Supervisors Leopold and Friend Propose Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee

Cannabis in Santa Cruz County

Cannabis in Santa Cruz County

At the June 23, 2015, meeting of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, representatives John Leopold and Zach Friend proposed the formation of a “Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee.” If formed, the 13 member committee, limited to a term of six months, will work to create a policy framework for the Board to adopt for regulating medical cannabis cultivation in Santa Cruz County.

The Supervisors want a committee of community members to develop recommendations that “protect our neighborhoods, protect our environment, and ensure that there is an adequate supply of medical cannabis for those who have a doctor’s recommendation.”

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Santa Cruz Supports Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement

Willow Katz of Sin Barras speaks outside the Santa Cruz Post Office about Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement.

Willow Katz of Sin Barras speaks outside the Santa Cruz Post Office about Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement.

Over 14,000 people in California prisons, and 80,000 in the United States on any given day, are kept alone in steel and concrete cells the size of a parking space, with no fresh air or sunlight, for years and decades, some over 40 years. Many more are in solitary confinement in jails, juvenile facilities, and detention centers. Activists gathered on June 23 outside the Santa Cruz Post Office to expose and end the torture of solitary confinement in all lock-ups, in Santa Cruz County, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide.

On the 23rd of each month, since March 23, 2015, Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) are held in cities throughout California. The demonstrations were launched by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, a network of grassroots organizations, family members, formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, and individuals who are “amplifying the voices of those in California’s solitary confinement in their call for an end to torture.”

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New Cannabis Prohibitions in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors On March 24, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 before an overflowing room to ban the cultivation of cannabis in all unincorporated territories of the county, with limited exceptions. Personal grows of 10×10 square feet are still permitted, with restrictions. Outdoor cultivation is entirely banned in the 2nd District, represented by Zach Friend, and includes the communities of Aptos, Corralitos, Freedom, and portions of Watsonville.

The vote amended the Santa Cruz County Code by deleting the existing Chapter 7.126, passed on February 11, 2014, in its entirety, and adding a new Chapter 7.126. The new version of the code drastically reduces the legal rights of patients to cultivate and access the wide-range of medicines they depend upon from the cannabis plant.

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Hundreds March for Freedom at Cages Kill Rally in Santa Cruz

Demonstrating solidarity with prisoners at the Santa Cruz County Jail.

Demonstrators shout in solidarity with prisoners at the Santa Cruz County Jail.

At least 6 people have died in the Santa Cruz County Jail since August 2012 while in the hands of the Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG). In light of the most recent death in November 2014, community-based organization Sin Barras, which fights to abolish prisons and the prison industrial-complex, held a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in downtown Santa Cruz.

Hundreds of people came together to protest and raise awareness around the deaths, to highlight the broader context of overcrowding and lack of healthcare inside California jails and prisons, and create a space for community empowerment.

Speakers, including Fox Sloan, mother of Amanda Fox Sloan, who died in the jail July of 2013, shared personal stories which shed light on the violence of the prison system and strategies for building alternative forms of justice.

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Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King’s Legacy

Power concedes nothing without a demand. -Frederick Douglas

Power concedes nothing without a demand. -Frederick Douglas

A weekend of direct actions, teach-ins, politically charged cultural events and marches throughout the Bay Area culminated with a Jobs and Economy March for the People on January 19. The event began with a multicultural rally outside the Fruitvale BART station — an infamous site of police terror where Oscar Grant III was murdered by BART police. The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland, and ended at the Coliseum City development site with a rally and concert featuring Jennifer Johns and Kev Choice.

Since sunrise on Friday, Jan. 16, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings responded to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for 96 hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, January 16 – 19, 2015. The Bay Area joined thousands across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination.

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