Thursday, September 18, 2014

Medical Marijuana Initiative May Have Special Election

Did you see Brad Zint's piece in the Daily Pilot, HERE, in which he tells us that representatives of one of the two competing Medical Marijuana Initiatives for which petitions are being circulated in the city presented more than 11,000 signatures to the City Clerk Tuesday, and that she and her staff did their processing of the paperwork and delivered it to the Registrar of Voters for validation of the signatures Wednesday?

I found the article, and what it represents, to be fascinating - particularly in light of councilman Gary Monahan's recent botched attempt to get his fellow council members to join him in support of his own Medical Marijuana Initiative recently.  As Zint mentioned, on the sly he had help from contract City Attorney Tom Duarte in stealthily crafting his initiative, apparently without so much as a heads-up to his fellow council members.  He sprung this on them with very little time for them to consider the issue.  As a result, his proposal received NO SUPPORT from the council - not even a second to his motion.

Personally, I don't think his initiative was all that great, but apparently the spokesman for this new initiative did.   I'd rather have a strong ordinance in place to manage the sale of Medical Marijuana BEFORE something like this new initiative lands at our feet so we, the city, can call the shots about how this issue is managed.  Monahan blew that one for us in his haste.

Zint also said Monahan's proposal "didn't get much vetting from the council or the Police Department."  Well, yeah!  The council had it sprung on them and Monahan didn't have the common courtesy - or the wisdom you'd expect from a guy who's spent practically half his life on the city council - to discuss it with members of the Costa Mesa Police Department.  Then, again, if you don't like to hear the word "NO", just don't ask the question, right?

In my opinion, here's what should have happened.  Monahan should have consulted with the CMPD and held a study session on the issue, during which all the apprehensions of his fellow-council members could have been addressed.  The result should have been an ordinance about how Medical Marijuana would be handled should it EVER be approved for sale within the City.  It would have prescribed how many and where such "dispensaries" could be located.  More important, it would have had a BIG tax attached to it.

That tax would be collected and earmarked to be used EXCLUSIVELY for youth activities - sports, drama, choir, cheer, etc. - in the city and dispensed to a third party - maybe the Costa Mesa Foundation - for vetting of groups based on pre-determined criteria and distribution of the funds.

Then, we would get rid of personal fireworks once and for all and replace it with a municipal fireworks display at a local venue - OCC, Estancia Stadium or wherever.  Gone would be the veil of "safe and sane" fireworks behind which the illegal fireworks are fired-off.    Gone would be the campaign contribution by fireworks distributors.  The "it's all about the kids" argument would be rendered moot, since "the kids" would get money from what would certainly be a reliable source - the Medical Marijuana "patients" among us.

But, no - Monahan screwed that up for us.  For whatever reasons, he botched his scheme up and it's possible we will now be subjected to yet another enterprise in this city - like the infestation of rehab homes - that make young families think twice about settling down here.  Nice going, Gary...


  1. Where's My Coffee?9/18/2014 06:58:00 AM

    Gary hasn't got the brains God gave a frog. Just the looks.

    I frankly am not sure I want the city managing pot dispensaries. With these councilmen the personal greed would be too great and we'd have all of them owning dispensaries. Sports would never see a dime of it. But I like the idea of the money going to the schools. Though somehow the thought of selling drugs to support our kids in school just sounds odd.

    But yeah, Gary blew it. They say pot makes you stupid. Guess they were right.

    Somehow, it is going to happen. I would like to see the drugs sold out of medical facilities where drugs are dispensed and other prescriptions filled. Since the dispensaries were kicked out, I notice a distinct change in the amount and type of kids hanging around. I would see young boys getting stoned down in Talbert Park and lower Fairview. Not as bad now, at least during the day.

  2. David on Lorenzo9/18/2014 10:29:00 AM

    Legalize marijuana statewide - maybe that's a good idea. But the thought of Costa Mesa becoming the de facto marijuana dispensary headquarters for all of Orange County - maybe that's a bad idea.

  3. If Monahan got the City Attorney to do $25,000 of work (C.A.'s estimate)without Council authorization, Monahan should pay the bill, and the city should sue Monahan if necessary.

    Or if there was a Brown Act violation and Monahan did privately get authorization from 2 other Council members, then all 3 should pay the bill.

  4. What I would like to see now is a city municipal code which prohibits these people with medical marijuana cards from smoking it in public. Seems like a no brainer. We already have municipals codes against drinking alcohol in public and laws against open containers of alcohol in public.

  5. I'm pretty sure it's still against the law to smoke weed in public, medical or not, just about anywhere other than Colorado or Washington. Pretty sure it's illegal in Denver, too. I'm certainly not going to go out and test that theory, though.

    Just sayin'...

  6. Mike, it is still against the law to possess. Police do give out tickets and arrest people too. What is happening is the DA dismisses the cases as soon as the person provides a medical marijuana card, so there actually is really no punishment. Hence my thought about a muni code violation. Who knows, maybe the city could make some money from any fines imposed too. Just a thought.


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