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Lori Herbel: In Response to Branson Hunter’s Letter dated Dec. 23, 2009

By   /   May 10, 2013  /   4 Comments

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(FLASHBACK 2010) In Response to Branson Hunter’s open letter dated December 23, 2009,

I have always stated, I would like to see CAMS move. In my numerous conversations with Town staff on this issue, the staff never informed me that they had a meeting with CAMS informing CAMS that they could not move.

One staff member told me that they “forgot” about the meeting and that they did not know as of December 1, 2009 that a moratorium meant that CAMS could not move.

I have since found out that we may be able to explore a way to allow CAMS to move without lifting the moratorium. In my opinion, they need to move so as not to continue to be an irritant at their present location.

I have sought the truth concerning information that was not presented to the Council. I did apologize to Mr. Ross because my sharp comments directed specifically toward Mr. Ross were based on misinformation and information not presented to the Council.

At the next Council meeting on December 15, 2009 I did apologize to Mr. Ross publicly and attempted to put the issue back on the agenda based on information not presented to the Council. I did not get enough support.

The State of California has passed Proposition 215, the “Compassionate Use Act”

The Compassionate Use Act is a voter initiative, passed in 1996, that made California the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

The text of the Prop 215 initiative follows:

Section 1. Section 11362.5 is added to the California Health and Safety Code, to read:

11362.5. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

(b) (1) The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:

(A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the persons health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

(B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.

(C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.

The California Senate passed Bill 420.

This bill was passed in 2004 with the following purpose: “(1) Clarify the scope of the application of the act and facilitate the prompt identification of qualified patients and their designated primary caregivers in order to avoid unnecessary arrest and prosecution of these individuals and provide needed guidance to law enforcement officers. (2) Promote uniform and consistent application of the act among the counties within the state. (3) Enhance the access of patients and caregivers to medical marijuana through collective, cooperative cultivation projects.”

The above is California State Law and I accept the findings as presented.


Lori Herbel

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  1. Thank you Councilwoman Herbel for responding to the Open Letter in Cactus Thorns explaining your position. The current issue of the American Free Journal (Dec. 31, 2009-Jam 6, 2010) published a story on the failure of the Deputy Town Manager, Shane Stucckle and Town Manager Andy Takata to inform you about their secret meeting with D.J. Ross (Director of CAMS).

    The article (page 29) is entitled “ Failure to Disclose.” It’s offensive and an affront to voters the way in which you were left out of the loop. It’s actually egregious behavior that they kept their meeting a secret. Barbara Renton, who wrote the article, calls it “the forked-tongued tactics of local politics.”

    As we now know, D.J. Ross was prevented from disclosing that he had found a place to move CAMS to since Stucckle instructed him “no one can speak about this [meeting]“. Ross being the good guy that he is felt bound to not speak up about the secret meeting. D.J. is a decent person. Wish there were more people like him.

    Seems Stucckle has little concern for the Brown Act. I believe that man should fired for his underhanded, devious politics in withholding vital information from the people’s representative (you and maybe others on the council) — and the public at large. What’s worse, Ms. Renton writes, is that Frank Luckino knew about the secret meeting all along. But he remained mute and didn’t inform you.

    Isn’t that the whole intent of the Brown Act to keep people informed so they can retain control over their government. In Twentynine Palms local politics we have problems of the same nature.

    I was not aware that you had previously tried to help the Animal Shelter but could not get support from your peers on the Council. Thank you for your efforts. My Open Letter was very critical of you, I was so angry about the whole mess. I watched a good veteran friend die a horrible death with cancer throughout his body. I think that was before CAMS was in town. He used medicinal THC that helped him more than drinking morphine. That, coupled with the de-funding of the Animal Shelter and narrow-minded politicians, set me off.

    There are other issues in the Open Letter but perhaps it is best to let them sleep. If there is some way to keep CAMS around without lifting the moratorium that will be a benefit the the Basin in many ways. The Animal Shelter would most likely again be funded, people could have readily available a safe and alternative medication, and it will help the local economy in J.T. and Yucca Valley because people will once again travel to our communities to support businesses. Lets hope you get support on the Council and that it actually happens.

    My Open Letter was critical; I was so angry about the whole mess. This was before the whole story was know about the secret meetings and such. I apologize for being so very personal. I know you love animals as much as anybody and treat them kindly.

    It remains my view that you are one of the few member on the Council with the vision to move forward in a responsible fiscal manner with an awareness of the natural and historic assets of the community in mind .

    Thank you again for your response. Kindly feel free to post in Cactus Thorns at any time. You have a voice in this forum which reaches many Basin readers.

  2. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Branson and I are often at odds on subjects such as this, and here is no exception. I am one of those who oppose the idea of dispensaries.

    My objections are two fold.

    1. Marijuana is a drug. As such if it is to become legal it should be dispensed by a pharmacy not a head shop posing as a legitimate drug outlet.

    If Wallgreens wishes to dispense pot I would tacitly support that. But not some guy who wants to have an exclusive lock on the local pot trade.

    2. This one will floor you. I oppose the legalization of pot because it would destroy the underground economy. While you might find this strange it is not when you think about it. There are thousands if not millions of people in this country that derive their sustenance from the illegal drug business. Legalization would lead to the obvious take over by Big Pharma and putting those millions on the dole.

    The cat and mouse game of illegal drugs keeps millions employed and off the welfare lines.

    • Dan and I are often at odds, yada, yada, yada… . It is better to keep the money in the community, not in the banks of pharmaceutical conglomerates. Dispensaries are not head shops, they are tightly regulated businesses with employees that may be anyone’s neighbor who feel they are doing a service to the people they serve. According to studies, most card holders are over 65 and most suffer from life threatening illness and disease. According to Senate Bill 420, they are a legitimate dispensary of the chemical known as THC. Dan, you need to view things from a broader lens.

      I really don’t have a problem with the Y.V. moratorium on new dispensaries as long as they is one in town. Screw Wallgreens. That money goes back to the corporate office and is not put back into the community like CAMS has put it back. Dispensaries are nonprofit collectives. My understanding is that Councilwoman is working to keep CAMS open and still comply with the moratorium.

      Should we not sell tobacco over the counter?, even though it is far more dangerous than anything in society, except maybe arsenic. Lets have Wallgreens have a monopoly on cigarettes in town. That’s about as ridiculous as them having a monopoly (and other pharms) on a harmless medicinal plant. Where is the logic of this?

      As far as many in the community making a living in the black market, that is no excuse for prohibition and spending something like a billion of the war on drugs. Our slammers are full if well meaning folks who are good people because of prohibition. The tobacco, pharmaceutical and alcohol industries love your arguments.

      Give them a big kiss.

  3. Carey Alderson Theoldman says:

    Might I suggest also reading the related article titled;

    Y.V. Council Sticks it to Basin Veterans dated December 2, 2009

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