Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pot Profits, Persecution Split Down City Lines in CA

By David Downs
Thu, May 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Opening up a medicinal cannabis dispensary in California remains a chaotic local crapshoot, as several major municipalities simultaneously do the exact opposite of each other this week. No wonder the East Coast think's we're crazy.

After years of dithering while pot clubs blossomed, Los Angeles has made some rules and is ready to start suing its hundreds of pot clubs out of existence. Government inaction led to most of them to open up near schools and other locations retroactively deemed sensitive. L.A. has passed zoning laws that prohibit all but about 100 dispensaries, and begins shutting down the prohibited ones this week.

San Jose continues to dither on its way to regulating dozens of clubs that opened without permits in the wake of Obama's election. City officials have threatened a few clubs, and in response, one club has sued them. Expect to see more of that.

Oakland is about ready to go broke like the rest of California's cities but City Hall officials and industry say the city council is looking at raising millions more in tax dollars by increasing the number of permitted dispensaries from four to eight this summer. The council is also said to be reviewing the possibility of permitting and taxing large-scale commercial growing operations. Growers say some of Oakland's developers would love to get green tenants into Oakland's devastated commercial real estate sector. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Berkeley likes the taste of cannabis tax dollars and may come back for seconds this November at the ballot.


Meanwhile, the Alameda City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from opening on the island. Alamedans will have to keep giving their hard-earned dope money to Oakland.


And sources in Richmond say nine clubs are open there without city permits. Richmond is harassing them with threatening letters, as its leaders wait to see what happens with the November ballot initiative. Bold moves, folks.


Lastly, about 50 undercover police officers in San Luis Obispo put their lives on the line to protect and serve on about 2,500 attendees at a "420 Festival" a couple weeks back. The officers arrested eight people on suspicion of selling drugs after:

The San Luis Obispo Narcotics Task Force began assembling a group of law enforcement officers from the California Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, Paso Robles Police Department, San Luis Obispo Police Department, Atascadero Police Department, Pismo Beach Police Department and the Arroyo Grande Police Department to respond to information that there would be narcotic dealers at the 420 Festival held at the Pozo Saloon outside of Santa Margarita.

On Sunday, law enforcement officials set up a base at the forest station across the street from the Pozo Saloon. Along with approximately 50 undercover agents, the task force also brought two white prisoner transport vans and a mobile incident command center.

Way to bust those dangerous hopheads, boys.


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