The Flywheel

Our Next Meeting: March 5th

The Prosecution of Crime in Contra Costa County
Mark Peterson

Mark Peterson, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney visits Richmond Rotary to discuss how the DAs Office works to prosecute and prevent crime in our county.

Mark attended our 3rd Annual Crab Feed and mentioned that he is also a City Council Member in Concord, and is running for District Attorney in the next election. This presentation is made without endorsement or warranty.



Last Meeting: February 26th

The scribe for last week's meeting notes found himself overwhelmed by scribing —or is that "scribbling"?— required for his day job. Couldn't meet our deadline. He apologizes.

On the other hand, Norm Foley seems to have no problem meeting the unremitting demand for taut, insightful content. To wit:

Norm's Nonsense

A guy buys a chainsaw from a hardware store that advertises the chainsaw will cut 70 trees in 7 hours. The next day he brings it back to the store owner and complains that the chainsaw won't do anywhere near what was advertised. The store owner says: "Let's take it out back and check it out."

Once out back the store owner pulls the cord on the chainsaw, the engine fires up and the customer says: "What's that noise?"


Prop 215 and Medicinal Marijuana in the Bay Area

sewing shopThe City of Oakland has been on the forefront of the Medicinal Marijuana movement since the passage of Prop 215, which legalized the use of marijuana in the State of California if recommended by a physician. At its high point in the late 90's the city tolerated 14 dispensaries. A city ordinance was implemented to reduce that number to 4 in order to avoid a federal government intervention.

With a $30k per year license fee plus an additional tax on all sales, Oakland has reaped great financial rewards from its pioneering policies.

To give you an idea of the magnitude of this issue, the largest dispensary in Oakland had over $20 million in sales in 2009. Ada Chan, Policy Analyst for Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan works full time on Medical Marijuana policy issues for the city. With the help of Rashad Thomas from the Goldman School of Public Policy, they are now working on "Grow Legislation" to more effectively monitor how the supply of medicine is produced. Crime statistics in Oakland have shown that the dispensaries are not a source of crime, while many of the illegal grow operations in the city are. In 2009 there were 4 robberies, 3 burglaries and 2 murders associated with residential "grows". In addition to Grow Legislation, Oakland is exploring other ways to embrace and develop the industry as the California looks towards full-blown legalization of Marijuana (State Bill AB390).

Mike Winter served up some tough questions from "the old school" about the legitimacy of the existing large number of medical marijuana patients. In addition, cities have been tasked with figuring out regulation and enforcement on their own as there is no state guidance on the issue. This is a hot topic in Richmond as it struggles to deal with 9 dispensaries currently operating within city limits. Whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, it should make for an interesting political discussion during this election year here at home.


- Scribe: Bill Koziol (Program summary)