While Sheriff Keith Royal and some “electeds” play “Constitutional Sheriff” with the CABPRO, “Oath Keepers,” “Defend Rural America” and hard-right blogging contingent in our county, he and the board of supervisors are about to face a real “battle royal” with Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest medical marijuana activist group.
ASA is confident it has enough support to launch an initiative to overturn the county’s ordinance to regulate marijuana cultivation, according to its latest newsletter.
It’s laying the groundwork to replace the Sheriff’s ordinance (passed 4-1 by the supes last year) with one more akin to Yuba County’s (crafted with the help of its lawyer, Jeff Lake).
Among the supervisors, Terry Lamphier voted against the county measure. Though billed as a guest speaker at a recent CABPRO-”Oath Keepers” event, Royal said “We’re not going to be extremists” about a marijuana cultivation ordinance.
A cultivation initiative could wind up being the most polarizing initiative in our county in years. It also could provide fodder for our county’s “progressives” in other local political races that — if successful — could tilt the balance of political power in our county.
And on this issue, the normally conservative The Union could play an unwitting role in swaying public opinion toward the ASA view, not the Sheriff’s — in return for welcome ad revenue.
The ASA already ran “a very touching ad” in the newspaper with the message: “no cultivators, no medicine.” You can expect more of them too. Medical marijuana ads are a boon for local newspapers, as the N.Y. Times reports.
In the end, people “in the middle” will wind up being the “swing votes” with any such initiative, and you have to wonder if the Sheriff and the supes have the capital to win their support nowadays, thanks to the recent antics with hard-right extremists (that always can backfire).
Supervisor Ed Scofield recently invited a hard-right activist — Doyel Shamley — to speak for 2 1/2 hours about “forest management” (AKA, “defend rural America”). The hard-right vote is only good for about 30 percent of the vote in many county races (such as Nate Beason-Sue McGuire last June). President Obama only lost by a few hundred votes in our county, (though ASA thinks Obama “wimped out” on weed).
ASA is counting on broad-based support.
“In the meantime, we will continue unabated with our efforts to replace the Ordinance,” reads the Americans for Safe Access newsletter. “Feb 5 we are holding a training on how to conduct our telephone survey. We plan on reaching over 1,000 registered voters in Nevada Co to get their opinions on a wide range of cultivation related issues. We will use this information to judge whether we have enough support to launch an initiative. I think we do.”
“The people in Butte County fought back against their Ordinance and got their BOS to overturn their own Ordinance once enough signatures were collected to force a special election. It would cost Nevada County approximately $250,000. to hold a special election so that’s a pretty big carrot. The point is, if you don’t fight back, there is no way you can win.”
As for The Union’s role, the newsletter added: “February 11 – 17th is National Medical Marijuana Week and we have got some great events planned to remind people that patients are suffering out there because of the Cultivation Ordinance. We are running a very touching ad in the Union from Feb 11 – 16 to raise public awareness. ASA recognizes that a patient’s first line of defense starts with cultivators. It’s simple: No cultivators, no medicine.”
In addition, ASA has opened a chapter in Truckee, a progressive stronghold. The first meeting is scheduled for noon March 9 and will continue to take place the second Saturday of the month in the Truckee-Donner Community Recreation Center Conference Room.
ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens who support cannabis for therapeutic use and scientific research. The organization works on the local, state and federal levels to promote laws that protect patients’ rights.
ASA membership provides access to resources designed for budding activists, including the Training Center, Think Tank & Policy Shop, Federal Advocacy Project and the Patients’ Right Project. ASA-NC hosts numerous educational events, including recent medical discoveries, legal rights seminars, responsible growing techniques and Good Neighbor policies.
The group occasionally hosts fun events like movies, music festivals and community barbecues.