemp seed oil derived from industrial hemp

Will NOT be allowed in food:
• Any CBD products derived from cannabis
• Any CBD products including CBD oil derived from industrial hemp
• Hemp oil that is not derived from industrial hemp seeds
• Industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids

2. Is hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil?

Industrial hemp seed oil and hemp-derived CBD oil are two different products. Industrial
hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds limited to types of the Cannabis sativa L. plant and may contain trace amounts of CBD (naturally occurring) and other cannabinoids. Food grade Industrial hemp seed oil is available from a variety of approved sources.

However, CBD or CBD oil derived from industrial hemp is NOT approved for human and animal consumption by the FDA as food and therefore cannot be used as food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.

3. What is the difference between industrial hemp and cannabis (marijuana) derived cannabidiol (CBD/CBD oil)?

• CBD can be derived from both hemp and cannabis. CBD derived from hemp and
cannabis is a federally-regulated controlled substance. CBD derived from cannabis is
regulated within California as a cannabis product and may only be sourced from,
produced, and sold by those with commercial cannabis licenses. CBD derived from
industrial hemp is not an approved food additive, and therefore it cannot be added
to human or animal foods in California.

• CBD derived from cannabis is a prohibited food additive. Cannabis cannot be sold in
food retail.

• CBD derived from a licensed cannabis cultivator, per MCSB regulations, is an allowed
additive in cannabis products only.

4. Does California consider food products that contain CBD or CBD oil from Industrial hemp a cannabis product?

Although in California, foods containing industrial hemp are not considered cannabis
products (products that are subject to Proposition 64), CBD is an unapproved food additive and NOT allowed for use in human and animal foods per the FDA, and thus it is not approved in California.

5. Can industrial hemp-derived CBD oils be approved as a food ingredient, food additive or dietary supplement to be added in food?

Currently Industrial hemp derived CBD Oil and CBD products are NOT an approved food, food ingredient, food additive or dietary supplement and therefore cannot be used in any human and animal food.

6. If CDPH, MCSB regulates and licenses cannabis (marijuana) derived product manufacturers, which agency oversees CBD oil produced from industrial hemp?

There is currently no regulatory agency that provides oversight over the production of CBD oil from industrial hemp. However, CDPH-FDB has authority oversight over food additives, dietary use products, food labeling, and good manufacturing practices for food. Industrial hemp used as a food additive or dietary supplement falls under the authority of CDPH-FDB.

7. Can industrial hemp derived CBD products be allowed for sale in California if they come from other States? For example, if industrial hemp derived CBD oil is manufactured in another state and sold to customers in California via distributors and retailers?

No, CBD is an unapproved food additive and NOT allowed for use in human and animal foods in California regardless of where the CBD products originate.



SB 829 – The Compassion License

What Is SB 829?

SB 829 (as amended) Senator Scott Wiener’s Cannabis: compassion care license.

“(1) The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA), an initiative measure approved as Proposition 64 at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election, authorizes a person who obtains a state license under AUMA to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities.

This bill would establish a compassion care license under the act issued to an M-licensee who, for no consideration, donates medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, to qualified medicinal cannabis patients who possess a physician’s recommendation. The bill would require the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue and regulate the compassion care licenses.

(2) Existing sales and use tax laws impose a tax on retailers measured by the gross receipts from the sale of tangible personal property sold at retail in this state, or on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer for storage, use, or other consumption in this state. Those laws provide various exemptions from those taxes.

This bill, on and after January 1, 2019, would exempt from those taxes the gross receipts from the sale in this state of, and the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of, medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products that will be donated, for no consideration, to a compassion care licensee.

(3) The Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law authorizes counties and cities to impose local sales and use taxes in conformity with the Sales and Use Tax Law, and existing laws authorize districts, as specified, to impose transactions and use taxes in accordance with the Transactions and Use Tax Law, which generally conforms to the Sales and Use Tax Law. Amendments to the Sales and Use Tax Law are automatically incorporated into the local tax laws.

Existing law requires the state to reimburse counties and cities for revenue losses caused by the enactment of sales and use tax exemptions.

This bill would provide that, notwithstanding Section 2230 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, no appropriation is made and the state shall not reimburse any local agencies for sales and use tax revenues lost by them pursuant to this bill.

(4) AUMA imposes an excise tax on the purchase of cannabis and cannabis products, as defined, at the rate of 15% of the average market price of any retail sale by a cannabis retailer.

The bill would require that these provisions not be construed to impose an excise tax upon medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, donated for no consideration to a compassion care licensee, as defined.

(5) AUMA imposes a cultivation tax on all harvested cannabis that enters the commercial market upon all cultivators. Existing law defines entering the commercial market to mean cannabis or cannabis products, except for immature cannabis plants and seeds, that complete and comply with specified quality assurance review and testing.

This bill would redefine entering the commercial market to mean cannabis or cannabis products intended for sale, in any manner or by any means whatsoever, for consideration. The bill would require that the cultivation tax not be construed to be imposed upon medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, donated for no consideration by a cultivator to a compassion care licensee or to a cannabis retailer for subsequent donation to a compassion care licensee.

(6) The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, an initiative measure, authorizes the Legislature to amend the act to further the purposes and intent of the act with a 2/3 vote of the membership of both houses of the Legislature, except as provided.

This bill would declare that its provisions further specified purposes and intent of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.”

This Bill is supported by, in part, by the California Compassion Coalition

Who Is The California Compassion Coalition?

The California Compassion Coalition is comprised of a number of known compassion organizations who have functioned by giving donated cannabis medicine to indigent cannabis patients across the State of California. The organizations, who make up the California Compassion Coalition are as follows:

Weed For Warriors Project

Caladrius Network


East Bay Canna Compassion

Sweetleaf Collective

Operation EVAC

Magnolia Wellness

How YOU Can Help


One battle has been won but we have many more to go. SB 829 was voted out of the Committee on Business and Professions, on Monday. It passed with and 11-1 vote. Next, we move onto the Committee on Revenue and Taxation and WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK.

Revenue and Taxation Committee

Monday, June 25, 2018

1430 hours (2:30pm)

California State Capitol – RM 126

Debriefing Video


Below you will find a sample letter of support for the Compassion Bill, SB 829. We need this post to not only go viral, but we need that exposure to be converted into emails to Senator Wiener’s office by 5pm today. Cannabis and non-cannabis companies carry the most weight with legislators but we should also encourage letters to be sent from those the most affected by the current lack of compassion embodied in the current regulations.
It will take a village to get this bill passed. We really need to step away from the circular firing squad at least until 5pm today. In order to ensure we all focus our energy here for the next 5 hours, we will not be allowing any other posts through. I hope we can lick our wounds and rise up so that the sickest of the sick, the neediest of the needy, are not the recipients of all of our industry’s current resentments. Please let our industry put all of our hurt feelings aside and rise up to honor what this movement has always been about, compassion.
This means that the support needs to come in the form of a Word Doc, or a PDF. The sender will need to date the letter, add in a business logo (if one is available), a digital signature, and the supporter’s contact information.
June 11, 2018
Dear Senator Wiener,
On behalf of _______ I write to express our support for Senate Bill 829 (Wiener), which would exempt certified compassion care programs from paying excise and cultivation taxes on cannabis that they give away to compassion use patients, thereby allowing them to restart this service without facing prohibitive costs. Exempting the cultivation and excise taxes from the passage on to qualified compassion care programs will allow these organizations to resume donations of medical cannabis that vulnerable patients rely on to manage their debilitating symptoms.
In 1996, California passed Proposition 215, which allowed individuals with certain chronic medical conditions to procure medical cannabis. Following the enactment of Proposition 215, donation-based compassion care programs emerged to meet the needs of individuals who had a physician’s recommendation but also needed help accessing medical cannabis.
The enactment of Proposition 64 in 2018 placed new taxes on all recreational and medical cannabis. While compassion care programs do not operate in the commercial market since no cannabis is bought or sold, ambiguous drafting, unfortunately, does not explicitly exclude them from these taxes. These donation-based programs cannot afford the new taxes attached to cannabis and most have been forced to close their doors. While Proposition 64 did not intend to cut off medical cannabis to these compassion use patients, current policy has forced too many vulnerable people into the unregulated black market.
To rectify this situation, SB 829 would exempt qualifying compassion care programs from the cultivation and excise tax enacted by Proposition 64. After a compassion care program is certified by the state, they would receive a new license exempting them from the cultivation and excise taxes. Doing so will allow them to resume the donations of medical cannabis that compassion use patients rely on to manage their debilitating symptoms.
These programs are essential to the well-being, mental health, and overall quality of life for chronically ill patients. For these reasons, ______ supports SB 829 and requests an “AYE” vote on this important legislation.
Thank you,
****DIGITAL SIGNATURE.  ______________
cc: Senator Scott Wiener, (11th District)”
COPY & PASTE the above text along with your business or personal name, sign and send to……

California Cannabis Voters Guide 2018

By: The Law Office of Dale Schafer

Contributors: drugsense.org,  Jaded Voter, El Dorado County Growers Alliance, California – City & County Regulation Watch, cvobserver.com, CoolConnections, Justsaycare.org, Red Bluff Daily News, Newell’s Botanicals, MendoCanna Action, Oceanside For A Safer Community, broke-ass stuart, The San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters, Women Entrepreneurs in Cannabis


*** Please be advised that this is NOT a document intending to instruct potential voters on how to vote. The California Cannabis Voters Guide is simply a list, which includes pro-cannabis candidates across the State of California, and should be used as a tool to make the best decision for yourself.


Voters Guide Key

Pro-Cannabis Candidates

Neutral or Unknown on Cannabis Issues

Anti-Cannabis Candidates





Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. A longtime advocate of drug harm reduction, Newsom convened a Blue Ribbon Task Force on legalization that served as a blueprint for Prop 64, which he backed strongly. Some worry that Newsom is partial to big-money interests. As of last July, he had received over $300K in donations from the cannabis industry. Newsom has a history of leadership on other social issues, most notably gay marriage, which he championed as Mayor of San Francisco, as well as gun control and single-payer health care.


Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is speaker of the state Assembly, and was not a leader on medical marijuana or criminal justice reform, but consistently voted right. After becoming mayor in 2005, he quietly let medical cannabis dispensaries open up in Los Angeles, which had previously been a cannabis desert. Nine days before the 2016 election he endorsed Prop. 64.


State Treasurer John Chiang has used his office to help secure banking services for the state’s developing cannabis industry. Chiang convened a task force on cannabis and banking, in an effort to circumvent federal banking regulations that have made it almost impossible for many cannabis-related organizations to get bank accounts. His efforts have won him the endorsement of the Cannabis Growers Association.


Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, another Democratic hand raiser, is the only woman in the race. She posted a mixed voting record in the pre-Prop 215 days when she was in the State Assembly from 1986 to 1994. Like her party, though, she has since come around, and has declared her support for making California a cannabis sanctuary state and establishing a state bank for cannabis businesses.




Incumbent Xavier Becerra was appointed by Gov. Brown to fill the seat of Sen. Kamala Harris. Since taking office, Becerra has aggressively moved to protect California’s interests against federal interference. Admitting to have tried pot “at a younger time,” he has vowed to protect the state’s legalization law against federal intrusion by A.G. Jeff Sessions.


Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has reached out to the cannabis community for support. Jones has used his office constructively to arrange a state deal to insure landlords of cannabis businesses. Jones admits to having voted no on Prop. 64, saying he was ambivalent about whether the state was ready, “but ultimately the proposition passed, and my job is to make it work.”



State Senator Ed Hernández (D-Asuza), has generally voted well and thoughtfully on cannabis issues, medical and otherwise.


Richmond ex-Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, formerly of the Green Party, is running as an independent progressive in the mold of Bernie Sanders. McLaughlin advocates the establishment of a California Public Bank to reduce fees for government financing and provide stability to the cannabis industry.


Two other Democrats without prior electoral experience or voting records are running well-financed campaigns for the office. Former U.S. ambassador to Hungary Eleni Koulanakis visited a cannabis farm in Trinity and says she’s learned about California’s history on cannabis from the earliest days of hemp growing until Prop 64. Former U.S. ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich visited a cannabis forum in Santa Monica, where he joked “If there was ever a case of someone who would benefit from medical marijuana, it would be Jeff Sessions.”



The Democrats have an excellent candidate in State Controller Betty Yee. When serving on the Board of Equalization in 2009, Yee emerged as one of the first state officials to publicly advocate legally taxed and regulated cannabis. Yee actively courted the medical cannabis community, and enjoys wide support from both business and consumer interests.



The Democrats have another good candidate in Fiona Ma, who like Yee before her now serves on the Board of Equalization from San Francisco. Upon joining the board, she took a serious interest in the cannabis industry, talking to farmers and touring businesses to figure out how they could best be integrated in California’s legal economy.

This information courtesy of drugsense.org




State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D- L.A.) is Feinstein’s leading challenger. De León is campaigning from the progressive left as an energetic, young advocate for protecting immigrants, the environment and clean energy, and other progressive issues. In the legislature, De León was not a vocal leader on drug or criminal justice reform, but consistently voted right. Just before Feinstein’s about-face, de León announced that he would back Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. “Cory Booker’s bill recognizes that legal cannabis is the law of the land in California and many other states. More importantly, it corrects deep-rooted racial disparities in the criminal justice system. I would join Sen. Sanders as a cosponsor in a heartbeat,” he tweeted.

Alison Hartson is running for Senate in California, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the headlines. Hartson, who supports nationwide legalization – and decriminalization of all drugs – has a compelling message focused on separating the influence of big donors from politics. Yet, her pro-cannabis campaign has been running on a grass-roots level that’s been largely overlooked by major media and polling. This information courtesy of herb.co.

Another, dark horse Democratic candidate, Pat Harris, an L.A. attorney with no prior elective experience, has been actively campaigning on the marijuana issue. “ I was and still remain a proponent of Prop 64 and the legalization of cannabis,” proclaims his website. “It is hypocritical for politicians to expound on the dangers of cannabis while sitting around a bar downing drink after drink.” In addition to marijuana legalization, Harris has focused on advocating single payer health care, banning corporate campaign donations, and cutting defense department spending.


The Republicans have no official candidate in the race, having expelled neo-Nazi Patrick Little, a professed “pro-white” candidate who admires Adolf Hitler. Little will nonetheless bear the party’s name on the ballot.

This information courtesy of drugsense.org






Many districts are sure wins for incumbents; some key or contested districts are:

4th C.D. – Roseville – Incumbent Republican Tom McClintock is a rock-ribbed, small-government conservative who opposes federal interference in California’s marijuana laws. He co-sponsored an amendment that would have barred the U.S. Dept. of Justice from spending funds to undermine state adult-use legalization laws. The amendment, modeled on the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that protects medical-only marijuana laws, nearly passed the House in 2015 and hasn’t been allowed to come to a vote since then.


10th C.D. – Modesto/Manteca – Incumbent Republican Jeff Denham is a social conservative with an atrocious voting record; his main Democratic opponent, as in 2014 and 2016, will be Michael Eggman, who “supports legalization in California, so long as it’s passed by the voters, the age of consent is 21, and, of course, it is still illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence.”


25th C.D. – Palmdale/Santa Clarita – Incumbent Republican Steve Knight has a mediocre “C” voting record, but has acknowledged that marijuana has medical value and should be reclassified to Schedule III; his Democratic opponent Bryan Caforio was is in favor of Prop 64.


39th C.D. – Fullerton – Republican Edward Royce has termed out, and a crowded field of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are vying for the seat. The top GOP frontrunners include Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who was the sole dissenting vote against a ban on cannabis businesses in 2017, and also favored suing the over the sanctuary state law. Democrats in the race include former Naval officer and lottery winner Gil Cisneros, insurance executive Andy Thorburn, pediatrician Mai Khan Tran, and attorney Sam Jammal. Their positions are not known.


45th C.D. – Irvine – Republican Mimi Walters, who has a NORML “D” rating in Congress and was on DPFCA’s State Senate Hall of Shame, is the sole Republican on the ballot. She faces Democratic challengers Dave Min, a former adviser to Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Center for American Progress, and Katie Porter, a consumer protection lawyer and former student of Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law.


48th C.D. – Republican Dana Rohrabacher has been a leading champion for cannabis in Congress, being the co-sponsor of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (or -Farr) Amendment that currently bars the U.S. Dept. of Justice from spending funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws. He is facing a challenge from within his own party from O.C. County GOP chair and ex-Assemblyman Scott Baugh who compiled a so-so voting record in the legislature.


49th C.D. – Oceanside/Dana Point – Democrat Douglas Appelgate, who is well funded and polling well in his race for the seat, is endorsed by Americans for Safe Access.


50th C.D. – San Diego – Embattled encumbent Duncan D. Hunter is one of the few Republicans who has taken a strong stance for marijuana reform. He co-sponsored the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015” the CARERS Act, and Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act. Hunter won an “All Star” rating from the San Diego Association of Cannabis Professionals, as did his opponent, Democratic party activist and businessman Ammar Campa Najjar.

This information courtesy of drugsense.org







AD 15 – Berkeley/Oakland – Berkeley school board member Judy Appel is an attorney who worked for the Drug Policy Alliance and on Oakland’s 2004 Measure Z “Legalize, Tax and Regulate” initiative. Since then she has been active in the gay parents’ movement and educational issues. Appel is exceptionally knowledgeable and sympathetic on drug war issues. Another candidate who has reached out to the cannabis community is Richmond councilmember Jovanka Beckles. Beckles is running a progressive, “people-powered” campaign and has forsworn corporate donations. Her platform advocates criminal justice reform: “Mass incarceration must be ended, drug offenses should result in rehabilitation, not imprisonment, and the use of illegal drugs should be decriminalized.” A third candidate, Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb, a thoughtful and hard-working legislator with an interest in environmental issues, has helped keep the city council on course by sponsoring sensible regulations of the city’s cannabis industry


AD 76 – Oceanside: Rocky Chavez has termed out and is running for Congress; Thomas Krouse (R), supports medical marijuana and was endorsed by San Diego Citizens for Patients Rights.


District 8 (Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne) – Republican contender and Fresno county supervisor Andreas Borgeas does not support the use or sale of marijuana. Also running are Democrats Paulina Miranda and Tom Pratt, and Independent Mark Belden.


District 12 (Fresno, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, Stanislaus) – Assemblywoman Anna Caballero has a good voting record. Also in the race are Fowler Mayor Pro-Tem Daniel Parra, Madera County Supervisor Rob Poythress, and the self-described “very conservative” Johnny Tacherra.


District 16 (Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, Tulare) – Democratic archeologist and activist Ruth Musser-Lopez is unopposed. On the Republican side, former Assemblywoman Shannon Grove has a dismal voting record; Gregory Tatum is also running.


District 22 (Los Angeles) – There are no Republicans running in this district; Democrats on the ballot include Assemblyman Mike Eng, who has a good voting record.


District 32 (Los Angeles, Orange) – Democrat Tony Mendoza, who resigned his post following a sexual misconduct investigation, is running for his seat again without his party’s endorsement. He faces a crowded field of Democratic candidates. Republicans Ion Sarega and Rita Topalian are also running.

This information courtesy of drugsense.org



*** This portion of the California Cannabis Voters Guide is a work in progress. The bolded counties are based upon information provided by local publications and organizations. If you have information for a county, not bolded, please email daleschaferlaw@gmail.com and the information will be updated within 2 business days.


Alameda County –

District Attorney:

Incumbent Nancy O’Malley

Pamela Price

This information courtesy of drugsense.org


Alpine County –

Amador County –


Butte County –

District Attorney:

Michael L. Ramsey


Kory L. Honea


Calaveras County

Supervisor District 3:



Supervisor District 5:





This information courtesy of Viv CK of California – City & County Regulation Watch


Colusa County –


Contra Costa County

District Attorney:

Incumbent Diane Becton

Superintendent of Schools

Ron Leone

Supervisor District 4

Karen Mitchoff

This information courtesy of drugsense.org and California – City & County Regulation Watch


Del Norte County


El Dorado County

Supervisor District 4:

Sue Novasel

Supervisor District 5:

Michael Ranalli


Mike Owens

This information courtesy of El Dorado County Growers Alliance


Fresno County –

District 1:

Incumbent Esmeralda Soria

District 3:

Darren Miller
Kimberly Tapscott-Munson
Miguel Arias

Larry Tyrone Burrus

Sean Sanchez

Craig Scharton

Tate Hill

District 5:

Incumbent Luis Chavez

Paula Yang

Paul Condon

District 7:

Brian Whelan,

Nelson Esparza  

Veva Islas

This information courtesy of cvobserver.com and Central Valley NORML


Glenn County


Humboldt County –

Supervisor District 4:

Mary Ann Lyons

Dani Burkhart

Virginia Bass

Supervisor District 5:

Steve Madrone

Ryan Sundberg


Mike Lorig

Karen Paz Dominguez


Imperial County

Inyo County


Kern County –

Superior Court Judge:

Office #10

Chad Allen Louie

George “Brandon” Martin

Office #14

H. Cole McKnight

John Lance Fielder

Supervisor, District 2:

Whitney Weddell

Dalmas “Dal” Bunn

Zack Scrivner

Michael Biglay

District Attorney:

Scott Spielman

Cynthia Zimmer


Donny Youngblood

Justin Fleeman



Kings County

Lake County

Lassen County


Los Angeles County –

Superior Court Judge:

Office #4 Alfred Coletta

Office #16 Sydne Jane Michel

Office #20 Wendy Segall

Office # 60 Holly Hancock

Office #63 neither are cannabis friendly

Office # 57 Maria Lucy Armendariaz

Office # 71 David Berger

Office # 113 Javier Perez

Office #126 Rene Caldwell Gilbertson

Office #146 Armando Dur`on

This information courtesy of justsaycare.org


Madera County

Marin County

Mariposa County


Mendocino County –

Supervisor District 3:

Susy Barsotti

John Haschak

Tony Tucker

Cyndee Logan

This information courtesy of MendoCanna Action


Merced County

Modoc County

Monterey County

Napa County


Nevada County

District 4:

Sue Hoek

 District 3:

Hilary Hodge

Dan Miller

District Attorney:

Glenn Jennings


John Foster

Shannon Moon

NID District 1:

Ricki Heck

NID District 2:

John Volz

Nevada City & County information contributed by Jaded Voter


Orange County

Placer County

Plumas County

Riverside County


Sacramento County –

District Attorney:

Noah Philips

Anne Marie Schubert


Milo Fitch

Scott Jones

This information courtesy of drugsense.org


Sacramento City

City Council District 5:

Tamika L’ecuse

This information courtesy of Newell’s Botanicals


San Benito County


San Bernardino County –

San Bernardino City –


Rick Avila

Carey Davis

Gigi Hanna

Danny Malmuth

Karmel Roe

Danny Tillman

John Valdivia


San Diego County –

District Attorney

Summer Stephan

Genevieve Jones-Wright


Dave Myers

Supervisor District 4

Bonnie Dumanis

Lori Saldaña

Supervisor District 5

Jerry Kern

Michelle Gomez


Carlsbad –


Cori Shumacher  



City Council District 1

Chuck Lowery

City Council District 2

Terry Johnson

Vista –


Joe Green

City council District 1

Corina Contraras
This information courtesy of This information courtesy of drugsense.org and Oceanside For A Safer Community.

San Francisco County

Supervisor District 8

Rafael Mandelman

Superior Court Judge

Office No. 4: Phoenix Streets

Office No. 7: Maria Evangelista

Office No. 9: Kwixuan H. Maloof

Office No. 11: Niki Solis


San Francisco City –


Amy Farah Weiss

This information courtesy of broke-ass stuart and The San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters.


San Joaquin County


San Luis Obispo County –

The majority of our current board of county supervisors are less open to cannabis-based businesses and that includes incumbent candidate, Lynn Compton. The other incumbent running for re-election is Bruce Gibson and he is more favorable on the issue. I do not know where their opponents running for election – Jimmy Paulding and Jeff Eckles –  stand on the issue. Their websites are not very helpful either in stating their positions on cannabis.

San Luis Obispo City –


Heidi Harmon


Carlyn Christianson

This information courtesy of Moxy Marketing and SLO Chamber of Commerce


San Mateo County


Santa Barbara County –


Lt. Eddie Hseuh


Lompoc City –

City Council District 2

Victor Vega

City Council District 3

Dirk Starbuck



Santa Clara County

Santa Cruz County

Shasta County

Sierra County

Siskiyou County

Solano County


Sonoma County


Mark Essick

John Mutz

Ernesto Olivares

Supervisor District 2

David Rabbit

Supervisor District 4

Shirley Zane


Stanislaus County

Sutter County


Tehama County


Red Bluff

Supervisor District 3

Dennis Garton

Robert Halpin
This information courtesy of Red Bluff Daily News


Trinity County

Tulare County

Tuolumne County

Ventura County


Yolo County

District Attorney

Dean Johansson


Tom Lopez

Supervisor District 3

Gary Sandy

Meg Stallard


Yuba County


June Cannabis Tax Measures

Merced County – Measure Y would authorize Merced to tax commercial marijuana businesses at $25 per square foot of cultivation space or 10 percent of gross receipts, whichever is greater, until the tax is ended by voters.

Mammoth Lakes – Measure C would authorize Mammoth Lakes to:
– impose a 1 percent tax on marijuana testing laboratory gross receipts;
– impose a 2 percent tax on marijuana cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing businesses;
– impose a 4 percent on gross receipts of marijuana retail businesses; and
– adopt regulatory provisions defining, conducting audits about, and establishing an appeal procedure for the marijuana tax.

Mono County – Measure D would authorize the County to impose:
– a marijuana business tax ranging from $0.50 to $2 depending on square footage of plant canopy, and
– a tax on marijuana business gross receipts ranging from 1 percent to 8 percent depending on the type of business activity.

Pasadena – Measure CC would repeal the existing ban on commercial marijuana and allowing commercial marijuana businesses to operate in the city, subject to local regulations and taxation.
Measure DD would authorize the city to tax commercial marijuana businesses at rates up to $10.00 per canopy square foot for cultivation, 6 percent of gross receipts for retail cannabis businesses, and 4 percent for all other cannabis businesses, with revenue to be used for general city purposes.

San Benito County – Measure C would establish the following tax rates based on square footage of canopy or gross receipts:
– $3-$17 per square foot, increased annually based on Consumer Price Index, on cultivators,
– 0.5%-4% on distributors and laboratories,
– 2.5%-4% on manufacturers,
– 0.5%-8% on retailers, and
– 2.5%-5% on microbusiness.


San Francisco City – Amy Farrah Weiss for Mayor, Jeff Sheehy for Supervisor District 8

San Luis Obispo County – Measure B-18 would authorize the County to impose a tax on gross receipts of marijuana business beginning at 4 percent and increasing annually to a maximum of 10 percent for general revenue purposes.

San Rafael – Measure G would authorize San Rafael to impose a tax on the gross receipts of marijuana businesses at a maximum rate of 8 percent per year for general spending purposes.

Santa Barbara – Measure T is a general tax on marijuana operations in Santa Barbara. A yes vote is a vote in favor of authorizing Santa Barbara County to impose an operations tax on marijuana operators’ gross receipts. A no vote will essentially revoke legalization and regulation within the county.

Santa Cruz (city) – Measure T would repeal Measure K of 2006, which authorizes Santa Cruz law enforcement to enforce marijuana offenses at the lowest level of priority. A no vote is a vote against repealing Measure K, thereby maintaining the ordinance in the municipal code stating that law enforcement may enforce marijuana offenses at the lowest level of priority. VOTE NO ON MEASURE T!

Sierra County – Measure A would authorize Sierra County to prohibit commercial marijuana cultivation, processing, and dispensaries. VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!

Weed – Measure K would authorize the city of Weed to impose a tax on marijuana businesses in the following amounts:
– $10 per square foot of outdoor grow area,
– $18 per square foot of grow area using natural and artificial light,
– $26 per square foot of indoor grow area, or
– 10 percent of yearly gross receipts.

Yolo County – Measure K would authorize the County to impose a tax on marijuana business in unincorporated areas of the county at a rate of between 1 percent and 15 percent of gross receipts, with initial rates of 4 percent for cultivation and 5 percent for other businesses and with the ability to increase or decrease the tax by up to 2 percentage points each year.

Yucca Valley – Measure L would authorize Yucca Valley to allow state-licensed commercial marijuana operations including indoor cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing.


This information courtesy of Jacqueline McGowan, of California – City & County Regulation Watch and CAL NORML




By: Dale Schafer, Esq.

One of the hottest dilemmas, in the cannabis industry, these days involves the relative legality of CBD. The answer involves the DEA, the Farm Bill of 2014, the myriad state laws, on the subject, and a history of ambiguity in America over jurisdiction, and control, over products that are consumed by humans for benefits to health.  Understanding this quagmire is helped by a glance back in history to see how we all got to this difficult place.

The 19th century was dominated by unrestricted capitalism in many commodities, including drugs. Opium had been known, for millennia, as a pain medication and pleasure producer, but it had a dark side. In 1805 the German pharmaceutical giant Merke isolated Morphine from opium. The British were very successful purveyors of opium and forced the poison onto the Chinese in several Opium Wars in the 1840’s. Opium tincture (laudanum) was a widely available medical, or whatever, product in stores across America. The Civil War brought widespread use of morphine, through hypodermic syringes, and it became a drug problem for many veterans of the conflict.

Coca wine was available circa the war, but it was refined to a crystalline product with cocaine hydrochloride. President Grant used the substance to help with the writing of his memoirs before he died from throat cancer. Doc Pemberton concocted Coca-Cola, from coca leaves, to help him treat his morphine addiction. It was labeled a “soft drink” because it contained no alcohol and was believed, in dry Atlanta, to be less harmful than liquor. By the time Sigmund Freud was treated for cocaine addiction, it was becoming apparent that cocaine had a dark side.

Indian hemp was introduced into European society when Napoleon’s troops returned from the near east with hashish. Dr. O’Shaughnessy brought Indian hemp medical products to England in the 1840’s. It’s medical benefits were widely spread through medical societies and products were developed, principally based on alcohol extraction. The second half of the 19th century saw a rapid expansion of cannabis preparations here in America.

Morphine, cocaine and cannabis were not the only substances that were put into “patent medicines”, but they were the big ones. Alcohol was the solvent, and an ingredient, in many of the medicines. As you probably recall, alcohol was becoming quite the moral dilemma as the end of the 19th century approached. Traveling “medicine men” mixed up their special elixirs and sold them to rural citizens. These medical products, along with many other commercially prepared products, eventually appeared in the Sears and Roebuck catalog to be shipped in plain wrapping to your home. When Bayer developed Heroin, in the late 1890’s, the nation was seemingly flooded with snake oil and “addiction” was part of the national discussion about safety in consumer products.

Not to be forgotten was the invention of nutritional products to bring people back to health. Health sanitariums popped up and inventors like Kellogg developed food products (I’m thinking breakfast cereals) to bring people to optimum health. The health claims of these food products were puffing on steroids and their safety was never guaranteed. The food supply was increasingly uncertain and there were few laws to protect consumers. This situation had gained the attention of Congress and when Upton Sinclair published “The Jungle”, about the meat packing industry, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (PFDA). The act required truthful labeling of drugs (morphine, cocaine, chloral hydrate and cannabis) and alcohol and is still considered the beginning of the FDA. However, those products that were not considered drugs were not treated as harshly. This would turn out to be the beginnings of the modern battle between drugs and nutritional supplements.

Over the decade that followed the PFDA, morphine was criminalized. The International Convention of 1912 lead to the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act of 1914 and federal drug prohibition was off and running. The Treaty of Versailles contained language to prohibit morphine and opium, as did the League of Nations in the 1920’s. States began to enact laws to control poisons and Boards of Pharmacy evolved in all states. As drugs were increasingly controlled, nutritional supplements fought hard to avoid the label of drug. Food, which included supplements, were under the control of the US Department of Food and Agriculture. Consumer safety for foods was viewed differently that the control mechanisms for drugs to protect medical consumers. In the 1930’s Congress added cosmetics to the FDA and today we operate under the FDCA.

America’s attack on cannabis took racial overtones as “marijuana” entered the lexicon of prohibition. When the Mexican Civil War sent refugees fleeing north after 1910, cities and states began to enact prohibitions against marijuana use, but medical use of cannabis was allowed. After alcohol prohibition ended in the administration of FDR, there was increasing pressure for national marijuana prohibition. In 1937, Congress nefariously passed the Marijuana Tax Act and even medical use was made effectively impossible. The Tax Act lasted until 1969 when Tim Leary got SCOTUS to find it unconstitutional. Congress took up the issue of drugs in the Omnibus Controlled Substances of 1970 (CSA). As you know, marijuana was placed in Schedule 1 of that Act and was completely outlawed, except with federal permission. An unfortunate situation that continues today.

In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. This act had jurisdiction over products taken orally for supplementing the health. Claims of health benefits were required to prove their claims or cease advertising the benefits. It also put the burden on the FDA to prove a product, or ingredient was to be treated as a drug rather than a supplement. Ingredients like ephedra lost the battle with the FDA and recently, kratom has fallen under such scrutiny. The industry that produces and markets food supplements is vast, politically connected and well funded. If there is a straight-faced argument to keep a supplement a food rather than a drug, massive political pressure can be brought to bear.


Prior to Dr. Machoulam’s discovery of THC in the early 1960’s, science did not know what was in cannabis that made it psychoactive. By that time, marijuana was the legal term, used by the federal and state governments, to describe the cannabis plant with psychoactive and medical benefits. Once this cannabinoid was discovered, definitions were developed to distinguish between “marijuana” and “hemp”. THC concentration defined the two terms and the figure of 0.3% THC was the line. Less was hemp and more was marijuana. When Congress enacted the CSA, marijuana was defined to include all parts of the cannabis plant, growing or not, seeds, resin extracted, all salts, compounds, derivatives and all the language thought to cover every possible product from the plant. The CSA also excluded the stalks, fiber, oil cakes made from seeds, but resin extracted from stalks was not excluded. (21 USC 802). The use of the term “resin” is a problem in today’s question about hemp derived CBD.

The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids. Prior to the scientific definition of THC, the term marijuana was all inclusive, even though the non-psychoactive phenotypes were defined as hemp for practical purposes. WWII brought hemp production back for a short period of time, but amnesia was imposed for several decades. Hemp and marijuana were treated effectively the same. They were illegal.

As research continued into the multitude of cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, it became possible to isolate the cannabinoids. CBD was able to be looked at separately and investigators began the process to identify which of the cannabinoids were responsible for the many medical effects described by patients. Research also proceeded into the health and nutritional benefits of hemp seeds and the oil derived from them. Dating back, to the 1937 Tax Act, whole seeds needed to be rendered sterile. Seed cake was the base for nutritional and health products. It was also determined that some varieties hemp had relatively more CBD than others. It was possible to extract, and isolate, CBD as a commercial by-product of hemp cultivation and processing. Herein lies the present reality that is creating today’s uproar.

The use of the term “resin” in the CSA demonstrates a desire to prohibit, and control, cannabinoids as a drug. The Farm Bill of 2014 was enacted to allow research projects, under state law, to develop agricultural products from hemp. Several states, most notably Kentucky, have moved forward with increasing commercial production of hemp products. As more acres of hemp are grown, increasing amounts of hemp flowers were available and CBD could be extracted commercially. Over the last two decades, CBD products have become increasingly popular and the source of CBD began to be hemp. Domestic hemp production was not enough to cheaply meet demand so international sources were sought out, think China. Many that were in the CBD trade began to believe that CBD was not a drug covered by the CSA, but an industrial hemp product or a nutritional supplement, outside federal criminal enforcement.

The DEA did not suffer from this belief. In early 2017, a statement was issued by the DEA that clarified, at least in their minds, that CBD was a schedule 1 drug under the CSA and that the Farm Bill did not allow CBD production since it was not an agricultural product, but a drug product. Litigation was started to fight this ruling, but the case was dismissed. In December of 2017, the DEA announced a new category of marijuana extract that covered CBD, and all cannabinoids. As far as the federal government is concerned, CBD is treated like THC, it’s all marijuana. It’s not that simple though.

Many states that have legalized cannabis specifically allow, or restrict patients to, CBD as a state legal medical product. If the CBD is produced within the lawful state, it is only the federal government that would take enforcement action. Unfortunately for the federal drug establishment, there aren’t enough enforcement officers to stop CBD as a medical product. CBD products are seemingly available everywhere and states appear to be inclined to not enforce. This creates a situation that defies understanding, logic or currently workable solutions.

To make matters even more difficult, hemp probably is not the best source of CBD for human consumption. The cannabis plant will extract many toxins from the soil and it takes acres of hemp to commercially produce CBD. The toxins can show up in the CBD and that is problematic for consumer safety because of a lack of testing. Additionally, the cannabis chemotypes that produce high concentrations of cannabinoids, traditionally called marijuana, include a fuller profile of cannabinoids and contain terpenes. Most cannabinoid experts, I’ve talked with, believe that full spectrum cannabinoid products are medicinally superior to hemp derived CBD. This particular topic cries out for research to determine the best source for medicinal products high in CBD.

Now that I’ve said all that, the central question remains difficult to answer. The DEA considers CBD to be prohibited as a schedule 1 drug and not allowed to be produced from hemp, since it’s not considered an agricultural product. If CBD is shipped through interstate commerce, the federal government may decide to take some enforcement actions to send a message. However, for all practical purposes, the feds can’t stop the CBD trade. If your state is allowing CBD production, odd are you’re safer, but not totally safe. How far one goes with CBD production and sales, depends on one’s willingness to accept the risk. Of course, that’s been the theme involved in cannabis production for many decades now. Welcome back to the wild west.  

El Dorado County – Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Carla Hass
(530) 621-4609

(PLACERVILLE, CA) – The following seven meetings of the El Dorado County ad hoc Cannabis Committee meeting are scheduled between today and May 14th.

WHAT: Ad hoc Cannabis Committee meetings

WHEN: All meetings are from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm

  • Monday, March 5th (Outdoor/Cottage)
  • Monday, March 12th (Indoor/Mixed Light/Cottage)
  • Monday, March 19th (Dispensaries/Deliveries/Distribution)
  • Monday, April 23rd (Microbusiness/Nurseries/Testing)
  • Monday, April 30th (Manufacturing)
  • Monday, May 7th (Tax Rates/Funding)
  • Monday, May 14th (Administering a Program/What does it look like?)

WHERE: All meetings will take place at the County Board of Supervisors Chambers 330 Fair Lane Placerville, CA

WHO: Members of the ad hoc Cannabis Committee, Supervisors Michael Ranalli and Sue Novasel
El Dorado County Staff
Members of the public are invited to attend

UPDATE – Successful Cannabis Business DIY Program

Cannabis Regulations

Workshop Overview


  1. Regulations Overview and Local Approval (Approx 3 hours)
  2. Temp. License Application Process – Includes information about all required elements of the temporary license application for the BCC, CDFA and/or CDPH (Approx 3 hours)
  3. Annual License Application 1 – Business Plan & Description, Business Formulation Documents, Fictitious Business Name Process (Approx 3 hours)
  4. Annual License Application 2 – Lists of Funds, Lists of Loans, Lists of Investments, Lists of Gifts, List of every individual with financial interest (approx 3 hours)
  5. Annual License Application 3 – List of every owner, Livescans, Evidence of Legal Right To Occupy, Evidence of Premises Compliance, Labor Peace Agreement (Approx 3 hours)
  6. Annual License Application 4 – Seller’s Permit, Proof of Bond, Standard Operating Procedures (Approx 3 hours)
  7. Annual License Application 5 – Cultivation Plan, Water Board Regs, Prohibited chemicals, heavy metals, etc. (Approx 3 hours)
  8. Annual License Application 6 – Track & Trace, Supply Chain, (Approx 3 hours)
  9. Maintaining Your License – Liability Issues, Potential hurdles, What to watch out for, Maintaining your License. (Approx 3 hours)
  10. Having a successful business – Your website, marketing your business, setting yourself apart in the industry, Branding, Trademarking (Approx 3 hours)


*** Between Workshops 2 & 3 there will be a week off to complete your TEMPORARY STATE APPLICATION and sit down with us to review before submitting


Bank that 2-hour appointment for when you are ready to do so




*** Program subject to change based on changes made by the State regulatory agencies

For more information go to Successful Cannabis Business DIY Program

6 Ways to Beat a Local Cannabis Ban


When California’s first adult-use cannabis stores opened on Jan. 1, many of the state’s residents realized they would be shut out. They weren’t happy. Residents of Orange County, where all but one city, Santa Ana, has banned retail sales, shook their heads in disgust. “Orange County will have no retail stores?” one Leafly reader wrote. “What a f joke OC is.”

If cannabis is legal statewide, how come you can’t buy it in your own county?

It’s not just Newport Beach turning its nose up. Retail cannabis may be legal statewide, but California law allows local municipalities to severely limit or ban cannabis companies. Cannabis is banned entirely, for example, in the cities of Redding, Pomona, Crescent City, and Santa Monica, as well as most of Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. That’s just the start of a long list.

These local bans aren’t entirely unusual—and they usually don’t last forever. During the early days of legalization in Colorado and Washington, many municipal councils enacted bans out of fear and ignorance. Suburban towns shut out retail storefronts, for example, nervous that legal sales could bring more trouble than good. Meanwhile, most local politicians voting on those bans knew very little about cannabis and the legal industry around it. Many bought into old stereotypes about weed, stoners, dealers, and crime.

When Oregon legalized, we saw the same thing. Today, California and Massachusetts are in the thick of it.

Here’s the rub: Many of the communities that initially enacted bans were themselves not anti-cannabis. Some voted overwhelmingly in favor of statewide legalization. In many cases, bans were the response to the vocal outcry of a relatively small number of concerned citizens. In others, local governments were simply unfamiliar with legal cannabis or felt unprepared to appropriately regulate it.

The good news is that bans can be reversed. But they don’t overturn themselves. Here are a few ways you can start opening minds and changing votes.

1. Work With an Advocacy Group (but Not Always)

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Connect with an advocacy organization, such as your state chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. They have a deep well of knowledge, resources, and experience with the local political landscape. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) also has a “Block the Ban” initiative up and running; they’ve already successfully overturned the ban in one Massachusetts town.

Connecting with and joining NORML or another group doesn’t mean you become their official representative. Politicians sometimes tune out advocacy groups because they see them as “special interests.” That’s not entirely fair, but it is what it is. If you introduce yourself to a local elected official as a constituent and concerned citizen—or a concerned parent or business owner—you may get more traction.

2. Get Out and Meet the Man

It’s easy to protest The Man and his cannabis ban. But there is no Man. In most cases, there are well-meaning but fallible men and women who haven’t encountered a local constituent eager to talk with them as a cool-headed legalization advocate. (Okay, not all politicians are well-meaning. But you’d be surprised.) There are a number of entry points:

  • Sidle up to your local city council member before or after a weekly council meeting. Introduce yourself, give them your elevator pitch, and tell them you’d like to talk with them further about the issue.
  • Use the New Business or public comment period at the end of the council meeting to air your concern.
  • Write a letter to one or all of the council members.
  • Send a version of that letter to the local newspaper. Call out supporters and opponents of the ban by name.
  • Post about the issue on social media. Again, call out officeholders by name, and consider tagging them or creating a hashtag. You will get their attention.

Before you go: Have your clear, concise talking points ready to deliver. See #3 below.

3. Arm Yourself With Facts

“One of the biggest challenges we as a legislative body are going to face,” Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas, a medical marijuana legalization supporter, recently told his colleagues, “is coming through all the smoke, all the fear-mongering, all the stigma, the ignorance.”

Luckily, there’s a lot of good evidence that a legal, regulated market works far better for everyone than prohibition.

There’s no shortage of misinformation when it comes to cannabis. Like with a lot of issues that people feel strongly about, it’s common for opportunists to seize on information that supports their preconceptions rather than digging deeper into the issues. Luckily, there’s a lot of good evidence that a legal, regulated market works far better for everyone than prohibition. So when you engage with elected officials, come armed with facts.

The reasons you support legal cannabis might not be reasons your neighbors or your council members find persuasive. If you’re talking to an elected official, learn about the issues that drive them customize your pitch. If you’re talking to a liberal Democrat, lead with social justice concerns. A conservative Republican may be more amenable to a pitch about personal freedom and the waste of taxpayer resources on nonsensical cannabis arrests. Centrists might appreciate the extra revenue to shore up budget holes. This article has a number of further tips.

4. Bring a Positive Proposal to the Table

Guess who writes a lot of the first drafts of legislation? Not the office holder! Seriously. Do some research. Find copies of the local cannabis ordinances adopted by towns and counties similar in size and culture to your own. Present the entire piece of legislation to your local office holder. They are busy, and they’re working on issues ranging from potholes to violent crime. The more work you can do for them, the more likely they’ll seriously consider introducing your measure.

5. Argue From a Position of Strength

Did your county, district, or town vote in favor of statewide cannabis legalization? Well then why is the local town council disrespecting the clearly expressed will of local voters? Do they think the voters are confused children?

70% of Marin County, CA, voters embraced legalization. And yet the county council banned it. That’s got to change.

When you approach an elected official, do so with the knowledge of how your district voted on the state’s ballot initiative. (If you’re working in a county that voted overwhelmingly against legalization, you will want to have an answer to the inevitable question. Often that’s where the experience of people from NORML and other groups comes in handy.)

For example, the map below shows how California counties voted on Proposition 64, the 2016 statewide measure to legalize the adult use of cannabis. Check out Marin County in the map below. Marin embraced legalization with 70% of the vote. Three months later the Marin County Board of Supervisors banned all cannabis-related business activity in unincorporated Marin. There’s your conversation starter, Concerned Marin Constituent.

6. Run Your Own “Beat the Ban” Initiative

When local elected officials won’t listen to your well-reasoned argument, you still have Option B: The local initiative. Find out how to get a local initiative on the ballot in your area, if it’s an option (different jurisdictions often have different rules). Reach out to groups like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, which have a lot of experience running and winning these “Beat the Ban” measures.

Local voters love to cast their ballots in favor of these initiatives, because they’re kind of like telling local politicians: “Yes, I did actually mean it when I voted for statewide legalization. It wasn’t a mistake.”

Often it’s just a matter of persistence. In Oregon, roughly a year after legal sales began, 15 municipalities that initially prohibited cannabis businesses voted to undo those bans. And in Massachusetts, which is readying for adult-use sales to begin this summer, a growing number of communities are voting to allow cannabis businesses, bucking an early trend of local bans.

“We got a lot of support from people who don’t use cannabis, but might want to someday,” Scott Winters, an Amesbury resident who spearheaded opposition to an anti-cannabis referendum that was defeated in November by a nearly 2-1 margin, told the Associated Press. “From users to non-users to just folks who want revenue for the city, we had a lot of support.

Bruce Barcott & Ben Adlin

Bruce Barcott is Leafly’s deputy editor. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America. Ben Adlin is an editor at Leafly who specializes in politics and the law. Together with editor Dave Schmader, they host Leafly’s weekly politics podcast, The Roll-Up.

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