Emerald Unity Coalition Kicks Off MMCA Campaign in Lake County


July 21 - A successful Emerald Unity Coalition event was held on Saturday, July 19 in Lake County to kick off the MMCA (Medical Marijuana Control Act), an initiative that will be on the November ballot to establish better regulations in Lake for marijuana gardens.

About 50 enthusiastic Lake County residents and others attended the party, featuring a delicious BBQ and groovy tunes from the B Side Blues Band. Out-of-area attendees were heard to comment that the largely undiscovered county, nearer to the Bay than the Emerald Triangle, is as beautiful as Tahoe and as hip as Mendocino.

Many locals at the party had stories to tell about having their plants ripped out by local sheriff deputies enforcing the county’s new cultivation ordinance, which narrowly survived a referendum effort from the ECU on the June ballot. The ordinance allows 48 outdoor plants on parcels zoned "A" (agriculture) that are at least 20 acres and have an approved residence, but only 6 plants on other properties with a residence over an acre, whether one acre or 1000 acres. People on one acre or less, or who live in so-called “community growth boundaries,” are unable to grow outdoors at all.

Not surviving the June election was Lake County sheriff Frank Rivero, who has been especially hard on marijuana growers. Rivero was defeated in his re-election bid after over 2500 voters were registered by the EUC. But Rivero remains in office until January, and his office is apparently showing no mercy in the meantime.

Michael Horner, chair of the EUC, welcomed the crowd and called the current Lake County law “the most job-killing ordinance ever.” Horner said he and others like NORML’s local rep Ron Green were inundated with phone calls from farmers who want to be compliant, but are being targeted for enforcement activities. “I don’t want to hear any more of these stories,” Horner said, “I want to change the law.”

Lake county resident Dan Rush, the national organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division, said, “We need to be recognized for the dignified and sincere farmers that we are. We’re helping patients, and we’re bringing an economic revitalization to Lake County that can keep schools open, get rid of cartels, and take the county back.”

Dale Sky Jones from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR) spoke about her group’s effort to put a full adult legalization measure on the ballot in 2016, one which would ensure there will be “a marketplace available for small farmers.” She urged all to visit ReformCa.com and get involved, and to talk to everyone they know about this issue. “This is the most important civil rights revolution for our times, and it’s up to us to take the target off our backs,” she said to cheers and applause.

Nate Bradley and Sean Donahoe from the California Cannabis Industry Association, who have been traveling the state working on local ballot initiatives and also lobbying in Sacramento, spoke about coordinating efforts across the state and the new professionalism for the industry that the CCIA represents.

Also speaking was Ed Rosenthal, whose books and articles on marijuana cultivation have been widely read for decades.

Horner enjoined the crowd to gather donations and hold house parties themselves, and to volunteer for voter registration and other tasks as the campaign moves forward. Interested citizens can write to: emeraldunity@gmail.com, “like” their Facebook page and visit their website.