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Related Categories: San Francisco | Drug War
OCLA Backs Tax & Regulate in SF
by Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance
Monday Mar 28th, 2005 1:06 PM
Tax and Regulate Model for Marijuana would Replenish Local Budgets,
Control Problem Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Advocates say Oakland's Measure Z Presaged Issues Cities and Counties
are Belatedly Addressing


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2005
Contact: Susan Stephenson, (510) 484-7198
Richard Lee (510) 459-9346
Dale Gieringer, California NORML (415) 563-5858 / (510)540-1066

Tax and Regulate Model for Marijuana would Replenish Local Budgets,
Control Problem Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Advocates say Oakland's Measure Z Presaged Issues Cities and Counties
are Belatedly Addressing

OAKLAND - The proponents of the successful 2004 ballot measure that
made private adult cannabis offenses the lowest police priority and
instructed Oakland to move toward a tax and regulate system today
spoke out against the current backlash against medical marijuana
dispensaries in San Francisco and Alameda County. Proper regulation
of medical dispensaries coupled with taxation of associated sales and
non-medicinal marijuana would protect patients, address neighborhood
concerns, and bring in huge revenues to pay for vital city services.

"It's just common sense that medical marijuana dispensaries should be
regulated appropriately, like any business. The government's failure
to implement a legal distribution system, as called for in Prop. 215,
has allowed some bad actors in the door," said Dale Gieringer,
Executive Director of California NORML.

"By enacting sensible licensing and zoning regulations, localities
can deal with problem dispensaries without punishing patients who
need access to law-abiding dispensaries, which are the majority," he
continued.

Oakland voters in November went one step further, calling for the
adult use of marijuana to be taxed and regulated as well, to reduce
street crime and bring in new revenues for the city. The measure
passed with 65% of the vote. Mendocino County is currently looking at
raising $1.5 - $3 million per year by taxing marijuana. While medical
marijuana itself cannot be taxed, since it is treated like a
prescription drug, sales from associated businesses and attached
cafes can be.

"My business currently pays about $250,000 a year in taxes. By
shutting down the medical dispensaries, local governments are turning
their back on a new source of revenue. Given the current struggles
local governments are facing to fund basic services, I'd think they
would welcome that," said Richard Lee, owner of SR-71 a medical
cannabis dispensary in downtown Oakland.

Measure Z created the Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue
Ordinance, making private adult marijuana offenses, including sales
and cultivation, the lowest priority for Oakland police and endorsing
a tax and regulation system to keep dealing off the streets and
simultaneously raise needed funds for vital city services. It passed
with 65% of the vote.

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Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // canorml [at] igc.org
2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114