Thursday Must-read: 1. Tonight, the Oakland City Council will discuss sending to voters a ballot Measure in November that would increase taxes on dispensaries — and the new large cannabis farms — from 1.8 percent to upwards of 12 percent. At least one dispensary is howling. Harborside Health Center said the tax increase would either be passed on to patients or be paid by eliminating jobs and services at the popular outlet. They also note taxes in nearby cities would be much lower, leading to price shopping across Oakland's borders. More news after the jump.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office has issued its official report on Proposition 19, finding it will reduce state and local correctional, court, and police costs. A RAND study has estimated that Prop. 19 will generate $300 million per year in direct savings. Although the LAO acknowledges the measure would boost taxes and create new state revenue, it concluded the "magnitude of additional revenues is difficult to estimate." The LAO ballparks it at hundreds of millions of dollars. The California Legislative Analyst's Office provides non-partisan fiscal and policy advice to lawmakers. Read the analysis here.
Oakland's historic pot farm regulations passed 5-2-1 at 11:27 p.m. Tuesday night after a heated three-hour hearing featuring over 100 requests from the public to make comment. The city wants to permit four large-scale medical cannabis farms of unlimited size which could grow up to 20 percent of the state's crop and net the broke city about $38 million in annual cultivation taxes. The second reading and vote on the ordinance occurs Tuesday, July 27.
Here are the ballot arguments filed by Proposition 19 supporters for the November voter guide:
Yes on Proposition 19 Rebuttal to Opponents' Ballot Statement
THE CHOICE IS CLEAR: REAL CONTROL OF MARIJUANA, OR MORE OF THE SAME
Let's be honest. Our marijuana laws have failed. Rather than
accepting things as they are, we can control marijuana.
Today's must-read: 1. Oaksterdam owner Rich Lee told the Chronicle that local growers "are more scared of legalization than they are of the cops," as the Oakland City Council is set to discuss the state's first large-scale pot farm regulations. Fully legal pot would cost roughly 85 percent less to produce, cut into grower and dealer profits, and save consumers billions of dollars, a RAND study found. "A lot of these growers want to keep things as they are now." Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that Oakland City Attorney John Russo has told the council that large-scale pot grows would be illegal under both federal and state law. The White House called Oakland's ordinance "the latest example of ongoing efforts to legitimize, through local ordinances, activities that remain illegal under federal law." More news after the jump:
Monday Must-reads: 1. The Wall Street Journal reports an attempt to allow the trademarking of cannabis names has sort of ended. "On Tuesday, after questions about the new pot-trademark category from a Wall Street Journal reporter, a patent-office spokesman said the office planned to remove the new pot classification by week's end, and the category is now off the website. ... The patent office received more than 250 pot-related trademark applications in the three months after it created the new trademark category (many, though, did not list the specific category; the patent office says about 57 applications did). There were applications for trademarks on 'Tartukan Death Weed,' 'Pot-N-Candy,' and numerous businesses incorporating 'Green' and '4:20'—a number that pot smokers often associate with weed, sometimes smoking it at 4:20 p.m. and celebrating April 20 as a pro-pot holiday. ... More headlines after the jump.
1. The NORML Stash Blog is "tracking stories of dispensary owners who are publicly opposing the legalization of the product they sell, even shelling out money they’ve made from selling marijuana to oppose its legalization!" 'I’ll give you two reasons,' said an anti-Prop 19 dispensary owners. 'One is big tobacco. Did you know that Phillip Morris just bought 400 acres of land up in Northern California? The minute marijuana becomes legal, they’ll mass produce and flood the market. And of course, they’ll add the same toxins they put in regular cigarettes to get you addicted, and very little THC, so you’ll have to buy more… In short, they’re going to ruin weed. ... I like the way things are now.' [via Huffington Post]. More headlines after the jump.
1. The 200,000 strong United Food and Commercial Workers, Western States Council (UFCW WSC) came out in support of Prop 19, further blurring party lines on the issue after U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein voiced her opposition. Feinstein suggests if Prop 19 passes employers will have to permit workers peddling pot candy bars at the office, and Prop 19 will prevent bus and trucking companies from requiring their drivers to be drug-free. Proponents say she's lying. Peter Hecht with the SacBee has Feinstein's full argument. ... 2. The tarnished, defunct Pontiac Silverdome (capacity 80,000) in Michigan has been rented out to Medical Marijuana Inc for "the largest cannabis/wellness event ever held in the Midwest." The Silverdome, built for $55.7 million in taxpayer money 35 years ago, sold for $583,000 last November. Go, Lions! More news after the jump.
Wednesday's must-reads: 1. The City of Oakland pot farm regulations inch forward after Public Safety Hearing, Tribune reports. ... 2. Prop 19 up 50 percent YES to 40 percent NO in latest Survey USA poll, after a recent Field Poll had it trailing by 4. The difference: Survey USA used automated calls. Pollsters suspect voters are lying to human callers. Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein joined the No on Prop 19 campaign this week, just as the loathed California Democratic party meets to discuss the Fall elections. Prop 19 advocates still want them on board.
California's balkanized approach to medical marijuana can mean profits or jail depending on where a patient lives. The most restrictive cities like Anaheim, Calif., have re-criminalized the drug, thereby setting up an appeals court showdown scheduled to end some time in the next seven days.
The California's 4th Appellate District Division Three will issue its opinion of 'Qualified Patients vs. Anaheim' by July 19th, capping a years-long appeal watched by thousands of patients, politicians, lawyers, and press. Qualified Patients' lawyer Anthony Curiale says cities cannot make growing and distributing medical marijuana illegal, because Prop 215 and SB420 took away the criminal penalties for doing so.