California Proposes Reducing Cannabis Taxes to Fight Illicit Market 

Assembly Bill 286, dubbed the Temporary Cannabis Tax Reduction bill, would temporarily cut state excise taxes for legal marijuana retailers from 15 percent to 11 percent and also suspend cultivation taxes altogether through 2022.  The proposed legislation, which is sponsored by state Treasurer Fiona Ma.  “The whole aim of legalization is to compete with the illicit market and to get people to buy from the regulated establishments,” he said. “You can’t do that if the taxes are so high and onerous that people are driven out of that market.”

This is at odds with the taxing scheme in Humboldt were the black market is estimated to be 1,500% larger than the white market.  Yesterday, the Court refused to dismiss the Measure S lawsuit attorney Eugene Denson and I filed. The lawsuit seeks to return the tax to a crop tax as approved by the voters. The suit challenges the constitutionality of an amendment our county supervisors made to impose the tax whether or not plants are grown. 

Fred Fletcher

January 29, 2019

Human Rights Update

Judge, Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the US District Court in Oakland, on Sunday granted a request by more than a dozen states to temporarily block the Trump administration from putting into effect new rules that would make it easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraceptives. 

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

New Laws in California for 2019

Farm Employee Overtime

In 2016, California became the first state in the U.S. to require employers to pay overtime for farmworkers who work more than eight hours. The first phase of the new rules will begin in January, when agricultural employees will earn overtime after working 9 1/2 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week. Currently, California farmworkers can get overtime after working 60 hours in a week or 10 hours in a day.  The change only applies to businesses that employ at least 26 people. The rules do not apply to smaller agricultural employers until 2022. Discloser, our office consults with agricultural employers on compliance matters and we represent employees on wage and labor claims. Aside from wage and hour claims, sexual harassment and discrimination are constant concerns on the farm. 

Street Vendor Permits

A law going into effect in January will allow local governments to design permit programs for vendors and limits when they can be criminally prosecuted. It pertains to anyone selling food or other merchandise from a pushcart, stand or “non-motorized conveyance.” I anticipate the City of Eureka will embrace this new law and its economic benefits. I predict the County will ignore this law until the County is forced to follow it by a judge.  

Home Kitchen Businesses

A new law encourages Counties (like Humboldt) to permit home kitchens for the purpose of selling food products. California Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, who authored the bill, says that homemade food sales are a vital part of self-reliant communities. “Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream,’” Garcia said when the bill was signed. Humboldt historically resists new opportunities which provide residents access to residual income. Perhaps after the County Supervisors election in 2020 progress will be made on this front.  

Fred Fletcher

January 17, 2019

The Measure S Lawsuit

Measure S is the cannabis cultivation tax the voters passed. We are challenging the County Supervisor's decision to amend Measure S as passed by the voters. The Supervisors amended the tax to apply to the property owner, not the farmer, and regardless of whether any crop is grown.  

Yesterday, we filed our response to the County's demurrer to the Measure S lawsuit. (Set to be heard January 28, 2019.) The County hired a large Sacramento Firm (founded the year I was born) to defend the lawsuit. They argue it's impossible to tax farmers for the actual crop grown because the County can't verify how much was grown. We informed the Court, governments since the beginning of governments have taxed farmers for crops actually grown, and we cited the Book of Genesis as our evidence.  

The amendments by the Supervisors have been misreported. The Supervisors amended Measure S to tax the permitted area regardless of the amount of crop grown.  As such, the supervisors have amended the tax to be assessed against fallow land, without regard to crop grown. We provided the Court authority that Measure S as amended is a property tax and is unconstitutional. We ask the Court to return Measure S to its original state which acted as an excise tax on legal crop actually grown. 

We will update this one. 

Fred Fletcher

January 15, 2019


County Supervisor's Can't Silence Critics, including Humboldt's Supervisors. 

In a 3-0 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, violated the First Amendment free speech rights of Brian Davison by banning him for 12 hours from her “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” facebook page.

Last election my office received a few complaints from citizens who were censored for making comments critical of politicians, on the left and right (somehow our local politics are becoming politically polarized). Now these citizens may have recourse. This First Amendment decision could impact local elections nationwide by allowing the public to be heard.    

Fred Fletcher

January 8, 2019

Update on Nation v Trump filed in the 9th Circuit

This lawsuit challenges HUD's rule which forces subsidized apartments to evict medical cannabis users. Plaintiff was evicted from her HUD apartment on July 10, 2018 when a maintenance man discovered some medical cannabis in her bedroom. She remains homeless and is not alone.

The lawsuit not only challenges HUD's rule but relies upon Murphy v NCAA (decided May 2018) to challenge the constitutionality of the Controlled Substance Act itself relative to medical marijuana in the State of California. The Supreme Court in Murphy v NCAA resurrected from near death the anti-commandeering doctrine, which in laymen's terms means the Congress cannot make orders directly to the States. 

We are optimistic this lawsuit will prevail. If the District Court issues an order in our favor appealing the decision would pose a political pitfall for the Trump administration. 

I will update this one.

January 3, 2019

Fred Fletcher 

Update on Volkswagen Diesel Fraud Case

We filed an action in Butte County on May 17, 2018 with the intent of having a jury decide punitive damages. We would be the first party to bring the defeat device case to jury trial.  Peer reviewed studies proved thousands of people with lung diseases died from the fraud.  

 

Showing Tag: "county" (Show all posts)

California opens access to public business conducted on private devices

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Thursday, March 9, 2017, In : Business 
Communications by government officials in California who use personal devices or email accounts to conduct official business may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Record Acts.

In a unanimous decision welcomed by transparency advocates, the California Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling. “If public officials could evade the law simply by clicking into a different email account, or communicating through a personal device, sensitive information could routinely ...

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New Bill aims to Protect Branding in Humboldt

Posted by DeLacy Fletcher on Thursday, January 26, 2017, In : Marijuana Regulation 

No. 175
Introduced by Senator McGuire

January 23, 2017


An act to amend Sections 19332.5 and 26063 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to marijuana.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 175, as introduced, McGuire. Marijuana: county of origin: marketing.
The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) provides for the licensure and regulation of medical marijuana, which responsibility is generally divided between the Bureau of Marijuana Control within the Department of Consumer Affairs,...

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LOCAL INSURANCE COMPANY ACCUSED OF DEFRAUDING LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES

Posted by DeLacy on Thursday, January 12, 2017, In : Small Business 

To the community,

Humboldt Redwood Healing, contracted with John Ford of Ford Insurance Agency (Founding Member of Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce) for the purchase of worker’s compensation insurance for its employees.  After paying John Ford of Ford Insurance Agency the funds necessary to purchase worker’s compensation insurance, Humboldt Redwood Healing became aware that no insurance had been purchased for the company’s employees with the money that was provided to John Ford. Aft...


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New York Times Features Local Activist Betty Chinn

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, In : Betty Chinn 

The New York Times explained:

When we asked readers last week to describe the homelessness in their communities, several urged us to take a look at the work of Betty Chinn, a homeless advocate based in Eureka. So we did. Ms. Chinn is known around Humboldt County as “the Chinese Mother Teresa.”

Read more here.


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Humboldt and Proposition 64

Posted by Fred Fletcher on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, In : Recreational 

The Times Standard has improved since editor Kimberly Wear resigned after our complaints she was promoting local scams to unsuspecting consumers. As reported in the Times Standard this week: 

"Should recreational marijuana (Proposition 64) become legal in California this November, Humboldt County officials state that regulations for this new market will likely mirror those already in place for medical cannabis businesses...But because of a July court agreement, the county will have to first co...


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Crab health advisory lifted south of Humboldt Bay

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Sunday, April 24, 2016, In : Humboldt Bay 

Recreational crabbers were given a little more territory to snare tasty Dungeness on Friday when the California Department of Public Health lifted its health advisory along the coast up to Humboldt Bay.


Restrictions on catching the crustaceans were quickly lifted after the decision by Karen Smith, the state health officer. It means crabs can be caught for sport along the California coast up to Humboldt County, including all the waters in the bay.

Commercial crab fishing is still not allowed...


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California considering bill to support Gig Unions

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, In : Gig Economy 

Uber drivers may soon have the right to unionize in California. 

AB 1727, or the California 1099 Self-Organizing Act, would radically alter rules surrounding independent contractors and eliminate some of the very benefits of working for yourself. Under the bill, groups as small as 10 contractors could choose to negotiate together. In the case of Internet platforms, this could mean that some companies are required by law to meet and negotiate separately with as many as 10,000 different groups o...


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California Farm Board Backs Ruling On Election Interference

Posted by Lacy Fletcher on Sunday, April 17, 2016, In : California Farm Board 
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – The California farm labor board has upheld a court ruling that one of the nation’s largest fruit growers interfered as employees were deciding whether to reject union representation.

The decision Friday by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board marked the latest victory for organized labor in the decades-long fight.

The board unanimously affirmed the ruling by Administrative Law Judge Mark Soble to set aside a 2013 election held by workers at Gerawan Farming Inc.

The bo...

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