This is a special invitation to participate in the virtual BMD eboard meeting this Sunday, May 17 at 6 p.m. by calling into our conference call number 701-802-5390 and entering access code 2545046#.
The agenda is printed at the end of this email but I am pleased to announce the Agi Kessler, chair of the CaDEM resolution committee, will be our guest speaker. Agi will speak on the importance of submitting resolutions, how you can submit resolutions and how the resolution committee will work on passing resolutions at the first ever July 24- 26 virtual CaDEM Eboard meeting. Most importantly she will impart specific information on BMD’s resolution on cannabis lounges and what we can do to help it get passed.
The main action to be discussed at our virtual eboard meeting centers on the most disappointing and troublesome aspect of implementing Prop. 64 - the continuing refusal of almost 75% of California cites and counties to allow cannabis businesses to operate in their community – even in those communities that voted in favor of Prop. 64.
Not only does this refusal undermine the will of the voters in passing Prop. 64, but it forces the residents of these communities to either drive many miles to areas that do allow cannabis distribution or, as most probably do, continue to buy it from illegal local non-licensed dealers.
As far as I know there is no concerted organized effort to change this. There are two ways to change it:
- Lobby and convince the officials currently serving on city councils and county boards to implement ordinances to allow cannabis businesses
- Elect new officials to city councils and county boards that would implement ordinances to allow cannabis businesses to operate.
Over the last several years I have beaten my head repeatedly against a wall trying to get cities in the Inland Empire to implement ordinances allowing cannabis businesses. With very few exceptions, an aching head is all I got. I have spoken with others, such as BMD Secretary Susan O’Leary and others who have had pretty much the same experience. As a consequence, I do not have much confidence in changing the situation with Way #1.
Way #2, electing people to office who have already committed to allowing cannabis businesses to operate is the way to go and I believe BMD is ideally suited to undertake the development of such a program.
Republicans dominate local politics in California because the Republican party had put a lot of grassroot effort into electing Republicans to non-partisan local governing bodies such as school boards and water districts as well as city councils and county boards. Democrats did not and CaDEM belatedly recognized that this had to be changed.
Consequently, over the last four years, there has been a push for Democrats to run for these non-partisan offices. I was part of this effort when local Democrats asked me to run for the San Gorgonio Memorial Healthcare District. With their help I was elected.
Since Democrats are far more likely to support implementing cannabis legalization in their communities, this is the perfect opportunity to get Democrats elected to local offices and at the same time get Prop. 64 fully implemented in areas that have thwarted its implementation.
As a result of the COVID-19 virus, it is expected that most California marijuana legislation will not see the light of day or even a darkened committee room in the 2020 legislative session. At the virtual BMD eboard meeting this Sunday we will be discussing how to put together a program that will train local cannabis advocates in communities that do not allow cannabis businesses to get active with their county Democratic Central Committees. Working with local Democrats, they will recruit Democratic candidates who support the opening of cannabis businesses to run for local offices and then help get them elected.
It should be noted that SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) a nation-wide organization opposed to cannabis legalization, has instituted a program to help local communities in states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana to frustrate and undermine efforts to allow cannabis businesses as permitted by their state laws. To read their press release about their program CLICK HERE.
CaDEM already opposes what SAM is doing to undermine Prop. 64 as CaDEM passed a BMD resolution in 2018 calling on local governments to allow cannabis businesses to operate. The party should be especially concerned then because although SAM is supposedly non-partisan, SAM’s initiative will help re-elect Republicans to local offices.
I believe we can get the support of CaDEM and major Democratic funders to support our program with time and money to elect pro-cannabis candidates to office if we develop one that looks like it is feasible and can actually help elect Democrats to office.
Take a gander at our agenda below then mark your calendar for Sunday, May 17 at 6 p.m. and join us with special guest Agi Kessler for an interesting, informative, entertaining and engaging meeting. We would benefit from hearing your ideas during the discussions on the agenda items so please call-in.
Brownie Mary Democrats of California
Eboard teleconference meeting
Sunday, May 17 at 6 p.m.
Call in number – 701-802-5390
access code – 2545046#
Its super easy, super quick and cheap to join the Brownie Mary Democrats– won’t take even 60 seconds. You know it’s the right thing to do and along with cannabis, joining BMD will help you sleep better at night. To join now CLICK HERE.
Brownie Mary Democrats
Brownie Mary Democrats at State Convention with Exhibit Booth and Awards Banquet
We are coming upon the end of the second year of adult legalization in California for any purpose. Although there are still a lot of bumps in the road, considering that over a half million arrests were made from 2006 to 2015, there is no comparison to the way it use to be.
At the 2019 CaDEM Endorsing Convention in Long Beach Nov. 15 - 17, Brownie Mary Democrats are going to be there celebrating the continued withering away of marijuana prohibition with our ever-so-popular exhibit booth and our annual Awards Banquet. Our presence every year at the Convention makes it known to all Democrats and Democratic elected officials of the progress we have made and that we expect to continue making progress as Democrats enforce the will of California voters and establish a commercial market with reasonable, common sense regulations.
If you are going to the Convention in Long Beach we invite you to stop by our booth in the Exhibit area where, along with the latest information on what is happening with cannabis legalization, you can get a free cannabis leaf necklace as well as enter the drawing to win a deluxe cannabis gift basket.
Best of all we invite you to join us Saturday evening following the Presidential Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. for our annual Awards Banquet. This it at a most fitting venue for a cannabis event - it is the King Buffet restaurant featuring an all-you-can-eat delectable array of Chinese foods, a Mongolian Grill, deserts and beverages. Located at 520 Pine Ave., just 6 blocks from the convention center, it is an easy 10 minute walk or there is also free two hour parking at the parking garage just 1/2 block from the restaurant.
Our featured speakers and guests of honor are State Senator Scott Wiener, author of numerous cannabis bills including SB 34 which eliminated taxes on marijuana distributed for free by compassion clubs, Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, sponsor of AB 37 which allows cannabis businesses to deduct business expenses on their state taxes and AB 1291 which requires cannabis businesses to negotiate with unions, United Food and Commercial Workers union Executive Director Amber Bauer and Prop. 215 co-author, spokesperson and medical marijuana icon Anna Boyce.
Another deluxe cannabis gift basket will be given away to attendees of our awards banquet plus other delightful cannabis swag. Speakers, prizes, unsurpassed camaraderie and the cost is just $25. For more info CLICK HERE and to order your tickets and reserve your place at the table CLICK HERE.
If you have some time and would like to volunteer to help us at the Exhibit Booth, we would welcome your help. Send an email to email@example.com and I will get back to you.
Brownie Mary Hits the Big Time at CaDEM Convention
Exhibit Booth Record, First Cannabis Event with Cannabis, End Fed Marijuana Prohibition Resolution Passes
The 2019 CaDEM state convention was every bit as exciting as I thought it was going to be and it seems that one of the standouts of the Convention was the Brownie Mary Democrats. In a lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal on the convention mainly centering on the presentations by the Democratic presidential candidates and the reactions of the convention delegates to them, the only mention of anything else happening at the Convention was about an off-site event sponsored by the LGBTQ caucus and what the Brownie Mary Democrats were doing at the Convention with their exhibit booth and cannabis soiree.
“The Brownie Mary Democrats, meantime, gave away cannabis leaf necklaces and provided updates on marijuana legalization. The group hosted a “Cannabis Soiree” on Saturday evening at a licensed cannabis dispensary a block away from the convention center.”
That only LGBTQ folk and cannabis consumers were the WSJ articles only notables other than Presidential candidates says something – I am not sure exactly what it says, but it says something.
As usual our exhibit booth was one of the most visited and this year we broke all records having over 400 people sign up for the drawing to win one of the five cannabis gift baskets. With 4,000 people in attendance, that means over 10% of everyone in attendance came to our booth and signed up for a chance to win a cannabis basket.
We also signed up 25 new members. With the email addresses of over 400 others, we will be sending them our email newsletter which always gets us new members as well as getting them to take action to contact their legislators when important pieces of legislation are coming up for a vote. Most importantly it will encourage them to promote the Democratic Party and to get them involved in electing Democrats to office.
Perhaps one of the most exciting events and certainly one of the most talked about was our Cannabis Soiree. As noted in the WSJ article, it was held at the Green Door “a licensed cannabis dispensary a block away from the convention center” that maintains an adjacent consumption lounge for private events. BMD and other cannabis groups have sponsored cannabis events at previous CaDEM state conventions, but this was the first one that actually had cannabis at the event.
Close to 100 people attended with conversation and joviality permeating the celebratory crowd. Unlike all the other convention events which featured alcohol with people tightly clenching their own glass of alcohol or bottle of beer, at the BMD soiree the fragrance of cannabis filled the air as people shared their personal stash with their new found friends.
A spectrum of cannabis activists, industry representatives and convention delegates attended this first ever cannabis event with cannabis. We still have a way to go to get elected officials to attend our events, but we were honored to have State Senator Anna Caballero in attendance. Representing District 12 which includes the cities of Merced and Salinas, Senator Caballero joined us at the Green Door lounge.
In addition to our exhibit booth and cannabis soiree, BMD also introduced a resolution to END FEDERAL CANNABIS PROHIBITION which called on California’s Congressional Democratic legislators to work to “immediately” bring an end to federal cannabis prohibition and to join the bi-partisan Cannabis Congressional Caucus chaired by California Congresswoman Barbara Lee. To read the resolution CLICK HERE.
The resolution passed unanimously and was considered to be so important by CaDEM’s Resolution Committee that it was given priority status and listed as one of the top ten resolutions for implementation out of the 200+ resolutions that were submitted for consideration at the 2019 state convention. A resolution is the policy of the Democratic Party and all elected Democrats are expected to support the resolutions and actively work to implement them.
Due to California’s 2020 primaries being moved from June to March, CaDEM will be holding a second state convention in 2019 from November 15 – 17 in Long Beach for the purpose of endorsing candidates for the primaries and setting in motion programs to increase voter turnout and elect Democrats to office including the office of President of the United States. With California’s primary in March, our state has truly become the big enchilada and what happens at the November state convention will have a profound impact on every Democratic primary throughout the country.
As we have since 2013, BMD will be at Long Beach with an exhibit booth AND will be publishing a list with the position of every Democratic presidential candidate on cannabis legalization and drug law reform. The list will be distributed to the 4,000 delegates and elected officials attending the Long Beach convention.
Cannabis legalization is an important issue for many delegates and what they find out from us may very well affect who they chose to vote for which could affect the eventual outcome of the all-important and much sought after endorsement of the California Democratic Party – the largest state political party in the country and the party that controls the government of the 5th largest economy in the world.
BMD does all of the above and more. Just the week before the Convention, BMD joined with the Pass Democratic Club to register voters at the High Times Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino. High Times provided the table free of charge and we registered 30 new voters – 19 Democrats, 6 NPP (no party preference) and 5 Republicans.
From the Wall Street Journal to High Times Cannabis Cup, BMD is active and involved, but we count on our members’ support to help us do it all. If you are not a member of BMD, please take just a minute and JOIN NOW. If you were a member but haven't renewed for 2019, please renew now. Standard memberships are only $10 per year and only $5 for seniors, veterans, students and low-income.
Its super easy and super quick to join – won’t take even 60 seconds. You know it’s the right thing to do and along with cannabis, joining BMD will help you sleep better at night. To join now CLICK HERE.
Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
Chair & Founder
Brownie Mary Democrats of California
Brownie Mary to Submit Employment Protection Resolution & Meeting @ Oakland CaDEM Eboard meeting July 13 - 15
The summer CaDEM Eboard meeting takes place this July 13 – 15 in Oakland. With a contentious endorsement contest pitting Senator Diane Feinstein against challenger former Calif. Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin DeLeon and planning for California Democrats to oust 7 Republicans occupying congressional districts that were won by Hillary Clinton, this will be a most exciting event.
The Eboard meeting is being held at the Marriot Oakland City Center City, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607. All Democrats are welcome to attend. All committee and board meetings as well as Hospitality Suites and candidate events are open to everyone free of charge. To attend the Eboard general sessions requires you either be an Eboard member or purchase an observer pass for $40. To see the agenda for the Eboard and other information about the meeting, CLICK HERE.
Brownie Mary Democrats will be right there in thick of it with the introduction of a resolution seeking employment protections for cannabis consumers and holding a general BMD membership meeting on Saturday.
If you are in the Bay area this weekend, you are most welcome to join us at our general membership meeting on Saturday, July 14 at 6 p.m. and to attend the resolution committee meeting on Friday, July 13 at 4 p.m. where we will be presenting our resolution on protecting cannabis consumers from being fired from their jobs on Monday morning for using cannabis on Sunday.
BMD has presented resolutions since we first introduced a plank to the Party’s Platform in 2014 calling on the Party and all Democrats to support marijuana legalization. This is the first time, however, that any of our resolutions has met with any push-back. Opposition to the employment protection resolution is coming from some trade unions who believe that the use of marijuana will impair a worker’s ability to competently and safely perform their job.
I have prepared a response to those concerns which I will present at the Resolution Committee meeting. To see the resolution and my response to the opposition CLICK HERE.
We also are holding a general BMD meeting which you are cordially invited to attend. The meeting will be held on Sat. July 14 at 6 p.m. at the IMPERIAL SOUP restaurant at 723 Webster St - only 3 blocks from the Mariott Hotel between 7th & 8th St. Imperial Soup is a unique restaurant featuring a wide selection of herbal and healthy Chinese dishes for around $10.
With speakers, a robust agenda and prizes, I am sure you will find the meeting to be of interest and the attendees to be jovial and a delight to meet. The agenda for the meeting is listed below. If you have any questions, please call me at 760-799-2055.
Brownie Mary Democrats of California
General Membership Meeting
July 14 at 6 p.m.
- Call to order
- Financial Report
- Report on employment protection resolution
- Report on local issues
- Analysis of state legislative bills
- Analysis of ongoing federal legislation
- Other business
- Prize drawings
Support our work and give us more clout at the CaDEM Eboard meeting by becoming a member of the CaDEM Statewide Chartered Brownie Mary Democrats of California. It's never-too-late to join. $10 for standard membership, $5 for seniors, veterans, students, low income. To join: CLICK HERE.
- Results of CaDEM Eboard meeting
- Implementing Prop. 64 resolution passes
- Feinstein Out-of-Touch and Too Old? Some people think so
- Endorsing Candidates
- CaDEM State Convention Feb. 23 – 25 in San Diego
- Making Changes to Make Prop. 64 Better
- Marijuana in the Bible Belt
The California Democratic Party (CaDEM) Eboard meeting on Nov. 17 – 19 in Millbrae was awesome- well maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but it was a very worthwhile three days. Excellent information and even more excellent networking.
One thing for certain is that there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in CaDEM – it seems that Eric Bauman has successfully navigated the schism that developed over the contested Chair’s election between him and Kimberly Ellis.
Attended several caucus meeting as well as the hospitality suites. The general sessions of the Eboard laid out the plans for the Party in the upcoming primary and general elections in 2018. There were speakers from the Party as well as numerous elected officials on federal, state and local levels.
As for the resolution that BMD-CA introduced against cities and counties banning and urging them to implement the commercial provisions of Prop. 64, it passed unanimously after a minor change in the wording
I have written a newsletter entitled The Magic Bullets of Prop. 64 about the resolution and how it can be used in cities and counties that have enacted bans. To read it CLICK HERE.
While there my partner and I met and spoke with several elected officials including Senate President Kevin DeLeon who is challenging Sen. Diane Feinstein in the June 2018 primaries for U.S. Senate.
As I am sure you are all aware, Feinstein is a disaster on drug policy reform and marijuana legalization. She is deficient in other areas as well and I guess DeLeon believes she can be defeated because so many Democrats are fed up with her.
Also she is 85 years old and her chance of living long enough to complete her term in 2024 in actuarial terms is around 50/50. There comes a point when a rational person should recognize that it is time for them to step aside and let younger people take over. So between dissatisfaction with her position and polices and concern about her advanced age, DeLeon certainly has a good chance in the primary election.
Of course there is rumors that Tom Steyer is seriously considering running, but although Steyer did speak at one of the general Eboard sessions, he did not mention anything about running for the U.S. Senate or Governor which is another office he is rumored to be considering. When you are a billionaire – anything is possible – as if Trump isn’t proof enough of that.
When I was at the Eboard meeting, I visited the tables of many candidates in the exhibit area. They all want the endorsement of the Brownie Mary Democrats so we will have to figure out who we want to endorse. We be discussing that at the next BMD-CA Eboard teleconference which all members of BMD-CA are invited to join. Plus all members of BMD-CA will be able to participate in the endorsement process. If you wold like to become a member of BMD-CA, CLICK HERE.
I would think that quite a number of marijuana consumers would pay attention to our endorsements and I think a lot of candidates are aware of that. At our next BMD-CA Eboard teleconference we will discuss getting our endorsements out to these people.
CaDEM’s State Convention Feb. 23 – 25 in San Diego is going to be really something with many of the candidates seeking the party's endorsement. At the 2016 convention it was beyond exciting seeing Harris and Sanchez battling for the Party's endorsement for the U.S Senate. It will be an electrifying cliffhanger to see if the Party does endorses Feinstein or chooses to endorse someone else. The endorsement for Governor is also going to a real horse race as well, so the State Convention is going to a barn burner.
I know for many of you it is quite a drive to get to San Diego - but this convention will be worth it. If you have never attended a California Democratic State Party convention, it is not to be missed. It is the true grass roots of the party with over 3,000 delegates and close to 1,000 state party officials, elected office holders, candidates for office and political gadflies. To say that it is exciting and fun would be an understatement.
At past CaDEM State Conventions there have been big name speakers, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and every top state elected official from the Governor on down. There is a large exhibit area with Democratic organizations and candidates, activist groups and businesses where you can speak with the movers and shakers of California politics as well as walk away with a bagful of information, souvenirs and chotskies.
Plus there are a dozen or more Hospitality Suites where you can schmooze with Democrats from all over the state while elected officials, candidates, organizations and businesses ply you with drink and food. Of course the networking opportunities are beyond description.
CaDEM has not posted any info on the convention yet, but it is just around the corner. To keep informed go to: www.cadem.org and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Calendar and look for the Convention listing.
Prop. 64 will kick in big time on Jan. 1, 2018 when commercial sales, manufacture and cultivation becomes legal and the state starts issuing licenses. Prop. 64 is not perfect and even more flaws are sure to show up during its commercial implementation. Prop. 64 allows the legislature to make needed changes and BMD-CA will be working with Democratic state legislators to make the needed changes and to make sure that these changes improve Prop. 64 and do not hinder or impede California’s marijuana legalization initiative.
You can be part of this exciting time and being a member of BMD-CA gives you a front row seat. If you are not a member, please consider joining BMD-CA now. It is very inexpensive – only $10 for regular memberships and just $5 for seniors, veterans, students, unemployed and low income. Plus join now and your membership is good to the end of 2018. To join CLICK HERE.
Marijuana in the Bible Belt
When it comes to marijuana, living in the south can be very dangerous. Georgia reflects that danger but change is afoot as Atlanta GA decriminalized marijuana possession in October 2017. Leading the charge to reform Georgia's draconian marijuana laws is Peachtree NORML battling for common sense marijuana laws where few dare to tread.
Dean Sines is the fearless Deputy Director of Peachtree NORML and has been involved for years working to end marijuana prohibition. On this special segment of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense, Dean speaks out about the current law in GA today, the political environment regarding changing the law, NORML's role in Atlanta's recent decriminalization of marijuana, the ease of finding and the quality of marijuana in Georgia, what is being done to change the law, what Peachtree NORML is up to and a few more intriguing tidbits about life in the deep south.
Listen to the award winning podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews and find out how marijuana legalization is changing the political landscape in the south and is helping bridge the cultural gap between north and south. It’s on right now – CLICK HERE to listen.
The Opioid Epidemic
vs. The Crack Epidemic
As Different as Black & White - Literally
I was very fortunate to be given a scholarship to attend the 2017 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Atlanta GA Oct. 11 – 14. The biennial conference attracts over 1,500 drug policy scholars, researchers professionals, victims and reformers from over 80 countries for three days of plenary sessions and seminars. It is a treasure house of knowledge and an orgy of networking.
Racial justice has always been a topic at previous Drug Policy Reform conferences, but this conference put it front and center making it the focal point of multiple breakout sessions, rallies and exhibits. Featuring keynote speaker Michelle Alexander, author of the acclaimed bestseller The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the centrality of race and the drug war was paramount.
That the Drug War has always been about race can be traced to 1972 and the beginnings of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of a War on Drugs. In 1994, John Ehrlichman, White House counsel and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to President Nixon told Harper's magazine journalist Dan Baum:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
The hippies may be mainly a thing of the past, but the black community is not. That our country's new AG Jeff Sessions, who was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 by the Senate Judiciary Committee because of racist statements, is reinvigorating the War on Drugs with all its racist implications and underpinnings is to be expected. Ms. Alexander’s keynote address centered on the need to understand that emphasizing “We must be committed to placing race and racial justice at the very center of the drug policy reform movement.”
Asking “how drug policy fits into the bigger picture of American Democracy,” Ms. Alexander’s address was as disturbing as it was empowering. Upon hearing it some people will jump to their feet applauding her every word while others may feel scapegoated and put upon, but it is an address that needs to be heard and judged by all. Fortunately, her spellbinding presentation was videotaped and you can see and hear it now – CLICK HERE.
The first few minutes are perfunctory acknowledgements but soon she comes to a comparison of the current opioid epidemic to the crack epidemic of the 90s and the presentation becomes spellbinding, riveting and illuminating beyond measure.If you haven't already started seeing and hearing Ms. Alexander's presentation, and you probably haven't since you are still reading this, then stop reading this now and CLICK HERE.