Pubdate: Fri, 02 Sep 2011
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Paul Armentano
Author: Paul Armentano


It is time for Solano County's elected officials to stop kicking the 
can down the road when it comes to the issue of regulating medical 
marijuana dispensaries.

New flash: It's been almost 15 years now since California's voters 
enacted Proposition 215, allowing for the doctor-recommended use and 
cultivation of cannabis. So why do Solano County Supervisors require 
yet another 45 days to "research federal and state regulation on 
medical marijuana and the legalities of allowing dispensaries to open 
a business." ("Supes say medical marijuana dispensary on hold," Aug. 
24). Just what legal revelations do the supervisors expect to realize 
in the next 45 days that they haven't determined in the last 
5,350-plus days? What specific information do the supervisors require 
before making their decision that couldn't be provided by simply 
making phone calls to the city councils of Berkeley or Oakland, both 
of which have licensed and regulated dispensaries for well over a decade?

Of course, local Vallejo politicians are little better on this issue. 
According to the Times-Herald ("Voters weigh tax measures in Vallejo, 
Aug. 19), the council in November will ask voters to decide on 
Measure C -- which seeks to impose both business licensing fees and 
excise taxes on medical cannabis operations. Such a proposal is fine, 
in theory, but appears ridiculous in light of the fact that the 
Times-Herald also reports, "The new ordinance would not authorize 
illegal business operations, and thus far the city has taken the 
stance that existing zoning laws do not permit marijuana businesses 
within city limits."

So let me get this straight. The council wants voters to decide 
whether businesses in Vallejo that are presently operating without a 
permit should pay an annual fee to the city for a license that local 
regulators will, by their own admission, not issue them. And then on 
top of that, the city wishes to collect excise tax revenue on 
business transactions that the council acknowledges are, at this 
time, technically illegal.

Enough already! If Vallejo wants to reap the revenues from marijuana 
businesses then treat them like licensed businesses. Stop stalling 
and start making decisions.

Paul Armentano

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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom