Thursday, November 26, 2015

Could Medical Marijuana Cultivation Save The Sierra Madre Police Department?

Sierra Madre's sales tax take is already buzz based.
It has become the opinion of many that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department will be setting up shop in Sierra Madre in the not too distant future. It is nothing personal against the boys in blue in the SMPD. Quite the contrary, they do continue to have strong support in this community. It is just that the PD has become far too expensive for a community of 11,000 or so people to financially maintain in the style to which it has long grown accustomed.

So here's the deal. Rather than jettisoning everything from Senior Services to the Library just to keep the SMPD gravy train rolling, City Hall has apparently decided that the considerable savings it would realize from bringing in the Sheriff's Department is really the only way for them to go. It is the least onerous option available. All that remains for the city to do is roll out all of the necessary public relations marketing.

A process that, in my opinion, has already begun. Just ask yourself this question. What would you want to keep? That is the what City Hall will be asking the residents over the next few months. Do you want the SMPD, or the Library?

However, there is now an opportunity to avoid having to make such controversial choices, and it is being placed before the Planning Commission (of all places) next week. Here is how this one rolls out (link).


We live in interesting times. Not that long ago the Sacramento Bee ran the following article about the city sales tax and other revenue enhancing possibilities of marijuana production in California (link).

California Measures Taxing Medical Marijuana Win Big At Ballot Box – Californians are eager to tax medical marijuana, but they want limits on who can grow it and sell it. That was the message from Tuesday’s voting, as backers of nearly two dozen local medical marijuana-related ballot questions tallied the votes.

Measures to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Encinitas and La Mesa, both in San Diego County, failed. Voters also rejected bids in four rural counties – Butte, Lake, Nevada and Shasta – to loosen cultivation rules for medical marijuana and favored more restrictive, city-backed regulations on marijuana dispensaries in Orange County’s Santa Ana.

At the same time, however, voters overwhelmingly approved local measures to tax the drug.

In Riverside County, Cathedral City voted to enact a 15 percent sales tax on medical marijuana while voters in the resort town of Desert Hot Springs approved a 10 percent tax on sales, plus a tax on medical marijuana cultivation of $25 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet, and $10 per square foot thereafter.

Santa Cruz city and county also approved a retail tax, and a 6 percent added sales tax will take effect in Shasta Lake City.

The results painted the picture of a state that is still evolving in how it thinks about marijuana even as supporters – emboldened by successes Tuesday in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. – prepared to place a measure to legalize recreational marijuana on California’s 2016 ballot.

An exit poll for The Associated Press and television networks showed 54 percent of California voters in Tuesday’s election think marijuana use should be legal.

As anyone familiar with Sierra Madre's colorful counterculture past will tell you, this is a community that has long tolerated the use of marijuana within its borders. The question now being will the city monetize this longstanding tradition and in the process finance the preservation of its current status as a full service city. While at the same time maintaining the UUT at that 6% level the residents voted for in both 2012 and 2014.

This is the math. The UUT here is around $265,000 a percentage point. In order make up for the amounts of dough being lost through the sunsetting of utility taxes to 6%, you would need to sell $1.8 million dollars of weed and tax it at 15% (1,800,000 times 15% = $270,000). This for each point the UUT is reduced.

I figure Sierra Madre can reduce its UUT by one full percentage point for every 1,000 hard core potheads from the San Gabriel Valley purchasing their 420 in town. Not to mention the already robust native demand from domestic markets like The Canyon.

This is something that would not only keep the city's local money in town, but could also help solve the store vacancy problem downtown. Sierra Madre would finally have a business model that will give shoppers a reason to come here and spend.

That plus also enhance the prospects of certain already existing businesses. Eateries would boom. Happy's would now become Happier, and The Bottle Shop could open up a whole new kind of tasting facility. Call it Billy's Bud Room. And after all, both already stock rolling papers.

Of course, what the State of California is mostly concerned about is medical marijuana. Which would also work for Sierra Madre. This is a town that has long enjoyed a reputation as a place where the sick and infirm could go to revitalize their sagging metabolisms and triumphantly return to the paths of health. Sierra Madre could corner the San Gabriel Valley weed market for the "I need my medicine!" crowd, and in the process collect a bumper crop of sales taxes.

One local medical emporium in town already has a suggestive green cross perched atop its tower of health and hope. Can this be just a coincidence?


As of this typing City Staff is recommending that the Planning Commission nix Sacramento's ganja dreams. Local governments such as ours have the right to do so under this law, and staff is urging the PC to do just that. All of which is clearly pointed out in the Staff Report we linked you to above.

However, there is no discussion in that report about any of the financial advantages I have pointed out here. Which is puzzling. Since when has City Hall ever passed up on an opportunity to get its hands on more tax revenue? Especially at a time when department outsourcing and potential wholesale staff layoffs have become such hot topics in town?

The Planning Commission meets on December 3rd at 7 PM.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. I'm thankful for the Tattler, the voice of Truth.
    Wishing the Mod, Mrs. Mod, and the Modetts a Happy Thanksgiving

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  2. That would be an interesting change for downtown.

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  3. Will the Commissioners be given samples? So they can make a more informed decision?

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  4. Looks like Pasadena said no.
    Prohibition in Pasadena: City Will Halt Medical Marijuana Industry
    http://www.pasadenaindependent.com/news/prohibition-in-pasadena-city-will-halt-medical-marijuana-industry/

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    Replies
    1. OK. That means less competition for Sierra Madre.

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    2. Piece of writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with afterward you can write or else it is complex to write.

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    3. I've been told that you can get weed anywhere, easily.

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    4. I think 8:42 knows how to find some.

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    5. hallel-u-jah!

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    6. finally, an ALF for us all to use!

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    7. dude. did you hear that? it was my turkey! It's so baked!

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    8. Is it smoking??

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  5. If you are thinking of growing medicinal marijuana in your backyard as a source of income, you might get dinged on water usage.
    Water-Guzzling Pot Plants Draining Drought-Wracked California
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/water-guzzling-pot-plants-draining-drought-wracked-california-n149861

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  6. Noah green could lead the licensing commission he's a lawyer you know. .

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    Replies
    1. How much would the city charge for a marijuana business license? I'll bet it would be a lot.

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    2. Why do people think licensing medical marijuana shops in Sierra Madre is inferior to raising utility tax rates to the highest rates in California? What makes that morally superior? Just curious.

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    3. Pot is just pot. Taxes are crack.

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    4. sierra madre's amsterdam coffee shop futureNovember 26, 2015 at 5:12 PM

      medical marijuana is consistent with the history of this former hippie history. tax increases came later with the yuppies, lawyers, politicians, coffee shops, and city attorneys

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  7. I hear the Chamber of Commerce is thinking of changing the name of Sierra Madre Blvd downtown to "The Green Way."

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    Replies
    1. Was that Nancy Walsh's idea?

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    2. How about Happy Trails? We could put a stable of unicorns in Kersting Court.

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    3. Does Sierra Madre have a credentialed Director of Unicorn Affairs?

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    4. I think it is Carol Canterbury.

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    5. Rename Sierra Madre Blvd. "The HIGH Way"

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  8. Looking back at wild numbers generated by the current and former city council's along with City Mangers office of reporting history should make one ask for real numbers associated with each of there business listed in 'Sierra Madre's sales tax take is already buzz based.' For to long the sky is falling and here is our ONLY WAY OUT methodology.

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  9. Nancy Walsh wanted to spend tens of thousands on new city signage but we never saw the drafts:

    WEED like to Welcome You to SIerra Madre where Healthcare can't be spelled without THC

    Sierra Madre - We're Little but We're High

    Also the Monastery could re-brand as a hospice with weed....or like as a place people who like weed could smoke it without being hassled by fat cops or meddling priests.

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    Replies
    1. We could switch the City Council from what it is now to something more communal.

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    2. Will the Kensignton be on board with this?

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    3. All that acreage in pot .......no more money worries. Just think of the spiritual retreats they could have. More local employment. Yipee

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    4. Part time pickers needed. And you get to keep some for your personal aches and pains.

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  10. yeah elections would be held in the newly created Monastery growing fields and you vote by snapping your fingers

    makes it easy to silence suppressive people

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  11. Our city council is on drugs. Those dispensaries will only bring more drugs problems and crime to our city. We will need a gun shop to let the cowboys in town solve there own problems

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    Replies
    1. That would make Sierra Madre kind of a wild west town. Booze, pot and guns. Might as well be in Nevada.

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    2. Bars, cars and guitars.

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    3. 10:51. Don't forget no water.

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    4. Crime? What are you thinking?
      Making the drugs available in controlled circumstances will eliminate the kinds of crimes dopers do to get their drugs.

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    5. Pot heads don't move much. They're like teenagers.

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    6. Potheads like to drive under the influence though. Google up Colorado to get in on the action.

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  12. Our nation has lost the war on drugs, for years. Billions of dollars, incalculable institutional transformations, and for what. It ain't working.
    I don't take drugs, don't drink, & hope nobody else does either - but it is clearly an individual choice and we are POWERLESS to stop people from using drugs and alcohol if that's what they decide to do.
    Forbidding it has not produced a good result.

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  13. What is with that green cross? Is that a symbol for a medically certified pot dispensary?

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    Replies
    1. http://flavortism-rx.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/photo.jpg

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  14. Now I know what is in the Cool-Aid at City Hall, their drinking if, a good smoke screen would be to not allow Medical Marijuana in our town. No consumption of mind altering drugs in our town, and no more special water at City Hall.

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  15. Legalizing pot has been working out great in the states that allow it.
    Arrests are down for minor marijuana violations that waste millions of dollars, allowing the state to focus their police and resources on preventing serious, violent crimes.
    State regulated, secure dispensaries are putting drug dealers out of business. This has led to a drop in teen use and access, and adult use has not increased.
    Traffic fatalities are down in both states; a regulated, legal system of marijuana has not caused more traffic deaths in either state.
    By taxing a product people were already using, much like beer and wine, programs like schools, drug prevention and more are receiving much-needed additional funding.

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  16. Smoking Ganja makes you stupid. I should know I smoke pot every day.

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    Replies
    1. Herbal lobotomy.

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    2. The only thing stupider than doing drugs or numbing yourself with alcohol is trying to prohibit either of them.

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  17. There are over 15 Medical MJ delivery companies that serve SM already and any 18 year old can buy a script. We may as well regulate it and reap the profits in lieu of UUT

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    Replies
    1. Damn. You're right.
      http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=marijuana+dispensaries&find_loc=Sierra+Madre%2C+CA

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    2. Yes, but do they have a city business license? Ka-ching

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  18. Medical Weed Tax revenues may help. Too bad Arcadia can't tax the non-Rx hallucinogens consumed by it's city council.

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