Contrary to what some of the dispensary owners say in the article below, Prop 19 does not touch the current CA medical marijuana model. Period. And, it’s not confusing. What I don’t get about these people is that they could be so short-sighted as to their own economic interests.
Legalization of recreational use of weed will knock the bottom out of the inflated price that the dispensaries are currently getting, but it will also mean that the people in the best position to massively profit off of recreational use are those very same dispensaries, since they already have operating storefronts. Now the entire state is their customer base.
That’s why the Oakland dispensary owners are behind 19. All I can say about the anti-Prop 19 dispensaries is that they must be terrible, short-sighted business people.
Contrary to what the detractors say, legalization of recreational weed will dramatically benefit patients since they can get pot more easily and cheaply than at the dispensaries and will no longer have to go through the formality of a doctor’s recommendation—further saving them money.
Among other reasons, this is why I chose this year to make this documentary. The story just keeps getting more and more interesting by the day.
From the Sacramento Bee
PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / email@example.com
Lanette Davies, owner of the Canna Care medical pot dispensary in Sacramento, seen with employee Joe Hough, has dispatched a truck to drive around the city with a sign urging a “no” vote on Proposition 19. Davies says the initiative threatens the freedom of medical pot patients.
The Canna Care medical marijuana dispensary has a truck driving around Sacramento with a sign telling people to vote “no” on the state ballot initiative that would legalize pot for recreational use.
George Mull, a lawyer for several Northern California pot shops, is fighting Proposition 19 on claims it threatens protections put in place for medical pot users with the 1996 passage of California’s medical marijuana law.
And a Humboldt County dispensary operator complains that the new pot measure simply isn’t needed. “They say they’re legalizing marijuana,” said Stephen Gasparas, who runs the iCenter pot dispensary in Arcata. “It’s already legal. All they’re doing is taxing it.”
California’s landmark initiative to legalize marijuana use for adults over 21 and permit local governments to tax retail pot sales is backed – and bankrolled – by leaders in California’s medical cannabis movement.
And yet some of its more stubborn opposition comes from a vocal segment of the same community who worry their dispensary operations may be negatively affected.
“I’m against this because I feel patients have been sold a bill of goods that is going to take their freedom away,” said Lanette Davies, who runs Canna Care.
Another opponent, Don Johnson, who operates the Unity Non-Profit Collective in Sacramento, said he worries about contradictions between California’s medical marijuana law and Proposition 19.
For example, Johnson’s marijuana store can legally serve an 18-year-old who has a physician’s recommendation. He wonders how that squares with Proposition 19, which restricts recreational pot use to people over 21.
“It seems to me there will be a double rule on the books,” Johnson said. “It’s mass confusion.”
Proposition 19 supporters say they are puzzled over the opposition and argue the initiative will protect tens of thousands of Californians from arrest and generate a windfall in taxes.
In Sacramento, for example, voters will consider a companion measure to Proposition 19 that would levy a 2 to 4 percent gross receipts tax on existing medical pot dispensaries and a 5 to 10 percent tax on new retail pot outlets.
“Proposition 19 will have zero, zilch, nada impact on the current legal rights granted to patients, caregivers, doctors, collectives and cooperatives under California’s existing medical cannabis laws,” said Dan Newman, a spokesman for the Yes on 19 campaign.
But Mull, a Sacramento attorney, said he believes the initiative will undercut ongoing legal fights in numerous cities on behalf of pot shops.
Some 140 California cities ban marijuana dispensaries. Pot shops argue they have a right to operate under the state’s 1996 medical marijuana law and follow-up legislation from the state. Mull says Proposition 19 provisions that authorize cities to tax, regulate – and also ban – retail pot shops could empower cities to target medical pot outlets.
“They (cities) basically are expressly given a right they are claiming – that local governments can control things within their borders, notwithstanding Proposition 215,” Mull claimed. “All of the things that I have been arguing for in court, I lose.”
The nation’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, is taking no position on Proposition 19. But Don Duncan, the organization’s California director, said the group does not think the initiative would undercut the rights of medical users.
Proposition 19 has been funded largely by Oakland marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, operator of the city’s Coffee Shop Blue Sky dispensary and a marijuana trade school, Oaksterdam University.
It also has gotten financial support from a major Bay Area dispensary, Berkeley Patient’s Group Inc., and political backing from Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Center, an Oakland outlet billed as the largest dispensary in the world. DeAngelo, who initially thought this was the wrong year to put the measure on the ballot, now strongly advocates its passage.
“If it wins, you’re going to see a major shift in the political dynamic for cannabis,” DeAngelo said. “And I think politicians who thought there was a downside to supporting cannabis will receive a wake-up call.”
Harborside, a nonprofit network that handles $26 million in marijuana transactions annually, may be well-equipped to convert into a retail operation that serves both medical and recreational users.
“I don’t think there is any reason we wouldn’t be able to serve any qualified person who wants to purchase cannabis providing the city of Oakland licenses us to do so,” DeAngelo said.
Still, Yamileth Bolanos, a cancer survivor who runs the Purelife Alternative Wellness Center in Los Angeles, has mixed feelings.
Bolanos plans to vote “yes” on 19. But she worries legalizing recreational pot could create shortages of high quality marijuana for medical needs and stir a frenzy in cities trying to figure out the new law.
“They can’t even get medical marijuana right,” Bolanos said. “How are they going to open up these places for recreational use? Is it just going to be bedlam?”