Sunday, June 13, 2010


From Lanny Swerdlow
Director Marijuana ANti Prohibition Project

On Tuesday, June 15, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will vote on and pass an
extension for one year to the existing moratorium on the operation of medical marijuana
collectives in the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. It has been a forgone
conclusion for some time, so it comes as no surprise.

Twice in as many months, we went before the Board of Supervisors asking them to get the derailed ordinance back on track and each time it was like speaking to a wall. After the May 25 meeting, I spoke with Supervisor Gonzales who informed me that we would never get anything through the Board unless the Sheriff's Department approves it.

Although I kind of always knew it, I hated to admit that rather than our elected officials
telling law enforcement what to do, law enforcement tells our elected officials what to do.

With Supervisor's Gonzales' words of wisdom in mind, I was able to secure a meeting with SB
County Sheriff Deputy Chief Robert Fonzi and Deputy Chief PaulCook, who heads the Special
Operations Bureau, i.e. narcotics. I raised several issues at the meeting about the drafting of an ordinance and the creation of a Medical Marijuana Task Force like the one in Palm Springs that oversaw the development of the first and so far only medical marijuana collective zoning ordinance in the Inland Empire.

Deputy Chief Cook said he would look into my concerns and get back to me the following week.
Sure enough he called me last Friday and informed me of the following.

1. SB County is waiting for the 4th District Court of Appeals decision in the case of Qualified Patients Association vs. City of Anaheim. The decision, which is expected by mid-July, will hopefully decide on whether cities and counties can use their zoning ordinances to ban activities permitted under state law. Until that decision is rendered, SB County is not going to do much of anything, except of course continue to arrest and prosecute legal patients like Don Lawrence and do the same for mmj patient collectives.

2. He stated that there is a draft ordinance of some kind circulating, but he has not seen it. He expects to see it soon. He did not offer to share it with me.

3. There is a meeting of the mmj collective ordinance working group in about a month. He agreed to bring up the idea of forming a task force, similar to the one in Palm Springs, with reps from planning, law enforcement, patients and other stakeholders to oversee the development of an ordinance

4. Before the working group meetings, he will see if they will allow patient
representatives to attend this upcoming meeting where the formation of a task force will be

So what do we do on June 15 when the Board considers the extension of the moratorium?

Cheri Sicard and Scott Bledsoe, the two SB organizers of the past rallies at the Board Meetings, agreed that holding another big rally on June 15 would not accomplish much of anything. Your time is valuable and we do not want to waste it. Consequently there will be no big rally on the 15th, but there will be a small one.

I want to put into the public record our request for the formation of a mmj task force to
oversee the development of the collective ordinance. If you would like to join me at the meeting and even make a 3 minute presentation on your own, that would be great, but if your time is limited, then this is one of those occasions we can survive without your presence.

The agenda item concerning extending the medical marijuana ordinance is the last item on the
agenda just before the public comment section. Although the meeting starts at 10 a.m., there are a veritable host of items to be considered before the mmj agenda item, so I would suggest
arriving around 11 a.m.
The SB Board of Supervisors meeting is held in the Council Chambers in the County Administration Building at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave. in downtown San Bernardino 92415.

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