Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cannabis Activists Urge All Patients, Providers to Contact Gov Brown

FINAL HEARING ON AB 266 THURSDAY

(Scroll down for latest update.)

A number of local activists, patients and advocates intend to join counterparts from throughout the state in Sacramento to voice their concerns over AB 266 which comes before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow.

Chief among the concerns expressed are:

  • AB 266 does not protect patient access, will reduce the amount of available medicine and increase costs.

  • AB 266 criminalizes providers who have been acting in good faith within existing state and local frameworks.

  • AB 266 carves out an exemption for the largest city in the state.

  • AB 266 will inhibit or prevent  new entrants into the industry and could create monopolies in the distribution, delivery and testing  

  • AB 266 creates an onerous and overly complex regulatory framework involving no less than 11 state agencies as well as providing for cities and counties to create more regulations including an outright ban.


According to lobbyists, AB 266 represents the most comprehensive legislation ever written in California to regulate the 19 year old medical cannabis industry.  The bill has the support of a number of special interest groups representing law enforcement, labor and cities and counties and has moved through Sacramento with little opposition.


The bill spreads regulatory authority among 11 different state agencies. It creates an “Office of Marijuana Regulation” within the Office of the Governor,  a new Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation within the State Board of Equalization, a Division of Medical Cannabis Manufacturing and Testing within the California Department of Public Health, and a Division of Medical Cannabis Cultivation within the California Department of Food and Agriculture.


Each new regulatory body would have a year to promulgate rules.  The costs are estimated to be in excess of $20 million for the first year.

Update:
   
Further amendments to AB 266 Made As Governor’s Office Looks At Costs


This just in:






“California Cannabis Coalition, Crusaders for Patient’s Rights, Patient Advocacy Network, Axis of Love and several other statewide activists just completed a conference call with Senator Bonta’s office regarding the changes to AB266. The good news is that they have dropped the arbitrary July 1, 2015 date for provisional licenses. In fact, they have dropped the provisional licenses altogether.”



“Now the bad news. They have NOT dropped the Measure D exemption. They have also not yet included language that will ensure affordability for truly needy patients.
“In addition, they have been made aware that the restrictive definition of the word “primary caregiver” will make affordable access more difficult for those participating in the allowed small collective grows of five patients or fewer should this legislation pass despite our efforts.”
Read the full report with a letter to the Governor and other information on actions you can take here .

You can read a comprehensive analysis from a patient’s rights advocate here:


For information on tomorrow’s Sacramento schedule:


Saturday, August 15, 2015

LOTS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT SANTA CRUZ COUNTY SHERIFF'S RAIDS

In the wake of the latest County raids of private property in the Santa Cruz Mountains lots of speculation but few answers.

The newly formed Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Compliance Team conducted raids of at least 15 cannabis cultivation operations outside of Boulder Creek on Thursday, destroying dozens or more plants at over 15 locations.

Calvin Men in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20150814/thousands-of-plants-seized-in-boulder-creek-marijuana-raid

Thursday's actions were conducted in relatively easily accessible, contiguous family neighborhoods, From fifteen to twenty or more personnel were involved, not all local, for about 8 hours.  Fifteen or more separate operations were disrupted.  Many of the growers I spoke with and saw had some number of plants they were allowed to keep.

The shifting relationship between cannabis cultivators and Santa Cruz County Government has been seismic of late and the recent rebuff of proposed new restrictions by citizen's referendum seems to have escalated indiscriminate enforcement of dubious legal claim.

Much more to come.




Friday, August 14, 2015

Raids Near Town has Boulder Creek on Edge

Raids off of Bear Creek Has Boulder Creek on Edge

Cannabis Advocates, Cultivators Fear Retaliation For Referendum


Some plants were untouched, most cut at base.

Boulder Creek CA Aug 15, 2015  Around 9 am yesterday, armed and uniformed agents of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office served warrants and conducted raids on at least a dozen small size cannabis cultivation operations on private property just outside the town of Boulder Creek.  The raids began at a home south of Bear Creek,and continued at various properties throughout the area until around 5pm.   The total number of warrants served is unknown at the moment.  The combined number of plants destroyed is in the thousands


No arrests have been reported but the town, and the wider cannabis community has been abuzz with shared stories and speculation.


Around  two dozen personnel with a small fleet of vehicles went from house to house, serving warrants, searching property and cutting plants.   Many of the growers have been in business for years, have model operations and produce award winning, high quality products.


The economic damage was still being assessed, plants were weeks from harvest,  but most estimates were in the millions of dollars.  


“This will hurt a lot of families.”  said one long time Boulder Creek resident who has some property under cultivation.  “Some of the smaller growers are really crop to crop.  They won’t be able to live here anymore, they’ll have trouble with mortgage payments or paying off bills.”


There was a mix of fear and anger in the voices of many who met at a local coffee house Fri morning. Representatives of many of the local political and business organizations which have become active in the wake of the Board of Supervisors shifting policies on cultivation in the county were on hand to hear first hand accounts and consider legal strategies.


In one of the more unusual accounts one land owner successfully saved his crop by telling the officer that he would name him personally in a civil suit if he were to destroy his plants. Another grower said that he was offered a deal: if he agreed to go and cut some plants and carry them up the hill they would let him keep some others.


According to some the commanding officer seemed confused about what ordinance or law was being enforced, telling some they were allowed only a 10 x 10 sq ft garden - and then cutting everything outside a 10 x 10 and leaving one plot.  In other cases growers were allowed to say which plants they wanted to keep. Often a few plants were left untouched, in plain sight.  


This is a developing story and we will do our best to keep up.  We have reached out to the Sheriff’s office and Supervisor McPherson for comment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

VWC Candidates Forum Sept 30th at SLE

CANDIDATES FORUM SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

A forum featuring all six candidates running for the three open positions on the San Lorenzo Valley Water District Board and both candidates seeking the one State Assembly seat will take place on Tuesday, September 30, from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at the San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room. San Lorenzo Elementary is located at 7155 Highway 9 in Felton. Doors open to the public at 6:00 pm. The forum for the Water District Board candidates will run from 6:30 to 8:15, followed by the forum for the Assembly candidates.

The candidates will answer questions submitted by the audience. Voters will find this forum an excellent opportunity to see and hear the candidates, and gain an understanding of the candidates’ qualifications and their views on vital issues.

Organized by the Valley Women’s Club, the Forum is co-sponsored by The League of WomenVoters, which will moderate the forum, and Community Television, which will film the Forum and televise it several times before the election. 

The forum is open to the public and is free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. No posters or signs will be allowed at the forum. For information call VWC President, Lynn McKibben at 338-7074 or lynnmckibbin@cruzio.net, or see the website at http://valleywomensclub.org/.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

County Opts In to low cost HERO Financing tied to property taxes



        Santa Cruz County residents will soon have the option of financing green energy improvements on their property taxes.
          The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors opted Tuesday to join the California HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) Program.  The Program allows property owners of the unincorporated county to finance renewable energy and energy and water efficiency improvements on their property taxes.  Residents will also be able to purchase efficient wood burning stoves, thus improving the air quality in the San Lorenzo Valley.
          Supervisors Bruce McPherson and Neal Coonerty had proposed participating in this program.
          "This program will give residents the option of getting new, clean wood-burning stoves or solar energy renovations," said Supervisor McPherson.  "We face significant air quality problems in the San Lorenzo Valley, mostly from old wood stoves.  This gives us an opportunity to improve the quality of our air."
          Communities across California offer HERO to eligible property owners for energy efficient upgrades and improvements such as solar, HVAC, windows, roofing, water savings products, and more.  HERO provides financing to make energy and water-efficiency renovations affordable for homeowners by providing long-term, competitive financing through an assessment on their property tax bill.  It is 100% voluntary and is made available through a partnership with public agencies and 100% private investment at no cost to participating jurisdictions.
          Property owners who wish to participate agree to repay the amount borrowed through the voluntary contractual assessment together with their property taxes.  The financing is available for eligible improvements on both residential and non-residential properties.
          The HERO Program has been financing projects in California since 2011.  It is the largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program in California, financing 95% of all residential PACE projects in the state in 153 communities, with a total of $225 million financed to date on over 12,000 homes.  More than 150,000 products qualify for financing.
          Within the next six months, the Administrators of the HERO Program will complete the legal and contractual steps and announce the availability of the program.
          For more information, please visit the California HERO Program at: HERO Financing Residential Application:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quail Hollow Ranch Willow Tree Gets State, National Recognition

RED WILLOW TREE AT QUAIL HOLLOW RANCH COUNTY PARK
RECEIVES STATE AND NATIONAL RECOGNITION

            Quail Hollow Ranch County Park has received state and national recognition for a champion tree, a Red Willow, as well as a $183,000 state grant to restore reaches of Quail Hollow Brook.
            The California Big Trees Registry and the National Register of Big Trees have awarded the Quail Hollow Ranch County Park Red Willow (Salix Laevigata) the State Championship and the U.S. Championship red willow.  The willow, nominated for the awards in 2012, is near the pond close to the entrance of Quail Hollow.  It measures 56.4 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 66.25 inches and a crown spread of 39.31 feet.
            The tree was nominated by Al Keuter, a volunteer at Quail Hollow Park who   documented flora and fauna at the park for a decade before “discovering” the outstanding tree specimen.
            “Not only did the leaves turn out to be those of a red willow (newly listed for the park), but those leaves were attached to a 56 foot tall tree. Hard to miss right?” said Keuter. “Apparently the leaves had to hit me in the face.”


            The State Habitat Conservation Fund grant, matched by the County and totaling $365,340, will include stream bank and stream bed stabilization, native plant restoration plantings and interpretive signage, all of which will benefit both on-site and off-site animal and plant habitats.  It is anticipated that the restoration work will begin next summer and be completed in late fall.
            “This national recognition and state grant are welcome, well deserved, and critically important for our very special Quail Hollow Ranch County Park,” said Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who represents the Fifth District on the County Board of Supervisors.  “The County has worked very hard to sustain this ecological jewel as envisioned by the original owners.”
            “Broom bashing” work will also continue at the park using funds from a $35,000 State Habitat Conservations Fund Wildlife Area Activities Grant awarded last year for programs and activities at Quail Hollow Ranch.  In addition to the invasive plant removal program, the grant will help fund summer camps, interpretive programs, and nest box monitoring.
     “We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of community volunteers caring for the habitat and enriching the experience at Quail Hollow Ranch,” said Betsey Lynberg, Santa Cruz County Parks Director.  
            Quail Hollow Ranch County Park is a 300-acre open space and historic horse ranch located near Felton and Ben Lomond.  The park has hiking and equestrian trails, scenic overlooks, and dramatically varied habitats, from the aquatic environs of the pond to sensitive and unique sand hills.  The ranch is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered species. 

            The old ranch house, which was originally owned and built by the Lane family, founders of Sunset Magazine who donated the property to the County, is used for interpretive displays, a library, and hosting meetings.  The park is open all year long, parking is free. 





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SAN LORENZO RIVER ALLIANCE SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT

SAN LORENZO RIVER COMMUNITY FORUMS ANNOUNCED

SANTA CRUZ, CA – FEBRUARY 26, 2014 – The San Lorenzo River Alliance, a project of the Coastal Watershed Council, today announced three dates for upcoming San Lorenzo River Community Forums. The Forums are events designed for community members to voice their thoughts and ideas for improving the San Lorenzo River. Information gathered at each event will be used to guide the work of the San Lorenzo River Alliance.

At each forum, the San Lorenzo River Alliance will share projects and ideas from the 2003 San Lorenzo River Urban Plan, now halfway through its lifespan, as well as open the floor for attendees to share their own ideas for projects, events and infrastructure along the river.

“The river belongs to the community.” said Greg Pepping, Executive Director of the Coastal Watershed Council. “These forums are about finding out what the community wants in, on and around their river.” 

The first San Lorenzo River Forum was held on January 7, 2014, and included 60 environmental experts, elected officials and other thought leaders who provided their input on the top priorities to revitalize the river. Attendees attached notes to three maps showing different sections of the lower San Lorenzo River to demonstrate where they would like to see improvements. The top suggestions were opening the lower San Lorenzo River for recreational access and paddling, bringing food and food trucks to the Riverwalk, and increasing informational signage.

FORUM SCHEDULE:
-Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz
-Monday, March 24, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Highlands Park in Ben Lomond (co-hosted by Supervisor Bruce McPherson)
-Monday, May 12, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Patagonia Outlet Store in Santa Cruz. 

All forums are free and open to the public. For any questions, call (831) 464-9200 or email info@sanlorenzoriver.org.

ABOUT THE SAN LORENZO RIVER ALLIANCE
The San Lorenzo River Alliance (SLRA) was founded by the Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) in December 2013 as a public-private partnership, the goal of which is to bring positive changes to the San Lorenzo River that will result in healthier habitat, increased community access and a renewed sense of pride. To learn more, visitSanLorenzoRiver.org

ABOUT THE COASTAL WATERSHED COUNCIL
The Coastal Watershed Council is a leading organization responsible for preserving and protecting watersheds on California’s Central Coast through watershed monitoring, education and stewardship. CWC invites the community to get involved today in the stewardship of local watersheds by calling (831) 464-9200 or visiting the CWC website at www.coastal-watershed.org.

Monday, January 13, 2014

3rd Annual Ukulele Extravaganza Jan 31 6-8pm at SLV High





Felton, California, January 10, 2014. Friday, January 31, 2014 marks the 3rd annual Ukulele Spaghetti
Extravaganza in Felton, California. This event takes place at the San Lorenzo Valley Middle School
gymnasium from 6-8pm.
Dinner consists of spaghetti with homemade meat or marinara sauce, garlic bread, and salad. Gluten-free
noodles are available by request. A silent auction and raffle will also be held at the event. Students of the
various music programs throughout the district will be donating their time to set-up and clean-up for the
event, as well as to coordinating parking.

In addition to dinner, the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz, Sons of the Beach Club, and other local clubs will
lead guests in an ensemble of over 60 ukulele players in songs appropriate for any level player. Participants
are encouraged to bring their own instruments, and instruments will also be provided for the evening
free of charge. According to Joy Hagen, club president: “What started out to be a fund-raising event has
become a fun community get-together that my family looks forward to. I can see us coming even after our
kids have graduated.”

The music boosters will donate some of the tickets to Valley Churches United Mission for distribution to
valley residents. Suggested ticket prices for the event are $15 for adults, $8 for children and students, and
are available for purchase at Tiki King’s Ukuleles of Felton, 6235 Highway 9, Suite B. Call for tickets at
704-7027.

The San Lorenzo Valley Music Boosters is a group of parents who donate their time to support the
district music program from elementary to high school. The boosters raise funds for equipment and
supplies, and also to off-set the costs of performances and competitions. No student in the district will be
denied the opportunity to participate in band or choir due to financial need.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mood Management with Essential Oils Workshop Jan 15 in Felton

A workshop focused on using essential oils to manage stress will be hosted by Heather Williams and Jeni Houston at Mountain Spirit on Hwy 9 in Felton on Jan 15 from 7 to 9pm.  Learn how pure, therapeutic grade essential oils can help manage stress, anxiety, and emotions in your daily lives. 

Heather Williams has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Santa Cruz California, is an owner of Sprockets Bike Shop, a mother of four, and an Essential Oil Educator. She has been working with plant based medicine for over seven years and has been offering classes on Essential Oils, specifically, for the last year. 

Jeni Houston is a natural healer, athlete, and mother- she has been studying plant based medicine for the last decade. She now teaches classes and workshops while running an at home business and raising her two children with her husband in Felton, CA.

The workshop will include:

-Making your own mood elevating spritzer
-Enjoying an AromaTouch hand massage
-Entering in an essential oil raffle

When: Wednesday, January 15th 7pm to 9pm
Where: Mountain Spirit, 6299 Hwy 9, Felton, CA
Cost: $10"