Pubdate: Wed, 09 May 2012
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Times-Herald
Author: James D. Davis


The closing of the marijuana clinics will be another of those 
unbelievable Vallejo stories:

The town turned down a Walmart because it wasn't classy enough for the city.

It closed down the only grocery store downtown, with a condition that 
it never open again, resulting in no grocery store for the thousands 
of people downtown (the city planners turned the site into a church).

The school district was taken over by the state.

The city went bankrupt, and it has burglaries, rapes, shootings, 
murders, and robberies throughout neighborhoods lined with churches.

Now the Vallejo story will be this:

"Yeah, back around 2010, they had a chief who decided to bust all the 
clinics, close them all down. It was like a religious thing, backed 
up by the religious community and the religious mayor. Lives were 
destroyed. Taxes were lost. The chief and his movement created 20 new 
vacant spaces overnight. But, according to them, they ended the 
marijuana traffic in the city (smiles).

"The city council and city manager? They were complicit, while 
duplicitous, simultaneously taking action that seemed to favor 
regulating the clinics and taxing them, while also encouraging the 
chief to mount an offensive with guns and storm troopers."

There are reasons for the council members and city manager to be wary 
of regulating these clinics. Even the rational members of the group 
are reluctant to push regulation. The federal government (your 
president, through his U.S. attorneys) has actually threatened city 
officials, like ours, with ruination if they pass any laws to 
regulate marijuana. The act of regulating will be considered aiding 
and abetting a criminal enterprise in violation of federal law, 
resulting in prison and forfeiture of all assets and a felony record. 
Five years ago I viewed such threats as vacuous and I was sure an 
intelligent president would not go down that road. I was wrong. U.S. 
attorneys, looking to make names for themselves as crime fighters, 
are taking action against marijuana clinics, their owners and 
operators, and city officials who try to regulate them. Enacting a 
rule like "only 1-pound of dried buds per patient," could amount to a 
violation of federal law, in the warped minds of these federal 
crime-fighters, even though it is clearly legal under California law 
(except in the mind of our chief). All counties in California are 
operating clinics under guidelines put out by the California Attorney 
General. Will the U.S. attorney prosecute Kamala Harris? Who are 
these people meddling in our affairs?

We had a good clinic (Greenwell) with a responsible owner (Matt 
Shotwell). We could have limited the number of clinics with zoning 
rules and used Matt's operation as a model for how to structure 
clinics and make sure they are honest operations contributing to our 
economy. No one even mentions the legitimate patients; everyone is 
focused on the smokers taking advantage. Suppose it is 20 percent 
legitimate patients and 80 percent illegitimate; that means thousands 
of bona fide patients are getting left out. Matt is disgusted. He 
tried to run a good business. He will never work with the city again. 
I remember a developer with a contract for developing downtown, 
saying a few years ago, as he left in disgust, "I will NEVER come 
back to Vallejo."

Something is wrong here.

James D. Davis

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