Blog: Are We Wasting Tax Money Trying to Weed Out Pot Dispensaries?

It is time to grow tax revenues and not tIme to weed out marijuana dispensaries and put a lid on sales.

The Court of Appeals has spoken and municipalities such as the City of Los Angeles have no authority to control medical marijuana dispensaries. 

The basis of the ruling was that state law pre-empts municipal law. So how does the LA City Council respond?  It decides to waste even more time and money on conducting hearings to determine whether dispensaries should be banned in lieu of a "gentle ban" which would allow users limited growing capabilities within city confines. 

It seems the city council has not learned the lessons of prohibition or that they are on a limited budget, and it is likely the California Supreme Court will uphold the ruling of the Court of Appeals based on the pre-emption doctrine.

The hyperbole generated by city council members seems reminiscent of the words used in opposition to 'smut peddlers,' of the 1960's. Porn is now a multi-billion dollar business and garners tax revenues for the City of the Angels, especially from business located in Chatsworth and throughout the valley. 

The protestations of locals playing the 'fear card,' really are analogous to those voices heard over 50 years ago as they battled pornography in the valley. The by-products of this hyperbole really are the waste of government and police resources. 

Just think if the city and the state taxed dispensaries.  The revenues could aid in supplementing local services, now curtailled by budget cuts. Moreover, those who need marijuana for its medicinal effects could get what they need to ease their pain. This prospect does not create a field of dreams for marijuana producers, but a cash crop for city tax coffers.

It is time to push the clock forward from the 1960s and 1970s and realize that we, as Californians, can once again lead the nation and turn marijuana into a revenue enhancer. 

The trade-offs are not as scary as the ban proponents claim, given the higher incidences of liquor store robberies and DUIs as they pertain to the sale and use of alcohol.

Perhaps it is time for one of our council to show some fortitude and propose city wide legalization of the dispensaries accompanied by license fees and taxation.  Smut peddlers are now legitimate businesses supporting our tax base and there is no reason why dispensaries cannot do the same. 

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Don Jagg July 31, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I'm not a legal expert, but I still can't understand how the state can ignore federal law, yet expect the cities to respect their's. As far as regulation and taxation, I'm all for it. Unfortunately, what we have is much different and is not working. These are supposed to be non-profit dispensaries, there to provide marijuana to those that have chronic medical conditions. Word on the street is that it is where you go to get the best stuff to get high. When they raid these places they find tens of thousands in cash, plus guns and other weapons. You can put your head in the sand but the rest of us know that the criminal element is the main backers of these dispensaries and we want the police and the city council to get them out of our neighborhoods.
Don Jagg July 31, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Additionally, the ease that anyone over 18 can get a medical marijuana license is ridiculous. My friends 20 yr old niece went to one of these so called doctors and had a license in fifteen minutes. Her chronic ailment? She gets cramps one week out of the month. While the rest of the world is taking a Midol, she's smoking a big ol' bowl with her friends. For some reason, the cramps only occur on Friday and Saturday nights, now. I drove past the dispensary on Victory Blvd in North Hollywood once, and saw about twenty people standing in line for their "prescription". It looked like the lunch line at the local high school and the main source of transportation seemed to be skateboard because almost everyone was holding one. I wonder what chronic ailment they have? Back pain, glaucoma, cancer? I think that they just want to get high and skateboard in the park.
Leigh Datzker July 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Don, You're simply not going to prevent people from obtaining marijuana and it is smarter to seek some financial gain for the city rather than wasting resources trying to manage the uncontrollable. This was the situation in the 1970's with Porn and you have seen that industry flourish and garner significant tax revenues fo the City. Time to think outside the box here and just deal with the demand as we did coming out of Prohibition. Liquor stores provide just as much opportunity for criminal activities and DUI's as any other business selling intoxicants. Crime is going to be rampant due to the economy and the change in social morals. Seems the Feds would be better off leaving California with a legalized system, perhaps as an experiment and revenue enhancer.


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