Vallejo Set to Waste Millions Fighting Medical Marijuana — Primal Scream


From the blog of James Anthony, Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Lawyer: http://wp.me/p3sMfo-p

 

james_anthonyNext week Tuesday 3/24, the Vallejo City Council will waste over $2 million dollars on an issue that is not a major priority—and that should be making money for the City, not costing it.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are not a priority issue on anyone’s list in Vallejo. There are plenty of other important projects to fund: the $6 million dollars in unfunded pavement maintenance would be a good place to start. Investing in high speed broadband for Vallejo residents and businesses would be another. Neither one of these projects will move forward because the city budget is barely breaking even for the first time since bankruptcy.

Instead the City has budgeted at least $550K for lawsuits against dispensaries and will probably spend at least twice that. The City will also forego at least $600K in revenues by refusing to accept taxes from dispensaries. Earlier this month, they refused over $50K in monthly taxes.

This week the dispensaries will sue the City to stop giving away public taxes—taxes that 76% of Vallejo voters approved in November 2011. Last week the dispensaries filed an initiative ordinance to let voters decide on dispensary regulations. When that goes to special election because of the Council’s stubborn fixation on this non-problem, it will cost the City’s taxpayers another $875K. But like the Mayor said, he will spend any amount of the people’s money to close down the dispensaries—leaving legitimate patients with no place to get their medicine and costing Vallejo taxpayers millions.

Contact the City Council now and tell them to be sensible: leave a few of the dispensaries open and enact reasonable regulations. They could start by respecting the dispensaries that are well-managed and pay their taxes–that would eliminate over half of them. It’s time for peace with marijuana, not an expensive and unwinnable war.

You can also email the individual Council members here:

mayor@ci.vallejo.ca.us

bsampayan@ci.vallejo.ca.us

jmalgapo@ci.vallejo.ca.us

rmcconnell@ci.vallejo.ca.us

kmiessner@ci.vallejo.ca.us

rverder-aliga@ci.vallejo.ca.us

pdew-costa@ci.vallejo.ca.us

 

Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin


'Vallejo Set to Waste Millions Fighting Medical Marijuana — Primal Scream' have 17 comments

  1. March 16, 2015 @ 3:37 pm AnnoyII

    Like any good lawyer, you might start by knowing your subject matter. The city staff drafted ordinance permits two dispensaries to stay open. The city has addressed unfunded liabilities. The high speed internet is already underway. It is a priority of many. Perhaps not you, but many. If all the MMDs are intent upon being good citizens, then upon adoption of the proposed ordinance, or some version thereof, the law abiding ones will comply through closure. Tell me, counsel, do your clients who do not become part of the anointed two, three of whatever number, intend to return to their customers the 10% tax the customers of those to be closed dispensaries have collected? Or, will they pocket the money to pay the attorneys the necessary fees to fight the proposal on any and every front possible? What do you have to say about the many more MMDs who clearly do not operate even within the confines of state law or the local Measure C? Should they be permitted to stay open too? What do you say about all the MMDs in the other cities like Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Rosa, etc. who provide delivery services in one form or another into the City of Vallejo but provide no tax payments of any sort to Vallejo? Is there any offer of payment to the city? What measures are your client taking to assure that products dispersed by any and all of the dispensaries are not being consumed by under aged individuals? What suggestions do you have for improvements or changes in the proposed ordinance? By the way, counselor, the information you have put out on the e-mail is not even current. You want respect? Show a little respect rather than waiving the red flag of emotionalism.

    Reply

    • March 17, 2015 @ 2:02 am Anonymous

      There is NO high speed internet underway in Vallejo. Realistically we are at least five years or more before it could be implemented even if we had agreements in place (which we don’t). The streets need paving, the cops need to be paid, we still have closed firehouses, the sidewalks are broken, the town is in shambles from years of deferred maintenance. And here our city council fiddles with a marijuana ordinance while Rome burns. Typical for Vallejo. Shortsighted once again.

      Reply

  2. March 16, 2015 @ 3:59 pm Doug

    Funny how they claim hundreds of thousands of tax dollars for Vallejo, yet all the owners claim they are not making any money, some claim they have to work 2 jobs. It is all too fishy and doesn’t jibe. Funny how the MC 11 turned into the MC4. Funny how the County shows only 160 pot cards issued to Solano County residents, yet the industry boasts there is a huge demand here in Vallejo. The application for medical cards has declined as well. The public is being played, manipulated by the likes of this attorney as well. Vallejo should stop in its tracks, wait till 2016, let it be legalized. Meanwhile, stop the flouting of ALL these clubs. The regulation ordinance proposed, is weak. It should be much stiffer. All Vallejo has is a bunch of mom and pop pot clubs, if Vallejo regulates we should have top end facilities, cameras inside and out, all the stores we have now look pretty low end, trashy even. Anyone who filed false applications in the past should not be allowed to apply for a permit in the future.

    This Attorney claims the City rejected 50K in tax money, says who? They claimed there would be 11 clubs paying their taxes that day, only 4 clubs participated. To say the City rejected 50k should be perceived as hearsay unless you have a video maybe? Shut em all down, wait till 2016, let the voters decide then. Why waste our time and energy to regulate when it will be legalized shorty?

    Reply

  3. March 16, 2015 @ 8:30 pm Bong Hit

    Very interesting rant from a lawyer. If a legal team projects 2 million in costs for their opponents, that tells me they have the same amount in their war chest. Probably more, MJ is here to stay. People need it, they hurt and the hurt will only increase.

    Having all these dispensaries around can be bad for business don’t you know. Drives down prices. Can’t have that.

    Reply

  4. March 17, 2015 @ 9:54 am Anon

    Mr. Anthony states that the city is turning down $600,000 in tax revenue. That translates into $6,000,000 in sales. The care for patients is a red herring. This is about $$$$$. 2 well regulated dispensaries is all Vallejo needs.

    Reply

  5. March 17, 2015 @ 5:55 pm Vic Ashley

    Just the cost for the attorneys to shut the dispensaries down will be over $500,000 and using the police to administer it will also be extremely costly and wasteful. And then all of the money already rejected is added onto that. Then the failed raids and lawsuits. The list goes on and on. There’s a reason some officials in this bankrupt city have some of the highest pay in the state.

    Picking a random 2 or 3 or 4 dispensaries to stay open is pretty much guaranteed to be incredibly costly in legal fees to try to defend, and most likely will lose. Again. There is no basis for these numbers. In Los Angeles they put it to the voters with Proposition D and the voters decided — they kept over 100 dispensaries in operation. And here in Vallejo some are up in arms over keeping less than one dozen. The sensible thing to do so would be to put it to a vote and let the people decide.

    I appreciated that James Anthony made an effort to reach out to negotiate with the City. I’m not at all surprised that the dispensaries are having to resort to legal and electoral avenues to be heard, given that the position of the Mayor and a few of the council members is highly emotional — they are unable to hear anything that the majority of people are saying to them. The path of least resistance for the councilors will be to okay the ordinance with a few tweeks, maybe 3 dispensaries instead of 2, as if that’s some vast concession to the community. But that’s what I’m expecting to happen.

    Luckily, we have courts and elections. Thus, it seems the only way to resolve this will be in the courts and in the voting booth.

    Reply

  6. March 17, 2015 @ 10:12 pm Anonymous

    Vallejo City Attorney sends out cease and desist letters to medical marijuana dispensaries

    http://www.timesheraldonline.com/20150317/vallejo-city-attorney-sends-out-cease-and-desist-letters-to-medical-marijuana-dispensaries

    Reply

    • March 18, 2015 @ 9:39 am Vic Ashley

      “the operation of a MMD in Vallejo is considered a nuisance by city law”
      But the voters approved taxing them, which implies that they would need to actually operate a business order to be taxed . . . City officials cannot arbitrarily override the will of the voters.
      “While the city has, in recent months, refrained from enforcing this prohibition”
      The Prohibitionists have spoken.

      Reply

  7. March 18, 2015 @ 11:03 am Publicus

    Classic Sun Tsu “Art of War” strategy. City Hall is creating a conflagration with MJ to take our attention off the massive threat to our community in the new Housing Element. Look here, not there. The Housing Element requires a lot of rational thought but the MJ issue is a gut issue like God or Abortion which polarizes tribes and leads to less, not more, community spirit. Don’t let City Hall get away with this ploy!!! Focus on the larger issues. Vallejo, like most communities, has many good people who have contacts in Humboldt County who can provide excellent stuff for those that “need” their medicine. What we don’t need is gaining the reputation of being the regional center for open MJ distribution. Amsterdam without the charm.

    Reply

  8. March 18, 2015 @ 1:20 pm rational thinker

    EXCELLENT post. i hope people heed your warning.

    Reply

  9. March 18, 2015 @ 9:00 pm Bong Hit

    You’re a clear thinker PUBLICUS and obviously very well informed on local issues. Another plausible explanation for Vallejo’s addiction to the federal government is the large minority population and the large minority staff Vallejo employees in the various departments. Minorities gravitate to Uncle Sam and the federal dollars he offers. They don’t consider the fact that large concentrations of poor and dysfunctional people mean large proportions of dysfunctional school children in the public schools.

    This attitude and demographic pressure has a momentum that builds over time. In the end it is a self-defeating philosophy; the poor get poorer and the rich are shielded from the responsibilities of maintaining a sustainable social structure.

    Reply

  10. March 19, 2015 @ 8:44 am tramky

    The very notion of “diversity” as a positive social component is false. White Europeans are a minority on City Council, so there you have it–the state of things here today. It won’t be getting better in this town, only worse. Look at Memphis and Detroit and you will see the future of California and many “diverse” cities within it.

    People need to look at the fine print in society to understand what is really happening. Restorative justice in the schools–what does that mean? Is anyone really telling you what it means? Does the school district tell you the truth behind it and the other policies–and non-policies–that have created the situation we have today.

    Reply

  11. March 25, 2015 @ 8:50 am Patrick Henry

    I am a care provider who purchases cannabis for a patient who has whose life has immeasurably improved by safe, legal access to cannabis. Our dispensary is immaculate, secured by polite respectful armed guards, and staffed by knowlegable courteous people. The customers are older, whiter, and more professional than the overall population of Vallejo.

    My patient refuses meds, and can only be medicated by adding it food. The first time at the dispensary, I asked, “Do you have any chocolates?”
    “Dark or milk?” replied the budtender
    “Dark, please.”
    “Indica?, sativa?, high CBD?”

    My choices are almost boundless. The medibles are packaged by real food manufacturers in GMP facilities with labels, ingredients and dosages. The budtenders are informed and helpful.

    The whole experience is exactly what one expects in a functional market economy.

    What value is there in having further restrictions and regulations? Why would we expect anything to improve when the wizards of smart at the city coucil crack down on all this commerce among free people? What motive may be guiding the wizards of smart?

    Let’s examine that one. The police union purchased a city council. The council is compliant with their owners on every issue. Two dispensaries are easier for the police union to extort and collect their vig. Look at the lgislation. Oh. There it is. Two new VPOA members to regulate all this commerce.

    This is a the thieviing, grifting political ruling class that have failed their duty to the citizns at every turn. It’s not more complicated than that.

    Reply

    • March 25, 2015 @ 7:29 pm John_K

      We can sing similar praises to alcohol… I know many patients who benefit from therapeutic consumption of alcoholic beverages to ease their sufferings… yet, we seldom refer to liquor store clerks as “care providers”. I’ve met a few BARtenders I considered to be stress therapists, but they don’t operate “dispensaries”… they work in pubs.

      If the City MMD Ordinance is ordained, then your patient will continue to have access to medical cannabis, with a limited number of dispensaries in town. Yours may not be one of them, especially if you refuse to be regulated. Did you state “Medical Marijuana Dispensary” on the application for your land use permit? Reportedly, there are 34 of you operating illegally. It’s not more complicated than that.

      Reply

  12. March 25, 2015 @ 12:07 pm Ben

    Patrick, my old friend. You did not watch the local council last night. After all the anticipation of predicting what the council will do, they threw us a curve. Me thinks there might be some intelligent life on that dais after all.

    Reply

  13. March 26, 2015 @ 7:51 am Bong Hit

    I like the idea of Vallejo embracing the weed industry. If you take a sober look at where Vallejo fits in this region, the demographics, the horrible schools, the high property crime rate, on and on, we need to find every possible economic niche and work it. There’s bipartisan legislation moving through the House of Representatives in Washington right now that would reduce sentencing for minor drug crimes. It seems that the country is moving rapidly in the direction of decriminalization of marijuana; democrats and republicans have different motivations perhaps but the end goal is the same.

    Why not establish some pragmatic zoning requirements for retail marijuana? The complaints from residents I read about were mostly related to high traffic volumes and litter. Work with these new entrepreneurs, require them to clear all litter around their stores, fine them if they don’t. Within the zoning requirements place off street parking requirements. I bet if staff and VPD works with these small business people, Vallejo could score some nice tax revenue and establish itself as a leader in this new industry. Face it folks, Vallejo will never be a Walnut Creek or Marin. Think outside the box, make lemonade from lemons. The only other alternative is to circle the drain.

    Reply

  14. March 31, 2015 @ 5:09 am Madison

    prohibitionists who condemn legal cannabis by day while imbibing on beer, wine and liquor by night was highlighted recently after researchers demonstrated that alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs available, exceeding both cocaine and heroin in terms of mortality risk.

    A comparative risk assessment that looked at the safety profiles of a number of popular drugs found that alcohol is the real scourge to society, as is tobacco, both of which fall into the “high risk” category, as defined in the study. Cannabis, on the other hand, is orders of magnitude safer than practically every other “substance” that society views as a “drug.”

    Using a margin of exposure (MOE) approach, which looks at the toxicity of substances in relation to their estimated human intake averages, the team determined that of the various substances evaluated, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin are by far the most dangerous substances that people can consume, with alcohol as the most dangerous.

    Each of these substances ranked as “high risk,” though on a population scale only alcohol was determined to be “high risk,” meaning it is even more dangerous than cocaine and heroin. Nicotine from tobacco ranked in the “medium risk” category, and all the way on the other end of the scale was THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis — THC barely even registered on the risk scale; it’s that safe.

    For a visual, check out the following graph which illustrates the relative safety of cannabis compared to legal substances like alcohol and tobacco:

    image

    “[T]he MOE results point to risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs,” wrote the authors about their findings, as published in the Nature subsidiary journal Scientific Reports. “The high MOE values of cannabis, which are in a low-risk range, suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach.”

    Alcohol is far more dangerous than most people realize
    The fact that cannabis was shown in the study to be an astounding 114 times less deadly than booze — and in all reality, cannabis has never been shown to cause physical harm or death, ever! — proves that something is terribly wrong with our current laws at both the state and federal levels.

    The deadliest of the most popular drugs, alcohol, flows freely across America, while a plant that is completely safe and highly medicinal is still treated as the most harmful of them all. Cannabis is the only substance among all those evaluated in the study that the federal government classifies as Schedule I, with “no currently accepted medical use.”

    This designation is completely bogus, of course, as the health benefits of cannabis are extensive. Cannabis is widely known to help relieve pain and nausea, prevent seizures, promote calm and clear thinking, and even stop the growth and spread of cancer, as documented in multiple studies.

    “Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications,” explains NORML. “These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders.”

    “Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.”

    Recognizing the inherent medicinal benefits of cannabis, conservative politician David Simpson, a Republican from Texas, recently introduced legislation that would completely abolish cannabis prohibition in the Lone Star State. If passed, House Bill 2165 would treat cannabis like any other plant, allowing people to grow, use, buy and sell it without government interference.

    Sources:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com

    http://www.washingtonpost.com

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

    http://www.businessinsider.com

    http://norml.org

    http://www.dailytexanonline.com

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