YOLO SUN OPINION :
Prevarication and dishonesty pervade all aspects of the City’s sudden policy move, initially before the Woodland Planning Commission on November 5, against proper implementation of Prop. 215: California’s medicinal cannabis initiative.
Despite recent federal relaxation of its cannabis prohibition where state laws permit medicinal use, Woodland’s elected officials persist with unreasonable public policy on this topic.
The federal government now respects Prop. 215. Yet, Woodland’s political leaders still refuse to cooperate; ironically, using federal law as pretense for suppressing implementation of this 1996 ballot initiative.
On the heels of extending its recently renewed moratorium on medicinal cannabis “dispensaries” — the city is tacitly abandoning that process and abruptly forging a much broader policy, intending to prohibit from Woodland all: “businesses – land uses – operations – uses,” etc., related to Prop. 215 – the primary purpose of which is to establish lawful, medicinal cannabis access.
Lacking lawful access opportunities, however, local persons qualified through Prop. 215 must often / always resort to criminal, black-market sources of cannabis — such as local criminal gangs.
Otherwise, they may be forced to regularly and expensively travel long distances to other governmental jurisdictions, thereby made susceptible to additional economic loss and exploitation by geographically remote “dispensaries.”
Ever increasing numbers of qualified persons plainly means that — without a local program of lawful access — swiftly increasing crime will certainly result.
The city seems to believe that hiding its head(s) in proverbial sand, by banning any and all conduct / activities inconsistent with federal law (a policy course which is — by the way — outside its lawful ambit of authority), such pregnant cannabis issues will somehow conveniently disappear.
Clearly, all that is being accomplished through the city’s new approach is both: creating and spreading crime — uptown, downtown and all around the countryside.
This approach is obviously contrary to public safety and welfare — yet it conforms to (precious) social, political and legal delusions and ideologies which are widely peddled and parroted by local officials.
Thus, it must be adopted via knee-jerk responses — over and against clear public interest.
Plus, the city’s new approach is permeated with dishonesty and prejudice.
Its public face refuses to even name Prop. 215 as its target and its public notice of such policy is absent any reference to this voter-initiative law.
Yet, its public notice requires attention and proper testimony from relevant persons for the purpose of preserving of their rights and privileges under state law.
Outrageously, an arbitrary and unreasonable, unwritten policy of time limitations is then imposed upon such (“public hearing”) testimony, to further burden and obstruct its expression of objections to adoption of this new municipal policy.
The city — through its attorney — orally admits upon commissioner inquiry that Prop. 215 is indeed the target of this new policy approach — during the public hearing before the Planning Commission.
Yet, the official city staff report associated with this item refuses to mention this key fact.
Not until during the midst of the public hearing on this item — was the specific policy intent of the city stated in public.
The city’s existing moratorium on “dispensaries” — and how this new policy move connects / relates to it — is left entirely and unapologetically unexplained.
Can public process become any more perverse and unethical?
Perhaps, this Orwellian style of public process is itself unlawful.
It’s as if the city suddenly believes it has discovered a bizarre, secret legal weapon — which if examined with excessive public scrutiny may dissolve.
The city unjustifiably desires to over-stretch recent state appellate court opinions defending local zoning policy from storefront “dispensaries” — into a vague, blanket ban against all conduct / activities relevant to Prop. 215.
Disparate arts of public subterfuge and political bulldozing here starkly (and incompetently) combine, displaying an intolerable municipal hubris.
A basic purpose of this new policy approach is to: “avoid litigation.”
It would appear, though, that purporting to prohibit conduct and activities essential to guaranteeing the legal rights of relevant persons to access medicinal cannabis — is surely a powerful magnet for lawsuits.
At the public hearing, it became clear through the city’s admission and commissioner comments that retail “dispensaries” of medicinal cannabis exemplify what the city seeks to prohibit.
Yet, storefront types of dispensaries can be specifically disallowed — without unreasonably affecting state law rights of relevant persons — as obviously does the untailored, wholesale nature of prohibition contained in this new approach of municipal policy.
By this new zoning policy, groups / collectives of relevant persons are prohibited from using any real property to lawfully cultivate and/or distribute medicinal cannabis.
Perhaps, even relevant individuals are so encumbered.
Such a municipal goal / policy is entirely unreasonable and unlawful.
A pertinent template for whatever reasonable and lawful goals the city hopes to achieve with this instant avalanche of adverse public policy, exists within model (implementation) ordinance text already presented to the city as a part of its (now, bad-faith) moratorium process.
Instead of reasonably adopting policy which clearly promotes public safety and welfare, and protects the rights of relevant persons — the city is abruptly adopting an implementation approach which undeniably amounts to its sweeping abdication of basic elements of its relevant responsibilities under state law.