de Vall Talks Pot with Supes

by Norman de Vall, April 22, 2010

Public Expression before the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, April 20, 2010

Madam Chair and Members of the Board,

My name is Norman de Vall.  I'm before you this morning to address the reality  of the marijuana industry in Mendocino County.

Over 70% of the voters polled support the marijuana initiative which will be on the General Election ballot this November.  Similar to Proposition 20 it directs the state legislature to set broad parameters of regulation but at the same time leaves considerable latitude for the individual cities and counties to address regulation which best fit their own circumstance.

My suggestion to you is that the Emerald Triangle Counties, Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity form a Joint Powers Agency to establish a set of similar regulations and licensing with the cooperation and coordination of your Boards of  Supervisors, Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Public Health Agencies, and Public Defender.

As you know about 80% of the criminal case load in the Mendocino County Superior Courts are related to alcohol and drugs.  Most marijuana arrests are booked as felonies and take an inordinate amount of court time and cost before being settled by trial or plea bargain.  Over charging is too often used adding cost to the Public Defender and privately hired defense, plugging the courts with delays, while holding defendants unable to make bail, in jail at additional cost to the Sheriff.

Our regulations are too complex and imposed without public support.  While they are prohibitive and restrictive, they offer no encouragement to meet the needs of both producers or patients.

Mono County is reported to be taking a very realistic view seeing the advantages in this new economic opportunity and need for comprehensive regulation.

Soccer Moms are reported to be in support of the November initiative as it offers some protection and prohibition making it illegal to provide or use marijuana around children.

I addressed the suggestion of a Joint Powers Agreement with Supervisor Smith and Sheriff Allman last week and with Defense Attorney Katharine Elliott, Esq. yesterday.  From Supervisor Smith I've learned the idea is not new, and she has been in discussion with colleagues in Humboldt County.

Sheriff Allman commented that such a JPA must engage all the agencies

involved.  Defense Attorney Elliott commented that a JPA would bring a consistency currently lacking.

I urge your Board to refer the future of this industry to a Standing Committee and see it as a new economic opportunity.  As the attached article infers, the competition will be significant. If the Emerald Triangle Counties are to maintain the economic base initiated by the marijuana industry, we would do best to both recognize and support this legal opportunity.

Thank you

— Norman de Vall


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