May 12, 2015
The city council made a few cosmetic changes to the city attorney’s Ordinance 2015-05-12. It was a bad ordinance to begin with, and it was a bad ordinance when they passed it. The ordinance will close all of the tax-paying collectives. And then supposedly hand out permits to hand-picked city favorites.
Even though the April 21st disqualification was removed from the ordinance, make no mistake: the chief of police and the city attorney will never give a permit to a dispensary that refused to close when ordered to do so. And the change does not affect the letters that the city sent out ordering every dispensary to close or face fines and other punishments, including court orders enforced by the Sheriff.
The other changes were equally meaningless. Reducing the proximity limits to 600 feet instead of 1000 feet isn’t going to keep any tax paying dispensaries open, dispensaries that have paid a 10% receipt gross tax for the last three years, amounting to millions of dollars to the City. Moving the merit based criteria out of the ordinance itself and into a future resolution will not keep any of the tax paying dispensaries open either.
This is a bad ordinance. It closes all of Vallejo’s tax paying dispensaries. Then, supposedly, it will grant some kind of permit to four chosen “good boys” who will be the captive cronies of the city.
The only option for the survival of the tax-paying dispensaries is to stop this bad law in its tracks. On May 26th the City Council will make the final formal vote. At that point, the tax-paying dispensaries have 30 days to get 9,000 signatures on a petition to stop this bad law through a process called Referendum whereby the voters will get to vote on the new ordinance. Until that election, the ordinance does not come into effect—assuming we raise the money and get the signatures. That means that 4 good boys won’t get their permits—and the City won’t be able to say: we have 45 with permits, close all the other illegal ones!
The Referendum signature process is going to cost $60,000. In addition, the tax-paying dispensaries should also write their own law and begin collecting signatures for it. That process will cost another $90,000.
There is no time to waste. Unless the collectives have at least that first $60k in the bank by next Tuesday May 19, they are unlikely to be able to take this political action for their survival. And therefore they will be shut down by the city one by one, especially after there are four “legal” dispensaries that the city will compare them to.
While this is expensive for the collectives—it’s also another huge waste of money by the City. A special election will cost Vallejo $800,000. That in addition to the hundreds of thousands that it will spend on lawsuits, and the hundreds of thousands in lost taxes. Instead of wasting millions of tax-payers’ dollars, the City should be talking the collectives and finding a workable regulatory system.
The only way the City Council can get back on track is to delay final passage, convene a task force of stakeholders, and remove the city attorney as lead policy-maker: she cannot be expected to both fight with the dispensaries in court and at the same time work with them to craft good policy. She must be replaced as policy-maker.
If the City proceeds to final formal passage on May 26, then that means Referendum. And Referendum is WAR. Which is supposedly what the council wanted to avoid. It’s not too late stop this war before it happens. But after May 26, it will be.
Oh, and yes, Angel Baby Madison and her dad Tad came and testified to the City Council that the special CBD Juice that she gets from their dispensary is the best medicine for treating her terrible epileptic seizures and other symptoms of Dravet Syndrome. But they Devils didn’t care: her medicine provider must close and is not eligible for a city permit. Nice work, Mr. Mayor, Mr. City Manager, Mdm. City Attorney. Sleep well.
If you want to email them and ask that they get back on track, delay final passage, convene a task force of stakeholders, and remove the city attorney as lead policy-maker, here they are.