April 6, 2012 02:23

News Nuggets (Northern California)

Oakland to get four new collectives

Oakland officials have taken a step towards approving new medical marijuana collectives. Last month, officials issued preliminary approvals to four applicants among a pool of 12 submissions from last September. If all four collectives—Oakland Community Collective, Tidewater Patients Group, G8 Medical Alliance Inc. and Agramed—open, this would double the city’s dispensaries.

Oakland Community Collective, received a conditional permit to open near downtown at 2101 Broadway. The other three were recommended for permits, but their proposed locations were either too close to schools, parks or youth centers, or the applicants had difficulties with leases. These three will have to find new locations within the next four months. “Other than that, they looked good," Arturo Sanchez, a city administrator’s advisor who oversaw the permit hearings told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We took the best applicants who could do the best job of implementing the city's ordinance and meet the requirements of state law.”


Proposed regulation initiative dropped

Organizers behind a drive to put a bill that would have regulated the medical cannabis industry on the November ballot have called off the effort, saying they’ll instead work to get cannabis legalized through the legislative process.

Activists were unable to raise enough cash to pay for the signature-gathering effort needed to qualify the proposed Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act for a statewide vote, according to news reports. They needed $2 million to pay companies to field signature gatherers, but received only $1.2 million in donations as of early March.

The organizers said they will throw their support behind a bill introduced by state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) that would set up a similar system of taxation and regulations the proposed initiative had sought.


Mendocino County drops zip-tie program

Mendocino County’s popular pilot program that saw cannabis producers and sheriff’s officials working together to ensure the safety of pot crops is no more, a casualty of the federal crackdown on medical marijuana.

The county Board of Supervisors voted in March to end the experiment, following threats of lawsuits from federal officials if the effort continued. Under the program, growers paid the county sheriff’s department a $1,500 fee and agreed to adhere to rigorous safety and reporting standards and open their operations to regular inspections. In return, sheriff’s officials marked crops by participating growers with red zip-ties to show them as cleared for public consumption.

In the two years it was in effect, the program generated more than $660,000 in fees for the sheriff’s department, brought Mendocino’s underground cannabis industry out of the shadows and improved the safety of cannabis crops. Several county supervisors told reporters they lamented the decision to end the program, but said they had no choice.

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