By Jim Gogek
Advocates for legal marijuana promise that we could tax the heck out of it to pay for any costs it might create, such as the costs of treating the increased number of people addicted to marijuana.
But something happened in San Diego that should make you wonder about such claims. The City of San Diego recently voted for minor regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries to limit them to commercial and industrial zones and keep them at least 600 feet from schools, playgrounds, libraries, child care facilities, parks and churches. Sounds reasonable, right?
Not to the pro-marijuana folks. They quickly got up 46,000 signatures to reverse the regulations and put them on the ballot instead. Citizens for Patient Rights, the Patient Care Association of California and the California Cannabis Coalition raised nearly $150,000 to hire a professional signature-gathering firm. But the City Council says it probably won’t spend the necessary $3 million for an election over these restrictions, not when the city is practically bankrupt. So instead, restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries will likely be rescinded.
Moneyed special interests always have their own way in California, and marijuana already is a moneyed special interest. It will become an extremely wealthy and powerful industry if marijuana is legalized. Marijuana taxes would be killed by the marijuana industry, just like alcohol and tobacco taxes have always been killed by the powerful alcohol and tobacco industries. Marijuana legalization advocates promise they will support high taxes on marijuana. But San Diego couldn’t even restrict pot dispensaries from opening up near schools without a deadly backlash from the marijuana lobby. What chance would marijuana taxes have?