April 20, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Cannabis industry is following an important strategy Big Tobacco pioneered: preemption

One of Big Tobacco’s most important strategies for thwarting public health is preemption, where they get a higher level political jurisdiction to take away communities’ rights to pass local legislation protecting public health.  (Philip Morris and its sidekick Juul, are trying to preempt effective Tobacco 21 legislation both to protect against effective Tobacco 21 laws and also as part of their effort to fight bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products.)

Cal Matters’  Dan Morain pointed out that cannabis interests are now working hard to do the same thing in California to remove communities’ rights to avoid being dragged into the cannabis market.  Here is his April 19, 2019 story:

Backers of the 2016 initiative that legalized commercial marijuana sales promised voters that cities and counties would be able to regulate weed sales in their jurisdictions.

Now, legislation facing its first hearing on Tuesday would hedge on that promise.

San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting is carrying legislation that would require cities or counties that voted in favor of the legalization initiative, Proposition 64, to grant one license for a retail cannabis outlet for every four retail liquor licenses in that jurisdiction.

Ting: “With over 57 percent of the voters passing prop 64, we still have 77 percent of cities not offering to approve licenses for legal cannabis permits.”

At a recent press conference convened by Ting, speakers representing United Domestic Workers, an arm of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, and a veteran lent their support, citing marijuana’s medicinal properties.

Veteran Aaron Augustus: “There are 22 veterans committing suicide every day. Medical cannabis could have saved their lives.”

The bill applies to recreational marijuana outlets.

The League of California Cities called the legislation “heavy-handed,” arguing: “In essence, attempting to require cities to establish a 1 to 4 ratio of local retail cannabis licenses to liquor licenses removes the ability for locals to decide what is appropriate for their communities.”

Recent history: California’s 2016 voter handbook, which went to all registered voters, stated: “Under the measure, cities and counties could regulate nonmedical marijuana businesses. … Cities and counties could also completely ban marijuana-related businesses.”

I don’t see how the Legislature can undo an initiative, but the State seems committed to overriding the specific provision in Prop 64 protecting local control, as the Bureau of Cannabis Consumption did when it passed a rule allowing companies that deliver cannabis to do so even in communities that prohibit local sales.

Morain also pointed out that five big players in the cannabis business donated $1.07 million to elect candidates in the 2017-18 campaign cycle:  the company that owns the Weedmaps app, Medmen, Cannabis Industry Association, Terra Tech and the delivery service Eaze. Many others gave smaller sums. Venture capitalists involved in seeding the industry gave more.   For a deeper look at the influence of cannabis money in Sacramento, read Laurel Rosenhall’s piece in CALmatters.

The longer the big health groups sit on the sidelines, the more entrenched Big Weed will get.   Americans for Nonsmokers Rights and the American Academic of Pediatrics are two advocacy groups that seems actively concerned about these developments.



Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the important note on AB 1356 (Ting), a bill which would wrest away what is left of local control of cannabis, forcing jurisdictions where more than 50% of voters supported AUMA - a ballot initiative that promised local control - to allow licensing of cannabis retail dispensaries in numbers up to 25% of alcohol licenses.

There are about 20,000 of the specified alcohol license types or 1:2000 residents - 25% of that would be 1:8,000 residents for cannabis dispensaries. In contrast, Washington started with 1:22,000 cannabis licenses. And existing alcohol outlets is a terrible model to follow because these have for years been concentrated exactly in low-income vulnerable communities.

Recalling that under current law any adult California resident can grow their own plants - so no one is unable to get their marijuana legally if they really want it. It is still very unclear what the best and safest model for legal cannabis sales are. But a store on every corner owned by wealthy investors is not going to be the best model. Communities need time and freedom to work out the best approaches.

The bill is being heard tomorrow:
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Business And Professions
LOW, Chair
9:30 a.m. - State Capitol, Room 4202

Committee members :

District Office & Contact Information
Evan Low (Chair) Dem - 28 Contact Assembly Member Evan Low
Capitol Office, Room 4126
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0028; (916) 319-2028

William P. Brough (Vice Chair) Rep - 73 Contact Assembly Member William P. Brough
Capitol Office, Room 3141
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0073; (916) 319-2073

Dr. Joaquin Arambula Dem - 31 Contact Assembly Member Dr. Joaquin Arambula
Capitol Office, Room 5155
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0031; (916) 319-2031

Richard Bloom Dem - 50 Contact Assembly Member Richard Bloom
Capitol Office, Room 2003
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0050; (916) 319-2050

Phillip Chen Rep - 55 Contact Assembly Member Phillip Chen
Capitol Office, Room 4177
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0055; (916) 319-2055

David Chiu Dem - 17 Contact Assembly Member David Chiu
Capitol Office, Room 4112
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0017; (916) 319-2017

Jordan Cunningham Rep - 35 Contact Assembly Member Jordan Cunningham
Capitol Office, Room 4102
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0035; (916) 319-2035

Brian Dahle Rep - 01 Contact Assembly Member Brian Dahle
Capitol Office, Room 2170
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0001; (916) 319-2001

Susan Talamantes Eggman Dem - 13 Contact Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman
Capitol Office, Room 4117
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0013; (916) 319-2013

Vince Fong Rep - 34 Contact Assembly Member Vince Fong
Capitol Office, Room 2002
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0034; (916) 319-2034

Mike A. Gipson Dem - 64 Contact Assembly Member Mike A. Gipson
Capitol Office, Room 3173
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0064; (916) 319-2064

Todd Gloria Dem - 78 Contact Assembly Member Todd Gloria
Capitol Office, Room 2176
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0078; (916) 319-2078

Timothy S. Grayson Dem - 14 Contact Assembly Member Timothy S. Grayson
Capitol Office, Room 4164
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0014; (916) 319-2014

Chris R. Holden Dem - 41 Contact Assembly Member Chris R. Holden
Capitol Office, Room 5132
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0041; (916) 319-2041

Jacqui Irwin Dem - 44 Contact Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin
Capitol Office, Room 5119
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0044; (916) 319-2044

Kevin McCarty Dem - 07 Contact Assembly Member Kevin McCarty
Capitol Office, Room 2136
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0007; (916) 319-2007

Jose Medina Dem - 61 Contact Assembly Member Jose Medina
Capitol Office, Room 2141
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0061; (916) 319-2061

Kevin Mullin Dem - 22 Contact Assembly Member Kevin Mullin
Capitol Office, Room 3160
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0022; (916) 319-2022

Jay Obernolte Rep - 33 Contact Assembly Member Jay Obernolte
Capitol Office, Room 4116
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0033; (916) 319-2033

Philip Y. Ting Dem - 19 Contact Assembly Member Philip Y. Ting
Capitol Office, Room 6026
P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0019; (916) 319-2019

Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, FAAP
Senior Advisor
Public Health Institute
555 12th Street, 10th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
[email protected]
+1 917-974-7065

Clinical Professor
University of California San Francisco


My apologies, a small correction, communities would only be required to go to 1 outlet per 10:000 residents.

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