M is for marijuana and money in Hermosa Beach election
Last year, Hermosa Beach Mayor Mike Detoy, City Manager Suja Lowenthal, and Police Chief Paul LeBaron met with Adam Spiker, and Manhattan Beach Councilman Richard Montgomery.
Spiker represented the Economic Development Reform Coalition of Southern California (EDRCSC). The group’s goal was to convince South Bay city officials to lift their bans on cannabis retail sales and home delivery. Spiker had hired Montgomery to arrange introductions to his fellow South Bay city officials.
In the meeting with Hermosa Beach officials, Spiker pointed out cannabis’s tax potential. (Hermosa City Attorney Mike Jensen, in his “Impartial Analysis of Measure T,” the cannabis tax measure on the upcoming November 8 ballot, estimates Hermosa’s tax revenue from two cannabis retailers at $700,000 to $1.5 million annually.)
Spiker also pointed out that over 70 percent of Hermosa residents voted for State Proposition 64, in 2016. Proposition 64 legalized cannabis sales in California, except in cities that banned the sales. The Hermosa Beach city council passed an ordinance banning retail cannabis sales just months before Proposition 64’s passage.
Hermosa officials were not receptive to Spiker’s arguments.
“No resident has ever asked me to allow cannabis sales in the city,” Mayor Detoy recalled telling Spiker.
Spiker responded to the Hermosa officials’ indifference by saying his group would ask voters to lift the ban.
Last October, EDRCSC began gathering signatures in the three Beach Cities, and El Segundo to put cannabis initiatives on the upcoming November 8 ballots. Signatures were required from 10 percent of the cities’ voters. In March, EDRCSC submitted 1,650 Hermosa Beach signatures to Hermosa City Clerk Myra Maravilla, well over the 10 percent, or 1,421 signatures, required to qualify for the November 8 ballot.
If approved, the Hermosa Beach Cannabis Regulation and Public Safety Measure, also known as Measure M, will require the City of Hermosa to issue at least two business licenses to qualified cannabis retailers. And to give exclusive cannabis delivery rights to the two licensed cannabis retailers.
According to campaign finance reports, as of September 24, EDRCSC had spent $75,000 in support of Measure M. HB Residents against Measure M had spent $1,951.
(In Manhattan Beach, EDRCSC had spent $57,000 in support of its Measure MB, as of September 24.
In Redondo Beach, as of September 24, EDRCSC had spent $214,000 in support of its Measure E. The Redondo cannabis measure failed in a special election last Wednesday, by a vote of 75 percent opposed, and 25 percent in favor.)
South Cord Management, a primary supporter of the three Beach City cannabis measures, also contributed $10,000 to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, on October 14. Two weeks earlier, the LA Democratic Party endorsed the three Beach City cannabis measures. Following the endorsements, Hermosa voters received a mailer headlined, “Endorsed by the Los Angeles Democratic Party.” It continued, “Join local Democrats throughout Hermosa Beach and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party in voting for Measure M.”
“[The endorsement] highlights the highest labor standard of any cannabis initiative ever put forward. We applaud the L.A. Dems for recognizing the policy,” Elliot Lewis, owner of South Cord Management, and Catalyst Cannabis Co. told Easy Reader following the endorsements. Catalyst Cannabis Co. owns 14 Southland cannabis stores.
South Bay Democrats were furious over their party’s pro cannabis measure endorsements.
Published: October 27, 2022
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