As the marijuana burns
Is Sacramento changing its mind about permitting medical-pot clubs?
SN&R recently obtained an October 18 memo to the mayor and council members in which City Manager John Shirey advised staff of the need to both revise its current medical-cannabis ordinance and also freeze the processing of all dispensary business-permit applications.
The city manager cited a recent appeals-court ruling, which challenges the legal viability of Sacramento’s ordinance, and the new U.S. attorney marijuana-enforcement strategy as rationale for this sudden change.
Specifically, the memo says that all marijuana dispensaries now must be located more than 1,000 feet from a school or park, “to avoid a sharp contrast” to the U.S. attorneys’ October 7 announcement; initially, the city-planning commission had approved 600-foot buffers.
Also, until the city attorney can weigh in on an October 4 ruling by the Second District California Court of Appeals, which stated that federal law pre-empts the city of Long Beach’s medical-pot ordinance, all applications for pot clubs in Sacramento are to be halted.
Sacramento community development director Max Fernandez said dispensaries that are moving through the permit process will be allowed to remain open.
Lobbyist Max Del Real, who was instrumental in the two-year process of crafting the city’s ordinance, expressed frustration. “The city is essentially turning its back on its own laws,” he told SN&R, citing that this will cost the city jobs, public safety and revenue. “It’s a disappointment across the board.”
Meanwhile, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents 1.3 million retail, food-production and supermarket laborers in America, is getting new members from city clubs. This past week, thousands of medical-cannabis industry workers, including many right here in Sacramento, contacted the union regarding membership.
It’s estimated that workers at at least four local dispensaries will soon be unionizing. “The industry is running to UFCW,” union director Dan Rush told SN&R. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” (Nick Miller)
Fork it over
Here’s some food for thought: According to official statistics, more than half the adults in Sacramento County are considered obese. Additionally, one in three children is overweight nationally, due in part to easy access to high-fat and sugary snacks.
With such information in mind, and to promote healthier eating, the Center for Science in the Public Interest serves up the first National Food Day on October 24. The nonprofit group aims to make Food Day an annual occasion along the lines of Earth Day.
Locally, Food Day events will take place at Sacramento State University. The activities will include cooking demonstrations, films such as Super Size Me, discussions about sustainable farming and an organic and locally grown lunch.
For more information, visit: www.foodday.org. (Hugh Biggar)