Oxnard denies treatment to ailing widows, cancer patients …

By George Miller

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Yes, she is one of several actual cancer patients at 1-12-16 Council meeting, begging Oxnard to allow medical marijuana here, Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

A flashy headline, huh? But Oxnard did in fact vote its intention to deny medical marijuana treatment to ailing widows, cancer patients and other unfortunates at the 1-12-16 City Council meeting (so did every city in the county). It was a 3-2 split, with Council Members Perello and Padilla dissenting. They both wanted further study first. Some other Ventura County jurisdictions are adopting prohibitions as well. Here’s what happened and why:

The state has given cities until March 1 to have their own marijuana regulations or be forced to follow state guidance, which no one knows what might be.

Oxnard did approve the preparation of an ordinance which would prohibit the growing, distribution and sale of medical marijuana in the City of Oxnard. This was the first reading, authorizing the preparation, subsequent discussion and voting on implementing a new ordinance. No date was set for this. Update: it will be1-26-16.

Of course, it was already illegal in Oxnard. Interestingly, Oxnard’s prohibition was based on the federal Controlled Substances Act, which is in conflict with California’s Compassionate Use Act. Also note that Oxnard’s prohibition of  “sale, supply, or provision of marijuana within the City” does not rule out external sources and does not rule out consumption. But, good luck finding it. 

Under federal law, both recreational and medical marijuana are illegal. This is not true at the state level.

California legalized medical (not recreational) marijuana two decades ago, via Proposition 215-Compassionate Use Act (CUA), in 1996. But implementation policy and standards were sorely lacking.  In the absence of implementation guidance for something that was clearly the will of the legislature, Brown stepped in and prepared guidance in early October, 2015. CA SB266 was passed as well. 

Medical marijuana is widely accepted and used as treatment for pain and serious depression, due to serious physical and mental illnesses. Some claim it can actually heal tumors, but this is more controversial. Every council member agreed its value for medical treatment, but some had concerns with proliferation, improper use and even the small matter that the federal government regards it as illegal for both medical and recreational use. 

All council members acknowledged the great value in medical marijuana treatment, But Mayor Tim Flynn, Mayor ProTem Carmen Ramirez and Council Member (and former Assistant Police Chief) Bryan MacDonald felt that they needed the prohibition to “maintain local control.” Chief of Police Jeri Williams concurred on that. Mayor Flynn also brought up the conflict with federal law, which doesn’t seem to have stopped numerous other cities from permitting medical marijuana dispensaries. In fact, we learned, Santa Cruz actually runs a dispensary. 

Who knew that California was so big on the Tenth Amendment, which says: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. The U.S. Supreme Court has seen fit to ignore the Tenth in this situation.

There were over a dozen public speakers and all but one thought that the City should permit the dispensaries. About 3/4 were people we haven’t seen at meetings before, who were advocates, patients or industry people who wanted treatments made available. Most were just for medical marijuana, but a few wanted access for recreational purposes as well. It was noted that the meeting discussion was pushed out to much later in the meeting with no notice, a common Oxnard technique. Some said it was to discourage people who came to speak, some who are very sick patients.

MedicalMarijuanaSymbolJeff Kroll, head of Shangri La Care Cooperative in Ojai claimed that he is under investigation by Oxnard PD and VC Sheriff’s office, but offered no proof at the meeting. He said that bans are “the wrong road” and would only force commerce into the gray and black market in LA, greatly inconveniencing very sick people who lack means and mobility to do so. He recommended that the City Attorney put this on hold study it and invite stakeholders to provide input before proceeding further.

He told us the next day that it was an interesting coincidence that his problems with the law happened around the time of Governor Jerry Brown’s medical marijuana initiative in October. He said that he and other associates had been stopped, their cars, homes and the clinic searched with “no-knock” warrants. Authorities would not show warrants, he said. Kroll said that his bank accounts are frozen and his house may be lost for nonpayment of the mortgage this month. He described police actions as “assassination, robbery.” He also accused a judge, whose son he says is an Oxnard narc, of conflict of interest. He claimed many irregularities in procedures which make cases dubious. He said inventory, lab samples, test records, membership list, cash, were seized and that civil forfeiture may be invoked. Kroll mentioned that the unconstitutional Patriot Act and Freedom Act  provisions are also being used against him, improperly. He may file a lawsuit for damages,

Various people on the council or members of the public pointed out negative side effects and potential abuse of marijuana. But were they conflating the issues of medical marijuana to approved patients with widespread use of recreational marijuana, as Colorado has implemented? Many are concerned that medical marijuana dispensing will be abused in the same way that prescription painkillers are.

Consider that marijuana is already freely available on Oxnard streets. We see and smell it walking on the beach or even on some streets. The objectors also seem to assume both recreational and medical marijuana use. The focus of Brown’s orders was medical marijuana. Obviously, the controls on supply and use would be very important, but the cat’s already out of the bag.

Mayor Flynn, who is also a local high school teacher, said he has had students show him their medical marijuana cards, which he seemed to find disturbing. If doctors improperly prescribed marijuana to those youths, he would be correct.

Other Cities

In addition to the Oxnard ban, other cities have voted similar actions, such as Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Port Hueneme, Moorpark, Simi Valley and Fillmore. All ten county cities already had bans, but needed to take new action because of changes in state law.

vc_sealCounty Actions

What didn’t come out in the council meeting or previous news articles is that the County of Ventura has been orchestrating action to block marijuana use, which likely had a strong influence on county city actions. For example, Ventura County Behavioral Health  held a half-day “Community Planning Leadership Forum” entitled “Mapping Marijuana,” with area law enforcement management on 1-7-16 (the first we heard of it was Tuesday night from Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams).

The public was not invited and media were blocked from attending, which suggests potential Brown Act violations, in spirit if not letter. While this was not a meeting of a legislative body, there were numerous legislators, law enforcement and other officials there, ina clear attempt to influence legislation, done on the taxpayers’ dime, without their knowledge, consent or any opportunity to influence the outcome, weigh in on policy, or even view it- not exactly a transparent move.

See agenda:

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An accompanying brochure was only a couple of steps short of the “Reefer Madness” approach of the 1930’s. Using data from the full legalization in Colorado, it predicted more DUI’s, poisonings, use by minors, use in schools, visible crops, odor pollution, illegal cultivation, cannabis tourism and environmental degradation.  All this has happened in Colorado, which seemingly pulled out all the stops. But, comparing limited use of medical marijuana to this is seemingly like comparing apples with oranges.

But Ventura County Undersheriff Gary Pentis, second only to Sheriff Geoff Dean, has stated that law enforcement will use discretion. Even when people are operating outside the letter of the law, Pentis said sheriff’s deputies will not arrest them if they are growing or transporting marijuana for a sick person who needs it as medicine.

Consider that marijuana is already freely available on Oxnard streets. We see and smell it walking on the beach or even on some streets. The forum also seems to assume both recreational and medical marijuana use. The focus of Brown’s orders was medical marijuana. Obviously, the controls on supply and use would be very important, but the cat’s already out of the bag.

Mayor Flynn, who is also a local high school teacher, said he has had students show him their medical marijuana cards, which he seemed to find disturbing. If doctors improperly prescribed marijuana to those youths, he would be correct.

CAEmblemState Action

CA AB266 is the relevant legislation (read ANALYSIS). It lays out authorization, licensing, regulation, non-compliance penalties, permits additional local standards for cultivation, manufacturing, quality control, inspection, packaging,  labeling, security, taxation and dispensing. Other Legislation

Federal Government Adaptation

United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement. On August 29, 2013, the USDOJ issued a memorandum that updated its guidance to all United States Attorneys in light of state ballot initiatives to legalize under state law the possession of small amounts of marijuana and provide for the regulation of marijuana production, processing, and sale. While the memorandum noted that illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime, it also noted that USDOJ is committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats. According to the USDOJ, “In jurisdictions that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana in some form and that have also implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana, conduct in compliance with those laws and regulations is less likely to threaten the federal priorities set forth above… In those circumstances, consistent with the traditional allocation of federal-state efforts in this area, enforcement of state law by state and local law enforcement and regulatory bodies should remain the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity.” Source

 

City Council Meeting January 12, 2016 06h 10m Agenda Minutes Video

 

J. PUBLIC HEARINGS – 6:15 P.M.

Medical marijuana item:

City Attorney Department
1. SUBJECT:   Ordinance Prohibiting Marijuana Activities. (055)
RECOMMENDATION: Approve the first reading by title only and subsequent adoption of an ordinance imposing an express prohibition on marijuana cultivation, deliveries and dispensaries within the City.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Stephen Fischer Phone: 385-7483

 

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George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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2 Responses to Oxnard denies treatment to ailing widows, cancer patients …

  1. Eileen Tracy January 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    George it was just announced that the bill To remove the March deadline flew through the 2nd committee unanimously. Now it’s headed to the Senate floor possibly on Monday. This should make Oxnard agenda item moot on Tuesday.

    Reply

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