A brief History of how Sacramento taxed medical marijuana

  Tax season just ended, so I thought I’d talk about something specific to medical marijuana patients: the sin tax on medicinal cannabis that Sacramento voters voted into office in 2010 via Measure C. In a city council session early in Summer 2010, before the midterm election, the Sacramento City Council was having discussions about the medical marijuana ordinance. They were discussing making dispensaries licensed and legal in Sacramento City, when a city council member thought it would be prudent if they put a marijuana tax on the ballot. The idea behind it was that if Prop 19 made it legal for the recreational use of cannabis, they would need a tax structure in place in order to make sure that the city was compensated for recreational marijuana sales. In late June, a new Business Operations Tax structure was proposed. The BOT had not been updated since 1991 and “modernisation” was in order. The numbers thrown out at that meeting were a gradual 3-4% tax, no higher than 5% on medical cannabis donations and 10% on recreational over the counter sales.Thirteen citizens, including Ryan Landers of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, Joy Cole of SacPatients and Lanette Davies of Crusaders for Patients Rights, spoke out against any tax higher than 2%. The Council instructed staff to draft it; both Sandy Sheedy District 2 and […]

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Opinion: SB289 comes to the capitol, and what it means for medical marijuana patients

Have you ever heard of “drugged driving?” Well, the proponents of Senate Bill 289 are making it their job to bring this new phraseology into the vernacular of the California electorate. What precisely is "drugged driving?" On the surface this law seems to make sense – nobody wants someone who is incapacitated behind the wheel of heavy machinery. However, closer scrutiny reveals that anyone who has consumed cannabis in the last few weeks could test positive. While the law will allow for prescription drugs to be exempt, this exemption does not apply to those who choose marijuana as medicine because they can only get it through a doctors recommendation – which is not the same, legally, as a perscription. Therefore, anybody who had smoked marijuana in the past weeks would be considered "drugged driving" – yet someone taking oxycodone the night before they were pulled over would be fully compliant under this new law. Scientists and anyone who has used Cannabis know the psychoactive effects wear off within hours, but the law will be requiring law enforcement to test for THC-COOH, the substance in cannabis that stays in the body for weeks. Someone could pass any number of field sobriety tests, but would still be considered “drugged driving”.   What this bill basically ends up doing is making it impossible for anyone who uses cannabis […]

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Sacramento welcomes NORML chapter

Since its formation in 1970, the nonprofit known as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws aka NORML has not had a presence in the Sacramento area. Originally formed by Keith Stroup on a mere $5,000 donation from the Playboy Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based group has grown to have 12 chapters in California and more than 100 in other American cities and abroad. Bob “Adman” Bowerman took it upon himself to change all that. Newly retired at 61 from his multimillion-dollar ad agency Concepts, Bowerman became familiar with medical cannabis due to personal illness. “I got my medical cannabis card in 2002,” he told me in a recent interview. "Cannabis has helped me through three big medical issues. First there was a severe case of shingles, then there were two surgeries, all in the last three years. Cannabis really is medicine.” Bowerman decided to get involved with NORML after attending one of the organization’s conferences in Los Angeles. He saw a clear role for himself to play. “They have enough lawyers, and a lack of marketing people,” he said. “They also needed a strong NORML chapter in the Sacramento area. It seemed like a good fit. So I cashed in part of my retirement and gathered some like-minded media people, and here we go.” Bowerman founded NORML’s first media-based chapter, a group specifically focused […]

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Opinion: Medical marijuana court support expanding in Sacramento

Try to imagine you are in jail charged with a marijuana crime. You’ve been lead to believe that all your friends believe the exaggerated claims made about you by the media. You enter a courtroom, but are in a cage to protect the room from you. Feeling humiliated, subjugated and demoralized you look up to see a courtroom full of people wearing green ribbons to show their support.. You are elated! You can see your community has not turned its back on you – you have friends who care enough to support you. This is the power of court support. On March 9, over 30 supporters of medical marijuana filled up a courtroom in Yuba County for the case of Eric Salerno. The group was organized by Winagain, a court support group based in Northern California and The Human Solution, a similar L.A.-based organization. Salerno was arrested in Marysville on drug trafficking charges during a medical cannabis delivery. The previous Tuesday, over 20 supporters showed up to support Daisy Bram. She and her husband Jayme Walsh’s home in Butte County was raided in September of 2011. They were charged with cultivation of cannabis. Their family is split apart while Walsh is held at Tehama County jail under a million dollars bond, and Bram tries to get their children back from Child Protective Services. Wednesday, again […]

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Congrats to our Journalism Open 2013 winners

Well, that’s a wrap – congrats to all of the winners and entrants who submitted to our Journalism Open 2013. We had 76 written submissions this year and 114 photo submissions, and it wasn’t an easy job to narrow either of those categories down. But somehow we all managed. Myself and editor Jared Goyette narrowed down the top 12 articles which were then tallied by our panel of guest judges. Photos were judged by myself and Goyette. You can find a complete list of judging criteria here. Our $400 People’s Choice Award was a close race between Stephania Erkenbrecher’s article on Verge Center for the Arts and Ron Mullins’ piece on medical cannabis. I spent much time calling around to verify votes, and it is with the utmost of confidence that we honored Ron Mullins for his thoughtful article, The state of medical cannabis in the city of Sacramento. First place went to Seth Sandronsky’s Private money and public schools, an in-depth discussion on “the power of corporate-funded philanthropy to shape public policy.” Second place went to Stephania Erkenbrecher for her very in depth and personalized spotlight on Verge Center for the Arts. Third place went to Nick Hunte for After school program gives kids a chance to live a healthy future, which focused on Amber Scott and California Food Literacy Center’s work at Aspire Capitol […]

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Awards Party 2013: Celebrate citizen journalism with The Sac Press

Are you ready to party with The Sacramento Press? The Journalism Open 2013 closed on Jan. 31, so don’t forget to check out the written and photography submissions that our contributors worked so hard on. The top finalists have been selected, and now our panel of guest judges are working hard to select this year’s winners. We also need your help in selecting who will win $400 for our People’s Choice Award. Soon all the work will be over though, and it will be time to kick back with good snacks and even better friends to announce the winners and honor this year’s writers. Please join The Sac Press staff, Journalism Open guest judges and contributors at Chops Steakhouse downtown on Tuesday, Feb. 12, for our Awards Party. We’ll celebrate citizen journalism, as well as the contributors who have helped us all kick off 2013 hyperlocal style by sharing their neighborhood news stories. Tickets are $10 presale and $12 (cash only) at the door. This goes toward: One glass of beer or wine. Cheers to citizen journalism! A sample of select Chops Steakhouse appetizers – caprese bruschetta, shrimp dim sum and more. Yum. An eco-friendly limited-edition Sac Press canvas bag – what is good for the environment is also good for our community and local news, right? One raffle ticket and the chance to win gift cards from some […]

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People’s Choice: Your vote counts

Welcome to February, when the Journalism Open contest really gets good. This is the time when our contributing writers get to stop toiling and start celebrating all of their hard work. While editor Jared Goyette and myself will forward on the top ten finalist entries to our panel of guest judges to score, we’re also asking you, our readers, to get in on the action. Below you’ll find, in no particular order, the People’s Choice contenders, which were selected based on a combination of article views and thumbs ups received. We’ll count votes received up until 5 p.m. on Feb. 11. The winner will be selected soley based on approval rating. Vote for your favorite articles by giving them the coveted Sac Press thumbs up as seen here: We’ll award the writer with the highest approval rating their $400 check at our Awards Party on Feb. 12. Join us at Chops Steakhouse in downtown Sacramento for drinks, snacks and general merriment when we will announce all of the winners of this year’s open. Save yourself some cash by getting your tickets early here.  Since we are only accepting one entry per writer for the People’s Choice, we submitted the article with the highest approval rating for any writer who made the list twice. All right, check it out. Start clicking and get voting – we can’t do […]

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Precious cargo – snapshots of the light rail culture

Dubbed the "Emerald City" by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento is known as one of the most diverse metropolitan cities in Northern California, fostering an estimated population of 472,178, according to the latest Census data recorded in April 2010. Much like the capitol’s reputation to host diversity, in terms of culture, as does our Regional Transit Light Rail system, carrying diverse subcultures as its precious cargo.     Currently, RT Light Rail offers three service lines that travel across the greater Sacramento region. The Gold Line, which services travelers between downtown and historic Folsom, the Blue Line, which services between Watt/I-80 to Meadowview and the more recently implemented Green Line, servicing travelers of the River District. According to Regional Transit 2011 Key Performance Report for Fiscal Year 2012, for the month of November 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, light rail ridership increased by 19.4 percent. The 2012 Key Performance Report for Fiscal Year 2013 – the most recent report – shows an increase in ridership of 3.7 percent for the month of December 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.  What this data tells us is that RT Light Rail has seen consecutive increases in ridership over the last three years. "Ridership is tied directly to the economy. As unemployment rises, ridership tends to decrease; in turn, as our economy improves, ridership increases," said Regional Transit General Manager and CEO, Mike Wiley. “When we experience financial difficulties, we are forced to reduce services," Wiley said. […]

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Music-Come-1st Episode 1: Evolution of Hip Hop Review

On Nov. 18, 2012, I posted an article on an amazing event called Music-Come-1st Episode 1: Evolution of Hip Hop. The concept of this event was to promote saving music programs in schools. This live filming event featured the Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist Yolanda Whittaker, known as YoYo, and Sacramento’s finest local hip-hop artists, such as Destructikonz, Century Got Bars, BenOfficialTheGreat, Sol Spoken, Nome Nomaad, Mic Jordan and DJ EPIK. The event was held Dec. 21, 2012, at the California Auto Museum, and was an amazing event full of live performances, a thought-provoking panel discussion on the evolution of hip-hop, and nominations for best and worst hip-hop albums and artists of 2012. Partial proceeds from this event went toward YoYo’s School of Hip Hop, which is a program that helps young talented musicians reach and realize their full potential in music. The event was organized and facilitated by the talented and purpose-driven CEO of beyourbusiness.com, Mikal Brown. Her website helps connect entrepreneurs, and provides services to assist in entrepreneurships. In addition, the site also provides resources and funding for marketing services at discounted prices. Brown’s motto is to “Aspire to BE what you are Inspired to BE.” Music-Comes-1st is a community project organized by Brown and her staff at beyourbusiness.com. Check out the follow-up interview I did with Brown about Music-Comes-1st Episode 1: Evolution of […]

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Natomas’ Roadside Memorials

Roadside memorials stand as silent monuments where a life has been lost. In Natomas, three different memorials pay tribute to three very different men. The one thing they had in common: violent deaths. Zachary Ragan, 42 Plastic flowers, candles and dirty stuffed animals surround a cross in a vacant lot in the Sleep Train Arena’s shadow. The memorial marks the spot where Ragan – suspected of assaulting a teen with a knife the day before – was shot and killed by a Sacramento Police officer on Oct. 28. 2010. Adam Steinbach, 27 A memorial on the roadside at Del Paso and Northgate boulevards sits near the spot Steinbach was found dead of stab wounds on May 31, 2011. A week later, Sacramento Police arrested Dawayne Lawrence on suspicion of killing Steinbach after attempting to burglarize the vehicle in which he slept. Lawrence is due in Sacramento County Superior Court next week. Anthony Fairamitani, 23 The Interstate 80 overpass on Truxel Road dons Fairamitani’s nickname – “MASA” – overlooking the traffic below. Fairamitani died on June 22, 2012 after he lost control of his motorcycle, was thrown into traffic and struck by an oncoming vehicle. Last week, his memorial was updated with bright red tinsel to mark what would have been his 24th birthday. Disclosure: Brandy Tuzon Boyd publishes The Natomas Buzz, an online newspaper at […]

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