Who can justify the raids?
This is why Chico needs a medi-pot ordinance
Two weeks ago, in Chico and elsewhere in Butte County, a grave and unfortunate campaign was waged against individuals, their homes, and their collectives in the name of “fighting illegal activity” related to medical cannabis.
As a legislative advocate for the medical-cannabis industry, I have the honor of traveling the state and working closely with civic leaders, police departments, and dedicated city staff on this popular issue. Never in my tenure as a cannabis lobbyist have I witnessed such blatant disrespect for the rule of law as the gross events that unfolded last week in the North State.
As the state of California actively reaches out to embrace medical cannabis and its great and promising future, I cannot comprehend why 100 peace officers from more than two dozen law enforcement agencies would be called away from the line of duty to raid the homes and businesses of our citizenry.
It is shocking, almost embarrassing, to read reports about home invasions led by armed agents who invaded a city on the eve of Independence Day to carry out an agenda that appears misinformed, ill-guided and unjust. Such theatrics appear to ignore the attorney general of the United States of America and his order that the era of raids is over.
I proudly represent Mr. Dylan Tellesen and the Citizen Collective. For the last nine months, Mr. Tellesen and his team have dedicated themselves to working hand-in-hand with the city of Chico and its stakeholders to create a model ordinance to lawfully and effectively guide the successful regulation of medical cannabis.
It is my hope that we can continue to work together to create an outcome that works for the city of Chico and for qualified patients: a win-win resolution that is based on civic partnerships, public safety and patient rights.
This entire circus of a tragedy could have been avoided—as it has been addressed in other cities and counties—by issuing zoning violations to any dispensary operating without a permit through the Code Enforcement Department. Instead, our beloved city of Chico made the national papers as a city of sting operations and home invasions.
We must now work to repair our image by holding certain people accountable to explain the justification for these out-of-touch, costly and undemocratic raids. I suggest we “get it right” as a city and a community by creating a model ordinance for safe access to alternative medicine for qualified patients. When we do this, we can go back to being Chico—a city of progress, vision and democracy.