|Coming soon to downtown Sierra Madre?|
There is a real world angle to this, however. Because of a new California state law that deals with medical marijuana, the matter has actually been put before the Planning Commission this evening (link). They have the interesting task of deciding whether or not to recommend that these shops be allowed to open in Sierra Madre.
Unlike with some state mandates, local government still has a say in this, and it is pretty much assured that the Planning Commission is going to decide that such shops are not a particularly good fit for this community. That is my guess. I doubt they are going to have a very long conversation about it either, though it will be interesting to see who shows up for public comment.
Here is how the situation was explained in a post called "Could Medical Marijuana Cultivation Save The Sierra Madre Police Department?" last Thursday on The Tattler:
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 here, 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.
Here is a list of available area pot purveyors servicing Sierra Madre (link):
So no matter what the Planning Commission decides tonight, you will still be able to have your medical marijuana sent right to your house in Sierra Madre. However, the origin of that delivery will not be local, and therefore the taxes will not be collected here.
Which, outside of location, is apparently just about the only real difference.