Cannabis Rally and Payment Rejection at City Hall

Here are highlights from yesterday’s press conference and rally at Vallejo City Hall. Around 50 medical cannabis patients, collective owners and employees spoke on the steps of City Hall and attempted to make a tax payment, which was rejected by the city cashier as per instructions given by City Council. The group of 11 cannabis collectives, calling themselves MC11 has promised to fight Vallejo’s planned closure of all collectives. They have brought in lawyer and organizer James Anthony to help their cause. More from MC11 online at:

'Cannabis Rally and Payment Rejection at City Hall' have 15 comments

  1. February 20, 2015 @ 12:24 pm Anon

    Have the pro cannabis supporters suggest the tax be increased to 50% of revenue and allow a city operated dispensary (100% goes to GF). Patients win and have a choice and everybody makes money. Yea!


    • Firebug

      February 20, 2015 @ 12:49 pm Firebug

      The rub will be staffing the facility with City employees which would almost immediately make the dispensary “insolvent”.


      • February 20, 2015 @ 10:33 pm Aono

        No rub. If the collectives are wanting to pay a 10% tax of $5,000,000 then their gross proceeds are at least $50,000,000. Divide that by the 11 dispensaries and they each avg $4,500,000 annually. The COV can make payroll on that. Probably not what Morgan pays hisself but the city can make payroll. Cut the number of dispensaries to 5 (proportional to Oaklands dispensaries) and gross proceed double to $9,000,000 annually. Everybody wins.


        • silasBarnabe

          February 21, 2015 @ 11:49 am silasBarnabe

          That would depend what they staffed each dispensary with. It costs $250,000 per year to fund a police officer and $300,000 for a Director level person to run the program, plus the same outrageous fees our landscape districts pay for inspections and in this case building repairs done by city employees, 11 dispensaries each at $500,000 a year to staff it would not make payroll.


          • February 25, 2015 @ 7:07 am Anon

            You pay them wages equal to PW entry level employees. Vallejo does not need 11 dispensaries. Cut the number in half (at least!) and that automatically increases operating revenue

  2. February 20, 2015 @ 1:41 pm Anon

    The lawyer they have obtained is an activist for dispensaries from Oakland. Oakland has 23 dispensaries (pop. 406,000). Vallejo’s pop. (116,000) would allow for 6 dispensaries. Hold a lottery to determine the lucky 5-6 operators. Easier to monitor. A smaller model of the lawyers home town. But still apply a 50% tax.


  3. February 20, 2015 @ 5:09 pm Doug

    The City is ready to Regulate. With it should come stringent requirements in order to operate in Vallejo, There needs to be an RFQ process. There will not be a Ballot measure in Nov for the voters to decide whether or not there will be a cease and desist, it is not a voting matter. The medicine will still be available when the storefronts are closed. 11 clubs will not be allowed to stay open while others are closed. No clubs should be allowed to stay open while others are forced to close, that would suicide by litigation.


  4. February 21, 2015 @ 10:17 am Vallejo Voter

    The council should have had an ordinance in place before closing the MMD’s. Then, the city would have some legal legs. Now, all the MMD’s will be closed, driven underground and the city will lose whatever tax money they’ve been collecting from the dispensaries that have tried to operate “legally”. To Davis, it’s better to tax everyone (Measure B) than to receive revenue from a source of which he disapproves – just ignore what the voters said when they overwhelmingly passed Measure C. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an ordinance to be on the council’s agenda. By closing all MMD’s, Davis has now gotten what he wanted from the beginning of this controversy and will bury any ordinance the same way he has done with everything with which he disagrees.


  5. February 21, 2015 @ 1:52 pm RS63AMG

    ANON. Oakland only has 6 licensed dispensaries. I do not know where you got 23?


    • February 25, 2015 @ 7:00 am Anon

      I got the number off some internet blog site. Not too much unlike this one. In any event, using your numbers, Vallejo could get by with one if Oakland has six


  6. February 21, 2015 @ 8:22 pm John_K

    The closure is temporary, and it is important to recognize that when Vallejo voters approved Measure C, they only approved taxation. These storefront pot clubs are still in violation of land use. They are still ILLEGAL and they are in violation of land use regulations.

    The City Council have already gone on record approving the existence of MMDs. What they are doing now is getting an ordinance worded in a fashion that most of us can live with, and that will make Vallejo a better place for business. There will be a temporary closure, and then I suspect there will be a RFQ, such that we can evaluate and choose which MMD operators will be best for our Fair City. Personally, I don’t think 11 is right. I’m hoping for no more than two, but it’s silly to assign numbers. What’s needed is a good ordinance that specifies regulations, which will help determine numbers.

    Perhaps some of the illegal MMDs will “go underground” during the closure, but I suspect they have a lot of underground experience from the days before Prop 215 came into play. The ones who are serious about being good neighbors and businesses will comply with instructions given by City Staff.

    I highly recommend that both patients and dispensaries comply with the will of our Vallejo City Council and their staff representatives. Give us time to make you legal. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you put all of your efforts into what Colorado has done, as well as Washington… why have MMDs? Just work real hard to make the herb perfectly legal. For all of us.


  7. February 28, 2015 @ 7:43 am Anne

    Vallejo has made so many missteps in handling medical marijuana, and their most recent decision is par for the course. How do they plan to outlaw all the dispensaries when they cannot even get rid of those not currently working with a tax certificate? Hope about if we crawl before we fly? Close the dispensaries that don’t have tax certificates, collect the taxes from those that do have certificates, and use the revenue so the effort is self-funding. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but to me, it makes no sense to issue tax certificates and then say that the dispensaries are not allowed via zoning. Huh? Maybe the City is also smoking wacky tobacky.

    Vallejo’s initial attempt to bust dispensaries put us in a worse position for regulating them. I suspect that the City’s decision to outlaw all of them will also slow us down. At minimum the City will continue to be paralyzed while the legal battles play out.

    I have to say, I got a chuckle from the MMD’s legal strategy to have a demonstration to try to pay taxes. Brilliant strategy — but then the “MC-11” turned out to be the “MC-4” when it came to actually trying to pay. Oopsie, cowboys — you lost your credibility!

    I think Vallejo should look at a strategy of a competition for dispensary licenses. Those dispensaries who are good neighbors get extra points, and the ones who are operating lawlessly don’t qualify. I also think 11 dispensaries are too many, but I’m not sure of the right number. Relative those who mouth political platitudes of making Vallejo “business-friendly,” it’s not fair for Vallejo to collect taxes from some of the dispensaries, and also let the untaxed clubs to operate unchecked. Those MMDs that are trying to observe Vallejo’s guidelines should be rewarded, and those who flout the law should have no place here.

    I think the dispensaries should have to mind regulations similar to those for alcohol retail, e.g., no more than one per 1000 feet, not near schools etc. I also think they should have pharmacists on staff, and post data on the active ingredients. If we accept the notion that MMDs are there for medical customers (clearly only part of the clientele), then there ought to be better information about the medical attributes of the product.

    Speaking of medical need, how many clients have true medical need? Surely not so many clients to support 20-30 dispensaries. If you check statewide data, it looks like for all of Solano County, there are only 162 Medical Marijuana ID cards issued. If that’s the case, where are all the clients coming from? Is Vallejo again the dumping ground for Bay Area problems? Are the local MMDs only serving locals (without ID cards), or are we a regional center for a business many of us don’t especially want?


    • Darrell Lahman

      March 3, 2015 @ 1:08 pm Darrell Lahman

      How many have a actual medical need? If you have $50, you can pretty much get a MM card. There are way too many shady doctors that will recommand you for a card for the money. Go to one of the many hemp shows they have around the state. For $25 you can get a card that allows you to toke up all you want on the venue property. I voted for the MM prop but I sure did not vote for any swinging d*** with an extra $50 to get a card with every fake medical problem known to man.


  8. February 28, 2015 @ 12:52 pm wongo bongo

    Retail MMJ outlets are currently and have always been temporary enterprises , this is dictated by a cloudy legal / regulatory climate [ as now exists in Vallejo ] even the most amateur business plan would red-flag the liabilities , so to dictate the potential of major loss of capitol investment and criminal law exposure .
    It is naive to even fantasize that a commodity with a retail potential such as MJ will ever remain in the store front ”pot shop” domain , rather the power/money
    brokers will take control when the liabilities are in check and legislated in their favor … Expect very high quality public relations campaigns and heavy lobbyist
    spending [ much of this is happening now ] , while local MMJ malcontents commit community relations / political hari-kuri , resembling a ”cannabis cartoon” they are in effect setting the groundwork for the ”corporate cannabis”
    takeover and gentrification , patented strains and GMO product will be available
    to the ”little people” while the HQ organic [the good shit] will be the plaything of the upper class …. All this must shake out with the blessing of ”big pharma” afterall this industry has is it’s own food chain .


  9. March 11, 2015 @ 9:16 am hippie

    Ten Cannabis Companies to Rule Them All?
    California’s marijuana industry must hang together and legalize pot in 2016, experts warn, or large corporations will cut them out. Just ask Ohio.
    By David Downs


    click to enlarge
    A group of ten businesses in Ohio is aiming to not only legalize marijuana, but also corner the market on wholesale distribution of it — a disturbing turn of events with lessons for California reformers.

    If California’s warring factions of growers, dispensaries, and activists can’t stop fighting over the best way to legalize pot in 2016, they could be steam-rolled by Big Business interests working hand-in-hand with government to create pot oligopolies like those that already exist in Northeastern medical cannabis states, and soon, potentially, in Ohio.

    Last week, a group called ResponsibleOhio said it had raised $36 million to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this November to end the war on weed in Ohio. The amendment would legalize pot for adults 21 and older, and would allow medical marijuana patients to buy weed at cost. Members of the group also want to amend the Ohio constitution so that only they could grow commercial medical cannabis.

    In an online video, Alan Mooney, a Columbus-area investor, recently pitched investors on the business opportunities that he said are “beyond your imagination. … Let’s hop on this tsunami of money and ride the top of that wave to some enrichment for us.”

    “Damn,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance in February in San Francisco during remarks on the topic. “This thing sticks in my craw. Ten business interests are going to dominate this thing?”

    Drug Policy Alliance hopes to raise $15 million to $20 million to help legalize cannabis in California in 2016. But Nadelmann wondered, “How much longer do we all as activists have a chance to actually influence the shape of this thing?

    “What we’ve unleashed now is for-profit interests, big business interests, with no connection to this movement that are lining up to see what they are going to do about [marijuana reform],” he continued.

    Nadelmann said that a group in Michigan is already looking to replicate the Ohio structure: oligopoly, or a state of limited competition in which a few entities control the entire market.

    While the idea of preventing pot oligopolies resonates with core activists and the existing medical weed industry in California, the issue generally doesn’t strike a chord with mainstream business or the government, said Troy Dayton, co-founder of The Arcview Group marijuana investor network in Oakland.

    “People in government? They’re going to want the oligopoly, too,” added Nadelmann. “From their perspective, the fewer number of providers, growers, and distributors, the more big, above-ground, legally regulated interests you have, the easier it is to regulate. It becomes a much easier regulatory challenge.”

    Experts also say the general public doesn’t care about protecting some hippie, backwoods grower’s job after legalization. “The swing voter in the middle, they don’t care about the interests of people who’ve been producing marijuana in the gray market,” said Nadelmann. “You know what swing voters care about — that Latino soccer mom in her forties? Social control. They define legalization as ‘control.’ They see prohibition as ‘out of control’ and sometimes they see medical marijuana as out of control.'”

    As for the patients, “When you’re choosing between jail and [heavy-handed] regulation, regulation looks great,” said Dayton. “And [many] advocates are fine with it too. They’re goal is to get people out of prisons, and to change the law and get something through.”

    “It poses a dilemma,” said Nadelmann. “We’re confronting issues that we did not anticipate when we first embarked on this journey two decades ago and before.”

    Nadelmann also issued a dire warning to activist-entrepreneurs in San Francisco gathered at the International Cannabis Business Conference last month. “The real money to win marijuana legalization is going to come from vested interests who want to monopolize the wholesale side of it,” he said.

    But so far this year, the legalization process has been chaotic: At least four pro-legalization groups have said they will file an initiative for 2016. “It’s better we lock in the best possible, most persuasive initiative right now,” he said. “If the initiative is not responsible, and not good, all of a sudden oligopoly interests come in. They can win. They can beat what we just won.”

    Nadelmann pointed to Oregon in 2014, describing how the legalization effort nearly failed because of behind-the-scenes conflicts within the local industry. “A lot of people in the [Oregon] industry did not put money up and were not putting in money because they wanted preferences, which I don’t think we should be doing as an organization that fights for human rights and good public policy.”

    “I share [Ethan’s] concern,” Dayton added. “If we can fire up the engines of capitalism, prohibition doesn’t stand a chance. The challenge is sometimes that can go too far and Ohio is a great example of that.”

    ResponsibleOhio has until July 1 to collect more than 305,591 valid signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.


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