These are the people we elect who are supposed to be logical and run the city of Los Angeles so it works. I know it’s a really hard job, and I know they are doing they’re best. Seriously. I really am grateful that there are people who take these incredibly difficult, thankless jobs on. Most humans don’t want to deal. So I’m grateful that they are trying.
But, we’re in a major budget crisis. So much so, that the mayor proposed last month that we shut down city offices a couple of days a week. School budgets are being flattened, police forces minimized and at last count, the deficit was running at a mere 500 million a year. That’s over a million a day. The state deficit is around 24 billion. Not great prospects for a stable future in this city or state.
That’s a lot of money to be losing. So why are they approving laws, ordinances that will cost the city millions upon millions in lawsuits, enforcement and waste the time of everyone?
Now enter the potential cash cow. A big one. Approximately 590 Marijuana Medical Collectives that are operating smoothly in the city. That’s a lot of potential tax flow. Mayor Villaragosa and the City Council, instead of considering this new potential tax base to raise a LOT money for the city, have enacted a new ordinance that shuts these serviceable, successful collectives down. Collectives that the people of this city clearly want, support and have lobbied for. There is a need being filled, and the people are happy. Doesn’t what the people of this city vote for, and more importantly, what they want, matter?
Do the math: Hundreds of millions of dollars they could potentially raise, (say tax each medicine exchange at a dollar), thousands of jobs lost, hundreds of landlords losing tenants and hundreds of thousands of patients who can’t get their medicine easily. No one wins. What am I missing here? Yesterday, the city sent out 493 letters to collectives that were formed after 2007 and to their landlords, notifying them that as of June 7th, if they don’t shut down, they will be fined $1000 to $2500 per day and face criminal and civil charges. Where is the logic here? What does the city have to gain by shutting them all down?
There have been no increases in crime in areas where these collectives have opened, certainly no more than around convenience stores. By making access difficult for patients, it will drive getting medicine back underground, creating more street crime. It seems to me everyone loses. Most importantly, the patients who want or need their medicine won’t be able to get it. And when you are sick with cancer… or any other debilitating disease, you don’t want to be doing street deals to feel better.
I know lots of people will say, “Hey! Most of those patients aren’t really sick!” But we are not the ones to judge… and for whatever reason, if someone has pain eased by cannabis… mental, physical, emotional, whatever… they need it. And we made it legal for patients to have access. Study after study has proved that this common herb helps heal people.
So isn’t the city essentially creating a situation that makes access, which the people of the state of California approved, impossible? Aren’t they inviting lawsuit after lawsuit? Aren’t they essentially going around the law to serve some odd misguided notion that they are ‘protecting’ their constituents and gaining ‘control’ over dispensaries. Especially when time and again, the majority of people who vote on this issue say, “make medical marijuana accessible and not a crime”. Yet, they are treating these facilities and their patients like criminals.
But back to the cash cow. Or lack of one. Seems like a classic short-sighted, and very expensive endeavor to me.