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Measure K Committee Old-Timer To Air Concerns at Committee Meeting 5:30 PM Today (12/15)
The voter-established Measure K Committee meets today at 5:30 PM at City Council chambers. This Committee, passed by 64% of the voters in 2006, but repeatedly obstructed by City Council, is charged with seeing that Marijuana use, cultivation, sales, possesion, etc. for adults on private property is the lowest enforcement priority The most senior member of the Committee, Med-Ex Distributor and long-time community activist is Anita Henry. She reports an unresponsive staff, a crippled ordinance, and much better police compliance in Santa Barbara.
Henry complains the Committee's meeting times have been kept unusably few and far between—only twice a year. The chair and vice-chair both resigned last summer in apparent protest at this situation. I've chronicled City Council's determination to sideline and gelder the Committee, under pressure from the SCPD and conservative Drug War fans, (“Gutted and Depleted Measure K Commission Meets Tonight 6 PM (10/8) “ at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/10/08/18452900.php)
Also at issue: staff person Tina Shull, the only paid person involved, who has not posted minutes or the semi-annual report on line. Henry also told me Shull had failed to return calls and provide requested information.
Henry reports that Santa Barbara's Lowest Enforcement Committee has a positive working relationship with their police, gets the records it wants, and meets quarterly. Seattle, with its Committee in place since 2003, has had a significant drop in marijuana arrests and citations. Santa Cruz's, in contrast, have risen 50% according to Henry.
Councilmember Madrigal has still declined to appoint a member--in a position vacant nearly 6 months now. He has not responded to several calls and e-mails from applicant Bernard Klitzner.
Archaic, vindictive, and racist Drug Hysteria War laws directly impact homeless marijuana users (who apparently have no protection under Measure K, and little under the SCPD's interpretation of Propostion 215). Marijuana clubs that retail marijuana such as Greenway and/or Ken Sampson's club are officially illegal according to D.A. Bob Lee's interpretation of state law. His view is apparently shared by the California Supreme Court, which recently held that only collectives and cooperatives are protected under SB420 and Proposition 215.
Unless folks (and this includes the Obamatons) get active to demand real Drug Hysteria War reform here locally, things will get worse rather than better (nationally marijuana arrests are up—just like locally).
I left a call with Tina Shull asking for more info, but was put into an answering machine.