Sacramento County, California voters will have an opportunity to get it right on medical cannabis in November. A voter initiative to regulate the medical cannabis industry in the county is halfway to its goal of 80,000-plus signatures, and organizers say they are confident it will qualify for the November ballot.
The Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 (PARMCA2012) is a voter initiative that will allow for a limited and tightly regulated medical cannabis market that will bring in an estimated $2 million in revenue for Sacramento County.
The Act will allow for one dispensary for every 25,000 residents in the unincorporated County that will be divided amongst Board of Supervisor districts to avoid clustering. The program will tax the businesses at a rate of 4 percent of gross sales on top of normal sales taxes that are paid by dispensaries.
The Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 limits cannabis transactions, taxes them, and meets Federal location requirements as requested by California U.S. Attorneys.
|Mickey Martin, CSPARC: “The right thing to do is to make sure these transactions happen safely, and for the County to realize much needed revenues in the process”|
The Act incorporates Federal standards for location requirements in direct response to public concerns recently expressed by California US Attorneys. The Act requires medical cannabis businesses to locate 1,000 feet from schools, parks with playgrounds, and youth-oriented facilities.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, in a recent interview with KQED, stated, “If it’s close to children then that’s a line we’re going to draw.” The Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act was written to comply with that line, as defined by Federal law.
The definitions for these sensitive uses are modeled after the laws that the federal government is using as their reasoning for the recent crackdown on some dispensaries. The Act also meets all state requirements for medical cannabis organizations.
“The Act was written to allow for a safe, clean, and convenient place for patients to access cannabis medicines, while also being considerate of the evolving legal and political landscape of both state and federal laws,” said Mickey Martin, author of Medical Marijuana 101 and co-author of the Act. “Medical cannabis exists in Sacramento County. The right thing to do is to make sure these transactions happen safely, and for the County to realize much needed revenues in the process.”
The campaign has an army of more than 100 volunteers, mostly made up of local patients and supporters who are busy gathering signatures, and have raised the initial funding for paid petitioners to make up the difference. The campaign is still in the process of fundraising for the needed revenues to fill the gap and is still training volunteers to gather signatures. Hundreds of small and large donors have come forward to donate resources to ensure the Act makes the ballot.
Organizers have until mid-July to collect the needed signatures, but hope to be finished with the signature gathering process before the June primaries. The issue is just beginning to heat up, as more voters and local politicos take notice of local campaigns, as the state signature gathering season comes to a close this week on Friday.
The Committee for Safe Patient Access to Regulated Cannabis (CSPARC), which is coordinating the initiative campaign, has seen a huge increase in interest for their effort in recent weeks. The continued wastes of resources by the Federal government to crack down on dispensaries across the state has made many in the community stand up and take notice.
Most want to know what they can do to support the rights of Californians to use cannabis, while making sure that the industry has proper controls in place to ensure compliance and professionalism.
According to its backers, the Patients Access to Regulated Medical Cannabis Act both protects the rights of California residents by implementing a well-regulated program, while also ensuring the program conforms to state and federal guidelines for medical marijuana.
“In a time of uncertainty and chaos concerning medical marijuana, the County will have a clear opportunity to stand up for the rights of Californians and to establish proper controls for medical cannabis businesses that are legal in the State,” CSPARC said in a prepared statement.
The revenue gained from taxes will go to funding public safety, healthcare, and education for residents of Sacramento County.