Pubdate: Sat, 22 Jan 2011
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2011 The Times-Herald
Author: James D. Davis


The New York Times (Jan. 9) reports that marijuana dispensaries in 
our Bay Area are undergoing new scrutiny in the form of IRS 
investigations to uncover unreported profits. The IRS has raided 
several dispensaries to inspect their books, finding in some what it 
considers questionable bookkeeping practices.

There is no reason to suppose marijuana dispensaries are any less (or 
more) inclined toward tax fraud than pizza parlors; dispensaries 
should be inspected and regulated like any other business. But it 
hardly seems accurate to paint all dispensaries as law violators on 
the basis of a few bad apples.(San Jose has 98 dispensaries!)

Here's the most interesting statement in the Times story:

The medical marijuana industry has continued to flourish since a 
state proposition to legalize cannabis was defeated in November. 
Oakland finance officials estimate that the city's three dispensaries 
generated $35 million to $38 million in revenue last year, up from 
$28 million in 2009.

Can anyone say, "Ka-Ching!" Does anyone in city hall know how much 
our dispensaries generate in sales? Is anyone writing a regulation to 
ensure that these businesses are on the up-and-up, and paying taxes? 
How much do they pay in taxes? How many employees do they have? How 
many shoppers and diners do they bring downtown? Or is the assumption 
that marijuana patients are all low-lifes who contribute nothing to 
society? Is our city attorney preparing an ordinance to regulate our 
dispensaries (and tax them) or is he preparing another law suit to 
get an injunction against another dispensary, closing it down and 
creating another empty space?

Apart from the smoke and smell, is there a downside to dispensaries? 
re they better than empty stores? Do you walk around downtown? It is 
a ghost town. Then there is the morality issue. Are our children 
being led down the road to drug addiction? Are they sold marijuana in 
these dispensaries? If we accept dispensaries (like we have anything 
to say about it; they are clearly legal under state law), will it be 
strip clubs next or whore houses?

Why don't we take a rational approach this time? Dispensaries are so money.

James D. Davis

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