BY RUTH HILL R.N.
“Marijuana Monday” raids conducted by the Riverside County, CA Sheriff’s Department, confiscated and destroyed over $43M worth of cannabis during a 2-Day Sting. The marijuana was found on more than 1,000 acres of public and private lands near Hemet and Anza. Contrary to the media’s reports, these raids destroy not only illegal grows but home growers who cultivate for medical purposes. Prop 64 allows qualified medical residents to grow up to six plants. In unincorporated townships like Anza to grow 12 plants. For households with two qualified patients, the number doubles to 24. Anza’s zoning however prevents most from growing and selling cannabis.
This Catch-22 scenario is not unique to Riverside County or Anza. Only 161 of California’s 482 municipalities and 24 of the 58 counties have opted to allow commercial cannabis activity of any sort, according to data from CannaRegs, a website that tracks local marijuana rule developments in the state. Regardless of this legislative boondoggle CA has taken in $172 million in taxes so far in 2020 and per the OC Register CA tax revenue passed the $1 billion mark since Prop 64 was passed.
Tens of thousands of legacy operators who fueled California’s gray medical marijuana market for two decades have been shut out of the legal industry, either by local license caps or by city and county ordinances that ban their business models. Many of those pioneers are small companies, often one-person operations, that do not have the money to relocate to a city or county that will grant them permits to continue doing business in the legal marijuana sector.
Small farmers work with Anza Valley’s High Country Grower’s Association (HCGA) to propose alternative zoning policies that will legalize small growing operations. According to a report by the Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council, 97% of Anza residents live on rural residential or agricultural land, which prevents them from growing and selling cannabis but allows other commercial farming. The 2017 Farm Bill allows hemp to be cultivated but again muddies the bureaucratic process defining what is legally permitted.
There are over twenty bills sitting in the CA legislature waiting to be discussed and enacted. They are a confusing mess of fines and conditions that violate the spirit of the 2016 Prop 64 legislation. The tax revenue goes to everything in the kitchen sink but cannabis research on the medicinal qualities of the plant. Things like school lunches, social worker programs, youth recreation, literacy programs, new parks, repairing roads, forest cleanups, child care for indigent children, removal of trash, etc. https://www.marijuanalawyerblog.com/where-does-californias-635m-in-marijuana-tax-money-go/
Edison Gomez-Kraus, a founding member of the Anza Valley’s HCGA, is running for Riverside County CA Supervisor from the in the 3rd district. His website explains the flaws in the county’s law. The Board of Supervisors of Riverside County re-criminalized all small farmers by issuing a pay-to-play scheme that excludes small farmers and local entrepreneurs from the legal market. Gomez-Krass is promising to propose legislation that will stimulate rural economies by allowing small farmers to enter the legal market giving more access to medicinal cannabis. He is a young energetic grass roots organizer who grasps the complex issues surrounding the medical cannabis industry. Visit Gomez-Kraus website https://edisongk2020.com/ for more information.
Questions on cannabis email Ruth Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org