In December 2010, the Orange County Board of Supervisors passed a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county. Then, for a few months, nothing happened. Cannabis collectives that had been operating on county turf continued to to so without being raided or even fined for violating the pot club prohibition.
But in recent weeks, all that's changed, with clubs (and their landlords) in the Midway City, Seal Beach and Santa Ana areas being issued hefty fines of up to $1000 per day, forcing several of them to close, or hire attorneys to plead their cases in the court on an individual basis.
All of that explains why, at tomorrow's 7 pm Board of Supervisors meeting, activists with OCNORML, the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which advocates marijuana legalization, as well as the Orange County chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will be lining up during public comments to voice their concern about the situation.
“Tomorrow, June 21st, we will visit the OC Board of Supervisos and provide testimony during public comment on the need for these collectives, says an email advisory sent out today by Kandice Hawes, OCNORML's director. “Please join us for a few hours and help to protect safe access in Orange County.”
It's unclear what effect such tactics will have on the supes, who in April 2007, narrowly voted to allow county residents to apply for state identification cards allowing them to possess and smoke marijuana for medical reasons. And the county's ban on pot clubs is just one of an array of anti-medical marijuana bills that are poised to pass through the California Legislature and become law, including a proposed ban on pot clubs operating within 600 feet from a residential home authored by State Senator Lou Correa (D-Anaheim).
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).