While we continue to focus on crime as the main concern associated with cannabis dispensaries, we would be remiss if we did not bring attention to the reality that money can corrupt elected officials. We need our elected officials to represent the interests of residents, not the interests of one or two cannabis operators. Cannabis operators have large amounts of cash and they have been using it to improperly influence elected officials as a way of “winning” operating licenses. Because most communities would not agree to an unlimited number of dispensaries in their town, those limits result in cannabis operators vying for spots and engaging in creative ways to “win” a license.
Per the recent article in The Beach Reporter, the operator group that funded the initiatives in Hermosa, Manhattan, Redondo Beach and El Segundo has purportedly spent nearly $1 million pushing their agenda to strong arm cities to legalize cannabis dispensaries. Read the article here. To put this in context: a typical Hermosa Beach resident donation to a city council campaign is $100 - or less. Who would be determining who wins City Council races? Clearly not the residents if we are up against a cannabis operator with unlimited resources to influence elections. What would be the end result? Our city council would not be nearly as beholden to the residents as they would be to cannabis operators. And if the cannabis operators do not like a councilmember, they can fund a recall, as they are doing in Redondo Beach with Councilmember Obagi.
The LA Times has recently published articles detailing the corruption. Read it here. This hits very close to home – in Manhattan Beach, a sitting councilmember has disclosed he received consulting payments from a Cannabis lobbyist and aided them in their analysis of the South Bay cities' willingness to legalize dispensaries. While the amount is not fully itemized, he could have received just under $100,000 from the cannabis lobbyist firm. (To his credit, at least he disclosed the payment). The article highlights other issues:
Pay to play schemes involving councilmembers.
A cannabis industry group offered $15,000 to council candidates who would pledge to support changes to city regulations in order to favor the cannabis industry.
City Managers have also participated, working as consultants for the industry while at the same time acting as approvers for the Cannabis licenses.
City Attorneys have been involved as well, with the article naming a City Attorney in Baldwin Park involved (allegedly) in a bribery scheme.
Important to note: in Hermosa Beach, our City Manager will serve as the sole decision maker for issuing licenses with no oversight. Why even open the Pandora's Box for all of the above?
This is precisely why we think everyone should ask city council candidates NOW if they would approve a municipal ordinance legalizing cannabis dispensaries if Measure M fails. At the Al Benson debate, Rita and Rob stated they are in favor of a municipal ordinance legalizing dispensaries if M fails. (We encourage everyone to listen to that exchange). Measure M is a poorly drafted initiative, but it does not change the reality that for numerous reasons, including the above, cannabis dispensaries will not benefit Hermosa Beach. Get informed, think big picture, and please tell everyone you know that this is not good for our community’s future.
How can you help?
Expand the audience of this newsletter by forwarding along and encouraging them to subscribe
Put up a lawn sign to spread the word
We will gladly take contributions because running a campaign against a well funded marijuana industry is not easy
Start the discussion on social media to increase awareness
Email us here if you can help with any of the above Learn more about the person behind the initiative: Elliot Lewis (@catalyst_ceo) • Instagram photos and videos His goal is to create a cannabis empire. Let him know that this is this OUR town, not his.
THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HERMOSA BEACH!
Please forward this to other Hermosa Beach residents and tell them to subscribe so they can stay informed. About us Residents for a Safe and Healthy Hermosa is a coalition of concerned residents who want to ensure everyone remains informed of current happenings associated with the November 2022 election. Who we are Carolyn Petty, Heidi Swan, Joe Swan, Rodger Deuerlein, Gary Brown, Kathie Stemig, Eric Sage, Erik Viking, ....to list just a few.