Peaceful rally brings together Cannabis Operators in support of the industry. On Thursday, June 16, 2016, Sonoma County Grower’s Alliance (SCGA) organized a rally at the Sonoma County courthouse of more than 150 supporters of the medical cannabis industry in response to recent raids by law enforcement. On Tuesday, several law enforcement agencies initiated a raid on several locations that were affiliated with the CBD Guild Collective. The organizer of that non-profit, Dennis Hunter, was the only person arrested after the raids, and he was held on a $5 million bond on a felony charge for allegedly manufacturing a controlled substance.
The CBD Guild creates medical cannabis extraction product lines, including Care by Design and Absolute Xtracts, which are both well known within the industry. These products can be found in many local dispensaries and other dispensaries throughout the state of California.
Rally in Support of Cannabis Operators
During the rally, activists and supporters came together in a peaceful, positive and respectful manner to share their stores and to educate the public on how medical cannabis has positively impacted their quality of life and/or others that are close to them. Activists and supporters were also there to fight for their rights by demanding an end to criminalization of the medical cannabis industry. Many medical cannabis operators are trying to come into compliance with a newly built regulatory structure, and they need an avenue to be developed by local government so the transition into regulatory compliance can be as smooth as possible without wasting valuable government resources on unnecessary raids and enforcement processes.
“WORK WITH US NOT AGAINST US”
Law enforcement watched the rally from the outskirts of the crowd (and from the second floor of the courthouse), but there was no need for them to engage with the peaceful supporters… so they watched from the sidelines, took notes, and did not interfere with the supporters/activists.
Hours after the rally, Dennis was released without having to pay bail and without charges being filed against him. Law enforcement agencies seized assets, which included computers, equipment and products during the raid, which they are still reviewing. Nick Caston, the spokesperson for the Guild, made it clear to the crowd that their organization will commence operations again, as soon as they can, which they hope will be this week.
Local cities and counties need to develop a program that will allow medical cannabis operators to register with their local government as a cannabis operator. Any program to be developed should include a safe harbor period for medical cannabis operators to comply with local regulations and ordinances, and an enforcement procedure for non-compliance by any registrants before any law enforcement activity takes place.
Patients, operators, activists and supporters all need to work together with their local governments to develop these registry and operator in good standing programs, which are desperately needed throughout California. Many positive changes can take place with the power of the people. The rally organized by SCGa is a perfect example of how the cannabis community can make a difference in a positive, respectful manner.