Mar 012011

Today’s videos arrive from the better-late-than-never department, considering a month has passed since the CalNORML conference in Berkeley. But context is important, as is video editing, so taking my time isn’t a bad thing.

We begin with a new and slightly improved video of Oakland Vice Mayor Desley Brooks, who has taken the lead on rewriting the city’s proposed regulations for large-scale cultivation. Brooks credited Oakland City Council President Larry Reid and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan for their leadership, but she also noted the difficulties caused by City Attorney John Russo’s reluctance-turned-refusal to work on the ordinance. Since Brooks’ appearance at the CalNORML conference, we’ve learned that Russo is looking for greener pastures in Alameda.

While Brooks told conference attendees that media reports of federal threats against city officials were inaccurate, as a practical matter the rewrite may be stalled until the Russo situation is resolved. The Public Safety Committee voted Feb. 8 to discuss the ordinance in closed session somewhere down the road, and closed sessions generally require the sage advice of the city’s legal counsel. In the meantime, a city resolution declares a “state of emergency” for medical cannabis patients who lack access to their medication in Oakland.

The second video gets a tad legalistic because the speaker is a lawyer, but don’t hold that against him. Bill Panzer spends a lot of his time defending cannabis patients and growers, who often end up in hot water because of imprecise language in Prop. 215 and SB 420. Panzer doesn’t mince words about Prop. 19 — “I thought the drafting sucked” — and he insists the 2012 follow-up to Prop. 19 should be drafted by defense attorneys like himself who will defend the new law in court. The 2012 ballot measure takes on added urgency with Panzer’s prediction of an appellate court ruling this year that could be used as legal justification to shut down most dispensaries in the state.

More videos from the CalNORML conference

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