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Pass the kouchie 

I thought weed was supposed to chill people out, but judging from the acrimony and infighting among the SLO commercial cannabis community, more product testing is needed, stat!

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Jason Kallen is executive director of San Luis Obispo NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). On his Facebook page, Kallen's posted a clip of Sean Donahoe speaking to the SLO County Board of Supervisors during its Dec. 5 meeting, in which Donahoe claimed to be speaking for the SLO County Cannabis Business Association (SLOCCBA), threatening the county with a referendum to challenge their new cannabis ordinance. In particular, Donahoe mentioned Cookie Fam Genetics, formerly an underground collective of high tech growers who have morphed into a big commercial operation. One of their farms is in Nipomo.

"I find it interesting that SLOCCBA, who has from day one said they are for local small farmers, would publicly go on record supporting no one but the largest outside growers in the county," Kallen complained.

He also believes a referendum could backfire, saying it "could bring about total prohibition." He then listed both Donahoe's and SLOCCBA founder and president Marie Johnson-Roth's telephone numbers. "Don't be afraid to call several times to get your point across," Kallen added.

Johnson-Roth jumped into the thread, writing, "Here's my response to Jason Kallen's attempt to work against the SLOCCBA and anyone else trying to discredit the efforts to bring our local businesses together," and then she posted a long open letter to the Board of Supervisors, in which she claimed Donahoe was not speaking on behalf of her organization which is not considering a referendum.

"He's [Donahoe] also a consultant for area businesses and I'm sure is beholden to his clients to take whatever action they deem necessary," Johnson-Roth added, throwing Donahoe right under the bus.

So let me see if I have this straight. Donahoe is threatening a referendum under the guise of SLOCCBA in an effort to protect Cookie Fam's investment in Nipomo, while Kallen is attacking both Donahoe and Johnson-Roth's SLOCCBA, but Johnson-Roth is disavowing Donahoe and suggesting he's on Cookie Fam's payroll plus attacking Kallen in return, is that right?

Dudes! You guys are making me dizzy! Spark up that peace pipe and pass it around!

Recreational cannabis is here, and with it the opportunity to make money. Work together, people! Unfortunately, the Board of Supervisors and their boneheaded, draconian ordinance is the source of this conflict.

What really spills my bong water is how weirdly inconsistent and more than a tad hypocritical the three conservative board members—John Peschong, Lynn Compton, and Debbie Arnold—are. They're typically pro-business and pro-agriculture, yet they suddenly lose their faith in laissez-faire capitalism when it comes to cannabis.

This counterproductive ordinance is cutting the county off from a potentially lucrative revenue stream at a time when it could really use it, and they're purposefully thwarting the will of SLO County voters. See you at the polls, chumps.

And speaking of chumps, did you hear the latest from former SLO City Councilmember John Ashbaugh? He's not a fan of billboards—I know! Who is?—so he went before the Board of Supervisors to tell the county it should be working to get Highway 101 designated as a state scenic highway, something that's been in the works for a while but hasn't been a priority.

Hey, sounds good, but to make the highway more scenic, Ashbaugh advocated for removing all the billboards. How, John? Eminent domain? Those billboards are people's livelihoods. Someone owns the land, rents the space, and businesses advertise to bring in customers.

Here's the doozy, though. If it's impossible to remove them, Ashbaugh said, "We've actually been thinking that we should buy the billboard space and put up images of what the land looks like behind the billboards."

"Thinking"? Is that what you call it?

All I know is when I'm heading through Atascadero, I sure like knowing how to get some weed from Diamond Cannabis Direct and where to turn off for the Charles Paddock Zoo. Plus, I'm pretty sure what's behind that particular billboard is just more Atascadero. Are you really going to expect the county to pay for a photo of Atascadero along 101 in Atascadero?

And finally, I love free speech, so I have no problem with anyone complaining about the not-guilty verdict in the Jose Ines Garcia Zarate murder trial. He was the undocumented homeless immigrant from Mexico who had been deported several times on drug-related convictions. The jury found that he fired the gun whose bullet ricocheted off the pavement, accidently striking and killing 32-year-old Cal Poly graduate Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015.

So whoever put anti-undocumented-immigrant flyers around the Cal Poly Dream Center, which houses the Undocumented Student Working Group, you are exercising your free speech. You are also an asshole, and your flyers are clearly meant to intimidate. But why try to scare Dreamers whose parents brought them here as children, who are now adults trying to better themselves and become productive members of the community? Oh yeah, because you're an asshole. Ain't free speech grand? Δ

The Shredder wants a billboard advertising a sensible new DACA law. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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