Oct 15 2009

Proposition 215 author announces boycott of Blue Sky medical marijuana dispensary


Dennis Peron at Oaksterdam U

Dennis Peron has announced he will begin a weekly picket at Coffeeshop Blue Sky medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland this Friday, 16 Oct 09, from 5 to 7 pm.

Peron owned and managed the first medical marijuana club in San Francisco.  He co-authored The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215) which legalized medical marijuana in California and he was the driving force behind its passage.  The argument published in the ballot pamphlet against Proposition 215 ended with the alarming declaration:  “It is marijuana legalization.”

Coffeeshop Blue Sky is owned by Richard Lee who, along with Jeff Jones of the now defunct Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club, is proponent and financial backer of the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.  In addition to a marijuana plantation, Richard Lee also owns Oaksterdam U, which takes in over a million a year providing “students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry.”

Peron, “one of the most recognized names in the California cannabis legalization movement”, announced 15 Sep 09 that upon returning from Burning Man, he learned he had been sacked from Oaksterdam U because he spoke out against their tax and regulate initiative.  He believes it “will set us back and keep the police nipping at our heels”.

Subsequently, on 22 Sep 09, Peron issued a public statement declaring his opposition to ‘Damn U’s Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis initiative and listing his reasons for this opposition.

As of this writing Mr Peron is still listed on the faculty page for the Oakland campus of ‘Damn U.  Under his name are headings “The History of Cannabis”, “Inspirational Speaker”, and the following:

Dennis Peron is a marijuana activist and businessman, who was the figurehead for the legality of cannabis throughout the 1990’s, influencing many in California and thus changing the political debate of marijuana in the United States. He opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in 1991 in San Francisco (the Cannabis Buyers Club) and co-authored California’s Proposition 215, the first medical marijuana state-wide legislation. His marijuana business was busted by authorities in 1978 and 1990, but shortly after the passage of Prop 215 Dennis won the Appeals Court Peron Decision. Based on that decision, cities like West Hollywood, San Francisco, Oakland, and Arcata have allowed caregiver- and patient-run dispensaries to operate within their jurisdictions. Many more cities followed. The legacy of Dennis Peron lives on through the more than 400 dispensaries in California and the 12 other medical marijuana states that have passed similar laws to his Prop 215.

Peron has voiced support for decriminalization of all marijuana use as he believes the herb is medicinal just as food is and thus should be available to those who want to benefit from it.

The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis 2010 Act (ROT 2010) by ‘Damn U is one of three marijuana legalization initiatives currently gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2010 California ballot.  Additionally, The Jack Herer Initiative was filed 29 Sep 09 and will begin gathering signatures as soon as the Attorney General has completed the official title and summary.

Registered voters in California are going to have a difficult time distinguishing between these first three initiatives based on the official title and summary that will appear at the top of each petition page.  The official title of the three initiatives currently gathering signatures are:  Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed, Changes California Law to Legalize, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana, and Changes California Law to Legalize, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana.

No, you’re not seeing double.  The title that will appear on each page of the signature petition for two of the initiatives is exactly the same.  Hopefully, the official title of the Jack Herer initiative will be something a little more identifiable.  Speaking of Jack Herer, he suffered a stroke 3 minutes after speaking at Hempstalk in Portland on 12 Sep 09.  He is now in a nursing home after spending a month in the hospital.

The California Attorney General’s official title and summary of the ‘Damn U initiative (ROT 2010) is as follows:

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.

The devil is in the details.  And this one is a legal minefield of devilish details.

Peron claims this is not legalization but “thinly veiled prohibition”.  The flyer (prepared by KC Kimber of California Cannabis Inc.) advertising the boycott lists the following points:

  • It limits personal possession to one ounce and cultivation to a five-by-five plot, or 25 square feet.  This is guaranteed to keep law enforcement employed raiding and prosecuting people for marijuana.
  • It explicitly criminalizes the commercial sale, production, and cultivation of marijuana in cities and in counties that do not tax and regulate marijuana “without limitation”.
  • It “sends the wrong message” by placing the age limit the same as alcohol, even though marijuana is much safer.
  • It makes public consumption illegal, creates new felonies where there were none before, and makes it illegal for parents to smoke in front of their own kids.
  • It will limit competition and create monopolies by preventing ordinary people from getting into the business.

It should be noted that Oakland has limited the number of medical marijuana dispensaries that may operate in that city to four, and that they each pay $30,000 per year for a business license.  Further, that these four dispensaries were the proponents of Measure F, which increased the tax medical marijuana patients pay in Oakland for medicine from $1.20 per $1,000 to $18 per $1,000; a total increase of about $350,000 paid in taxes on the cost of medicine by the sick and dying in Oakland per year.  Additionally, they intend to spend $1 million on the signature drive to get their tax and regulate initiative on the ballot.

This adds up to the sick and dying in Oakland paying $120,000 per year for business licenses, $350,000 in taxes, and $1 million for a signature drive to tax and regulate them and their medicine.  This is on top of the several hundred dollars each one has to pay every year for their recommendation and county identification card.

Courtesy KC Kimper

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