A couple of months ago, there was an article in the Union-Tribune about the City of San Diego’s efforts to close down illegal pot dispensaries. Among other things, it explained how even after officials know about the pot dispensary, they then have to go through a lengthy process of determining who is running it, who owns the building, and if it is two different individuals, the process is even more difficult.
What does that mean? Taxpayer money and resources being spent on investigations and then seeking court orders. Almost none of that is recovered through fines as the people involved are not usually particularly responsible citizens.
Now, City Council Member Ed Harris, is pushing for faster closing of the illegal dispensaries. Authorities are periodically updating on where all the illegal pot dispensaries are located and how far through the process of trying to close them.
What does this mean? It means that even more taxpayer money and resources being spent to try and close these illegal pot dispensaries. And, frankly, most of it is a waste. As the article points out, the people working to close the dispensaries acknowledge that when a dispensary is closed, the person running it usually just quickly moves to another location and sets up shop there.
It would be nice to stop wasting time and money in a nearly fruitless endeavor that only makes the morality police happy.
Why not solve the problem? How? Look to history.
During Prohibition when alcohol was illegal, speak easies and other illegal drinking clubs flourished. Likewise, illegal smuggling boomed. Why? Because alcohol was illegal, the value of it went through the roof, so it was incredibly profitable and worth the risk to criminals.
When prohibition ended, the illegal production, smuggling and sales of alcohol shrank away to nearly nothing. Enforcement costs shrunk as well and money started flowing back into government coffers from the taxes paid on legal alcohol sales.
Would our local politicians please pull the heads from the proverbial orifices and use some common sense. The City is making it as hard as possible if not completely impossible for legal pot dispensaries to get permits and operate legally. Let them set up widely, and the illegal pot dispensaries will shrivel away because they will not have a monopoly on the business and won’t be as profitable. Legal pot dispensaries will be far less likely to sell to people who they shouldn’t, in particular minors, because they have to protect their permits. We can collect taxes on the sales and reverse the practice of wasting money trying to stop something we cannot stop and instead bring in revenue for the City. It won’t hurt to take away money from the Mexican Cartels either. Government estimates project that nearly half their profits are from smuggling marijuana into the United States.
For all the ‘community leaders” who keep saying they don’t want the dispensaries in their neighborhoods, you need to realize they already are there. You will be better off when they are legal ones and run above board rather than illegal pot dispensaries or the local dealer. If you think throwing up roadblocks to legal pot dispensaries will keep weed out of your neighborhood, you are simply ill-informed or stupid. It already is and it ain’t going.