Cannabis Dispensary Owner Who Led Failed Recall Effort Apologizes to Councilmember Gordo

“Was sabotaged and misled,’ says owner, but re-submits petition to modify City’s cannabis ordinance

Published : Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 5:02 AM

The marijuana dispensary owner who led a recall against Pasadena Councilmember Victor Gordo has apologized.

Golden State Collective marijuana dispensary owner Shaun Szameit, who helped organize and lead a recall effort against Councilmember Victor Gordo earlier this year, has written the Councilmember a formal apology for his actions.

His email letter, dated March 13, was sent to the news media by Councilmember Gordo.

In it, Szameit wrote, “I owe everyone an apology, I was misguided by influences that did not have the best interest of anyone. I am not asking for special consideration, all I wanted was an opportunity to provide for my family. I am unable to do business in any city with this over my head.”

“I made a mistake with the recall and was sabotaged and misled,” Szaimet added. “I care deeply about the city and [its] future. I am devastated, I apologize. Please understand above all I am sorry.”

Szamiet was reluctant to comment on his letter, but did say “I have no desire to speak on the past, my hopes are to run a professional business in the future, and stand with the city for progress, education and betterment.”

Councilmember Gordo was unswayed by the letter.

“I am not moved nor impressed by Mr. Szameit’s apology,” Gordo said Wednesday. “ The efforts by Shaun Szameit, Ian Burke Jameson, and their cohorts included intentionally misleading the residents of District 5 and the people of Pasadena.”

Gordo said that Sazmeit owes more to the community.

“Mr. Szameit now has a responsibility to tell the people of Pasadena who it is that mislead him and had the influence to cause him to hire an attorney and spend a considerable amount of money misleading my constituents in his clear attempt to disenfranchise them,” Gordo said.

Szameit had feuded with the City for years over the operation of his Golden State Collective. The business had not complied with Pasadena municipal codes for years and Szameit now faces five criminal charges, 21 zoning violations and $25,800 in fines as the result.

His animus towards Gordo may have arisen from Pasadena’s Measure CC commercial cannabis ordinance, drafted by a committee that Gordo chaired, which outlaws the dispensary’s continued operation.

The Measure was passed by voters last June.

Szameit has submitted paperwork to the City to begin collecting signatures in support of an initiative amending Measure CC to grandfather previously unlicensed marijuana dispensaries into Pasadena's new commercial cannabis application process.

But Szameit also revealed Tuesday that his group has submitted to a petition to the City Clerk for an initiative which would grandfather unlicensed dispensaries into the City’s dispensary application process.

According to City Clerk Mark Jomsky, paperwork for “The People’s initiative to Preserve the Existing Operation of Non-Offending Commercial Cannabis Business” was resubmitted Tuesday, in preparation for collecting signatures to qualify for the June 2020 election.

Said Jomsky in an email to Pasadena Now Monday, “There has been a Notice of Intention to Circulate an Initiative Petition filed. That process is active and I believe proponents will be circulating petitions shortly.”

The petition was resubmitted by attorney Brad Hertz, to “sew up some items some items the city found as flaws in the group’s previous petition,” according to Szaimet. The 13-page petition essentially asks the City to modify measure CC so as to allow “non-commercial cannabis businesses operating without a permit” to apply for a license to sell cannabis in Pasadena.

“In the meantime,” Gordo said in a statement, “I will continue to do the right thing, fighting for the best interests of the people who have elected me regardless of any baseless, personal, or political attacks aimed at discouraging, intimidating or keeping me from that duty.”