Campaign contributions key to UFCW cannabis strategy

Dan Rush, a former organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, was recently named in a federal warrant that alleges he engaged in bad-faith negotiations with cannabis dispensary owners while acting in his official capacity. (Affidavit.) Rush is also accused of holding a financial interest in a medical cannabis company that was seeking an Oakland dispensary permit in 2010.

Dan Rush Filing

A review of campaign finance records shows UFCW Locals 5 and 770, and a regional UFCW political action committee, made targeted contributions to state and local candidates in an apparent bid to open up new dispensary regulations and permits. The review raises questions about:

  • UFCW support for an L.A. dispensary ordinance (Proposition D), including a $125,000 “loan” that was not repaid.
  • UFCW support for Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), the chief author of Assembly Bill 266, and other lawmakers.
  • The AB 266 “neutrality agreement” to allow union organizers access to cannabis businesses.
  • The AB 266 exemption clause for the City of Los Angeles.
  • Union preference in selection of Oakland cannabis businesses.
  • UFCW support for local candidates and ballot initiatives in Southern California.

The arrest of Dan Rush on corruption charges has raised concerns about whether he, by himself or in concert with others, attempted to exert undue influence on state and local elected officials and candidates to help facilitate the issuance of dispensary permits. Among other allegations, Rush is accused of reneging on a $600,000 loan from Martin Kaufman, who operates the Blum Oakland dispensary with Derek Peterson. Kaufman and Peterson later formed MediFarm, which successfully applied for a Nevada medical cannabis permit, apparently with Rush’s assistance. Both Kaufman and Peterson cooperated with the FBI probe, according to the affidavit, and likely will not be prosecuted. (See Peterson comments on Rush indictment.)

Political contributions from cannabis supporters and businesses represent a small but growing fraction of the campaign money raised by state and local officials. UFCW Local 5 has condemned Rush’s alleged activities, and the federal warrant makes no allegations regarding campaign contributions. Even so, contributions provide a useful frame of reference to examine the union’s activities during Rush’s tenure as a UFCW organizer.

UFCW starts marijuana campaign committee

In 2012, the UFCW national organization contributed $50,000 to a campaign committee dubbed Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana, with major funding from United Food and Commercial Workers International. UFCW Locals 8 (Sacramento) and 770 (L.A.) kicked in $2,500 each. Most of the committee’s 2012 expenditures were paid out to polling and campaign consultants.

The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform kicked in $5,000 in January 2014. The UFCW committee spent nearly $5,000 for polling and surveys. The committee appeared to go dormant in 2015 and reported ending cash of $36. Rush was listed as a CCPR board member until shortly after the FBI affidavit became public this August. (He’s still listed as a “founding member and secretary” on this web page.)

Los Angeles: UFCW spends big on ballot initiative

The Proposition D campaign committee was named “Yes on D/No on F, Citizens Coalition to Protect Patients & Neighborhoods, Major Funding by UFCW Local 770 and Sponsored by Patients, Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance & Americans for Safe Access.” The Yes-on-D campaign reports are available online.

Highlights of the Yes-on-D effort include:

  • Cash contributions: $232,200
  • Loan contribution: $125,000 (UFCW Local 770)
  • Non-monetary contributions: $121,423
  • Total contributions: $478,729
  • Total expenditures: $611,126

In April 2013, the UFCW Western States Issues PAC donated $25,000 to the campaign committee supporting Proposition D. The PAC reported total contributions of $212,601 by the addition of non-monetary staff time. Ricardo Icaza, president of UFCW Local 770, signed the ballot argument in favor of Proposition D.

On May 1, 2013, the Hayward-based UFCW Local 5 PAC made a late $5,000 contribution to the Committee for a Safer L.A. Supporting Eric Garcetti for L.A. Mayor 2013, 20 days before the city election. Eric Garcetti is the son of former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who also signed the ballot argument in favor of Prop. D. Eric Garcetti won the election and is now the incumbent mayor of Los Angeles.

On May 17, 2013, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Council on Political Education sponsored a Yes-on-D campaign rally at Los Angeles City Hall, four days before the election. UFCW 770’s field organization director, Rigo Valdez, was present. The AFL-CIO Council reported more than $58,000 in non-monetary contributions to the Prop. D campaign, presumably for staging the “field program” at City Hall. In July 2013, the L.A. County labor council received a $10,000 contribution from the UFCW Western States Issues PAC.

UFCW 770 declared the Garcetti race and Proposition D as “top-priority” contests in 2013. The UFCW 770 website now lists 62 medical cannabis dispensaries as having UFCW worker contracts in place as of August 2015. (See sidebar.) This represents nearly half of the city’s 135 permitted dispensaries.

Oakland: Union preference for business applications

The allegations against Rush include attempts to disguise his ownership interest in a collective that was seeking an Oakland dispensary permit in 2010. The Oakland City Administrator used a union preference policy when ranking former applicants for dispensary permits, according the FBI affidavit.

Five years later, Oakland is now considering whether to permit more dispensaries, cannabis processors and delivery services by means of a grandfather clause for “pre-existing” businesses analogous to the “pre-ICO” clause used to thin the herd of L.A. dispensaries eligible for licensing. (The “ICO” refers to a 2007 “interim control ordinance” that banned the establishment of new dispensaries.) Although Oakland regulations do not state so explicitly, the same City Administrator who used union status as a ranking criteria for earlier dispensaries may have the authority to do so for new cannabis businesses. Pending permits also will be reviewed by the city’s Measure Z Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

On July 16, the commission discussed a draft ordinance to grandfather in “pre-existing” cannabis businesses, a policy that could prevent new businesses from opening after the existing businesses apply for licenses. Although no union preference policy is discussed, the draft ordinance allows “environmental criteria” to be used for ranking. There also appears to be some zoning limitations on which pre-existing businesses may qualify for permits.

In January, Oakland City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan received a $500 contribution from Martin Kaufman, the Blum Oakland dispensary operator who had loaned $600K to Rush several years before, according to the federal affidavit. Mayor Libby Schaaf’s campaign committee received several cannabis-themed contributions in 2014, including UFCW Local 5, $700; Wise Education Technology (Oaksterdam University), $700; and $700 each from the operators of Telegraph Health Center and Richmond Patients Group. Schaaf’s campaign also received $100 from Marc Terbeek, the Rush attorney who is likely facing prosecution himself.

UFCW, state candidates and Assembly Bill 266

UFCW uses a separate “candidates PAC” to support state and local candidates, primarily Democrats. The majority of these contributions are unrelated to cannabis, with some possible exceptions. In the 2013-2014 reporting cycle, the union’s candidate PAC made scores of contributions to campaign committees, including:

People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor $75,000
Brown for Governor $27,200
Padilla for Secretary of State 2014 $16,100
Betty Yee for Controller 2014 $13,600
Rob Bonta for Assembly 2014 $12,200
Newsom for California Lieutenant Governor 2014 $10,000
Committee for a Safer L.A. Supporting Eric Garcetti for L.A. Mayor 2013 $10,000
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Council on Political Education $3,000
Re-elect Ken Cooley for Assembly 2014 $2,500
Mike McGuire for State Senate 2014 $1,500

So far this year, Bonta has received $4,200 from the UFCW candidate PAC (report). Ken Cooley, his Assembly Bill 266 co-sponsor, has received $1,300. Sen. Mark McGuire, author of Senate Bill 643, and Assemblymember Jim Wood, author of AB 243, received $1,000 each.

Newsom for California Governor 2018 received $500 in June from the UFCW candidate PAC. On June 30, the campaign committee for Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, another AB 266 co-sponsor, received $4,200 from UFCW Local 770, which campaigned heavily for L.A.’s Proposition D in 2013.

Also this year, the UFCW Western States Issues PAC contributed a total of $9,300 to the Rob Bonta Advancing California Ballot Measure Committee. Bonta’s officeholder committee has received contributions from dispensary operators and makers of cannabis edibles, including $500 from Kenny Morrison of the Venice Cookie Co.; $500 from Ryan Hudson, president of the Apothecarium dispensary in San Francisco; and $250 from Kristi Knoblich of San Leandro-based Kiva Confections.

Union language in pending cannabis regulation bills

Three cannabis regulation bills are pending in the California Legislature, although they all have been stripped down to placeholder language pending a major rewrite from the office of Gov. Jerry Brown. Assembly Bill 266 (Bonta, D-Oakland) has received the most attention, in part because of apparent pro-union language that has been retained in the governor’s remix.

19300 (s). “Labor peace agreement” means an agreement between a licensee and a bona fide labor organization that, at a minimum, protects the state’s proprietary interests by prohibiting labor organizations and members from engaging in picketing, work stoppages, boycotts, and any other economic interference with the applicant’s business. This agreement means that the applicant has agreed not to disrupt efforts by the bona fide labor organization to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the applicant’s employees. The agreement shall provide a bona fide labor organization access at reasonable times to areas in which the applicant’s employees work, for the purpose of meeting with employees to discuss their right to representation, employment rights under state law, and terms and conditions of employment. This type of agreement shall not mandate a particular method of election or certification of the bona fide labor organization.

19320 (a)(11)(A) For an applicant with 20 or more employees, (it is required to) provide a statement that the applicant will enter into, or demonstrate that it has already entered into, and abide by the terms of a labor peace agreement.

19320 (a)(13) For an applicant seeking a cultivation license, (it is required to) provide a statement declaring the applicant is an “agricultural employer,” as defined in the Alatorre-Zenovich-Dunlap-Berman Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 (Part 3.5 (commencing with Section 1140) of Division 2 of the Labor Code), to the extent not prohibited by law.

The “labor peace agreement” described in AB 266 is similar to a “neutrality agreement,” which was mentioned by Rush in a recorded conversation discussed on page 14 of the FBI affidavit.

During a monitored conversation on April 24, 2014, Rush proposed that MediFarm sign a toothless neutrality agreement with the UFCW. A neutrality agreement obligates the signatory employer from actively resisting an organizing campaign of the signatory union of the employer’s employees. Rush produced a proposed neutrality agreement with Peterson and said “… that bullshit fucking neutrality agreement … I wrote it specifically so you could pull away from it.” Then Rush proceeded to advise Peterson how Peterson could secretly tell MediFarm’s employees to not vote for UFCW affiliation.

The governor’s remix retains the “labor peace agreement” language and requires applicants who employ 20 persons or more to adopt one as a condition for state licensure.

UFCW and the cannabis apprenticeship clause

Before they were gutted, AB 266 and SB 643 contained provisions for an apprenticeship program, which would require special training programs for cannabis employees on the path to “certification.” Starting in 2019, most employees would have to be certified or enrolled in an apprenticeship program.

19352. (a) By January 1, 2017, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement shall develop a certification program for cannabis employees. Commencing January 1, 2019, except as provided in subdivision (c), certification shall be required of all persons who perform work as cannabis employees. (emphasis added)
(b) Individuals desiring to be certified shall submit an application for certification and examination.
(c) (1) Certification is not required for registered apprentices working as cannabis employees as part of a state-approved apprenticeship program. An apprentice who is within one year of completion of his or her term of apprenticeship shall be permitted to take the certification examination and, upon passing the examination, shall be certified immediately upon completion of the term of apprenticeship.
(2) Commencing January 1, 2019, an uncertified person may perform work for which certification is otherwise required in order to acquire the necessary on-the-job experience for certification provided that the person shall be under the direct supervision of a cannabis employee certified pursuant to this section who is responsible for supervising no more than one uncertified person.
(3) The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement may develop additional criteria governing this subdivision.

Unions can apply to receive state training funds to offer apprenticeship programs for “non-traditional” occupations. In March, UFCW Locals 5 (Hayward) and 8 (Sacramento) submitted a successful training proposal seeking $125,000 in Employment Training Panel funding to train 45 apprentice meat-cutters. “Apprentice training has been offered in California by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) for 75 years in this industry sector,” stated the application from the UFCW Northern California Meat Apprenticeship Trust Fund. The apprentices will receive employer-paid health benefits during their training.

The governor’s remix deletes the cannabis apprenticeship clause.

Los Angeles exempted from AB 266

The UFCW candidate PAC and Locals 5 and 770 invested heavily in the Proposition D campaign in 2013. The City of Los Angeles — and its largely unionized “pre-ICO” dispensaries — were exempted from the latest working version of AB 266. No other city or county received a similar exemption.

19312. (a) This chapter shall in no way supersede the provisions of Measure D, approved by the voters of the City of Los Angeles on the May 21, 2013, ballot for the city, which provides potential limited immunity to medical cannabis businesses as defined by Measure D consistent with the terms of the measure and local ordinances. Notwithstanding the provisions of this part, cannabis businesses within the City of Los Angeles shall continue to be subject to Measure D and any and all other applicable ordinances and regulations of the City of Los Angeles.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to recognize the unique circumstances of the City of Los Angeles with respect to Measure D and associated rules related to commercial cannabis activity. In light of these unique circumstances, the provisions of Sections 19319 and 19338 shall apply in the City of Los Angeles.
(c) The State Board of Equalization shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the City of Los Angeles to establish protocols for the following:
(1) Tracking businesses granted immunity pursuant to Measure D, as approved by the voters of the City of Los Angeles at the May 21, 2013, general election.
(2) Tracking medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to and from the City of Los Angeles.
(3) Allowing for the legal transfer of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products from outside the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles to within the city by licensees conducting commercial cannabis activities outside of the city.

19318.5. (a) A licensing authority shall not issue a license to an applicant who proposes to operate within the City of Los Angeles, regardless of the activity for which the license is sought.
(b) A medical cannabis business, as defined by Measure D, within the City of Los Angeles shall comply with all standards and regulations applicable to the commercial cannabis activity or activities engaged in by that medical cannabis business with respect to all of the following:
(1) Standards for the production, labeling, and manufacture of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products, in accordance with Article 7 (commencing with Section 19332) and Article 10 (commencing with Section 19342).
(2) Standards regarding the application of pesticides, in accordance with Article 7 (commencing with Section 19332).
(3) Regulations to be promulgated by the State Board of Equalization, in accordance with Article 8 (commencing with Section 19334), governing dispensing facilities and transporters to the extent that those regulations relate to health and safety standards, environmental standards, worker protections, or security requirements.
(4) Security measures regarding transported medical cannabis, in accordance with Section 19337.
(5) Standards to be promulgated by the Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing regarding health and safety, in accordance with Article 10 (commencing with Section 19342).
(c) The City of Los Angeles shall have the full power, authority, and discretion to enforce all standards and regulations required by this section.

The impact of these provisions is unclear. On the one hand, Los Angeles is exempted from AB 266 as a whole. On the other hand, several provisions of AB 266 are applied to L.A., including those addressing “worker protections.” Last year’s Senate Bill 1262 did not exempt Los Angeles, but it would have granted provisional license status to the Prop. D dispensaries and dispensaries in other local jurisdictions.

The governor’s remix takes a broader view of the state’s existing dispensaries without specifically mentioning Los Angeles or Proposition D:

106.(a) For facilities issued a state license that are located within the incorporated area of a city, the city shall have full power and authority to enforce this chapter and the regulations promulgated by the bureau or any licensing authority. Notwithstanding Sections 101375, 101400, and 101405 of the Health and Safety Code or any contract entered into pursuant thereto, or any other law, the city shall further assume complete responsibility for any regulatory function relating to those licensees within the city limits that would otherwise be performed by the county or any county officer or employee, including a county health officer, without liability, cost, or expense to the county.

111(c). A facility or entity that is operating in compliance with local zoning ordinances and other state and local requirements on or before January 1, 2018, may continue its operations until its application for licensure is approved or denied pursuant to this part. The bureau shall prioritize when issuing licensees, any facility or entity that can demonstrate to the bureau’s satisfaction that it was in operation and in good standing with the local jurisdiction by January 1, 2016.

Contributions to local races in Southern California

In 2013, the UFCW Western States Council Candidate PAC contributed $1,500 to Desert Hot Springs City Council candidate Joe McKee. Mayor Adam Sanchez received $1,000. Sanchez, McKee and other city officials signed the argument in support of Measure HH, the 2014 ballot measure establishing a new tax on marijuana cultivation facilities.

The UFCW candidate PAC also contributed to council races in cities where dispensaries are (or were) banned:

  • Three Riverside City Council members — Andy Melendrez, Jim Perry and Mike Soubirous — received $1,000 each in 2013, but this year Perry and Soubirous both opposed a June ballot measure to rescind the city’s dispensary ban.
  • Also in 2013, Ginny Foat received $1,000 from UFCW for her Palm Springs City Council campaign, the same year local voters approved a plan to open and tax dispensaries.
  • Robert Garcia got $750 in his winning bid to become mayor of Long Beach. The campaign of City Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez got $350. The Long Beach City Council created a Medical Cannabis Task Force this year.

This article originally appeared on Indybay.

Fresno workshop set on Prop. 215 water rules

Marijuana cultivation map

An Aug. 20 workshop is scheduled in Fresno to discuss new water regulations affecting medical cannabis growers.

The workshop is at the Fresno office of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. (Event link, map.) The new rules will require large-scale growers to obtain a permit, or “discharge waiver,” showing compliance with state and local regulations. The rules are designed to address environmental impacts for reported problems that include water diversions and sediment discharges in sensitive watersheds.

Marijuana cultivation map
This map shows a fraction of the estimated 20,000 growing sites in the Emerald Triangle. New water rules will take aim at similar cannabis farming operations in the Central Valley

You can read the draft regulations at the bottom of this web page.

Fresno supervisors back cannabis cultivation ban

Fresno County supervisors voted Tuesday to support a total cannabis cultivation ban, affecting all indoor and outdoors gardens. The latest move would build upon the county’s previous ban on cannabis dispensaries, while deleting the current permitting provisions for cultivation facilities.

Supervisors will return Jan. 7 for a second vote and final approval of the canna-ban. On Tuesday, they rejected an alternative plan that would have allowed for limited indoor cultivation. Violation of the new ordinance can be punished as a criminal misdemeanor, but the more likely scenario involves issuing growers citations with fines starting at $1,000 per plant. Added fines of $100 per plant per day are added for those who don’t rip their plants immediately, and the plan is to follow Kern County’s lead by using armed sheriff’s deputies for site visits instead of civilian code enforcement officers.

Fresno Bee coverage: Fresno County supervisors move to ban marijuana farms
abc30 coverage:

The latest move by the Board of Supervisors follows the introduction in September of an ordinance that was loosely modeled after Kern County’s cannabis law. They chuckled at the prospect of being able to fine growers $1,000 per day per plant, but when it came time for final approval in October they balked at Kern’s 12-plant limit per parcel and its (very limited) provisions for dispensaries. Concerned about sending out “wrong messaging” on cannabis cultivation, they directed county counsel to come back with a zero-tolerance option, which is labeled as “Attachment B” in the document below.

Fresno County Total Cannabis Ban

Heavy cannabis fines set in Fresno County

Following the lead of Kern County, Fresno County supervisors are set to approve heavy fines to force cannabis growers to follow local law. The ordinance set to be approved Tuesday allows cultivation of 12 cannabis plants per parcel, a big change from the current outdoor growing ban, and repeals the county’s former licensing requirements. The proposed Fresno County cannabis ordinance continues the existing bans on dispensaries and personal consumption outside one’s residence.

Oct. 8 update: The draft ordinance was pulled from the consent agenda and tabled after additional public comment and board discussion. County counsel was instructed to draft a new ordinance after receiving additional input from board members. No instruction was given to solicit input from cannabis growers, property owners or other stakeholders.

The ordinance passed its first reading on a 5-0 vote, with final passage scheduled for Oct. 8. While supervisors clearly endorsed adopting a law with more “teeth,” they expressed special interest in following Kern County’s fine structure: $1,000 per excess plant per day. According to comments made at the board meeting, Kern County deputies are using the threat of fines to encourage summary abatement of excess plants on the spot. Discussion of doing the same to cannabis growers in Fresno County drew chuckles from some board members, as heard in this audio of the first reading of the ordinance Sept. 24.

Bay Area Hempfest blazes into Craneway Pavilion

Bay Area Hempfest kicks off Aug. 9 with the high-ly anticipated Kush Ball for all VIP attendees, sponsors and vendors. This is a meet-and-greet with weed for all VIPs to meet the bands and stars. Bong Maidens, Miss Hemptress event, medicine, catered food, lots of giveaways, goodie bags, and more. Be among the first 215 VIP tickets sold to qualify for a drawing to be one of 25 judges for the canna-cup. Must have a medical marijuana card to judge.

Bay Area Hempfest is Aug. 10-11 and is open to all attendees 18 and up, with no medical cannabis ID card required for general admission. Scheduled performers include Bishop Don Juan, SHOCK G of Digital Underground featuring Humpty Hump, DJ Fuze & Peewee, Master Bong, B.E. Smith from Weed Country, Alex Marley, Arden Park Roots, Mystic Roots, Winstong and King Schascha. Prop. 215 medication area provided for those with California-compliant cannabis cards.

The 3-day VIP ticket is $100 and includes the Friday night Kush Ball and Hempfest admission on Saturday and Sunday. General two-day pass is $50; one-day pass is $30. Buy tickets.

The first 420 VIP tickets sold will qualify for the blunt-rolling contest and 420 smokeout on Saturday with B.E. Smith from Weed Country and Master Bong as judges. Must have a medical marijuana card for contest.

Title: Bay Area Hempfest
Location: Craneway Pavilion — Richmond
Link out: Click here

Start Date: 2013-08-09
End Date: 2013-08-11

ASA sets cannabis Lobby Day in state Capitol

Title: California Summer Lobby Day
Location: State Capitol – Sacramento
Link out: Click here
Description: Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and our coalition partners at Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana (CRMM) for a very important citizen lobby day at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, August 12, 2013.

We will be visiting lawmakers and their staff to talk about adopting legislation this year to better and more equitably regulate medical cannabis in the state. We will also be planting the seeds for bills next year that will protect and expand rights for patients, industry workers, cultivators, and other medical cannabis stakeholders.

We will meet on Monday morning, August 12, for a short briefing and training at the Citizen Hotel, and then head to the Capitol Building en masse on Monday afternoon. ASA will make an appointment for you with your Assemblymember when you register.
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2013-08-12
End Time: 18:00

View Larger Map

Cannabis news wrap: Oroville, Santa Rosa, Eureka, San Marcos

For those who think Craigslist is the perfect place to peddle meds, think again. Even smaller local law enforcement agencies are turning into data miners.

Case in point: Oroville police spotted a Craigslist post offering to trade a ski boat for cash and/or “215,” shorthand for the medical cannabis that’s authorized for patients under Proposition 215. Oroville police initiated contact with a Eureka man then busted him for drug sales when he showed up at a local park with three pounds of cannabis, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports. The newspaper didn’t say whether police contacted the person who posted the boat ad or whether they used the seller’s email account to woo unwary buyers.

Cannabis stolen in Santa Rosa home invasion; 2 arrested

Two Santa Rosa men were arrested Monday in connection with a home-invasion robbery where marijuana was taken. The victim was beaten and held at gunpoint during the Feb. 5 pot robbery, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports, but didn’t suffer serious injury. The news report didn’t name the victim, perhaps because he’s now under investigation by police for possible involvement in drug sales.

The two suspects were arrested Monday, the Press Democrat reports, and police found more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana at one of the suspect’s homes. One of the men, who had a prior record for robbery, also faces charges of unlawful possession of a handgun by an ex-felon and suspected possession of marijuana for sale.

Eureka police find butane ‘hash lab’ at grow site

Two women were arrested Friday after Eureka police served a search warrant and found evidence of butane hash production along with hundreds of marijuana plants. Police also found about 21 pounds of dried marijuana, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.

One woman was arrested on suspicion of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale and manufacturing a controlled substance. A second woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of over an ounce of marijuana. The officers called PG&E, which shut off power to the home because of a possible fire hazard.

San Marcos bans cannabis dispensaries – again?

San Marcos officials apparently weren’t willing to sit back as the California Supreme Court considers whether bans on medical cannabis dispensaries are legal under state law. So they were set to adopt a moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries in San Marcos, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, even though dispensaries have been banned in San Marcos since 2006.

“If the ruling issued by the Supreme Court does not uphold local agency control of these dispensaries, the City’s current prohibition would be effectively preempted with no regulations in place,” City Attorney Helen Holmes Peak wrote in a staff report on the moratorium ordinance.

You read that right: Dispensaries are already banned in San Marcos, but the City Council used the guise of a so-called urgency ordinance to ban them once again, just to make sure. The catch-all provision of Government Code Sec. 65858 is only supposed to be used to block new development projects, such as affordable housing, until appropriate zoning regulations can be developed. In real life, cities and counties often use GC 65858 for any “emergency” that comes their way, regardless of whether building or use permits are pending.