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
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
“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...