City, Too, Could Legalize it, Regulate It, Tax the shit out of it
(it being the reefer)
Most California voters will have to wait until November to voice their pleasure or displeasure on legalizing and taxing marijuana for adult use.
But not San Francisco — we’re the city that knows how to use the June election. While it’s neither binding nor does it actually, uh, DO anything, city voters could have the opportunity to say yea or nay this summer on a policy statement that would make it official city policy “to license, regulate and tax the cultivation and sale of cannabis” and to make adult-use OK for adult smokers 21 and over, whether or not they have an ailment for which marijuana can be recommended.
Keep in mind marijuana cultivation is already perfectly legal for some people; under Proposition 215 an approved medical marijuana patient can grow pot. But there’s no rules or regulations controlling grow operations big or small, and the result is sometimes messy: growhouses can catch fire and burn down, pointed out Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the measure on Tuesday.
Any local push to legalize will of course have to wait until legalization doesn’t violate state law. But taxation can happen now — last year, Oakland passed a law allowing taxation on medical marijuana proceeds.
Mirkarimi said he’s not yet sure how big an operation will have to be to be taxed, but that “We don’t need the state to regulate (medical grows)…. and regulation needs to happen. And then once we do that, we should capitalize on the obvious through taxation.”
A likely scenario would be as follows, surmises Dale Gieringer, director of California’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (CALNORML): a cannabis collective would apply for a permit and pay a fee, city officials would investigate to make sure all is proper, and then grow operations could enjoy protection from both drug enforcement busts AND thievery.
Imagine: being able to call the cops to report a break-in at your marijuana farm?
Not all medical patients will enjoy being taxed, of course. “The devil’s in the details,” Gieringer said. “Medical patients don’t take kindly to paying tax on their medicine.”
However, for larger, collective or cooperative-style grows, city regulation could mean saving money. “City approval means grows could no longer be burdened” with secrecy and operating under the radar, “and costs of pot could go down.”