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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bankrupt California city eyes marijuana for revenue

The bankrupt California city of San Bernardino has a new idea for raising revenue – legalize medical marijuana, and tax the pot.

Ironically, the plan was spurred by concerns about not having enough resources to crack down on the illegal medical marijuana dealers springing up all over town.

So the city is now looking at legalizing the sellers, and using the proceeds to enforce the regulations.
It’s not quite “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” but like many municipalities in California today, San Bernardino is recognizing that it could be bringing millions of dollars into its foundering coffers each year if it opened its doors to regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. And it would be able to have a say in who operates these places, as well as how and where.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project in California. “More and more people are realizing that you’d really have to be in the Stone Age to oppose this.”

But San Bernardino is not exactly there, yet. According to City Attorney Gary Saenz, a legislative review panel has been formed by the City Council to study the idea. This panel is collecting data, talking to the city police department and examining laws in other jurisdictions before bringing a proposal to the full committee. It plans on holding at least two more public meetings on the subject through August.

“We are in the exploratory phase,” Saenz told FoxNews.com, insisting that “my primary objective is to close down the seedy shops.”

Police have reported as many as 20 illegal storefronts in town at any given time, he said. Legalizing and regulating this now-unwieldy industry, he feels, is one of the tools available to the city to start taking control.

“We have in this city a proliferation – and a lot of cities in California are experiencing it – of illegal medical marijuana dispensaries. These people are defiant and they are opening up these things right and left.

“We are a city of limited resources,” he added, noting to shut a business down requires civil enforcement, including protracted legal proceedings, and often the police. Even when they do go after the violators aggressively, often they pop up elsewhere and another comes to town in its place. Continue Reading...

1 comment:

  1. Anything that helps them pay the bills. They do not want to go through what Detroit is going through, right now.

    ReplyDelete