From: Lanny Swerdlow
Director, Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project
The Inland Empire Patients Health and Welness Center is the most unique collective in California. With its farmer's market model of distribution, it is one of the most AG compliant collectives in the state. Creating an environment that fosters community building, the Collective occupies a singular presence in the Inland Empire.
The first collective to open in the City of Riverside, it has now been operating for six months with absolutely no problems. A clean track record, however, is of no concern to Riverside city officials. Claiming that providing medicinal marijuana to its member patients violated its zoning ordinance banning marijuana distribution, the City filed a lawsuit on May 20 seeking a temporary restraining order to close the collective labeling it a nuisance.
This is nonsense since state law specifically allows patients to form collectives. It is illegal for the city to ban any activity permitted under state law by zoning those rights out of existence. It can license, regulate and tax, but it cannot ban.
Members of the collective are outraged by this action that imperils their access to medicinal
marijuana safely, reliably and locally. Patients are outraged too by the blatant attack on a
legally operating collective that provides medicinal marijuana to over 5,000 members.
On Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. the Collective is holding a rally and speak-out at the
Riverside City Council meeting and is asking other patients and advocates to join them on the
Main Street Plaza immediately in front of Riverside City Hall. There will be speakers, banners, signs, chants and green armbands for all showcasing our right to have access to this legal medicine. Many attending the rally will make a three minute presentation to the City Council during the Public Comment section and you are encouraged to do so as well.
In case you were not aware, I am on the Board of Directors of the Collective. The idea of a
farmer's market was something I came up with one day and somehow it caught fire with people who are considerably better in making things happen than I am and it actually happened. Now that it is here and is working well, we can't let those who oppose medicinal marijuana access for patients take it away.
I do not believe the entire Riverside City Council is against the Collective or even the
majority. As I understand it, the decision to sue was not made by the City Council, but by staff members without consulting all of the city council.
With a decision from the 4th District Court of Appeals that will decide whether cities can ban permitted state activities like medical marijuana collectives about 45 days away, it would only make sense for the city to delay filing the lawsuit until that decision is released. That's another thing we need to tell them and we need you there to tell them with us.
This is going to be one of the most exciting and most empowering rallies we ever had. Members of the collective are fired up - they do not want to lose this very special place. It's going to be one colossal rally and you do not want to miss what is surely going to set a high water mark for medical marijuana rallies in the Inland Empire.
When we went to the Riverside City Hall on October 6, 2009, over 100 patients and advocates
assembled to tell the Council of the plans to open the Collective and the rights of patients
under state law to do so. It was one of the largest groups of concerned citizens to ever turn
out to speak on a single issue at a Riverside City Council meeting. On Tuesday June 1 we are
going to stage an even bigger rally - perhaps the largest medical marijuana rally ever held in the Inland Empire. Join us and make this happen - let's KEEP THE FARMER'S MARKET OPEN.
We will be passing out souvenir green armbands to all who come to the rally, so join patients, advocates, your friends and concerned citizens this Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall Plaza in front of Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main Street in downtown Riverside 92522. It will be an evening to remember.
In the meantime, you can also help by making a call to Mayor Loveridge right now at 951-826-5551 and tell him that the lawsuit to close the collective is wrong, Wrong, WRONG and that patients have the right to their medicine safely, reliably and locally.
You can reach His Honor 24/7 and leave a message on his voice-mail. So you can call him right now at 951-826-5551. Please let me know if you did.