City to Install Police Surveillance Cameras Along OB Waterfront

November 2, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for City to Install Police Surveillance Cameras Along OB Waterfront

10 Cameras Will Go Up Between End of November and Jan. 1st

It was announced by police representatives at the last OB Town Council meeting that the City will be installing police surveillance cameras along the waterfront of Ocean Beach. Ten cameras will be set up between the OB Pier and the San Diego River, sometime between the end of November and the first of the year.

Lt. Carter of the Western Division presented the project at the Wed., Oct. 28th meeting. The cameras will be installed “at key locations”, he said, indicating that these would be high-crime areas. One is definitely going up at the OB Pier and the others will need city-supplied juice for their locations. They won’t be pointed at any residences, Lt Carter assured the crowd, and will be pointed down.

“This is not Big Brother,” he said. They won’t be secret cameras, he continued, in fact, they will have signs indicating their presence. “They’re not there to spy on anyone”, but can be referred to if something does occur. Their recordings can be viewed – and if relevant – copied into a case file. It’s costly to store all the data and recordings, so they’ll re-record ever so often.

The project budget is $25,000, Lt Carter said. Before the cameras are installed, the project has to have its budget request go through City Purchasing, then a contractor has to be determined. So, the audience was told, they will go up sometime between “the end of November and the first of the year.”

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Marijuana and Tax Measures Vie for California 2016 Ballot

November 2, 2015 by Doug Porter

legalizeBy Doug Porter

As we come down the stretch into the final year before the 2016 general election, there are competing interests backing ballot measures seeking to legalize recreational marijuana use and increase taxes on upper-income earners in California.

The downside in this situation is the possibility of enough confused voters rejecting the choices on the ballot on both issues. And you can bank on opponents of legalization and tax increases will do their best to sow doubt and confusion.

Divisions in the pro-pot camp led to the defeat of Proposition 19 in 2010, despite not having a competing measure on the ballot and polling showing voters favoring legalized marijuana. Advocates for tax increases in 2012 were divided between competing propositions, but a strong effort on the part of organized labor gave Proposition 30 the votes needed to win.

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OB Town Council Meetings Are a Gas, Gas, Gas!

October 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Meetings Are a Gas, Gas, Gas!

Take 1 – of several

By Frank Gormlie

The Town Council of Ocean Beach has anything but boring meetings. And the one they held the other night – Wednesday, October 28 – was no exception.

The main entree, a report and discussion about why OB Elementary School is losing students, was buttressed by lots of other reports, announcements by the Town Council itself, by the numerous politician reps that parade before the meeting, and by ordinary OBceans who attend and give shout-outs or pleas on their favorite project.

So, bear with me, dear reader, and accompany me on my journey into the cavern of the Masonic Center, and into my description of the closest thing OB has to a village town hall gathering, clinging closer to the gonzo style than that of the New York Times.

Darkness was approaching as stragglers entered the door off the parking lot that caters to the Masons and their guests and into the meeting hall, with dozens of chairs already set up on the linoleum tiled floor, with board members accumulating behind their designated chairs. The downstairs of the Masonic Center is very plain jane compared to the upstairs where the actual Masons meet occasionally, with plush carpets and thick leather chairs. I’ve even been to a community meeting there – once. If you’ve never seen the upstairs, you must.

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Part 2 of How Working Class Ocean Beach Spoiled the Establishment Plans and Created a Revolution in Urban Planning

October 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB CPG Broc Covr

Part 2

By Frank Gormlie

While it participated deeply in the negotiations during the remainder of 1974 and into the next year, the Community Planning Group had enough depth to juggle its activism and successfully respond to new construction projects—mainly large, bulky apartments—still coming down the development pipeline. Over this period CPG was able to block the construction of eight five-story high-rise apartments, most of them aimed for the fragile edges of Sunset Cliffs.

With the limited consensus reached on certain issues in Spring of 1975 the city published a brand new Precise Plan—this confirmed the city’s rejection of the worst of the original plan; no mini-Miami Beach, no marina, no high-rise along the coast.

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The Story of How Working-Class Ocean Beach Spoiled the Establishment’s Plans and in the Process Created a Revolution in Urban Planning

October 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

The Story of How a Small Working-Class Coastal Community Within San Diego Spoiled the Establishment’s Plans and in the Process Created a Revolution in Urban Planning

By Frank Gormlie

It was early afternoon on a hot July day in 2014 when then San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria gaveled the Council meeting to order. First on the agenda was a vote on the newly updated community plan of Ocean Beach, a small coastal neighborhood of the city—called simply “OB.” What was going on that day was anything but routine or ordinary. City Hall was swamped with people wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with large white letters saying: “Keep the OBcean attitude.

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OB Community Plan Goes Before San Diego City Council on Nov. 9th

October 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s been announced at several Ocean Beach group meetings, and again at last night’s OB Town Council meeting.

The Ocean Beach Community Plan goes to the San Diego City Council on Monday, November 9th, for hopefully it’s final approval.

The hearing is in Council Chambers in City Hall at 2:00 p.m.

OBceans are being urged to attend – and wear blue shirts – and particularly the t-shirt emblazoned with:
“Keep the OBcean attitude” .

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Polls: Who Would You Vote for Mayor of San Diego?

October 28, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

clipboard w pencilIt’s the OB Rag Poll Time, again.

This time, it’s all about who you would vote for as the mayor of San Diego? Kevin Faulconer? Any Democrat? OB’s own Gretchen Newsom?

Here’s your chance to take part in our numerous surveys below. You will be able to vote in each poll – and you will see the vote totals once you’ve voted yourself.

And please, read each option before you decide. We will keep these polls alive for a week. Have fun.

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It’s the OB Rag’s 8th Birthday!

October 28, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s birthday number 8 for the online OB Rag.

Yup, we started this internet gig eight years ago – during the huge late October 2007 firestorm, and have continued to this day, surviving the ups and downs – and actually thriving in our corner of San Diego as part of the alternative media for this town.

Patty Jones and I first initiated the online version of OB’s counter-culture icon of the 1970’s – the OB People’s Rag – with the original intent – to ply the San Diego scene with news and commentary from a progressive perspective, to provide a forum for those views, and to provide a web platform for Ocean Beach …

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How OB’s Gretchen Newsom Decided to Run for Mayor — and Where She’ll Go From Here

October 28, 2015 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for How OB’s Gretchen Newsom Decided to Run for Mayor — and Where She’ll Go From Here

By Matthew Wood

Gretchen Newsom insists her announcement to run in the San Diego Mayoral election at the San Diego County Democratic Convention on Saturday night was anything but scripted.

“I’ve been having many conversations over many months with many people to find someone to run for mayor who would stand up for the voices of the people that need them,”

– the current Ocean Beach Town Council President and neighborhood leader said.

“I was very disappointed with what I heard.”

Call it an epiphany. A moment of clarity. Or even just an inspiration to do what she does best. She calls the decision her time to step up and lead a bigger constituency.

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Poor Mayor Faulconer

October 28, 2015 by Source

red long johnsBy Norma Damashek

It’s enough to make you cringe, the way they toy with our mayor – those brawny Chargers/ Rams/ Raiders sports team owners, our insatiable hotel magnates, those downtown real estate purveyors, our Chamber of Commerce henchmen. So many entitled guys diddling with our small-time politicians just for the fun of it, passing the time until they clinch their publicly-subsidized, taxpayer-financed killer deals.

But our mayor is a good-natured sport. He wears his what-me-worry grin even when he’s left flapping in the breeze, flailing like wet underwear strung up on the clothesline to dry. One minute limp and aimless. The next minute puffed up and billowing like a hot-air facsimile of a political contender hoping to score in big-boy Republican Party politics.

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“Short term vacation rentals seemed like a great idea …”

October 27, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for “Short term vacation rentals seemed like a great idea …”

By Alison Patton / Special to the OB Rag

I can relate to the battle going on between STVRs (short term vacation rentals) and neighborhood residents in San Diego. The same debate went on in my home.

My husband John Thickstun began work as legal counsel for Save San Diego Neighborhoods (SSDN) many months ago (and since has become a Board member).

My first reaction was, “Why this issue, John?”

Everything I knew about STVRs was positive and I ticked off my list to him:

  • Our friend Ann rents a room in her house through VRBO. Her neighbors have never complained.
  • Our neighbor Nick rented his house last summer so he and his family could travel to Europe. It wasn’t a problem.
  • We rented that house in New York through Airbnb years ago and had a great time.
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Inequality for All in America’s Higher Education System

October 26, 2015 by Jim Miller

equity logoBy Jim Miller with Ian Duckles

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Thomas Piketty speak on economic inequality at UCSD.

In his talk, Piketty hit on the central themes of his seminal work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century: how our current level of economic inequality is now back to where it was before the “great compression” of the mid-twentieth century when union density, progressive taxation, and educational policies helped produce the high point of the American middle class.

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5 Reasons Gretchen Newsom Is Running for San Diego Mayor

October 26, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for 5 Reasons Gretchen Newsom Is Running for San Diego Mayor

Will make San Diego a place where people thrive not just survive.

OCTOBER 25, 2015 – Today at the San Diego County Democratic Convention, Gretchen Newsom, a community leader and advocate for working families announced that she will run for Mayor of San Diego in 2016.

“I’m running for Mayor because San Diego deserves a leader who will stand up for our communities,” stated Newsom. “I am committed to the values that are important to us, and I have a vision for a better San Diego that will build bridges of opportunity for all.”

Following her announcement, Newsom released her five priorities to Raise San Diego.

1. Create a San Diego that is more RESPONSIVE Local government should respond to the needs of our communities. Our community groups are laboratories for finding solutions to improve our neighborhoods, but they aren’t being heard by the current mayor.

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Without Debate, San Diego Police to Install 10 Surveillance Cameras Between OB Pier and San Diego River

October 21, 2015 by Source
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Lt Carter Informs OBMA at Crime Prevention Meeting

By Lois Lane

If you want to be a video star, don’t count on the Ocean Beach video cameras for fame, much less fortune.

Soon to be installed in Ocean Beach – at the beach between the OB Pier and the San Diego River (Dog Beach included) – will be ten police surveillance cameras all pointed at the areas deemed most critical by the San Diego Police Department.

As far as the OB Rag can tell, police – with the support of one OB organization – are making a near uni-lateral decision without a community-wide debate – about the installation of police surveillance cameras at OB’s waterfront.

Lt. Bill Carter of the SDPD filled in members of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA) Crime Prevention meeting on Tuesday, October 20 with the details. He will be making similar and updated information available to the regularly scheduled meetings in Ocean Beach.

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Reader Rant: Believe It or Not! STVRs Are Already Illegal in San Diego

October 20, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: Believe It or Not!  STVRs Are Already Illegal in San Diego

By John E. Thickstun

There are only two possibilities here in San Diego: STVRs (short term vacation rentals) are either “Visitor Accommodations” under the Municipal Code, or they’re not a listed use in the Municipal Code.

In either case, STVRs are not permitted in residential zones.

STVRs are Visitor Accommodations –

“Uses that provide lodging, or a combination of lodging, food and entertainment, primarily to visitors and tourists”

Hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments are Visitor Accommodations. Visitor Accommodations are unlawful in all residential zones. They are a non-conforming use.

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Finally, Democratic Presidential Candidates Say Good Things about Marijuana Legalization

October 20, 2015 by Source

mjballotboxIn years past, candidates totally ignored the failed war on drugs and the harms of marijuana prohibition

By Tony Newman / AlterNet

During the first Democratic debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) became the first major presidential candidate to say that he would support legalizing marijuana if given the chance. Asked whether he would support an upcoming ballot measure on legalization in Nevada, Sanders said:

“I suspect I would vote yes. And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses.

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North Of The Fence: It’s All About The San Diego-Tijuana Border

October 20, 2015 by Source

View into downtown Tijuana from the U.S. side

Editor: We wanted to introduce OB Rag readers to something similar to our online newspaper – the South Bay Compass – edited by Barbara Zaragoza. Barbara covers the South Bay – including the border – like the OB Rag covers OB, the Peninsula and other beaches. Plus she and the SB Compass are increasingly becoming associated with our online associates at the San Diego Free Press – and by extension with the OB Rag.

By Barbara Zaragoza/ SouthBayCompass

Huckabee’s Visit

The Times of San Diego reported that former Arkansas governor and Presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee, visited Border Field State Park on Saturday, October 10th. Standing alongside former congressman, Duncan Lee Hunter, Huckabee talked about illegal border crossers, saying: “They’re not coming to make beds and pick tomatoes. They’re coming to sell drugs. They’re coming to commit crime and to bring the mayhem that they have in their hearts upon the American people.”

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“My Days at the ‘Door ‘ ” – Excerpt From Sunshine Noir II

October 19, 2015 by Doug Porter

door mayor

By Doug Porter

The San Diego Door and its antecedents were a big part of the alternative media scene in America’s Finest City over a eight year period starting in October,1966 when the Good Morning, Teaspoon published its first edition.

By December, 1971, when I first climbed up the steps of the paper’s Victorian stick mansion at 2445 Albatross Street just north of downtown, the paper had gone through ‘free love’, hippie druggie and counterculture phases and a half-dozen names. It had evolved to become a publication with anti-establishment news and alt-culture reviews, featuring powerful graphics and color.

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Bad News Not Reported: The Drift Toward Global Plutocracy Continues Unabated

October 19, 2015 by Jim Miller

plutocracy1-300x162By Jim Miller

Recently Thomas B. Edsall penned an interesting column in the New York Times asking “How Did the Democrats Become the Favorites of the Rich?” where he observed that while the gulf between the two parties is still very wide on many social issues, on economic issues, Democrats have “inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.”

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Here’s Sanders in Your Eyes

October 19, 2015 by Source

bernie-sanders-bennington-banner-9-10-1974-v2-1600x21581By Bob Dorn

Time for another look at politics 2015.

No, no, no, don’t go back to Ultimate Fighting, or The Kardashians, or wondering whatever became of Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake or that kid on Via Amnesia named Justin whose pants keep falling below his crack.

Forget the distractions for a moment and try to focus on wtf is going on.

Let’s look at the S-words, and the J-word.

One S-word is Sanders, short for Bernie Sanders. Another S-word is Socialist, that’s the elephant in the room. …

Oh yeah, there’s a J-word. What’s the J stand for? Just a minute, I gotta check a text coming in.

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“Sunshine/Noir II” Is for Bibliophiles

October 15, 2015 by Anna Daniels

San Diego City Works Press’ distinctive approach to book as object

Editor: Here is Anna Daniels’ intro to an anthology on the underside of the San Diego – Tijuana region, “Sunshine/ Noir II“, which was just published by City Works Press – and includes a work by Anna Daniels herself, plus works by Doug Porter, Brent Beltran and OB Rag editor Frank Gormlie. Daniels, Porter, Beltran and Gormlie are also editors at the San Diego Free Press, where this was originally published.

By Anna Daniels

Sunshine-Noir-II-WEB“Books are now obsolete, so the library bureaucracy has long sought to become a quasi adult education institution or after-school study venue or someplace in between.” – Former California Assemblyman Larry Stirling on the Central Library.

Contrary to former California Assemblyman Larry Stirling’s recent misinformed and exceedingly dull assertion that “books are now obsolete” the book publishing industry is doing quite fine. It is only doing so well because there continues to be people who want to own and read books, whether in hard copy, paperback or electronic form.

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Climate Action Demonstration – Downtown Noon – Wed., Oct. 14th

October 13, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego’s Climate Mobilization Coalition is calling for a “Climate Action Demonstration” at noon in downtown San Diego on Wednesday, October 14th.

It will be held at the Federal Building—Front and Broadway downtown.

San Diego’s coalition will be joining others across the country on this–a People’s Day of Climate Action by calling, once again, for the federal government to implement a national mobilization to get America off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy at wartime speed.

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Foreign Interventions in the Middle East: More Havoc, Nuclear Weapons, Less Order

October 13, 2015 by Source

By Frank Thomas

Map of the Middle EastMiddle Eastern states are breaking down in an endless escalation of civil wars where Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq are collapsing. The resulting power vacuums exploited by rebel factions and demonic jihadist Islamic state are threatening the Middle East. The ancient, ongoing Sunni-Shiite mutual hatreds are afire.

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Sunshine/Noir II: A Continuing Exploration of Literary San Diego and Tijuana

October 12, 2015 by Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Anthology:
“Sunshine/Noir II: Writing From San Diego and Tijuana”

Friday, October 16th at the Glashaus Mainspace
1815 Main Street in Barrio Logan
Sunshine Noir IIBy Jim Miller

This fall, San Diego City Works Press marks its 10th anniversary with the release of Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana, an anthology of local writing about San Diego edited by Kelly Mayhew and myself.

As we note in the introduction to the anthology:

It’s been ten years since San Diego City Works Press published its first book, Sunshine/Noir: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana and, much to our surprise in many ways, we are still here.

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Coastal Commission Bans Orca Breeding But Approves Tank Expansion

October 9, 2015 by Source
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By Sneha Shankar/ International Business Times

The California Coastal Commission Thursday approved the bid by SeaWorld to expand the tanks the company uses to hold killer whales in San Diego, but banned the breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them. The decision came through a vote, which followed a daylong hearing with several speakers, who spoke for and against the proposed expansion.

While the decision was lauded by animal rights activists, it would only ban the breeding of captive orcas, including through artificial insemination, in the company’s California park but not in its facilities in other states. SeaWorld also operates parks in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Florida. The amendment would also ban the sale, trade or transfer of the orcas, and provided an exemption for some of the whales that were caught in the wild, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

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OB Rag Poll on Police Surveillance Cameras: Only 38% Want Them

October 8, 2015 by Staff

In the fifth and final poll of OB Rag readers, we queried people about the plans to install 24-hour police surveillance cameras along the Ocean Beach waterfront.

San Diego Police and at least one OB organization have been touting these plans of putting up cameras from the OB Pier north along the waterfront.

But according to this poll – which ran for a week and had 141 participants – only 38% are ready for the cameras (53 votes). These readers agreed to the option that read:

“We need these cameras. OB has become unruly especially at night when criminal elements act with impunity.”

However, on the other side of the question, a full quarter of the readers who took part – 25% – believed it smacked of “big brother” and “would be an affront to our rights and privacies,” (35 votes).

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SeaWorld vs. Orcas – Today at Coastal Commission

October 8, 2015 by Source
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Killer Clash: SeaWorld’s Fate May Hinge on ‘Blue World’ Vote

By Ken Stone / Times of San Diego / October 7, 2015

The fate of SeaWorld’s $100 million Blue World Project — a doubling of killer whale space — rests in the hands of the California Coastal Commission on Thursday in a showdown being framed as the most crucial in the history of orca advocacy.

“There has never been a more important time to speak up for the orcas held captive at SeaWorld,” said Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

For Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment, Blue World’s OK represents a chance to reverse its business slide in the wake of the critical “Blackfish” documentary and former trainer John Hargrove’s book “Beneath the Surface.”

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Governor Brown Signs Groundbreaking Data Collection Bill to Combat Racial Profiling

October 6, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Governor Brown Signs Groundbreaking Data Collection Bill to Combat Racial Profiling

San Diego Assemblymember Shirley Weber Authored Bill

California:first-ever bill to collect, analyze, and make public data on all police stops


On Friday, October 3, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 953: The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 into California law.

Written by San Diego’s own Assemblymember Shirley Weber, AB 953 now requires law enforcement agencies to collect basic information on police stops in response to growing concerns about racial profiling and police misconduct.

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Tuesday, October 6th: OB and Point Loma Mobilize – OB Against Teacher Transfers and PL Against Flight Path Changes

October 6, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

Can you hear it? Or feel it?

The entire Peninsula is mobilizing today, Tuesday, October 6th. Both residents in Ocean Beach and residents in Point Loma are mobilizing – for different reasons.

OB residents upset about the transfer of 2 teachers from OB Elementary are planning on attending tonight’s school board meeting. And Point Loma residents upset with the flight path changes proposed by the FAA are planning on attending tonight’s Liberty Station meeting on the issue.

OB Residents to Attend School Board Meeting – 5pm

As OB Rag writer Matt Wood explained yesterday:

Kindergarten teachers Amie Frank and Katy Amberg will be reassigned to different schools in the San Diego Unified School District.

Wood also wrote:

A number of parents are planning to attend Tuesday’s School Board meeting …

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California Pot Legalization Initiative Filed by ReformCA

October 6, 2015 by Source

RCA-FILED-a2By Phillip Smith / AlterNet

The California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, has filed a draft marijuana legalization initiative with state officials, the group announced Sunday.

The long-anticipated move means the campaign best-placed to bring legalization to the Golden State can finally get underway.

The Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 would allow people 21 and over to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana and it would set up legal marijuana commerce overseen by a pair of new state agencies, the California Cannabis Commission and the Office of Cannabis Regulatory Affairs.

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