Tillemans makes statement to Inyo Supervisors

By Deb Murphy

Following articles in area newspapers and his own press release, Supervisor Mark Tillemans made a formal statement during the report portion of Tuesday’s Board meeting, outlining the timeline of his decision to go into the cannabis business.

While he said there was only a “perceived conflict of interest,” he will recuse himself as Inyo closes in on the process of drafting ordinances regulating recreational cannabis businesses.

His interest in cannabis parallels his father’s battle with lung cancer. His father responded well to medicinal marijuana and was able to get off pain killers.

The response from the other four Supervisors was mixed. Jeff Griffiths pointed out the item was delivered as a report, not an agenda item and probably shouldn’t be discussed.

“It’s not for us to judge,” said Matt Kingsley. “It’s up to his constituents to decide.”

Rick Pucci was confused by inconsistencies between an article in The Sheet, Tillemans’ press release and his statements.

In his statement at Tuesday’s board meeting, Tillemans said he had no business dealings but had been doing research. However he said he had been offered a job in the industry, a job that didn’t pan out.

According to The Sheet, he formed a Limited Liability Company in mid-September, INYOSOL, LLC as a cultivation, manufacture and distribution business.

He also told The Sheet, he purchased land in Olancha, one of the few areas in Owens Valley where private land is available.

Tillemans will get a chance to recuse himself in just three weeks when the County’s Planning Department holds a workshop on potential ordinances to regulate all aspects of recreational marijuana at the November 7 Board meeting.

County CEO Kevin Carunchio said every effort would be made to get the Board packet out earlier than the required 72-hours.

Following the workshop, Planning Department staff will conduct a series of community workshops, an abbreviated version of its spring 13-stop cannabis caravan. The next step will be one more input session at a board meeting in late November or early December, then the regulations will go to the Board for discussion and a vote. Carunchio anticipated the vote would come by November 21 or December 5.

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Almost Native
Almost Native
3 years ago

Why won’t they just legalize it like we voted for? Now it sounds like their trying to corner the market.

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
3 years ago

This was a Brown Act violation; at least in spirit if not in letter.

The matter should have been on the agenda as a separate item, and confined to Mr. Tillemans’ recusal.

And all he should have said was:

“I have plans to enter the commercial cannabis-production business in Inyo County and therefore, hereby, and forthwith recuse myself as a Board member from any discussion or action related to the regulation of cannabis production in Inyo County.”

Instead, he was allowed to go into detail about the history of his business and personal interest in commercial cannabis production under the “Board reports” provision of the Brown Act.

That provision, which is an exception to the requirement that all matters before the Board be on the agenda, allows a Board member to make a “brief” report about his or her activities.

But the activities about which the Board member may report are generally assumed to be confined to the member’s activities AS A BOARD MEMBER. E.g. “attended meeting of Local Transportation Commission, met with SCE about power outages,” etc.

To the extent purely personal activities are reported, they are customarily confined to benign things like, “attended daughter’s graduation from West Point, took a bike tour of Cleveland.”

But Mr. Tillemans’ “Board report” was neither; it was a recusal mixed up with a personal business pitch.

And that’s why I think he violated the Brown Act.


Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
3 years ago

So, after recusing himself from the commercial cannabis discussion, Mr. Tillemans immediately re-entered it by touting the health benefits of cannabis.

I don’t know if cannabis is such a benefit if it makes a County Supervisor forget what “recuse” means.