“Next slide, Natasha.”
Attorney Damian Martin gave an invited presentation to the Redondo Beach city council Nov. 2, in a late-night slot, before which he was asked to speed it up.
He did, dutifully cutting 15 minutes from a planned 30, aided by an unseen assistant on his shared-screen slides in the virtual meeting.
Martin is a co-founder of Catalyst Cannabis Co., hired by Samuel Nicosia, the main proponent of the Redondo Beach retail marijuana initiative.
Martin spoke about the initiative and its signature-gathering effort aimed for the November 2022 ballot.
“This measure is a gold standard,” he said. “… The cannabis industry is really a vehicle for creating municipal revenue and good, well-paying, middle-class jobs. Next slide, Natasha.”
“You don’t get to keep writing measures if you don’t write good measures,” said the bow-tied Martin, the author of the measure on behalf of Nicosia.
He kept up the pace.
“These are the highest standards of any measure throughout the state because we think the city of Redondo Beach deserves it… We focus on litigation mitigation rather than elimination. Next slide, Natasha.”
The city council is now at work on their own ordinance governing retail cannabis.
Martin told the council that the signature-gatherers, a professional team active in the city now, seeks 5,500 signatures as their goal, with 1,600 collected so far.
Mayor Brand thanked Martin for shortening his presentation, and invited questions from the council.
“You talked loud, I had to turn my volume down,” said the mayor.
“I was in the Navy,” Martin said. “I did intel briefs.”
In response to a question, Martin reported that the contract for the signature gatherers is for $174,576 (with GroundWorks Campaigns, based in Los Angeles).
Councilman Christian Horvath told of signature gatherers at his door, who “outright lied,” saying they were from the city, raising money for police and fire departments.
Martin was asked why his initiative is needed since the city is already working on an ordinance to consider retail marijuana.
“Our policy is better,” he said.
In further questioning, it was asked how many municipalities Martin has sued.
He counted eight, on behalf of himself or clients.
“You’re filing lawsuits left and right, which is not a good look,” said Councilman Nils Nehrenheim.
Councilman Todd Loewenstein reported that a signature gatherer came to his door three days earlier. His experience was similar to Horvath’s — except the initiative was said to support local schools, too.
Published: November 10, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News