OP-ED BLACK MARKET
Title: Black-market blues: The foreseeable problem of Proposition 64
Author: San Diego Union Tribune
Date: 14 May 2018
Before 8 million Californians voted in 2016 to pass Proposition 64 by a decisive margin and allow recreational use of marijuana by adults, supporters acknowledged that the approval would lead to a massive social experiment in the nation’s most populous state — with great potential for unintended consequences. So far, though, the consequences are almost entirely foreseeable — or should have been.
After California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996, an extremely profitable multibillion-dollar industry sprang up — one that often operated in gray areas or acted illegally to promote sales. When voters decided recreational marijuana sales would be legal starting in January, state officials apparently expected this industry to permit their shops en masse for legal cannabis sales. Instead, as the Bay Area News Group reported last week, marijuana industry officials say only a few hundred of the state’s estimated 12,500 retail cannabis shops now have permits for recreational sales.
That low percentage is not just because of the cost of a state permit (up to $73,000). It’s because compliance eliminates the enormous price advantage that illegal dispensaries have over legal ones, which must add the state’s 15 percent marijuana tax and the state’s regular base sales tax of 7.25 percent or more (in San Diego County, it’s typically 7.75 percent) to the cost of marijuana purchased. The city of San Diego also adds a 5 percent tax on top of that. No wonder unincorporated Spring Valley has at least 11 illegal dispensaries taking away millions of dollars in business from legal shops. They can charge so much less. And no wonder that in the first three months of this year, the state averaged only about $11 million a month in state sales taxes on pot — far below the $29 million a month it expected.
Title: Algorithm Will Help San Francisco DA Wipe out Cannabis Convictions
Date: 15 May 2018
The San Francisco district attorney’s office is partnering with the nonprofit Code for America to proactively wipe out thousands of marijuana convictions using a computer algorithm.
District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement Tuesday the partnership will help prosecutors identify those that are eligible under California’s revised marijuana laws.
Title: Solvang Council bans recreational marijuana; medicinal uses will get further consideration
Author: Santa Maria Times
Date: 15 May 2018
The Solvang City Council on Monday approved the first reading of a ban on recreational marijuana within the city.
The city currently has an urgency ordinance in place banning recreational marijuana that is set to expire in August.
Several council members were in favor of having further discussions about medical marijuana, but agreed to approve the ordinance on a recreational ban.
“My stance on this at this point is I don’t feel that we are ready to approve a permanent ordinance yet because I think that it warrants much more discussion, much more public input particularly in the area of medical marijuana use,” said Council member Karen Waite.
City Manager Brad Vidro suggested that councilors use the term “non medical” in the ordinance, so the issue of medical marijuana could be brought back up.
“Then you could deal with regular medical dispensary in our code,” Vidro said.
The city already has a ban on medical marijuana.
Councilor Ryan Toussaint said there are many citizens living with pain and arthritis that may benefit from medicinal marijuana.