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Riverside County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure Z
Addressing Medical Cannabis Business
City of Blythe

Adoption of Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 835 / 45.26% Yes votes ...... 1,010 / 54.74% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of November 21 7:51am, 100.00%% of Precincts Reporting (4/4)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall Ordinance No. 866-14 that would authorize and regulate medical cannabis businesses; charge each medical cannabis business a maximum of $10,000 per year for each business license issued; and tax each medical cannabis business at the maximum rate of fifteen cents for each $1.00 of proceeds collected and at a maximum monthly rate of $10 a square foot of cannabis cultivated, be adopted?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
Measure "Z" would enact an ordinance to authorize, regulate and tax medical cannabis businesses within the City by amending Chapter 5.22 of Title 5 of the Blythe Municipal Code.

These amendments would replace current law, under which both the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries, as well as the cultivation of medical cannabis, are prohibited and unregulated within the City.

No more than three medical cannabis businesses would be permitted within the City, subject to change by the City Council.

Each medical cannabis business would be required to obtain a permit from the City to operate. A separate permit may be required for cultivation. Permits are revocable for failure to follow regulations. These regulations include: security cameras and security guard, written records on operations and employees; allow City inspections of premises, security camera recordings, and written records; generally not employ anyone convicted of a felony within last ten years; no doctor recommendations on site; generally no minors on site; labeling and packaging regulations; no detectable off-site odors from the operation; use of medical cannabis on-site prohibited; operate on a non-profit basis; insurance; must discourage and correct nuisance conditions; regulations on edibles, operating hours are to be set by the City; and medical cannabis businesses must indemnify and defend the City from all liability related to their operations.

Medical cannabis businesses are subject to three taxes. These are not sales taxes. The taxes are not imposed on the person or patient who acquires medical cannabis. These are general taxes available to fund general municipal services, such as public safety, street and sidewalk repairs, upkeep and development of the City's parks, water delivery and treatment, and other local governmental functions.

Each operation shall pay to the City a maximum cannabis tax of 15 cents for each $1.00 of proceeds, the rate to be set by resolution of the City Council. Each operation shall pay to the City a maximum monthly fee of $10.00 per square foot under active medical cannabis cultivation, the rate to be set by resolution of the City Council. An annual medical cannabis business license fee set by resolution of the City Council, but not to exceed $10,000, shall be required.

The new law is subject to amendment by the City Council, without requiring a further vote of the people, to further its purposes. Amendments may include maximum number of dispensaries allowed, process and procedure for securing permits, land use and zoning, and any issue related in whole or in part to maintaining the public health, safety or welfare.

The new law shall be read consistent with any statewide regulation of medical cannabis or recreational cannabis that is promulgated by the California legislature or by voter approval in the future, to the fullest extent possible consistent with such statewide regulation, including but not limited to the taxation of cannabis.

Measure "Z" was placed on the Ballot by the Blythe City Council. It will be adopted if it is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the measure.

By: Christian Bettenhausen City Attorney

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure "Z". If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the Blythe City Clerk's office at (760) 922- 6161 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

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Arguments For Measure Z Arguments Against Measure Z
Almost 20 years ago, an enlightened California electorate approved medical marijuana use for patients that preferred a less toxic, more natural alternative to prescription medication. The basis of the law was compassion for those suffering from medical illness that found relief in marijuana's therapeutic properties. Prior to the measure's passing, those who treated their illness with marijuana were stigmatized as criminals in need of punishment rather than patients suffering from medical conditions. Today, the imputation of wrongdoing towards those who treat their illness with marijuana by those with uneducated, biased and politically-motivated viewpoints, has made it a challenge for patients to obtain medication. For many in Blythe, its a considerable hardship to travel 100 miles to Palm Springs where the closest dispensary is located, The alternative is to buy on the black market, which usually means a "dealer" in one of our residential neighborhoods; oftentimes a dangerous proposition, especially for the elderly. The best solution for all is a well regulated commercial establishment where patients can purchase their medicine in a safe, secure environment. While the naysayers will argue that a dispensary in Blythe will attract crime and get into the hands of children, research has proven these scare tactics to be untrue. A study in Los Angeles County showed that the appearance of a dispensary in town was more often associated with a reduction in crime; and sales are limited to those 21 and older. The argument that it will be a target for robbery is equally dismissed. Banks, liquor stores and gas stations are all targets of robberies -- but we don't ban them from our community. In addition, tax revenue generated by a local dispensary will benefit local law enforcement. It's time we stood up for those less fortunate than ourselves; please, vote yes on Measure "Z".

By: Dan Figueroa, Former Commissioner, Board of Paroles
Mike Evans, City of Blythe Mayor
Larry Kelley, Com. VFW
David Brooks, MD
Stephen Hohn Sr, Business Owner

Rebuttal to Arguments For
The arguments against Measure "Z" are many, documented, and important concerns for the citizens of Blythe. The reasons for Measure "Z" focus on one important concern. Because of the many potential problems with having a marijuana medical dispensary in Blythe, vote NO against Measure "Z".

The California Shouse Law Group provides legal help to people who wish to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. Though the legal firm can assist the implementation of Measure "Z", their information actually shows major difficulties with marijuana medical dispensaries. These include vague wording in Proposition 215 and Senate bill 420.

Under Proposition 215 passed in 1996 medical uses for marijuana include seven illnesses and "any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." This last category is a huge area for potential abuse.

Under California Senate Bill 420 identification cards allow protected individuals to cultivate, possess, and transport specific amounts of marijuana, "unless a local ordinance or one's doctor authorizes more." This is a gigantic potential loophole for disaster.

In November 2013 the American Medical Association officially stated that cannabis is a dangerous drug and is a public health concern.

In March 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine rejected use of medical marijuana. The president stated that the Society does not regard marijuana as a medication, because it has not gone through an official Food and Drug Administration approval process.

In Colorado under legalized medical marijuana usage from 2006 to 2011, fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent.

VOTE NO ON Measure "Z".

Oscar G. Galvan
Adolfo Paglinawan
Doris Morgan
Bart Fisher
Joseph DeConinck

Proponents of this measure would have you believe that they support it for humanitarian reasons to ease pain and suffering. But those who truly need this drug for medical reasons already have options for obtaining whatever they need to ease their suffering. District Attorneys throughout California know that fake medical cards are easy to obtain and that recreational drug users will be purchasing this federally illegal drug from Blythe's dispensaries. Statistically, there are fewer than 200 medicinal marijuana cardholders, both legitimate and fake, in Blythe. Only 5% of the legitimate cardholders have a debilitating illness. Why, then, the big push to do this? It is disturbing that marijuana purchased from dispensaries in other cities continues to show up at Palo Verde High School in the hands of children. Marijuana is a "gateway" drug, leading to the use of harder drugs. It is addicting, especially among children. The law enforcement community opposes dispensaries as they breed crime. Although legal in Colorado, a majority of communities have enacted bans or moratoriums on commercial marijuana businesses. In Denver, one-third of all crimes are committed within 1,000 feet of dispensaries. A dispensary in Cathedral City was robbed, at gunpoint, with thieves making off with $70,000 worth of marijuana that police indicated would be sold illegally on the street. The American Medical Association considers marijuana "a dangerous drug that should not be legalized for either recreational or medical use". The American Society of Addiction Medicine considers marijuana a "psychoactive drug that triggers addiction and lifelong chronic brain disease". Don't let Blythe become known as a desperate city that approved dispensaries as a last ditch effort to make money. Money alone can never compensate for the increased crime and dangers to Blythe. Contact the Riverside County District Attorney for more information. Preserve Blythe's integrity; vote NO.

By: Oscar G. Galvan
Bart Fisher
Doris Morgan Hayes Adolfo Paglinawan Joseph DeConinck

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
There has never been a survey taken to tally Blythe medical marijuana patients; the figure of 200 quoted by opponents of a dispensary is a fabrication. Likewise, the claim that only 5% of patients have a debilitating illness is questionable in that doctor/patient files are strictly confidential and opponents have no access to them. It is not a gateway drug; studies have shown that when a patient is given access to a dispensary, they are not exposed to other drugs pushed by black market dealers and less likely to use them. California Student Survey states marijuana use by teens dropped dramatically after voters legalized medical marijuana. Denver's crime statistics show that legalizing medical marijuana caused no increase in crime. The California Police Chief's Association is supporting regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries. In 2009, the American Medical Association asked the federal government to reconsider marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug, recognizing its medicinal value. A national survey of physicians conducted found that 73% supported use of marijuana to treat nausea, pain and other symptoms... 56% would recommend marijuana to patients if permitted by state law. DEA chief administrative law judge Francis Young, ruled: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care ... It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance."

By: Mike Evans, City of Blythe Mayor
Larry Kelley, Com. VFW Post 2987
Dan L. Figueroa, Former Commissioner, Board of Paroles
David Brooks, MD Director - Palo Verde Healthcare District
Stephen Hohn Sr

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