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S.D. marijuana merchants pour cash into political action committee

High-dollar pot

What will Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access do with $213,000?
What will Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access do with $213,000?

With marijuana sales finally legalized in California, local pot merchants have been pouring cash into a political action committee known as Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access, sponsored by the Association of Cannabis Professionals.

The fund collected $234,999 in 2017, according to its January 31 disclosure statement, ending the year with $12,275 in the bank. Big donors included WellsgreensCa of El Cajon, with $40,000 and Menuu Mazza LLC of La Mesa, with $30,000. Individual donors Ramzi Murad of El Cajon and Jilet Jousef Yousif of Spring Valley each came up with $10,000. Murad is on the board of the troubled Neighborhood Market Association, the liquor store trade group whose executive director Mark Arabo was ordered last year to return $248,000 a judge said was wrongly awarded him by the association.

But the fields of pot weren’t always green, as evidenced by a $30,000 bounced check on November 1 from the Cannabis Education Project listed in the disclosure.


San Diego City Council Democrat David Alvarez, termed out this year, collected a total of $119,152 during 2017 for his putative campaign for county supervisor in 2020 and had $102,062 of cash in the bank, per his latest financial disclosure filed January 31. Maximum $800 donors included onetime Republican council candidate and port director Marshall Merrifield; Virginia Merrifield; James Schmid of Encinitas, CEO of Chelsea Investment, which specializes in controversial urban infill residential developments; and Elvia Verdugo, office manager of Verdugo Concrete of Chula Vista.

Alvarez has announced he will run for a seat on the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees next year and would vacate that position mid-term if elected supervisor in 2020.

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What will Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access do with $213,000?
What will Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access do with $213,000?

With marijuana sales finally legalized in California, local pot merchants have been pouring cash into a political action committee known as Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access, sponsored by the Association of Cannabis Professionals.

The fund collected $234,999 in 2017, according to its January 31 disclosure statement, ending the year with $12,275 in the bank. Big donors included WellsgreensCa of El Cajon, with $40,000 and Menuu Mazza LLC of La Mesa, with $30,000. Individual donors Ramzi Murad of El Cajon and Jilet Jousef Yousif of Spring Valley each came up with $10,000. Murad is on the board of the troubled Neighborhood Market Association, the liquor store trade group whose executive director Mark Arabo was ordered last year to return $248,000 a judge said was wrongly awarded him by the association.

But the fields of pot weren’t always green, as evidenced by a $30,000 bounced check on November 1 from the Cannabis Education Project listed in the disclosure.


San Diego City Council Democrat David Alvarez, termed out this year, collected a total of $119,152 during 2017 for his putative campaign for county supervisor in 2020 and had $102,062 of cash in the bank, per his latest financial disclosure filed January 31. Maximum $800 donors included onetime Republican council candidate and port director Marshall Merrifield; Virginia Merrifield; James Schmid of Encinitas, CEO of Chelsea Investment, which specializes in controversial urban infill residential developments; and Elvia Verdugo, office manager of Verdugo Concrete of Chula Vista.

Alvarez has announced he will run for a seat on the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees next year and would vacate that position mid-term if elected supervisor in 2020.

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How is Arabo doing on paying back those ill-gotten gains?

Feb. 15, 2018

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