The Patient Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 has been filed with Sacramento County Elections Office and will begin gathering signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Medical cannabis patients, providers, activists and supporters in Sacramento County, California have come together in an effort to qualify a measure for the November 2012 ballot that will establish a reasonable and controlled system for qualified patients to access their medicine.
Over the past two years, medical cannabis advocates said they have attempted to work with Sacramento County officials to develop a regulatory system that would allow for safe access points throughout the unincorporated areas of the County.
According to advocates, those discussions broke down in 2011 after the Board of Supervisors failed to find consensus, and instead chose to pass a zoning restriction that outlawed and banned medical cannabis completely in Sacramento County.
While attorneys examine the constitutionality of the county’s decision to opt out of state law, patient advocates have joined together to develop the Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis (CSPARC), a group primarily formed to qualify the Patient Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 for the ballot, taking the issue directly to the voters.
|Mickey Martin, CSPARC: “The public understands that medical cannabis patients need a safe, clean, and well-lit place to access these medicines, and that we should not be forcing patients to travel long distances, or access the illicit market, just to feel better”|
”The public understands that medical cannabis patients need a safe, clean, and well-lit place to access these medicines, and that we should not be forcing patients to travel long distances, or access the illicit market, just to feel better,” said Mickey Martin, author of Medical Marijuana 101 and CSPARC coordinator.
“Medical cannabis organizations provide a wealth of wellness services to the community, and are a great opportunity to provide much needed income to a struggling County budget that can be used for public safety, education, and healthcare,” Martin said.
The proposed measure would establish a procedure for the registration, operation, taxation and regulation of a limited number of medical cannabis dispensaries, and establish a supplemental tax of 4 percent of gross receipts.
The registration program requires applicants to meet a long list of criteria, including limitations on who can apply, where they can apply, and all applicants will have to submit operations and security plans detailing how the organization would comply with state and local laws, control membership and inventories, perform responsible accounting, manage employees, and secure their facilities.
The program charges the Tax Collector’s office to oversee the program, and register dispensaries exercising his/her discretion to determine which applicants would best promote the public interest. Dispensaries would be limited to locations within a commercial or industrial zone and would be prohibited within 1000 feet of a school, a park containing a playground or any youth-oriented facility.
Applicants for registration would be limited to residents of Sacramento County. The program is enforced by the Sacramento County Department of Environmental Management.
The lead proponents for the campaign include Shirley Ann Mallory, age 70, who is a wheelchair-bound patient who has a hard time accessing her medicine now that her local dispensary has been shut down, forcing her to travel over an extra hour to get medicinal cannabis. She represents tens of thousands of patients who are now inconvenienced and forced to travel farther to get their medicine, or access their medicine from dangerous illicit sources. She is joined by her son, Sean Mallory, who is her caregiver.
Former director of Magnolia Wellness and founder of Orangevale Beautiful, David Spradlin, also signed on as a proponent to represent the dozens of local dispensing groups forced out by the County’s failure to act.
“When Magnolia Wellness was forced to close, tens of thousands of local patients who depended on us for medicine were displaced, and I was forced to lay off dozens of staff members from well-paying jobs,” Spradlin said. “The people of California voted over 15 years ago to pass the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed for patients to use and cultivate medical cannabis.
“One of the three purposes of the Act was to encourage governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of cannabis to all patients in medical need of cannabis,” Spradlin said. “The State of California and the County of Sacramento have ultimately failed to provide meaningful guidance on how patients should get their medicine.
“I do not believe that people voted to force a newly diagnosed cancer patient to have to learn to grow cannabis, and if they are successful, possibly have medicine in three or four months,” Spradlin said. “That is just not reasonable; so dispensaries provide a safe place for patients who are unable to, or not interested in, growing cannabis to get a variety of quality medicine in a caring environment.”
The committee is currently organizing volunteers to gather 80,000 signatures from registered Sacramento County voters, and will be on the streets with petitions soon. Volunteers can visit www.csparc.org for information on how to get signed up.