CALIFORNIA: The San Bernardino Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016 (SBRMA) announced that the citizen-backed initiative submitted more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the upcoming November ballot. SBRMA projects that passage of this model legislation will result in an economic windfall for San Bernardino government and residents with $15-20 million in new revenue and over 1,200 living wage jobs. Today, San Bernardino has more than 30 illegal marijuana businesses near schools and homes despite a citywide ban. SBRMA will restrict the location of authorized dispensaries and generate the funds needed to enforce these common-sense regulations.
“Considering the amount of money the city has spent chasing down dispensaries, it certainly makes sense to consider bringing the market above ground and generating some revenues from it,” wrote the San Bernardino County Sun’s editorial board on June 28, 2016. “If anything has been accomplished by decades of prohibition, it is the enrichment of the black market.”
Common-Sense Regulation Keeps Marijuana Away from Schools and Homes
SBRMA is the first comprehensive, municipal ballot initiative that builds on California’s recent Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. SBRMA addresses citizen concerns for public safety, nuisance and safe access. It does so by restricting the location of marijuana businesses, moving them away from schools and homes and by regulating security concerns, criminal background checks, odor, hours of operation and much more.
California cities like San Diego, Palm Springs and San Jose have already benefited from similar efforts. Cities that regulate this market see a significant increase in revenue and a dramatic decrease in the number of illegal businesses, criminal activity and citizen complaints. The SBRMA initiative will generate new revenue from a variety of regulated businesses, including medical marijuana dispensaries. This will pay for law enforcement and contribute to the overall city budget. This ballot initiative incorporates the best practices of successful cities across California and will deliver similar results.
San Bernardino’s Failed Ban
In 2007, San Bernardino banned the sale of medical marijuana. Yet, over 30 illegal marijuana businesses operate in violation of this ban and near schools and homes. “The effort to shut [dispensaries] down has been unsuccessful,” said San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis. “We need to re-strategize our approach.” Rather than encouraging an illegal black market to profit, cities like San Diego, Palm Springs and San Jose have seized the opportunity to license and regulate the market. By signing the petition, San Bernardino voters are asking for similar responsible legislation that acknowledges the futility of banning medical marijuana and regulates it, generates revenue and keeps it away from children. These voters are demanding comprehensive regulation with the power of real enforcement and the benefit of new revenue for police officers, the fire department, infrastructure improvements and city services.
Enthusiastic Voters Demand Fast Action
As recently as 2014, the City Attorney encouraged fast action. The voters’ enthusiastic response to SBRMA meant that this important initiative obtained signatures in record time with over 6,000 signatures submitted. While San Bernardino has a network of illegal marijuana businesses that attract criminals, other California cities regulate this market with responsible policy and collect millions of dollars. San Bernardino citizens demand similar regulations that eliminate confusion, generate new revenue and offer legitimate patients safe access to a handful of well-regulated dispensaries.
Competing Measures May Reach the Ballot
Two competitive measures may also appear on the upcoming ballot. “The city attorney is rushing an initiative to the ballot,” notes Craig Baresh, Executive Director of the California Cannabis Coalition. “But this measure is a mess. It does not generate any funds for enforcement and violates the city’s own law for planning commission review of any zoning changes. Also, given that the city found that dispensaries have adverse effects on traffic and noise, this measure invites lawsuits because it violates state environmental law. A second measure may also appear on the ballot, but it is a flagrant attempt to protect the existing illegal dispensaries and exempt them from any taxes. And this second measure offers no regulations if state voters pass the initiative to legalize recreational use. SBRMA will be the only comprehensive measure on the ballot that generates revenue for enforcement and doesn’t protect illegal operators or invite lawsuits.”
The time has come for common-sense regulations. SBRMA encourages voters to contact city council members to support SBRMA and to vote ‘Yes’ on SBRMA in November. Learn more and volunteer at http://www.sbrma2016.com.
About San Bernardino Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016
The San Bernardino Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016 (SBRMA) is a citizen-backed initiative that will bring comprehensive and rational reform to medical marijuana laws in the city and projects $15-20 million in new revenue and 1,200 living wage jobs. This projected revenue will deliver an economic windfall to the City of San Bernardino through new revenue to support public safety and enforcement. To achieve this, SBRMA will end the current ineffective ban, eliminate illegal marijuana businesses and offer licensing for well-regulated businesses located far from schools and homes. SBRMA will be on the ballot on November 8, 2016. Learn more at http://www.sbrma2016.com.