Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jun 2011
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Paul Armentano
Author: Paul Armentano


According to the Times-Herald, "there are between nine and more than 
a dozen" medical marijuana dispensary outlets presently operating in 
Vallejo ("Pot shops, sales tax occupy City Council", May 22). Why the 
uncertainty regarding the total number of facilities? Simple. Because 
unlike other licensed business establishments, these facilities 
operate outside the purview of local regulations.

On this matter the City Council only has itself to blame. Members 
have had years to authorize regulations governing the practices of 
these operations, including where and how many can operate in 
Vallejo. Other area cities, such as Oakland, Sebastopol, Berkeley, 
and San Jose, have enacted local zoning and business guidelines 
overseeing the establishment of cannabis dispensaries. These cities 
require dispensaries to pay local licensing fees and that mandate 
that providers adhere to state and local sales tax laws. Why have 
members of the Vallejo City Council not done the same?

The proliferation of such facilities in Vallejo is illustrative of 
local market demand. Proposed attempts by the council to ban these 
establishments will not mitigate this demand and will only drive 
customers and consumers underground. A better alternative is to 
recognize that these facilities are a part of Vallejo's economy and 
to require them to engage in "best practices" and to adhere to local 
zoning and community standards. It's time for the council to stop 
kicking the can further down the road and to treat these facilities 
like any other commercial enterprise.

Paul Armentano

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