YUCCA VALLEY — The Town Council unanimously voted to eliminate its permitting requirements for home-grown marijuana Tuesday without a single resident commenting.

When Mayor Robert Lombardo called for public comments during the public hearing, no one sought the microphone.

The public hearing was set after the planning commission approved the changes to the town’s ordinance on personal marijuana cultivation last month.

In a divided vote, the commissioners voted 3-2 to move ahead with the plan to eliminate marijuana permit requirements. The commission meeting also had only a handful of people in the audience and just one public comment.

Commissioner Margie Trandem, who voted “yes,” recalled last month the debates on the topic during previous years.

“I remember seeing this room full of people,” she said.

Now, with the council confirming the changes, residents will no longer have to get a permit before growing the six marijuana plants permitted by state law.

Councilman Merl Abel said Tuesday night the commissioners should be applauded.

“I appreciate the planning commission doing a good job,” Abel said. “I am pleased to see the revisions being made.”

Councilman Rick Denison agreed, adding that reducing litigation risks for the town is a wise move.

The city of Fontana lost a lawsuit in November 2018 that could have direct impact on communities like Yucca Valley.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California and the Drug Policy Alliance sued Fontana over its strict regulations, which included background checks, home searches and a $411 permit fee for home cultivation. 

A judge ruled against the city, ordering it to change its restrictions and pay $106,916 in legal fees.

Yucca Valley Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle told planning commissioners the Fontana case could be troubling for the town.

“Parts of our ordinance would not pass muster due to that Fontana case,” Stueckle said last month, adding that the town needs to have no “unnecessary regulations” on personal cannabis cultivation.

Commissioners Mathew Thomas and James Henderson, who both voted against removing the permit requirements, said at the time they worried about “odor complaints” and the fact that cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. 

Thomas and Henderson both attended Tuesday’s Town Council meeting but did not speak publicly.

The Town Council also discussed opposing Assembly Bill 1356, which could require all local jurisdictions whose voters supported Proposition 64, which includes Yucca Valley, to issue a minimum number of local licenses for retail cannabis shops.

“It goes to the heart of local control,” said Town Manager Curtis Yakimow. “It is a dangerous precedent for sure.”

(24) comments


"It goes to the heart of local control"???? The citizens of Yucca Valley voted overwhelmingly in favor of medical and recreational pot dispensaries. You are the ones out to destroy the will of the people you supposedly "represent". I hope the state sues the town and county for millions for denying sick and elderly people an alternative to addictive narcotics for their ills. These clowns are still living in the 60's cartoon-world of Reefer Madness.


The voters of Yucca Valley voted in favor of Prop 64! Commissioners Mathew Thomas & James Henderson - who voted against removing the bogus permit requirements, need to look up the definition of supporting your constituents to represent the majority of citizens (not personal beliefs), & / or be voted off of the commission. IMHO. AB 1356 would reinforce the will of the voters with regard to local, legal safe access to areas seniors, those with illnesses and simply a matter of compassion for others. The council opposes AB 1356 - directly against the will of the majority of voters in YV. If you are in favor of Your civil liberties - see https://oneclickpolitics.global.ssl.fastly.net/messages/edit?promo_id=5930&fbclid=IwAR1U1hV0vMdUZs1ecueDit6FEV0LB561hqHSmkcSy3AbhghuC1QRqKSZxRw

Branson Hunter

Yucca Valley Prop. 64 town results:
For: 57.5334%
Against: 43.4665
S.B. County Prop 64 county results:
For 52.5%
Against: 47.5
Twentynine Palms:
For: 62.049
Against - 37951
It is disturbing that the town council was silent about the hardships they put on voters in their war on legal and medical cannabis. THey do everything they can possible get away with to subvert the voters' will. America is a country where the people in all the cities and towns from shore to shore decide by vote. That's what made America great.W hat has happened to the town councils in Y.V. and 29 that they don't respect majority rule and thus respect the majority of voters on this issue?

Branson Hunter

Correction: "...and thus [don't] respect the majority of voters on this issue? Why is it so difficult for the council to understand and conform to the fundamentals principles of the US Constitution, Amendment XV, which was ratified by the states in 1870: "Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged.... Ironic that we fear the Russian as they undermining our way of life -- when meanwhile right here in the Morongo Basin we have a town and city that have worked directly to undermine democracy. Authoritarian governments do wrongful things "Just Because they Can." The city and town elected officials have subverted a popular vote "Just Because the Can." Happy mother day, and grandma's day.

Branson Hunter

What good is the democratic right to vote when local council people in YV and 29 Palms pay no attention? I spend four years in the Marine Corps to ostensibly protect America. Now it has to be protected from hostile forces from within. Yes, I am upset but who cares?

Commissioner Gordon

Branson points out the Constitution yet he holds State law higher than Federal Law... odd

Branson Hunter

It's not so odd Commissioner because the great State of California, the California State Legislature and by popular vote, and our California judicial system have all been through this from the legal perspective. Are you an attorney? Have you consulted with legal council? Some of the most experienced and respected lawyers spent countless hours researching and finalized the laws surrounding Prop. 64. The Legislature worked very hard to make this work for people with a medical and compassionate use for cannabis products and CBD oils. I can understand your regard for an outdated and scientific inaccurate federal code law that has it all wrong. With all due respect, if I were in your position I would resign because I would be compromised and unable to conform to California Law. Note that AB 1356 is crucial for veterans’ access, handicapped people's access, access for the aged and the sick and dying. There is never any mention about these people from you people. Thank you for your input Sir. I will forward your comment to Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who authored AB 1356. For a more reading on the town council may I suggest this local article: "Proposed cannabis law will mandate 4 dispensaries in Morongo Basin". http://new.vote29.com/blog/proposed-cannabis-law-will-mandate-4-dispensaries-in-morongo-basin/

Branson Hunter

The Shouse Law Group specialized in California Marijuana Laws. They have twenty-nine locations throughout California. Here is what they say about Federal Class I Marijuana: "We do not anticipate federal prosecutors in California going after people who use or possesses marijuana in accordance with California and local regulations." It is very improbalbe federal prosecutors will come after the Yucca Valley Town for following California Law. That argument is highly suspect... I think it it is a pretext for something with the same effect of poking local voters in the eye and saying -- majority votes don't mean anything if we don't like the outcome."

Mark Simmons

It seems odd to me that the YVTC would discuss opposing AB 1356. Whatever happened to the “majority rules” argument? If we are a majority rules society, then it would stand to reason since the voters in YV overwhelmingly voted for Prop. 64, that the town council would do it’s due diligence to try and represent the will of the voters in this case. I realize after reading the text of Prop. 64 that it left open a loophole where cities and towns have the right to REASONABLY regulate all things pertaining to cannabis. What is the legal definition of “reasonable?” However, the town council has not lived up to the will of the voters in this case. Instead, it has drawn a hard line and has taken a NIMBY approach. Which is really too bad considering the taxes that could be raised from cannabis sales. Does the council realize that by not allowing dispensaries and mandating it’s archaic hardline, it cannot obtain ANY grants based on sales tax generated from cannabis sales within the state. In other words, if the town snoozes, it loses. Has anyone been to Desert Hot Springs lately? That town was on the brink of bankruptcy not long ago. Today, DHS is making a nice comeback and is beginning to thrive. All due to the fact that their council was OPEN to exploring this new industry, along with Palm Springs and just about every city in the Coachella Valley. I also think it’s very odd that Yucca Valley wants to be the hub of the Morongo Basin, yet it seems to be stuck in the 1950s and continues to wear blinders. I also think it’s fair to say that I have a couple of close friends on the town Council. I have spoke at great length in regards to the issue with them. One of the councilmembers has told me if someone could come up with a great business plan, that they will gladly look into it and would be open to it. Not saying by any means that they would do it but at least they would be open to it. I am also kind of tired of hearing the argument that cannabis is not legal on the federal level. Huh? With all due respect, there’s a little thing called states’ rights. I agree with Branson. It is very unlikely that the feds will ever step in and change this among the many states that have opted to legalize. Why? Because it all comes down to dollars and cents. Or in this case, common sense! Come on YVTC and planning commission. Get with the times and represent the will of the voters and be open for once to change. Lastly, my wife warned the planning commission in March 2017 that they would open themselves up to legal litigation if they insisted on forcing this permit.


Proposition 64 specifically states local jurisdictions have the option to permit or prohibit the sales of recreational marijuana and conforms with California law. If the desire exist in our local jurisdictions to allow the sale of marijuana it would be simple to elect those who support that proposal. Assembly Member Phil Ting and his liberal cronies have already wreaked havoc in the streets of San Francisco which turned that city into a cesspool and it is apparent that he desires to force that sad mentality into our local communities with the proposed AB1356 that changes the voter approved Proposition 64. If medical marijuana is the new miracle drug of the future it would have already been FDA approved, generally prescribed, stocked, and sold in local drug stores such as Rite Aid and Walgreens. Personally I could care less about the legality or illegality of marijuana and the same goes for alcoholic beverages. I do not indulge in either vice and neither makes any person better off by the use of it and I personally believe that both do have more negative consequences upon our society such as producing more public drunks and escape from reality potheads. I would suggest those who do indulge in medical or recreational marijuana and having problems obtaining their expensive legal tax laden daily dosage of magical marijuana to simply grow their own legal pot plants. It is simple and saves a lot hard earned money. There is a reason why most jurisdictions do not want these marijuana dispensaries in their towns and cities and that decision should be respected until overturned by the will of the people in the election process.

Mark Simmons

TTJ, you may want to look at GW Pharmaceuticals. The FDA approved the use of cannabis in the form a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex which treats childhood epilepsy. This is given as a last resort when all else fails. While the FDA has approved its use, the DEA has not approved it. I think it’s great that you don’t indulge in either vice as you call it. If that works for you, don’t change a thing. However, no adult has the right to tell another adult how they ought to live their lives. I would love for you to provide me and others with credible, timely statistics to back up your claims. Yes, I do agree with you that there are some people who just can’t seem to get a grip on reality and overindulge with alcohol and drugs. That would be a vice for sure. I am of the opinion that if you’re an adult and you can handle it , then an adult ought to be able to make that choice. I am so glad that I was raised with the mantra of “everything in moderation within reason” approach. I personally have seen friends and family members benefit from the use of cannabis. I have seen someone who had excruciating migraines to the point where they could not get out of bed and had to live in a cave for most of the time when they were going through this. They talked to their doctor about the use of cannabis but because the doctor is mandated by federal guidelines, they could not prescribe cannabis. However, they got their card a few years back and have used cannabis sparingly in the evenings. It has been three years since they’ve had a migraine. I personally don’t see a problem with people using cannabis recreationally, either. What people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. My problem with this town is that there is a certain segment that relies on the Reefer Madness mentality to bolster their argument. It makes no difference to me whether or not this town approves a dispensary or two. The CV isn’t too far if the desire strikes. But, I feel for some individuals who don’t have that same opportunity as I do. I wish that people would quit stereotyping those of us who choose to use cannabis for whatever reason. I enjoy it. Just as I enjoy a great craft beer, wine or spirits in moderation. Either way, I can live with it or I can live without it. Plus, if I had a problem or was a menace to society, I doubt 30-plus years of marriage and had a hand in raising a very successful son would’ve occurred. Respectfully, Mark Simmons.


Mark, the FDA approves the use of medication not the DEA. The DEA has never charged, arrested nor jailed anyone for the lawful prescribed use of Epidolax. Epidolax is stocked at many pharmacies. As far as claiming "no adult has the right to tell another adult how they ought to live their lives" you may want to think about that preposterous statement. There are tons of statures, laws, and regulations telling me how to live my life. My statement "If medical marijuana is the new miracle drug of the future it would have already been FDA approved, generally prescribed, stocked, and sold in local drug stores such as Rite Aid and Walgreens" and it would be stocked, prescribed and sold thru pharmacies just like the "Epidolax" medication. The FDA has stated "As with other drugs that are not approved by the FDA, the agency works closely with the medical and patient communities, and our federal partners when necessary, to allow access to experimental treatments through the expanded access provisions described in the FDA’s statute and regulations. The FDA’s expanded access provisions are designed to facilitate the availability of investigational products to patients with serious diseases or conditions when there is no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy available, either because the patients have exhausted treatment with or are intolerant of approved therapies, or when the patients are not eligible for an ongoing clinical trial." https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-marijuana. I made the statement "personally I could care less about the legality or illegality of marijuana and the same goes for alcoholic beverages" meaning I could care less about you or any other person that desires to eat, drink, smoke or do whatever with cannabis products or alcohol beverage. Does that mean I am suffering from a severe case of "reefer madness" to bolster my argument? My problem is that there is a certain segment that relies on the "nothing wrong with weed" mentality to bolster their argument. I would certainly agree with "what people do in the privacy of their homes is their business" with a few exceptions such as committing crimes that are prohibited by law that tell me how I should live my life such as maybe I should not manufacture and sell crystal meth in my basement. It also makes no difference to me whether or not this town approves a dispensary either just as long as the guidelines in Proposition 64 are followed. The proposed AB1356 bill submitted by Assemblymember Phil Ting mandates the establishment of dispensaries in complete disregard of the terms and spirit of the voter approved Proposition 64 specifically regarding dispensaries. I am very happy that you are not a problem nor a menace to society. Those people who do not agree with allowing local pot dispensaries are not a problem nor a menace to society either. I think it was good that Proposition 64 allowed communities self determination in establishing and regulating marijuana dispensaries. Citizens and community leaders should have input in setting regulations and requirements of cannabis distribution. There is nothing authoritarian or subverting democracy in following the guidelines set forth by Proposition 64 as one person has claimed. Maybe the "stereotyping" claim should belong to the one who made that statement.

Mark Simmons

TTJ, I digress. You made a compelling rebuttal and I thank you for it. Perhaps, I relied on a bit too much anecdotal information in which to base my argument on. I appreciate you calling me out so to speak in a “gentlemanly” way. Nine times out 10, I tend to agree with you on this blog. My intent is to never be mean or disrespectful to anyone. I wish you nothing but the best! Mark 😊


Likewise Mark. Wish you the best!

Branson Hunter

It's “odd" that Commissioner Gordon doesn't think care about the fact that parts of the ordinance would not pass muster due to that Fontana case,” Acting Manager Stueckle said. It's "Odd' that Commissioner Gordon isn't thinking about the town spending a few hundred thousands defending a sure loser lawsuit concerning a ludicrously overbroad and unlawful town code. It's "Odd" that Commissioner Gordon isn't on the same page as the majority of Town Council who unanimously voted to eliminate its permitting requirements for home-grown marijuana Tuesday . It's "Odd" that Commissioner Gordon doesn't understand Prop. 64 as written and implemented, is intended to avoid federal prosecutorial oversight.

Mark Simmons

Branson, Wow! Those are a lot of accusations that you made toward Councilman Drozd. Last time I checked, there are four other councilmen who make up the YVTC. I find it very peculiar that you seem to always pick on Councilman Drozd. While I don’t always agree with him, at least he is doing something for his community. My question to you sir is, what are you doing for your community? Besides Branson don’t you live in Twentynine Palms? Why are you commenting on issues that pertain to YV?? Is your life that boring that you feel the need to disrespect people of you whom you do not agree with? Pretty petty and pathetic!

Mark Simmons

Oh, and the keyword here is unanimously. That means that if I council Vote unanimously that would imply that it is a clean sweep. Maybe it’s time for you to find a new hobby Branson.

Branson Hunter

I stand by all of my comments in this story, posted with civility and defining legal and commonsense arguments. I have been reading Gordon’t posts for years. Be certain, he, town councilmember __________?, is qualified to speak for himself. Commissioner Gordon, on May 10, 2019 3:44pm wrote: “Branson points out the Constitution yet he holds State law higher than Federal Law... odd.” Gordon put it into the record.. -- apparently questioning the erroneous presumption that state law higher that that of federal law. Therefore he ought to expect a civil response (like I posted). Commissioner Gordon has called Branson Hunter (me, Ben Holstrom) out for using an Internet handle, to which I believe he called a fake name. He has attempted to question my constitutional right to redress government -- saying I don’t live in town limits. The right answer to that is the First Amendment does not end at town limits. I have not disclosed who Commissioner Gordon is because I chose to let it be. The trite criticism of my applied use of the First Amendment in here in answering Commissioner Gordon is unfounded, shameless pandering and is a form of subliminal resentment. WHERE ARE THE ARGUMENTS against the tow nixing pot permit requirements? Huh? That is the issue. Branson Hunter is not. The YV Town Council made the right choice. IT was a no brainer common sense decision. A reading of Commissioner Gordon's comment is masked and confusing.


Subliminal resentment Branson?

Is this a new thought police tactic?

Since Commissioner Gordon's single comment that contained so much unfounded, shameless, pandering and hidden subliminal resentments is being forwarded to San Francisco's State Representative Phil Ting does that mean something bad is going to happen?

Perhaps to develop new legislation to combat such devious subliminal thoughts?

Commissioner Gordon's comment was not masked or confusing.

It was simple and direct.

The response given was masked, confusing and filled with subliminal resentment.

My First Amendment response can be reported and sent to State Representative Phil Ting for review but please do not take my subliminal thoughts out of context.

Mark Simmons

From where I stand Ben, all guys like you do is sow seeds of discord. You remind of a little Chihuahua. All bark and absolutely no bite!

Mark Simmons

What a great idea Cookie! Perhaps we could petition our state legislators to create an oversight committee to look into this hypocrisy and nefariousness of this so-called Subliminal Resentment which affects Californians like Ben. I know I’ll be contacting Chad Mayes real soon about my concerns. Hopefully this condition of SR will soon be eradicated so people like Ben or is it Branson Hunter? Won’t cry about the effects of this dreaded condition when they’re called out. On second thought....Nah! Here’s a better idea. Why not stick to your own community Branson or Ben and worry about what’s going on there.

Branson Hunter

This is beginning to sound like the Morongo Basin social media group that was shut down as a result of abuse, bullying, and extremism. I suggest another reading of terms of HDTs the terms of use. Lets get back to the cannabis issues in town. After all, 57.5334% of the voters in YV voted for Prop. 64, and the majority of San Bernardino County voters also voted for it. Why are the problems with AB 1356 — authored by Phil Ting. What is the intent and purpose of the Bill? We also have a California Constitution in addition that addressed voting requirements. If it meant nothing at all, it would not be there. Citizens voting rights are protected by California and Federal Constitutions. So why is the city and the council so against honoring the and following the results of a local election?

Mark Simmons

Ok Branson/Ben I’ll play. First off, I am a staunch cannabis advocate. My wife and I were among those who spoke passionately at a YVTC meeting back in 2013 about keeping CAMS, YV’s only dispensary open. There were about 20 of us who spoke in favor. Funny, I don’t recall you being or speaking at that meeting. In 2015, we, my wife and I worked on the Measure X campaign in the effort to bring a medical marijuana dispensary back to YV. I just don’t recall you being involved with that campaign. As I knew everyone who worked tirelessly on X. Did you go out canvassing neighborhoods in YV like we and so many others did? Did you also affix your name as one of the measure’s sponsors like my wife did? Did you open yourself up to ridicule and scorn like so many of us did back then?? The answer would be NO! One of the reasons why I do not respect you or what you write is because I look at you as the instigator who sits behind a keyboard and tries to justify your position. I will go back to the Chihuahua analogy. You are all bark and no bite! You’re one of these people who attacks others who don’t agree with you. Other than your service in the military, have you ever worked on the front lines of a campaign? Have you ever put yourself on the line politically? Or do you just sit behind the keyboard in the confines of your home and hide behind the first amendment? Kind of a chicken mentality if you were to ask me. But I digress. Let’s get back to the issue of cannabis. In 2016, I voted for prop 64. I was elated when our state passed a law giving the right to adults the right to use and grow six cannabis plants per household if they so choose. However, I read prop 64. I was not naïve enough to know that even if it passed that a dispensary would be a long shot in YV. Because unlike the state of Oregon which voted in favor of recreational cannabis and mandated that every town have a dispensary unless a city or town in OR held a separate election to ban dispensaries. Instead Branson, California was quite opposite with regard to recreational cannabis. In the text a prop 64, California left open a gaping loophole. Instead of mandating that every town and city have dispensaries, it gave local jurisdictions the right to ban dispensaries if they saw fit. That is what Yucca Valley and 29 Palms have chosen thus far. I’m sorry, but this cannabis advocate puts no stock into this AB1356. It’s kind a like boo-hoo I’m not getting what I want so I’m gonna change the outcome because the results of prop 64 say otherwise. No Branson if you want real change why don’t you get out from behind your keyboard and actually go out among the public and talk about cannabis. That’s what real leaders do they get out there and put themselves on the line to facilitate REAL change. Kinda like my bride of 30+ years. Instead of worrying about what we do in Yucca Valley why don’t you work on your own city of Twentynine Palms to facilitate change there? I have clients who live and work in Twentynine Palms. I’m there quite often. I like Twentynine Palms. But, in no way whatsoever would I ever chime in and tell the people of that fair city what they should do. Because Branson I don’t live there. So it really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to me what the citizens of 29 decide what is right for them. As for me, I’m going to keep going down the hill or I’m going to call one of the many delivery services up here if I so choose. If I decide to grow, I will grow. It’s really that simple! Unlike you, I’m not gonna cry or whine when something doesn’t go my way. That’s never been my style. I could go on and on, but I’m getting really tired of this. It’s really no fun. I hope that by me writing this little describe that I haven’t offended you or have been mean to you. No, I have been very matter-of-fact with you. Good day sir.

Branson Hunter

Two issues I care about: The absence of the availability of local medical cannabis (town and city’s ban on free enterprise in connection with the sales of legal medication. The other more important issue is the choke hold the city & town councils has put around the voting process whereas Prop 64 meant something. Voting mean something. State and federal Constitution voting requirements are suppose to be important to all Americans. That means when a popular vote passes by a clear majority as cannabis has, the council ought not undermined it, directly taint democracy, and put into motion the process to reexamine their ban or prohibition. To some this is radical and un-nice. To others is the responsibility of all of us to defend the constitution whenever it is challenged. IF you vote by a majority and it is meaningless, the constitution is being threatened. I spent many years of my life studying the US Constitution, and thousands of hours researching and identifying legal constitutional issues. I’ve argued constitution issues before the the civil service commission and ALJ judges. I’ve been involved in constitutional issues regarding very public persons. Most of my adult live has been working with nonprofit organizations; handicapped organizations, legal advocacy nonprofits. I care! I do not care to engage in squabbling or digressing why somebody doesn’t like somebody else. Locally, I've spent years (volunteering) and driving the Department of Veterans Affairs local van to Loma Linda Vets Hosp. And have volunteered many days picking up trash alongside YV roads, streets & SR62 a group of good people. One of the organizers is gone now. RIP. And I've volunteering with other local organizations. That is why I DID NOT CARE TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE ADULT MARIJUANA ISSUES. Today, Saturday, I spent the day in a land use workshop. Thus, for the unwitting comment about me bad for not helping the complainer not pass Prop. 64, Medical cannabis is more important to me. Can somebody give a responsible argument why the 29 Palms and YV councils should not honor a citizen vote and initiate steps to implement same? -- even when controversial. I will promote constitutional issues to my very last breath. BTW if anyone takes up the challenge for an argument why it’s okay for the respective councils to continue the ban. And why it okay to dismiss -- or not honor -- a citizens majority vote on cannabis. It doesn’t count to say “Just Because They Can”: That argument has been a path to the digression of powerful or great nations.

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