REDONDO BEACH, California – Cannabis advocates take advantage of initiatives to encourage cities in South Bay to commercialize cannabis licensing almost five years after Proposition 64 legalized cannabis across California.
Dub Brothers Management’s Barry Walker spokes a group that organizes the petitions. Dub Brothers is a cannabis company with hands in cannabis grow houses, distribution and retail. Damian Martin, an attorney representing cannabis retailers throughout Southern California, is also listed as a contact for documents filed with Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.
What you need to know
- Cannabis advocates hand out initiative petitions in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, pushing for laws that allow commercial cannabis sales; Proponents suggest that petitions are also planned for the cities of Hermosa Beach and El Segundo
- Although voters approved Prop. 64 in 2015, the law gives cities the ability to ban the commercial sale of cannabis; each of the four cities mentioned has bans
- The initiatives create an application process with a points system that favors established organizations
- Proponents of the initiatives with established links to cannabis retailers have donated to officials in Redondo Beach
“The initiatives are essentially designed to get the public involved,” Walker told Spectrum News 1. “Prop 64 was passed four years ago, and we looked at all of these cities in South Bay – voters were about 65% in favor of it. but the cities haven’t really done anything. “
The initiatives proposed by the Walkers group are proposed regulations with the stated purpose of “meeting the needs of the medically ill” and “regulating” commercial cannabis operations in cities. The initiatives would also ensure that up to three state-licensed pharmacies are approved in the affected cities. The initiatives are currently collecting signatures in the cities of Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, although Walker acknowledged that similar petitions for Hermosa Beach and El Segundo will follow shortly.
Once a petition has collected enough signatures – at least 10% of the city’s registered voters – the local government council has three options under state law: it can accept the proposed initiative without changes; it can submit the unchanged initiative to the voters by means of special elections; or he can order a review of the initiative at a forthcoming meeting, after which the initiative must be approved or sent to the electorate.
What cities absolutely cannot do is change the initiative. According to state law, only the courts can make changes after the petition has been submitted. However, the initiative grants the municipality’s city administrator the power to develop operational requirements and enforce regulations.
So far, each of the four cities mentioned above have banned the commercial sale of cannabis within their city limits, although each has a set of individual rules for personal grow restrictions. Redondo Beach has set up a cannabis task force to recommend potential ordinances to the city; However, it is not clear when this task force will make its recommendations to the city council.
The lack of readily available licensed cannabis retailers and pharmacies has created a gray market in the communities. In recent years, Redondo Beach has had problems with “cannabis churches” – organizations asking people to sign membership forms who are of a cannabis-centered religion claiming religious freedom before receiving cannabis products in exchange for “donations.” (Some of these churches even offered sales prices for member “donations” on various days of the week before law enforcement closed them, creating further confusion about their intentions.)
Walker argued that the initiative process he and his colleagues were following would allow licensed commercial retailers to drive the black market out of communities – and allow cities to better regulate retailers for both public safety and tax reasons.
The proposed regulations do not specifically state in writing how much a city should try to collect taxes from a retailer. However, the bulk of the regulations outline the process by which a hopeful licensee would apply for a license to sell cannabis, based on a points system. The proposed point system would award points to a handful of different plans, including a “community performance plan” which suggests that applicants “voluntarily provide a public benefit for a public use”. These public uses include contributions to local schools, parks, or nonprofit community organizations.
The application process, Walker argues, encourages applicants who have their ducks in a row – although he acknowledged that organizations like the ones he represents are very likely to be among the first to apply.
“We’re not trying to do something difficult. I’ll tell you right away, I’ll be filing licenses … but we’re going to make a fair trial. We want the city to interfere, ”said Walker.
According to campaign funding, Walker Dub Brothers management donated $ 1,000 to Redondo Beach City Councilor Nils Nehrenheim. Lewis’ company South Cord Management LLC donated $ 1,000 each to Nehrenheim and Councilor Todd Loewenstein.
Lewis is also the founder, president, and CEO of Catalyst Cannabis, the retailer that Damian Martin has hired as in-house legal counsel. A review of recent campaign funding disclosures shows no donations from Dub Brothers or South Cord Management to Manhattan Beach officials.
Both donation packages were made on their seats less than two weeks after the re-election of Nehrenheim and Loewenstein.
When asked for comment, Nehrenheim said he had not spoken to Walker. Walker said he had to ask his staff who could have spoken to Nehrenheim.