We wanted to take the opportunity this evening to reach out in preparation for tomorrow. As you know, the Tuolumne County Marijuana Working Group and the Board of Supervisors will hold a joint meeting tomorrow 4pm - 7pm at the Sonora Opera Hall. As this promises to be a significant turning point, we want to make our efforts really count, and that takes collaboration and integrity. We will stress the importance of this by being very, very frank on this topic. It's likely to ruffle some feathers with hard lines drawn and proposed compromises, but hey, that's politics. We hope you trust our insights; not all private meetings can be fully disclosed, but we have it on good authority to tell all of you that If we can get through this personal cultivation issue, we can move on to commercial issues. Tomorrow is a big day! Let it pass!
There are a four things we want to make clear, share our analysis on, and hopefully inspire a united front of our membership. PLEASE read on...
1.) Do not speak off topic.
This meeting is in regards to personal cultivation ONLY. Even mentioning commercial licensing for cannabis businesses is considered to be OFF TOPIC and will NOT be addressed by the BOS or the MWG. Use your time at the podium wisely. Do not throw away an opportunity to be heard by speaking off topic. Every second counts, especially if speaking time is limited to 2 minutes, maybe only 1 minute given the projected turn out and the larger venue.
2.) Nothing turns off any board faster than threats and emotional outbursts.
The Cannabis Community has been and will continue to be under the greatest scrutiny. As supposed second class citizens, we are held to a higher level of standards than most people in our county. This can be viewed as an unfortunate circumstance of exiting prohibition of any sort. Or, we can see it as an opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong. Please review the TCA Code of Conduct and stick to it at this meeting. We are fortunate to have the supervisors that we do, who are willing to listen if we are honest, respectful, and bring solutions to the problems that come with cannabis. Requests for recalls and aggressive initiatives will not be entertained. TCA does not stand for efforts that derail the process of working WITH the local government. There are very real consequences for members who obstruct TCA's mission and methods, including membership revocation. If you would like a copy of the TCA bylaws, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3.) Act with integrity.
How much cannabis is truly enough for you to consume every year? We have heard it all. Be honest. And if you do need to grow more than you are able, there are plenty of kind folks in the community who can teach you how to be a better gardener, share their bounty, or perhaps host plants for you. TCA board of directors are willing to work on ways to help our community help itself with community education and networking solutions.
4.) Don't talk about commercial permits or regulations. Period.
If you have been growing commercially under the veil of personal cultivation, we understand why (no permits!), but the jig is up. The Board of Supervisors and county staff are better educated about plant yield and patient consumption than they were when they passed the current ordinance two years ago. Know that the argument does not bode well for our cause unless it is medically legitimate. The status quo ordinance veil will not be a state compliant shield for business owners in 2018. The cost of licensing, insurance, compliant operations, environmental mitigations, etc...much of fiscal impact alone will be tapering the cannabis industry throughout the state of California. Requesting to maintain the 24 plant status quo or uphold the collective model WILL NOT result in commercial licensing happening anytime soon, in fact quite the opposite. Local commercial permits are the gateway to running a regulated state-compliant business. Help us get down the road to regulation and stick to the topic at hand. If we can put the personal cultivation issue to bed, we will be taking a huge leap towards dealing with commercial cannabis licensing. Things could roll out very quickly this winter if we can clear this road block.
4.) Support the county staff recommendation for a revised personal cultivation ordinance.
Try to take a long-view and think about sustainability, not cutting and running. The original personal cultivation ordinance was meant to be a temporary on-boarding middle ground for patients and commercial cultivators alike to have growing rights, and to be easy to enforce, particularly along county borders with Mariposa County. It was not meant to stand the test of time. Two years in and we are having the very real consequences as an industry under great scrutiny for taking advantage of a very lenient ordinance as was predicted in 2016. If we let this new ordinance pass, we can move on to commercial cultivation--the very thing many of you have been after for the last two years. Hobbling the progress of repairing the personal cultivation ordinance with bogus claims about your personal use only does harm to the efforts of the movement towards a regulated cannabis industry in Tuolumne County.
If you aren't for this ordinance and the pathway to commercial regulations...well, TCA can not advocate for the black market; it's just not part of Our Mission.
The proposed ordinance grow limits are still some of the most lenient in the state, and are tailored to land size and use. This is unheard of in the state of California and elsewhere, and you can thank TCA later for all of the emails, phone calls, site tours, and problem solving that brought us this far. Yes, there are concerns about registering personal gardens and associated costs. These things can be fleshed out in regulations, but the bare bones of the ordinance does serve the needs of most cannabis users.
If you still need a look at the proposed regulations, you can review the agenda packet here:
This could have ended in the ban proposed in September. But it hasn't. The pendulum has swung both ways in the board room, and this ordinance promises to be the middle way, the sustainable settling point to rest this issue. Thanks to our supervisors, county staff, and TCA maintaining a collaborative, problem-solving spirit, we may yet lay this issue finally to rest without expensive and stressful voter initiatives and supervisor recalls. In politics as well as business, the most sustainable and best solutions have both parties walking away feeling like they got screwed. It is said that is the nature of a good deal. Please join up with us tomorrow evening for this turning point in further ending prohibition of cannabis in Tuolumne County!
ALSO! If you still haven't taken our anonymous cultivation survey, head on over and donate 1 minute of your time:
Our very best,
Josh, Jesse, Lauren, & Kira