Tag Archive: Marijuana

Feb 05 2013

The California Flap: February 5, 2013

Share

Connie ConwayCalifornia Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway

The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • GOP leader Connie Conway getting heat from caucus critics – Whispers are getting louder.Assembly Republicans are not talking publicly, but they’re meeting in little groups and buzzing among themselves about the possible overthrow of their caucus leader, Connie Conway.A key question is whether any Republican can corral enough votes for a coup. No Assembly member has pushed publicly to succeed Conway, though veteran Don Wagner of Irvine and freshman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach are touted privately as possibilities. They did not respond to interview requests Monday.

    Republicans are still reeling over the loss of three GOP seats in last November’s election, a stunning party defeat that handed Democrats a supermajority in the 80-member house.

  • TED conference leaving Long Beach for Vancouver – TED is leaving Long Beach.The national TED conference, which has taken place in Long Beach for four years and will have its fifth event here this month, will move to Vancouver, Canada, next year to celebrate its 30 th anniversary, officials announced Monday.TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, will host its final Long Beach-based conference Feb. 25 to March 1 at the downtown Long Beach Terrace Theater. The sold-out, invitation-only conference will be headlined by Bono, a renowned activist for social justice and lead singer of U2.

    Mayor Bob Foster said in a statement Monday that TED will be “missed.”

    “We enjoyed TED’s run in Long Beach and the past five years gave a tremendous opportunity to showcase the city to new audiences. California will miss them, but we wish them nothing but the best in Vancouver,” Foster said.

  • Janet Napolitano: San Diego border ‘secure’ – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday that the San Diego border with Mexico is secure but not impregnable.“I believe the border is secure,” Napolitano said following an aerial tour of the international line and a meeting with Mayor Bob Filner and law enforcement officials. “I believe the border is a safe border.”Others noted that illegal crossings remain more of a problem in some areas than others.

    Napolitano cited a sharp decline in apprehensions for attempted illegal crossings and increases in the capture of contraband currency, illicit drugs and human traffickers as evidence that measures used in San Diego are working.

    The secretary added that there is no way to declare the border free from illegal crossings.

  • Twitter has big Super Bowl Sunday – The 49ers may have come up short in Super Bowl XLVII, but another San Francisco entity came out a big winner Sunday: Twitter.Various postgame breakdowns on social-media use during Sunday’s big event showed Twitter has become the outlet of choice for viewers who increasingly use their mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops as secondary screens to multitask while they watch live televised events.Also, Super Bowl advertisers this year heavily favored posting Twitter hashtags over links to Facebook pages during commercials aired during the game – not an insignificant trend considering that 30-second spots cost up to $4 million each.
  • Medical marijuana bans to be decided by California Supreme Court on Tuesday – The state Supreme Court this week will hear arguments about whether cities can use zoning laws to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.The high court will begin hearing oral arguments today from attorneys representing Riverside and attorneys for Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, a medical marijuana collective in the city.The Supreme Court’s ruling will be binding on numerous cases questioning the use of zoning to ban dispensaries and could affect dozens of cities bans.

    “The Supreme Court is going to bring clarity and uniformity to the law because we now have some courts of appeal that have ruled in favor of cities in these issues and some that have ruled in favor of medical marijuana dispensaries,” said T. Peter Pierce, an attorney for Los Angeles-based Richards, Watson & Gershon, whose firm is representing Upland in a similar case that was appealed to the Supreme Court.

    “And, the trial courts are feeling like they don’t have concrete guidelines and have been a…

  • Texas governor sets sights on Haas Automation in Oxnard – Haas Automation Inc. in Oxnard will host a visit from Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Feb. 12, as the governor kicks off a campaign in California to lure businesses to his state.Perry likely has chosen Haas because the manufacturing giant and its site selection company, which negotiates packages with state and local officials on incentives and other deals, have been requesting proposals from Texas, North Carolina and Nevada, at least, for a possible expansion outside California.“I hope it doesn’t alarm anyone. We haven’t made any decisions, and I hope people understand we want to stay in California,” said Peter Zierhut, vice president of European operations for Haas, a maker of computer-controlled machines.

    “Yes, we’ve considered all our possibilities, and that includes talking to people in other states,” Zierhut said. “California has not been too bad to us, but as a growing company, it’s reasonable we listen to people when they come to us.”

  • Texas governor’s radio ad lures California business – It’s only a radio ad, but if you listen closely you can almost hear the swagger of the governor of Texas.”Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” says an sympathetic Gov. Rick Perry in the 30 second radio ad now on the air in California’s major radio markets.”I have a message for California businesses,” says. “Come check out Texas.”

    Perry’s new public relations assault is only the latest chapter in a saga that has been running now for years — a battle between the nation’s two most populous states for bragging rights about who’s got it the best.

  • California State GOP may pick a dealmaker for its revival – Jim Brulte – Desperate to return to relevance, the battered California Republican Party is looking for salvation in a shrewd dealmaker and prolific fundraiser once known for advancing his party’s interests in a Capitol dominated by Democrats.Jim Brulte, a former Senate and Assembly minority leader forced from the Legislature by term limits in 2004, is the odds-on favorite to be chosen state GOP leader at the party’s convention here next month.His plans for a rebirth focus, at the moment, on shoring up the basics: the fundraising operation, get-out-the-vote apparatus, data analysis capabilities and recruitment efforts. All have been ailing, leaving the GOP bent with debt and precipitating its increasingly poor performance at the polls.

    “I want to be the most boring Republican Party chair in history,” Brulte, who represented parts of the Inland Empire, said in an interview. “That means being in the trenches, doing the nuts and bolts. It’s not very glamorous, and it’s not very exciting, but it…

  • Engineering association funded shadowy initiative campaigns – A group that backs privatizing public infrastructure engineering work gave $400,000 to a opaque out-of-state organization that injected millions of dollars — and plenty of controversy — into California’s initiative campaigns last year.New state campaign filings show that American Council of Engineering Companies California made a $150,000 donation to a Virginia-based nonprofit in July and another $250,000 in September.That nonprofit, Americans for Job Security, in turn, gave money to another non-profit organization based in Arizona which then contributed $11 million to a California committee that opposed Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 tax hike and supported Proposition 32, which sought to end payroll-deducted political contributions.

    The engineering business group’s donation surfaced on Friday because California law requires political action committees to show their spending, including money that goes to issue-advocacy groups.

  • Jerry Brown responds to Rick Perry: ‘Texas, come on over!’ – Gov. Jerry Brown said today that the radio ads Texas Gov. Rick Perry is voicing in California are nothing more than a “few tricks,” doubtful they would influence businesses to leave the Golden State.”Do you think a few tricks from a politician is going to make any difference?” the Democratic governor told reporters at a business event in Los Angeles, according to a transcript provided by the governor’s office. “People invest their money where these big things have occurred. The ideas, the structures, the climate, the opportunity is right here on the Pacific Rim.”
Share

Oct 20 2011

Flap’s California Morning Collection: October 20, 2011

Share

The California Aqueduct

The California Legislature is not in session.

Today, GOP Presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is in California speaking and undoubtedly fundraising.

Fresh off the Republican debate earlier this week in Nevada, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann makes a foray into blue-state country for a talk at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

The Minnesota congresswoman’s subject? “The Revival of American Competitiveness.”

“Bachmann will present her views on pro-business economic policies that will allow private-sector businesses to compete in the global market while addressing the need for job-skill retraining, innovation, comprehensive tax reform and reduction of regulations that threaten jobs,” the Commonwealth Club’s website says.

On to today’s headlines:

California birthrate lowest since Great Depression, state data show

California’s birthrate tumbled last year to its lowest point since the Great Depression, new state figures show, yet another indication that the difficult economy is reshaping everyday life.
California families are looking at their personal finances, their job security, their prospects for the future – and increasingly deciding now is not the time to have a baby.

Marriages are down, foreclosures are up, job openings are scarce and kids are expensive. The average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is about $225,000, federal data show.

“A lot of the people I see say, ‘One (child) is enough: It’s all I can afford,’ ” said Anna Peak, owner of Babies & Beyond, a children’s-goods store in the Land Park section of Sacramento.
Other, more permanent changes also are taking place. The children of immigrants are having fewer kids than their parents did. The population as a whole is getting older. Couples are waiting longer to start families.

Because of those patterns, the state will see strikingly low birthrates for the rest of the decade, said John Malson, acting chief of the state Department of Finance’s demographic research unit.

After 15 years, a breathing space in statewide elections

California is experiencing what once was a familiar hiatus between elections – a traditional 20-month span between the November general election and the next primary election in June of the following even-numbered year.

The last statewide election was November 2010 and the next primary is June 2012. The last time there was such a gap was from November 1996 to June 1998.

But it’s not a period of tranquility – redistricting has seen to that. For termed-out lawmakers the options are difficult, but incumbents aren’t having an easy ride either.

And it hasn’t been easy on consultants — especially Republican consultants – who rely on political campaigns to pay their bills, noted one strategist.

“I think this is an unprecedented time for a lot of consultants, especially Republican consultants,” said Tim Hart of Sacramento-based Premier Strategies, a campaign strategy firm whose clientele include GOP candidates. “It is a difficult time. We’ve gone through something of a metamorphosis because of Whitman spending $174 million and still not winning. That impacted a lot of donors in California, making it more difficult to raise money,” said Hart in a telephone interview from Guatemala.

Hart was in Guatemala with former California Republican Party Chair Ron Nehring to handle the Nov. 6 campaign for a presidential candidate.

I’ve talked to a lot of guys – consultants, designers, website guys – and everybody is hurting. They all talk frequently about what is next and that it’s been tough on everybody.”

The decennial redrawing of political districts in California – this time handled by an independent, voter-approved commission – has turned the election map into musical chairs in the Legislature and in Congress, pitting incumbents against each other and forcing others to move to new districts.

“How do you run for Senate or Assembly if you don’t know yet who’s running for Congress? How do you look at other seats until you know where the Congressional seats are?” said political strategist Matt Ross, a former staffer for the Senate GOP caucus.

“The big question is what they will be doing during the 20 months,” he said. “With the redistricting and the top-two primary, it’s going to change how you fight, it’s a different dynamic. I’ve never seen an election like this.”

Doctors’ stance on pot is sick

Let’s get this straight: The California doctors lobby believes that marijuana has questionable value as medicine. Pot users risk damage to body and brain. But the drug should be legalized?

In case you missed it, the California Medical Assn. last Friday officially recommended the legalization and regulation of weed.

t comes as the California marijuana industry is gearing up for another legalization effort next year at the ballot box.

“There simply isn’t the scientific evidence to understand the benefits and risks of medical cannabis,” a CMA news release quoted Dr. Paul Phinney of Sacramento, the organization’s board chairman.

“We need to regulate cannabis so that we know what we’re recommending to our patients. Currently, medical and recreational cannabis have no mandatory labeling standards of concentration or purity. First we’ve got to legalize it so that we can properly study and regulate it.”

Whatever happened to studying a drug first to determine its benefits and risks, then deciding whether it’s safe enough to legalize? I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer. But the CMA thesis is that marijuana research is inhibited because the federal government classifies pot in the same illegal category as heroin and LSD.

The CMA Board of Trustees adopted the “legalize pot” position on behalf of the association’s 35,000 physician members. Its action was based on a 14-page “white paper.”

“It really should be called the Cannabis Medical Assn.,” says Covina Police Chief Kim Raney, vice president of the California Police Chiefs Assn. “It’s probably one of the most irresponsible, disgraceful position papers I’ve ever read.”

What raised my eyebrows was a repeat of the old canard about how locking up stoners eats up too much tax money.

The CMA report lamented “the diversion of limited economic resources to penal system costs and away from the other more socially desirable uses such as funding healthcare, education, transportation, etc.”

That’s a stretcher, at least in California.

Our prisons aren’t exactly bulging with people who were sent there for growing or selling grass, let alone ingesting it. Fewer than 1% of the inmates have been sentenced for marijuana or hashish crimes of any sort, according to state prison data.

They total 1,325 out of 164,156. If you do the math — each prisoner costing nearly $50,000 a year — it isn’t chump change: around $66million. But it’s hardly noticeable in a $10-billion prison budget.

“With all the strains on our resources, going after small levels of marijuana possession is not a priority,” says Scott Thorpe, chief executive of the California District Attorneys Assn. “To go to prison for a drug offense, it’s going to be very, very, very rare that it’s for a first offense. Any drug.”

The CMA report notes that in the last decade there have been a dozen U.S. clinical trials and more than 20 studies worldwide investigating the therapeutic benefits of pot smoking. “Current data have shown that the medical indications for cannabis are very limited,” the report says.

“Cannabis may be effective for the treatment of pain, nausea, anorexia and other conditions, but the literature on this subject is inadequate … and cannabis side effects may not be tolerated.”

OK, still, if someone feels the healing need for marijuana, it can legally be acquired in California.

Solyndra Tax Break Not Going Away

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer told lawmakers Wednesday that he continued to support a law that grants large tax breaks to alternative-energy companies — even though the bankrupt solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra was its first and largest recipient.

Solyndra was granted a $34.5 million subsidy under SB 71, a 2010 law championed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that exempts alternative energy companies from paying taxes on purchases of new manufacturing equipment.

Lockyer’s statements marked a departure from the stance he took last month. After The Bay Citizen revealed Solyndra’s tax break, which the state granted without scrutinizing the company’s finances, Lockyer called for a moratorium on issuing additional subsidies under the law, saying, “[W]e owe it to taxpayers to see if there is more we can do to make sure we don’t give their money to companies headed for a fall.”

But on Wednesday, he told a joint hearing of two state Senate committees that SB 71 is a “wise and needed law” that incentivizes green-energy manufacturing and serves as “a model for how tax expenditure statutes ought to be written.”

Enjoy your morning!

Share

Oct 16 2011

California Medical Association Calls for Legalization of Marijuana

Share

California medical marijuana dispensary

Well, marijuana within the existing California law is already legal – more or less.
The state’s largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.

Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group’s new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California’s medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor’s recommendation. That, he said, has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law.

“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” he said. “It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.”

The CMA’s new stance appears to have as much to do with politics as science. The group has rejected one of the main arguments of medical marijuana advocates, declaring that the substance has few proven health benefits and comparing it to a “folk remedy.”

The group acknowledges some health risk associated with marijuana use and proposes that it be regulated along the lines of alcohol and tobacco. But it says the consequences of criminalization outweigh the hazards.

Lyman says current laws have “proven to be a failed public health policy.” He cited increased prison costs, the effect on families when marijuana users are imprisoned and racial inequalities in drug-sentencing cases.

It seems the California Medical Association, like the California Dental Association have jumped the shark with regard with being in touch with their own members. Both organizations have been taken over by the LEFT and this, like other policy pronouncements are as much left-wing politics as science.

I think the CMA will lose quite a few members after this little exercise.

The organization’s announcement provoked some angry response.

“I wonder what they’re smoking,” said John Lovell, spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Assn. “Given everything that we know about the physiological impacts of marijuana — how it affects young brains, the number of accidents associated with driving under the influence — it’s just an unbelievably irresponsible position.”

The CMA’s view is also controversial in the medical community.

Dr. Robert DuPont, an M.D. and professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, said the association’s call for legalization showed “a reckless disregard of the public health. I think it’s going to lead to more use, and that, to me, is a public health concern. I’m not sure they’ve thought through what the implications of legalization would be.”

California law making personal possession of marijuana an infraction with a ticket fine of $100 is already not enforced from what I can see on the Venice, California strand every Saturday morning where I run. Medical marijuana dispensaries hawk their wares to the Venice Beach goers without regard to proper medical practice.

But, legalize it?

So, that every store front on the beach is stoking “stoned” out beachgoers – come on now. California society does not need more intoxication, “high” drivers or children developing bad habits.

Share