At city council Monday night, the impression from the city was that having a medical cannabis dispensary in town (however humane) would be a low priority and a money loser. So, setting human compassion aside, why do some cities make a profit on medical cannabis dispensaries, or do they?
San Mateo County Times/Julia Scott, 9/14/11. "For 25 days in August, Pacifica had a medical marijuana dispensary. The city thought it was a flower shop. That not-too-subtle discrepancy cost owner Ruben Salvatierra his business license Tuesday night when the City Council voted to deny his appeal and close down the Wellness Solutions Group, the "flower shop" he opened August 1.
Salvatierra said he would have applied for a business license as a pot dispensary, but the city's tax code doesn't recognize that category. That means pot dispensaries are de facto outlawed, and Pacifica police shut down the dispensary Aug. 25. Salvatierra lost his appeal Tuesday night. "It's what I expected," he said after the meeting. "We'll discuss with our attorney about that to do next."
Locals lined up to profess their support for a carefully regulated, well-run medical cannabis shop in town. From high-heeled professionals to retirees in their 70s, they used the case to urge the city to craft a detailed legal strategy that would allow pot clubs to operate under certain restrictions. "This is not a fringe issue. This is a mainstream issue in the eyes of Pacifica voters," said Ian Butler, who uses medical marijuana to treat his joint pain and has been urging the City Council to take a stance on the issue long before the recent controversy.
Marijuana dispensaries are banned in many cities on the Peninsula, and there is only one currently operating in San Mateo County in East Palo Alto. There are also delivery services that provide medical marijuana. Some of the Pacifica audience members turned the hearing into a referendum on the merits of medical marijuana. They saw hypocrisy in the fact that the Pacifica has dozens of places to purchase alcohol. More...
Posted by Kathy Meeh