City Hall
2180 Milvia Street
Redwood Room (Sixth Floor)
Thursday, May 3, 2012
2:00 PM
Call to Order
A. Roll Call
B. Changes to Order of Agenda
Public Comment
Approval of April 5, 2012 Draft Action Minutes (attachment)
Planning Staff Report
Chairperson’s Report
Subcommittee Reports
Discussion and Action Items
A. Develop and forward to staff specific criteria for dispensaries to be included in an
expedited approval process. Four attachments:
1. Memo from City Attorney re: outline of ordinance.
2. Letter from Commissioner Tims re: LiveScan requirement.
3. Memo from MCC Dispensary Subcommittee re: additional recommendations for
dispensary criteria.
4. Memo from Commissioner Pappas re: possible preface to accompany dispensary
B. Draft and send a report urging the Council to begin the process to amend the Medical
Cannabis Ordinance in order to expand zoning for commercial cultivation outside of the
M Zoning District due to a lack of viable sites within the current zoning limitations. One
attachment to be distributed at meeting.
C. Draft and send a report urging the Council to amend zoning law to prevent schools, day
care centers, pre-schools, play grounds and parks from opening within 1,000 feet (as
stipulated by DOJ) of existing and future licensed dispensaries and commercial
cultivation sites. One attachment to be distributed at meeting.
Information Items (In compliance with the Brown Act, no action may be taken on these
items. However, they may be discussed and placed on a subsequent agenda for action.)
A. Staff memo re: City of Berkeley contract policies.
A. Laura Menard: E-mail re. code enforcement action at dispensary
Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission website:
Medical Cannabis Commission Secretary: Elizabeth Greene, 2118 Milvia Street 2nd Floor, Berkeley CA 94704. Phone:
510-981-7484 [email protected]
Communications to Berkeley boards, commissions or committees are public record and will become part of the City’s
electronic records, which are accessible through the City’s website. Please note: e-mail addresses, names,
addresses, and other contact information are not required, but if included in any communication to a City
commission, will become part of the public record. If you do not want your e-mail address or any other contact
information to be made public, do not include that information in your communication – you may deliver communications
via U.S. Postal Service or in person to the Commission Secretary. Please contact the Commission Secretary for further
Any writings or documents provided to a majority of the Commission regarding any item on this agenda will be made
available for public inspection at the Planning and Development Department located at 2120 Milvia Street, Berkeley CA.
Please contact the Commission Secretary for further information.
This meeting is being held in a wheelchair accessible location. To request a disability-related accommodation(s) to
participate in the meeting, including auxiliary aids or services, please contact the Disability Services specialist at 981-6342
(V) or 981-6345 (TDD) at least three business days before the meeting date. Please refrain from wearing scented
products to this meeting.
MCC 05-03-2012
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City Hall
2180 Milvia Street
Redwood Room (Sixth Floor)
Thursday, April 5, 2012
2:00 PM
Call to Order – 2:10
Roll Call
Commissioners present: Ferguson-Riffe, Jones, Pappas, Pfrommer (arrived
at 2:42), Rice, Rush, Stoloff (arrived 2:14), Tims.
Absent: None
Staff present: Greene
Changes to Order of Agenda
Public Comment
Seven speakers, with comments about BPG’s move and what the MCC is
doing about it, the desire of other dispensaries to have MCC support, the
desire to change the ordinance to allow for more than four dispensaries, and
the timeline for selecting a new dispensary.
(Stoloff arrived during the public comment period.)
Approval of February 2, 2012 Draft Action Minutes
Motion/second to approve the minutes as written (Rice/Jones). Motion
carried 7-0-0-1. (Ayes: Ferguson-Riffe, Jones, Pappas, Rice, Rush, Stoloff,
Tims. Noes: None. Abstain: None. Absent: Pfrommer.)
Planning Staff Report
Secretary Greene had the following announcements:
The new Commissioner for District 3 is Damond Tims.
Reviewed the leave of absence process. To be formally excused, the
City Clerk will issue a leave of absence letter. Once that letter is
issued, the Commissioner cannot serve on the Board for that meeting
unless the Clerk formally rescinds that letter.
Staff followed up with UCPD and BART PD regarding the November
request for information. No response has come from either agency.
In response to a question from last month’s MCC meeting: the City
Manager or his/her designee will oversee the RFP process for
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selecting a dispensary.
Items for the 4/25 subcommittee packets are due by 4/17.
Explained that staff believes that the current ordinance can allow BPG
to move within Berkeley.
Explained that letters from the Commission to outside agencies must
be sent through Council – this will be discussed more in Item VII.B.
Explained the reasoning behind staff interest in developing the
dispensary regulations and selection process quickly so that a 4th
dispensary can be selected as soon as possible. (Item VII.A.)
Chairperson’s Report
The Chair welcomed Commissioner Tims. The City has renewed motivation
to get dispensary regulations and selection process finished.
recommended that the Commission accelerate the process. Issues that need
to be included include restricting school facilities from locating within 600 feet
of an established dispensary. In the long run, need to talk about expanding
zones where businesses can locate. The subcommittees have been putting
many hours into developing recommendations for the MCC. Gave a quick
overview of the raid at Oaksterdam University.
Subcommittee Reports
Dispensary: Commissioner Pappas reported that the recommendations for
the full MCC should be finished at the next meeting (4/25/12). There is lots of
urging for additional dispensary spots. He will have a preface for the
ordinance asking for additional dispensaries to be considered ready for the
next MCC meeting.
(Pfrommer arrived at this point)
Discussion followed about why four was originally chosen as the limit for
dispensaries. Some commissioners felt that the number was arrived at
arbitrarily, but that Measure T allows the City Council to change the number.
It was felt that if the MCC knew the reasoning, that information could help with
an argument to increase the number. It was also mentioned that if the MCC
wants more dispensaries, it should have reasons to back up the request – just
because there is a demand from would-be dispensaries doesn’t mean there’s
a demand from patients.
Commissioner Jones acknowledged that the cultivation
subcommittee is far along on its recommendations – they should have some
ready for MCC consideration in two months. They are more concerned with
developing good recommendations that quick ones. Commissioner Pappas
added that zoning is a real obstacle and will need to be addressed.
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Discussion and Action Items
Item VII.A: Develop specific criteria for dispensaries to be included in
an expedited approval process.
Public Comment: One speaker.
Commission Discussion: Commissioner Jones doesn’t know why we want
to have an expedited process, and mentioned other City policy projects
that were supposed to be quick but ended up taking years. Wants to see
serious dialogue with the City Council. Chair Rush explained that the
MCC was asked to develop an interim process while the State Supreme
Court considers medical cannabis regulations. Secretary Greene
explained the Commission’s advisory role to the Council. Commissioner
Stoloff added that the MCC is not just an advocate for medical cannabis,
and that the MCC should work to have a product with solid evidence
behind it that they can defend.
Commissioner Rice referred to Attachment VII.A.1 and asked why
operational standards are being included along with the selection process.
Chair Rush mentioned that this is an interim process, until a final process
is adopted. He would like to include a pre-emption on schools locating
within 600 feet of established dispensaries.
Commissioner Pappas mentioned that the dispensary subcommittee isn’t
ready to forward recommendations to the full MCC – it needs another
three weeks. Some discussion followed on whether recommendations for
the selection process should be included with new regulations for
dispensaries. Perhaps regulations should be recommended, and
suggested ordinance changes, such as dispensary hours, smoking at
dispensaries, additional dispensaries, should be included for
Chair Rush sensed that the Commissioners aren’t ready to move forward.
Motion/second to include Attachment VII.A.1 as part of April 25th
dispensary subcommittee packet (Jones/Ferguson-Riffe). Friendly
amendment to include Attachment VII.A.2 was accepted. Amended
motion carried 7-0-0-1. (Ayes: Ferguson-Riffe, Jones, Pappas, Rice,
Rush, Stoloff, Tims. Noes: None. Abstains: None. Absent: Pfrommer
(stepped away from the meeting for a few minutes.))
Commissioner Jones requested that the City Attorney give his work on the
ordinance to the dispensary subcommittee to review at the April 25th
meeting so that it can be considered when developing recommendations
to forward to the full MCC for the May 3rd meeting.
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Item VII.B: Review protocol for correspondence with outside agencies
and vote on the next steps for letter to Superintendent Huyett (either ask
Council to authorize the MCC to send the letter or do not send).
Public Comment: None.
Secretary Greene explained the protocol for communicating with outside
agencies and referred the Commissioners to Attachment VII.B in the
Commission Discussion: Some discussion on whether to revise the letter
to address the new Superintendent, and the need of the Commission to
educate the community on medical cannabis issues.
Motion/second to eliminate the 2nd sentence of the 3rd paragraph
(Rice/Jones). Motion carried 8-0-0-0. (Ayes: Ferguson-Riffe, Jones,
Pappas, Pfrommer, Rice, Rush, Stoloff, Tims. Noes: None. Abstains:
None. Absent: None.)
Motion/second to send the letter as amended to Council and ask Council
to authorize the MCC to send this letter to Superintendent Huyett and the
BUSD Boardmembers, and to include the Superintendent’s letter for
context (Stoloff/Jones). Motion carried 8-0-0-0. (Ayes: Ferguson-Riffe,
Jones, Pappas, Pfrommer, Rice, Rush, Stoloff, Tims. Noes: None.
Abstains: None. Absent: None.)
VIII. Information Items and Correspondence
Secretary Greene mentioned that she spoke with Ms. TallBear and put her
in touch with the community liaison for BPG to help resolve her concerns.
Meeting adjourned at 4:02 PM.
Commissioners in attendance: 8
Members of the public in attendance: Between 20 – 25
Public speakers: Eight
Length of meeting: 1 hour, 52 minutes
APPROVED: _________________________________________
Elizabeth Greene
Medical Cannabis Commission Secretary
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Outline of Key Provisions of Ordinance Establishing
Operating Standards for Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
The Chapter would apply only to Medical Cannabis Dispensaries as defined in Section
Regulations for cultivation facilities would come later.
Note that this separation of dispensaries from cultivation facilities is contingent on
whether the Supreme Court either depublishes or grants review of the decision in
City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen.
Definitions of key terms, such as:
“Batch” (of medical cannabis)
“Cultivate” and “Cultivation”
“Very Low Income” means a household whose combined annual gross income
from all sources shall be no greater than 50% of area median income for the
Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Medical Cannabis (would be as defined in Section 12.26.030.A)
Medical Cannabis Product (edible and non-edible product)
Member (of a dispensary)
Compliance with state and local law
General requirement that dispensaries comply with all state and local laws, including
payment of taxes
Registration requirements
Requirement that dispensaries register with the City, including various informational
Information re: compliance with law
Contact information for all responsible persons and proof of status as qualified
patient or primary caregiver and consent to background check
Nature of the Dispensary’s organizational status
12.27.50 Operating Standards
Only members may participate or be served, verification requirements
Scale of cultivation (proportional to membership)
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Non-diversion (limit access, inventory controls)
Dispensing (only to members, in appropriate amounts)
No minors, except with parents or guardians
Security (lighting, security guards, facility, cameras, alarms, cash handling)
Neighborhood compatibility (security guards, graffiti, contact person, manager,
signage, other nuisance conditions, litter control, loitering)
Prohibitions on smoking, tobacco, alcohol
Insurance requirements
Regulations of exterior signs if any
Requirement to post certain notices
Product safety and quality
Packaging and labeling (medical cannabis and medical cannabis products)
Measurement (i.e., weighing)
Health standards for edible products
Food handling practices
Quality Control (testing for contaminants and dosage)
Record keeping
Medical cannabis for low income Members
Requirement to provide medical cannabis at no cost to very low-income members
Financial requirements
Finances (not for profit)
Financial record keeping and submission of audited financial records
Inventory control and record keeping
Fourth dispensary
Process and criteria for selecting fourth dispensary
Confidentiality of information
All information to be kept confidential by City to extent legally permitted
Information held by dispensaries to be kept confidential and anonymous to extent
Authority of City Manager
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City Manager may implement chapter and adopt regulations
Abatement of violations
Violations are public nuisance
City Council may establish the fees for administration and implementation of chapter
Severability clause
Subject: FW: A Closer Look at Livescan Requirement
Page 1 of 1
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From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:30 PM
To: Greene, Elizabeth
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: A Closer Look at Livescan Requirement
Dear Dispensary Sub-Committee,
I have a concern with the MBAP in regards to the requirement of a livescan.
In the definitions category H:
"'Management Member' means a Medical Cannabis Dispensary member responsible for the establishment,
organization, registration, supervision or oversight of the operations of said Dispensary, including (but not limited
to) members performing the function of president, vice president, director, operating officer, financial officer,
secretary, treasurer or manager."
At this time, I believe the livescan requirement should be discussed at greater detail at our next meeting on April
25th to examine the propensity of this requirement to directly contradict our Community Benefits of providing
reentry services to the unemployed.
Below is a link explaining in greater detail the process for livescan.
Due to the current national political ecology of the Medical Cannabis Industry, we could be putting others at risk
by requiring such personal information to be sent to the Department of Justice.
Thank you for your time,
Damond Tims
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[ home |about | services | contact | forms | reviews ]
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Medical Cannabis Commission
MCC Dispensary Subcommittee
Elizabeth Greene, MCC Secretary
SUBJECT: Recommendations for criteria to include in the dispensary approval
April 25, 2012
The Dispensary Subcommittee members met on April 25, 2012 and discussed
recommendations for permitting regulations to forward to the full MCC for consideration.
Below is the process for applicant selection that was developed by consensus in that
The Subcommittee recommends:
that the Merit-Based Approval Process (MBAP), be used as the default selection
process, with the exception of using a three-tier application instead of the twotier system (outlined below); and
that the Medical Cannabis Commission review the MBAP and the recommended
changes and forward them to staff for inclusion in an approval process.
The Dispensary Subcommittee decided that the MBAP should be used as the selection
process, with one exception: that the applicant selection process should have three
tiers or rounds, rather than the two listed in the MBAP. The extra tier (the first tier)
would allow the applicants to go through an initial review without consideration of their
location. This would allow businesses that do not have a location finalized at the
beginning of the process to still be considered. A location would have to be secured by
the time of the second tier of the process.
The three recommended tiers would consist of the following:
Tier 1: Qualification Round. (This is a pass/fail round – applicants would need to
provide the following information to move on to Tier 2.)
Applicant identification, with private information redacted (such as
address, phone number, LiveScan results, Social Security numbers, date
of birth, etc.).
LiveScan for all corporation officers
The business must be a qualified entity (i.e. have a not-for-profit corporate
filing per the CA Secretary of State regulations, such as C-4, C-5 or C-7)
List hours of operation
Identify a Community Affairs Officer
MCC 05-03-2012
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Passing grade on a medical cannabis competency test. This test must be
taken by the business’ Qualified Manager, and will demonstrate a working
knowledge of state and local compliance standards.
Tier 2: Evaluation Round. (This portion would evaluate the applicants based on the
categories below. The top 10 applicants from this tier would move on to
Tier 3.)
Location of business
Business Plan
Security Plan
Capitalization (up to three months of liability)
Tier 3: Bonus Round. (Points would be awarded based on the bonus categories listed
below. The top five businesses would move to the Final Selection
Consolidation (if a group of individuals or businesses decide to pool their
resources and make one application, this should be
All of the bonus categories listed in the MBAP.
Final Selection process.
The top five candidates would each have a public hearing before the City
Manager (or designee). The City Manager would rank the candidates based
on the application and the hearing and send a recommendation to the City
Council. The City Council would make the final decision on the remaining
MCC 05-03-2012
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Possible Preface/Suggested Report
from BMCC when Offering Dispensary Permitting Recommendations
Since last December the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission and
its Dispensary Subcommittee have worked diligently to formulate
recommendations to the mayor and city council regarding medical cannabis
dispensary permitting for the city of Berkeley. During the course of this
process the majority of the commissioners believe that a reasonable
necessity has been demonstrated for the creation of more than one additional
medical cannabis dispensary in the city.
The commission has come to this conclusion primarily based on the
needs of local patients and the demands placed on the existing facilities. The
proliferation of large collectives and delivery services, currently unlicensed
and unregulated businesses, exemplifies this situation. Patients’ access is
more secure, their individual requirements better served when more varied
and different facilities / collectives / dispensing options are in place.
Currently, medical cannabis patients certainly are feeling increased anxiety
after 7 months of Federal activity throughout California and locally.
Additionally, at both commission and sub committee hearings, there has
been a great deal of interest and participation by several groups hoping to
open a dispensary in Berkeley. Members from at least 3 larger collectives in
the city as well have offered input and expressed opinions and perspectives.
Due to the above circumstances, the commission urges the mayor and
city council to consider adding up to five more medical cannabis
dispensaries, one for each district in the city. Furthermore, possible changes
to the Berkeley Municipal Code with respect to medical cannabis collectives
should be discussed (redefinition, expansion).
MCC 05-03-2012
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Cultivation Subcommittee of the Medical Cannabis Commission
Elizabeth Greene, MCC Secretary
SUBJECT: Information Regarding City Policies and Programs for Contractors
April 18, 2012
Staff was asked by the Chair of the subcommittee to provide information about the
types of issues that the City considers when entering into contracts with outside
businesses, and specifically, issues which might be relevant to a future medical
cannabis business selection process. In particular, four policies were identified: the
Living Wage Policy, the Equal Benefits Policy, and the Local Business Preference
The City has many restrictions and preferences for businesses with which it does
business. These rules do not necessarily apply to all contracts; some are triggered for
goods provided, others for services, and still others for contracts over a certain amount.
The requirements can range from restrictions on nuclear work, the prohibition on the
use of certain food packaging, and requirements for the use of recycled products. The
four policies/programs listed below were identified because they relate to worker
benefits or local businesses.
This memo is not intended to suggest that these, or any policies currently in place for
contractors with the City of Berkeley, should apply to a selection process. They are
presented at the request of the Chair for consideration purposes.
Living Wage Policy (Ordinance 6,548 N.S., adopted in 2000).
This policy requires specific contractors to pay a “living wage” and benefits to
qualifying employees. See Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.27 for more
specific information on wage requirements.
Equal Benefits Policy (Ordinance 6,623 – N.S., adopted in 2001)
This policy requires that contractors with the City cannot discriminate in the
provision of employee benefits between employees with spouses and employees
with domestic partners, and/or between domestic partners and spouses of such
MCC 05-03-2012
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Non-Discrimination Policy (Ordinance 5,876-N.S., adopted in 1988)
This policy prohibits City contractors from discriminating against any employee or
applicant for employment on any grounds specified in any State, Federal or
municipal law, and requires that that any existing discrimination by remedied
through appropriate methods.
Local Business Preference Program
This program allows businesses competing for small contracts to gain additional
points toward the selection process if they are classified as a “certified local
For more information about these and other policies and programs, please visit the
City’s Finance Department page, and click on Vendor Forms and Requirements:
g:\landuse\boards and commissions\mcc\reports & memos\2012\2012-05-03\viii.a_staff
memo_information regarding city contract policies.docx
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From: Laura Menard [[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:31 PM
Greene, Elizabeth; Arreguin, Jesse L.
Fwd: Code enforcement action re:Perfect Plants Patients Group 2840B
Sacramento Street
Please distribute the the MM commission members.
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: Laura Menard <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM
Subject: Code enforcement action re:Perfect Plants Patients Group 2840B
Sacramento Street
To: [email protected], "Caplan, Michael"
<[email protected]>, [email protected], "Cowan, Zach"
<[email protected]>, "Upson, Erik M."
<[email protected]>, [email protected], "Polizziani,
Stephanie" <[email protected]>, "Moore, Darryl"
<[email protected]>, "Meehan, Michael"
<[email protected]>, [email protected]
Dear City Staff,
Perfect Plant Patients Group, 3PG, is operating daily at 2840B Sacramento St
despite being noticed with a Cease and Desist letter in Dec 2011.
Residents continue to be extremely concerned about this illegal business
operation especially in light of an recent robbery of the owner Eric at his
sister location in Vallejo. (see story below).
I would like to understand what specific actions the city has taken since
sending the operator the notice of violations which included the threat of
daily fines.
Has the city imposed the daily penalty fines?
MCC 05-03-2012
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I have learned that the city attorney is considering a public nuisance
abatement action, if this is true, why?
Isn't the more direct and simplest method to force compliance available
through a code enforcement action imposing the maximum daily fines as per
municipal code?
Laura Menard
Code enforcement action re:Perfect Plants Patients Group Sacramento Street
The Perfect Plants Patients Group, or 3pgs, at 2840B Sacramento Street is
still in business.
“It has come to the City of Berkeley’s attention that you are operating a
medical marijuana establishment that is dispensing medical marijuana in a nonresidential zoning district,” Gregory Daniel, the code enforcement supervisor,
wrote to the two collectives on Dec. 8.
“The establishment is in violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code … and must
therefore cease and desist.”
Daniel also told 3pgs that it is operating less than 600 feet from Longfellow
Middle School, which is the minimum distance any cannabis entity can be from a
If the landlords or 40 Acres had not stopped operations at 1820 San Pablo
Avenue, they, like 3pgs, faced $500 a day in fines, wrote Daniel.
A Vallejo marijuana dispensary was robbed Friday night, police said
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Sunday.At about 8 p.m., police responded to an armed robbery at
Perfect Plants Patients Group "3PG's," 1988 Broadway.Two armed men
entered the dispensary and demanded money from the store owner, police
said. The owner gave them an undisclosed amount of money, before being
pistol whipped by one suspect, police added.Before fleeing, the
suspects also took an undisclosed amount of marijuana that
the owner just brought in from his Berkeley dispensary, police
added.The owner sustained facial injuries, but declined medical
attention, police said.The suspects were described as black men,
between 18 and 20, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, about 225 pounds. They were
seen driving off in a black S500 Mercedes Benz.
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From: Mark Sydow [[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:18 AM
To: Greene, Elizabeth
Subject: "Profit" Is Allowed for Medical Cannabis Providers
Page 1 of 2
MCC 05-03-2012
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Hello Elizabeth,
Will you include a copy of this letter by Oakland attorney Robert Raich in the next BMCC agenda packet and the
cultivation committee meeting information on May 2, 2012.
Thank you,
Mark Sydow
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 14:25:35 -0800
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: DPFCA: "Profit" Is Allowed for Medical Cannabis Providers
--------------------------------------------------------------------------There is a widely held misperception that businesses in the
California medical cannabis industry are prohibited from making a
profit. In reality, no California law prohibits cannabis-related
businesses from making a profit.
Opponents of medical cannabis, however, have done a masterful job of
spreading disinformation since SB 420 was signed into law in
2003. That disinformation has become so prevalent that it is
affecting safe access to medical cannabis by patients around the
state, and has prompted retired state Senator John Vasconcellos to
release a letter debunking the widely held misinterpretation that
profit is not permitted for medical cannabis providers under
California law. A link to a copy of his letter is attached.
Sen. Vasconcellos co-chaired Attorney General Bill Lockyer's Medical
Marijuana Task Force that drafted what eventually became SB 420,
which was passed by the Legislature in 2003. (By the way, I was a
member of that Task Force, where I was Chairman of the Caregiver
Issues Subcommittee and also served on the Drafting Subcommittee.)
As stated in his letter, Sen. Vasconcellos, is "deeply concerned that
in the nine years since we passed SB 420, certain people have
evidently been advocating a marked misinterpretation of . . . SB 420
- with regard to whether 'making a profit' is somehow not permitted
for medical cannabis providers under state law."
The confusion stems from a passage in SB 420, codified at Section
11362.765(a) of the Health and Safety Code, stating as follows: ". .
. nor shall anything in this section authorize any individual or
group to cultivate or distribute marijuana for profit."
Sen. Vasconcellos denotes a self-evident fact about the language
quoted above, namely, "Nothing in that section prohibits
profit. Nothing in that section explicitly authorizes profit
either. But I must point out that nobody is required to obtain an
'authorization' from the Legislature to make a profit in California."
In the most direct terms possible, his letter states that SB 420's
file://G:\LANDUSE\Boards and Commissions\MCC\Packet\2012\Late communications\Pr... 5/16/2012
"language does not in any respect purport to prohibit profit -- if
that had been the intent, the language would have so stated
clearly. It obviously does no such thing."
Page 2 of 2
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This misinterpretation arose because the words in SB 420 were "the
result of intensive and laborious compromise and consensus." The
issue of profit in the California medical cannabis industry was one
over which opinions differed on the Task Force. "Although certain
members of our Task Force did advocate for a prohibition on
profit-making, that position was firmly rejected by the Task Force"
in favor of the compromise language quoted above.
The problem is that opponents of medical cannabis, for reasons of
their own (having nothing whatsoever to do with the safety or
efficacy of cannabis), having not achieved their goal in the language
of SB 420, instead spread disinformation as a way to try to make it
more difficult for California patients to get access to
medicine. Sen. Vasconcellos' letter is an attempt to overcome that
As with many aspects of California's medical cannabis law, there will
be no definitive resolution of an issue until the California Supreme
Court directly decides it. For the foregoing reasons, I expect the
Court to concur with Sen. Vasconcellos' analysis if the question ever
reaches the Court. In addition, a few local ordinances do purport to
prohibit profit or "excessive profit" by cannabis providers, but
those provisions are of questionable legality under our state
Constitution, and under any circumstance, they have no relevance to
the statewide applicability of SB 420.
I should point out that there may be many good reasons for cannabis
providers to operate on a nonprofit or not-for-profit basis, but
adherence to California law is not necessarily one of them. For
example, a cannabis provider may feel it can enhance its image by
portraying itself as a not-for-profit entity, but that consideration
is a public relations issue, not a legal imperative.
-Robert Raich
file://G:\LANDUSE\Boards and Commissions\MCC\Packet\2012\Late communications\Pr... 5/16/2012