On December 6th, 2012, it was made public that the Board of Supervisors would be adding an item to their December 11th meeting agenda that would dramatically change the legal landscape of local medical cannabis patients' rights.
The Medicinal Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee recommends that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (1) repeal their 2006 resolution allowing for local qualified patients to cultivate up to 30 plants, which would effectively reduce the allowable number to the state mandatory minimum of 6 plants, (2) to establish an ordinance prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana in unoccupied residential buildings and (3) direct staff to establish a Marijuana Task Force modeled on the Sonoma County Methamphetamine Task Force.
These recommendations have not been vetted by community members or industry stakeholders and five days is not enough time for the Board of Directors to elicit input from their constituents on this controversial public program. There is no scientific basis for these changes and the recommendations disregard the fact that current regulations were based on substantial research data provided by local law enforcement and government staff and have been shown to be successful in our community for over six years. In contrast, the Medicinal Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by supervisors Shirley Zane and Valerie Brown (known cannabis opponents), made this recommendation based on limited staff reports, engaging NO community members and without following ANY public process.
If these recommendations are adopted, there would be severe consequences for Sonoma County patients and the community at large, creating more criminals, costing more money in the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of qualified medical cannabis patients, and placing the burden on seriously ill persons to prove their own innocence in a court of law. This type of action would also set precedence for similar actions in other California jurisdictions, including Mendocino, Trinity, Napa, Humboldt and beyond.
Citizens of Sonoma County pride themselves on being part of a progressive, thoughtful and compassionate community. In a legal landscape where other jurisdictions are passing resolutions placing cannabis at lowest priority for law enforcement and two states have passed legalization by voter initiatives, this is clearly a step in the wrong direction.
Please show your support by signing this petition and attending the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor meeting this Tuesday December 11th at 2:30 PM located at 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. You can also call the Supervisors at (707)565-2241 or reach out to them at their individual emails which are posted on the following page: http://supervisors.sonoma-county.org/
It is imperative that we take action now to protect patients' rights, safe access and responsible public process in Sonoma County!