-Based in southwestern Riverside County, California since 2013

  InterChurch News

'A truthful witness saves lives.' -Proverbs 14:25

California News Publishers Association / Evangelical Press Association -- member

      Vol. VIII #20 | October 15 - 31, 2020  +++  Public Notices 

            'Your word is truth'            

City of Perris: Going to Pot

  • Interview pt 1. Perris attorney says 'no link' in Perris pot stores, billboards to violent crime.
  • Interview pt 2. Attorney says Tyson's billboard image not a violation of cannabis ad law.
  • Former NYT reporter: Legalization is danger to youth, mental health and leads to violence.

Illegal? Are 20 cannabis billboard ads along the I-215 Perris freeway an over saturation? Is using Mike Tyson's image (above) in violation of California marketing restrictions? -Photos InterChurch News

City of Perris: Going to Pot

The proliferation of cannabis billboards and stores: Which billboard signs are illegal? Is legal access to cannabis more marketable to youth, causing an uptick in crime? And is it moral for City Hall to cash in?


Cannabis - Advertising and Marketing Restrictions

File an Activity or Advertising Complaint:

Bureau of Cannabis Control

City of Perris Code Enforcement

City of Perris Police and Sheriff's Department

Federal Bureau of Investigation


Perris has turned. Almost overnight Perris turned into the California version of Las Vegas with its glut of freeway billboards.

But instead of advertising casinos like Las Vegas, Perris' billboards advertise cannabis shops -- and lots of them: ten licensed now and six shop liceneses pending. 


The City of Perris is a gambling town. Perris is gambling that cannabis shops and their billboard ad campaigns will not increase criminal activity nor harm its citizens -- including teens.

This risk is in exchange for casino-like sales tax revenue from legal dealers in cannabis and its paraphernalia. 


Has Perris investigated -- or disregarded -- evidence in the risks of legalized cannabis use? The Bible says, 'Better a poor man who walks in his integrity, than a rich man who is crooked in his ways' (Proverbs 28:6).

Is smoking pot a gateway to harder drugs? Is it a sin? A trigger to mental illness and violence?


Former New York Times reporter warns legalization of 'marijuana has become increasingly dangerous to mental health'  

'Marijuana causes psychosis. Psychosis causes violence. The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence.' *

-Tell Your Children -- The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by Alex Berenson

Perris, Calif., InterChurch News, April 24, 2020

Legalization of marijuana. It's here. In California, it's been legal to smoke and buy cannabis for recreational use since January 1, 2017. The legal cannabis industry is shifting into a 2nd gear locally in 2020 with billboard advertising -- 20 counted recently along the I-215 Perris corridor. 

Ten licensed Perris cannabis shops -- with six owners pending licensing -- are better monitored this year by the policing of state regulations. Pot products are barcoded, photographed, scanned -- supply chains are well-documented. Armed security guards stand by. 

But a majority of hoodwinked voters and state regulations doesn't make it right -- or safe -- for the rest of Californians as the propaganda would have the public believe. 

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson's latest book, 'Tell Your Children -- The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence' cracks the code of the marijuana illusion with a history of facts.

Among the many citations in the updated paperback edition:

  • In 1904 and 1908, British doctor George Francis William Ewens published studies linking cannabis use to mental illness while supervising an Indian insane asylum ('Insanity Following the Use of Indian Hemp' published in Indian Medical Gazette, Nov. 1904)' and 'Insanity in India: It's Symptoms and Diagnosis, with References to the Relation of Crime and Insanity')
  • A 1987 Swedish study demonstrated cannabis is an 'independent risk factor' and its use 'more than ten times raised the risk of developing schizophrenia' ('Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Study in Swedish Conscripts,' by Sven Andreasson)
  • A 2012 study of 12,000 high school students across the United States showed those who used cannabis were three times as likely to become violent than those who didn't 
  • 2017 U.S. study found: 'Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk' ('The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,' by the National Academy of Medicine)
  • A 2018 Swiss study of people with psychosis found that almost half of cannabis users became violent over a three-year period -- four times greater than that of psychotic people who didn't use

Bottom line in Berenson's reporting: Cannabis use is a cause of paranoia and psychosis -- paranoia and psychosis is a contributing cause of violent behavior. 

-W. Keith Sloane costlygrace@outlook.com

Footnotes: * 'Marijuana causes psychosis. Psychosis casues violence. The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence,' Tell Your Children, pg. 173.  ** Though not FDA-approved 'Cannabis and cannabinoids have been proven to treat chemotherapy-associated nausea and spastic muscles associated with multiple sclerosis, [the National Academy of Medicine, 2017] report said ...' pg. 75. Since the 2017 NAM report, the FDA has approved CBD -- the nonintoxicating compound in marijuana -- to treat seizures associated with two rare forms of eplipsy, pg. 75.

ER patients with psychosis and marijuana use disorders tripled

'In 2006, about 30,000 [ER] patients had a primary diagnosis of psychosis and a secondary marijuana use disorder. {In eight years] that number had almost tripled.'

 

_______________________________________________

 

FDA never OK'd cannabis, THC to treat any medical condition

'Marijuana is not medicine. Marijuana and THC-related products -- whether eaten or smoked -- are intoxicants and mild pain relievers  ... [with] serious side effects ...' **


Not in code compliance: The two Green Kong signs below do not identify licensee by the required business license number. 'All advertisements and marketing shall accurately and legibly identify the licensee responsible for its content, by adding, at a minimum, the licensee's license number.' -Business and Professions Code. Cannabis. Advertising and Marketing Restrictions. 

 

 

Billboards ads with images of [King] Kong, Mike Tyson and Lil Wayne arguably attract children with the intent to make cannabis or cannabis products appealing to persons under 21. 'A licensee shall not do any of the following ... (e) Advertise or market cannabis or cannibis products in a manner intended to encourage persons under 21 years of age to consume cannabis or cannabis products. (f) Publish or disseminate advertising or marketing that is attractive to children. (g) Advertise or market cannabis products on an advertising sign within 1,000 feet of a day care center, school providing instruction in kindergarten or any grades 1 to 12, inclusive, playground, or youth center.' -Business and Professions Code. Cannabis. Advertising and Marketing Restrictions


Attorney: No link in Perris pot shops, billboards to violent crime; 30 more shops in Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore

Perris, Calif., InterChurch News, 3.17.2020. -by W. Keith Sloane

First in a series to investigate cannabis stores in the City of Perris and billboard ads; questioning a connection to violent crime, mental health, youth impact and City tax revenue. 

Interview. The Attorney: Joshua Naggar


Within several months in rapid succession, local Perris cannabis stores slapped up advertisements on no less than 18 Lamar-owned billboards along the I-215 corridor of the city's borders.

California voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational users 21 years and older -- the City of Perris today has 15 licensed cannabis stores.

Scattered among industrial park locations and freeway billboard signs are name such as: Dynamic Meds, Empire Gardens, Firehouse 64, Green Kong Cannibas, Higher Learning Dispensary, Strains Dispensary and Westside CLLCTV.

While the pot advertising growth in Perris alone was striking, six murders were committed in the city during February -- a cause for alarm to City Hall as well as its citizens.

Three of the six murdered in Perris were found lying execution-style at a local cemetery near the grave of a restaurant owner killed in Mexico, according to Press Enterprise reports.

The 33-year old suspect -- Jose Luis Torres-Garcia twice deported to Mexico with pending traffic and drug offenses -- was arrested in Wyoming with 15 pounds of marijuana.

Is there a connection to Perris pot shops, billboards and violent crime?

'I absolutely do not feel there's a connection between the crime we are seeing in Perris and commercial cannabis,' said Joshua Naggar, 40, an attorney, real estate broker, past president and current member of the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Naggar, a Marine veteran with a Perris office in the historic Old Southern Hotel on 445 S. D St., assists cannabis store owners in the license application process to the City of Perris -- which has the authority to reject any (or all) cannabis stores in the community.

'I will tell you a lawful compliance shop is probably the safest place in Perris,' Naggar said in the phone interview. 'You got four to five armed guards, a lot of order ... we don't sense that the criminal uptick has really anything to do with the lawful cannabis market.'

'[Cannabis stores] pay taxes. They have payroll and employees and none of the violence, none, zero is connected to any commercial cannabis operation,' said Naggar. 

Pay taxes? The City of Perris collects $50,000 a month in tax monies from each of the three top cannabis stores, according to Naggar. 

 

.

And there are 15 cannabis store in Perris, he said. 

'It's a great souce of revenue,' he said. 'Everywhere you see retail cannabis, you're likely going to see billboards because billboards a great way to market.'

'"Exit now! Go to my shop!" and inevitably they sell merchandise,' he said.

And the City of Perris won't be flying solo in Riverside County sporting Mike Tyson or King Kong cannabis ads on billboards -- while raking in casino-like revenue from cannabis shops.

'You got 20 plus shops about to open in Moreno Valley ... 10 or so in Lake Elsinore ... Wildomar.'

'You keep brining up Perris,' Naggar said. 'You got 20 plus shops about to open in Moreno Valley, you got about 10 or so in Lake Elsinore, you got Wildomar opening up, and all sorts of other jurisdictions,' Naggar said. 'You're going to see more billboards.' 

Naggar, who served as a machine gunner in the 24th Marine Expedition Unit according to his business webpage, distances the Perris cemetery triple-slayer suspect caught holding 15 pounds of marijuana to any connection with local cannabis stores.

'He was caught with 15 pounds of raw cannabis,' said Naggar, 'that's over the limit you can buy from a cannabis shop. You're not allowed to buy bulk cannabis. You can only buy cannabis in its manufactured form. This person ... [had] black market, unregistered, unmetric cannabis.'

One more thing: 'He didn't have a license,' Naggar said.

'This was some sort of gang-style killing that had everything to do with a particular person who was killed in Mexico -- it had nothing to do with anything commercial, I'll tell you that,' he said.

Naggar, who earend his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law according to his business webpage, reiterates his belief cannabis is not a link to violence.

'I don't see the prevelance of violence under the influence of cannabis,' Naggar said. 'Cannabis is more of a docile affect for most people. We just don't see a lot of violence around it like you would a harder drug or a narcotic.'

'Is it possible that people who commit crimes are high? Certainly,' he said. ♦

-In the second part of this interview, Joshua Naggar will explain cannabis billboard marketing strategy, advertising restrictions and product regulations. 

Additonal references: 1. 'Tell Your Children -- The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,' by Alex Berenson. 2. 'Marijuana Debunked: The Case Against Legalization,' by Ed Gogek. 

Photo (L): Empire Gardens cannabis store uses Mike Tyson to advertise cannabis to potential buyers along the I-215 freeway in the Perris corridor. -Photo IC News

Correction: The City of Perris has 10 licensed cannabis stores, six more stores have pending licenses according to the Planning Department. The 15 store count was a number used in an example by Naggar -- not a specific current count. InterChurch News regrets the error. 


Second in two-part interview:

Perris has 10 cannabis stores, six licenses' pending, 20 I-215 freeway billboards promoting pot -- 'Iron Mike' in their corner

Perris, Calif., InterChurch News 4.3.2020. -by W. Keith Sloane 


'Typically, if you put an ice cream store near -- like a Walmart -- you don't have to advertise as much, as people are already there,' said Joshua Naggar.

Naggar, who identifies as 'just a small town attorney,' in Perris, assists cannabis store owners in their applications for licenses in the City of Perris.

He also runs a real estate office on D St.

This is the second installment of an interview with Naggar about billboards and pot stores.

'We call that commercial zoning,' he said. 'The way our laws are written, there's not a lot of commercial zoning for cannabis.' 

'That's why they're all over in the industrial area off Harley Knox,' Naggar said.  

'To their defense,' said Naggar, 'it has really called for a marketing plan to get people to know where they are.'

.

The City of Perris issued ten licenses to cannabis stores -- with six pending applications, according to Kenneth Phung, Planning Manager of the Perris Planning Division. 

There's no less than 18 Lamar-owned billboards along the I-215 freeway Perris corridor advertising local cannabis stores.

'Billboard advertising typically works best near an offramp or a street,' Naggar said, 'where if you look up, see the billboard, you can exit now and you get the good or service.'

'That's why [it seems] saturated in that regard,' Naggar said.

'Every cannabis plant in the licensed world is now metric-tagged in a state-wide system that connects to your point of sale mechanisms,' Naggar said. 

'Meaning it is increasingly hard -- if not impossible -- to sell any product

 

that has not gone through the entire legal chain,' he said.

Since Prop. 64 was passed by a majority of California voters in November 2016, its taken three years for regulations, licensing system and point of sale metric tagging to take full effect.

That said, is it possible black market marijuana is purchased by store owners to meet the product demand and avoid taxes?

'Is it possible there are a few bad apples?' said Naggar who majored in Religious Studies at the Univeristy of Redlands, according to his Facebook page.

'[Tyson's] not a cartoon ... not a movie character. He's a human being.' -Joshua.Naggar

'Is it possible there's some stuff working its way into the system?' Naggar said. 'Yes. But it's becoming structurally almost impossible to sell black market weed in a legal shop for any length of time.'

'It won't be able to show up on your point of sale,' he said.

Pots stores in Perris -- indeed, throughout the state -- are subject to random visits by state investigators.

'If the BCC -- the Bureau of Cannabis Control -- comes into your shop,' said Naggar, 'they pick three to five products at random and you have to show the paperwork that goes through the entire life of the cannabis -- where it's been grown, where it's been tested, and it has to have an actual picture of the finished product.' 

'And that picture has to be the same as the product you're looking at,' he said.

'They're cracking down on shops to the point where the shops are selling compliant goods right now,' said Naggar. 

'There's roving complaince patrols,' Naggar said.  'I got to tell you, I just don't see any trouble in the compliance market right now, that's for sure.' 

'I think they got a pretty good handle on 

 


things right now,' he said.

A few billboards along the Perris corridor appear to not be in compliance with ad laws.

California Advertising and Marketing Restrictions state a licensee 'cannot advertise cannabis or products in a manner intended to encourage persons under 21 years of age to consume cannabis or cannbis products.'

The law also states a licensee 'cannot publish advertising or marketing that is attractive to children.'

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson's image is displayed on several billboards advertising 'Tyson Ranch exclusively at Empire Gardens.' 

If not thinking Tyson is holding a youth boxing camp, teenagers and kids can see Iron Mike is promoting pot products -- so is Tyson's image on billboards unlawfull?

Naggar doesn't see an image issue.

'The law you quoted me,' Naggar said, 'it flushes out cartoons, movie characters, a few other things ...'

'I would say Mike Tyson is probably an outlier,' Naggar said. 'He's not a cartoon. He's not a movie character. He's a human being.'

'I would agree ... many children have an affinity for him. But it would be really weird to prohibit the use of his own being -- which I don't think the law has that ability,' said Naggar.

(Ed. note: Tyson is cited with 49 movie and television credits. For 29 years, he's been parodied in The Simpson's sitcom as boxer Drederick Tatum -- featured in latest episode 'Highway to Well' promoting cannabis.)

Naggar said cannabis billboard ads or store complaints can be filed with the BCC, Perris Code Enforcement or billboard companies. 

'It's all local. Local jurisdictions can both allow and prohibit cannabis,' Naggar said. ♦

Additional references: 1) Business and Professions Code - BPC. Division 10. Cannabis. Chapter 15,. Advertising and Marketing Restrictions. 2) Bureau of Cannabis Control. 3) Perris Code Compliance

Photos: Lamar-owned billboards along I-215 freeway. -Photos by InterChurch News


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