As the state’s job growth stalls and unemployment soars California looks to eliminate jobs in a burgeoning industry; medical marijuana, by shutting down more than 200 medical marijuana dispensaries! Currently, Los Angeles officials are demanding that 141 medical marijuana dispensaries shut down immediately. And last week, San Jose’s Vice Mayor, Madison Nguyen plus three of his council members signed a proposal that looks to shut down 100 clubs, limiting the number of dispensaries to just 10. To make things more dramatic, these impeding closings are happening despite the fact that both these cities have forced clubs to pay additional taxes!
Not only does boarding up marijuana dispensaries put people out of work, it increases the cost and decreases the availability of medicine. Plus, closing nearly every dispensary but a fraction of ‘em in each city creates a monopoly for the few that remain open, further fueling our current class war! AGAIN the rich get richer! There’s nearly a million people living in San Jose and an estimated 30-50,000 are legal medical marijuana patients who will not only pay outrageous prices and exorbitant taxes for their meds but are limited to only ten stores from which to get their medication.
Sure, like every city in California, San Jose officials have struggled to agree on how to regulate marijuana dispensaries since the Obama administration said they’d stop fucking with medical marijuana dispensaries complying with the law, but shutting nearly all of them down isn’t the answer. Where’s the tax revenue in closing business? San Jose, a city of nearly a million people, just slightly smaller than SF has about three times the amount of pot clubs as San Francisco currently and less strict regulations according to San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed. So Reed and three SJ city council members are meeting up on April 12, 2011 to not only come up with some new regulation plans but to also decide on ways to shut down nearly every dispensary in their city.
Haters in southern California are getting serious about closing down their burgeoning marijuana scene as well by gutting as many as 141 medical marijuana dispensaries. And much like San Jose, the news of these demands comes just after LA voters slapped marijuana patients with an extra 5% tax on Tuesday, approving Measure M by 59% of the vote. Great. And get this, Sacramento is due to impose a four percent voter-approved medical pot tax on July 1.
Like the tax hikes in San Jose, Measure M places a tax on something our Federal Government still considers a Schedule I narcotic and against the law, plus it creates a new conflict between the state and the feds by allowing a city to reap revenue from organizations selling contraband! Measure M mandates the collection of $50 in taxes for every thousand dollars from medical marijuana sales despite even acknowledging or respecting that marijuana is a medicine or even crediting that selling that medicine is a source of much-needed tax dollars or that selling marijuana from licensed dispensaries, many of whom welcome regulation, might actually help put criminal drug gangs out of business!
“Any kind of money that we can bring in to help shore up our budget gap I think is important,” said L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn. “It’s going to go to help us save jobs. It’s going to go help us keep our libraries open, to ensure vital city services.”
Whose jobs are being saved and what vital city services remain when dispensaries are closed? As desperate and confused as Hanas sounds, she estimates the tax hike will bring in at least $10 million in revenue…on the backs of sick people. But that was Tuesday, and those numbers are based on all of LA’s dispensaries prior to any of these closures so…that number should decrease if the majority of the clubs are closed, right? And, if buying weed from a dispensary is so dangerous like many say and with all the new taxes making it more expensive than street prices…maybe patients are better off skipping the tax hike and buying weed from drug dealers?
Despite the new taxes being a lucrative revenue stream, earlier in the week, Asha Greenberg, an assistant city attorney, sent letters to the operators and landlords of 141 dispensaries in LA, informing them they must close or face legal action. Again, where’s the tax revenue in that?