NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 4, 2007

  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 4, 2007

Posted by CN Staff on January 04, 2007 at 22:15:40 PT
Weekly Press Release  
Source: NORML  

Consuming Billions of Dollars of Cannabis Annually, California Loses Out on Tax RevenueJanuary 4, 2007 - Oakland, CA, USAOakland, CA: A new report to the Measure Z policy oversight committee, entitled "Revenue & Taxes from Oakland's Cannabis Economy," has concluded that Californians consume between $870 million and $2 billion worth of medical marijuana each year, but because of federal law, loses most of the $70 million to $120 million in state sales taxes that would otherwise be collected.
According to the report, only a fraction of the current 200-plus medical cannabis dispensaries and collectives pay state sales taxes. A substantial portion of the medical cannabis sales remains off the books because of the fear of federal prosecution. Despite this, a growing number of communities, led by Oakland, have begun to legally regulate and license medical cannabis sales through the dispensaries. Although the federal authorities continue to consider the dispensaries as criminal enterprises, most have lawfully complied with local regulations like other legal businesses.According to the Oakland business tax office, the city’s medical cannabis dispensaries reported $26 million in revenues in fiscal year 2004. Revenues declined in 2005 when all but two of the dispensaries were forced to close, but revenue is expected to rebound again this year, as two new authorized clubs have opened.Oakland’s cannabis clubs pay the city an annual licensing fee of $20,000 as well as a business tax of .1% on revenues. Potential revenues for Oakland are estimated as high as $64 million annually.In addition, many dispensaries also pay substantial payroll taxes to the state. A Modesto dispensary, California Healthcare Collectives, Inc., before being raided and closed by the DEA, reported paying $93,000 per quarter in withheld federal payroll taxes; $25,000 per quarter in state withholding taxes; and $50,000 to $60,000 per month in state sales taxes. Closure of the dispensary has cost the public over $1 million per year in tax revenues.The report estimated that between 150,000 and 350,000 Californians have been certified to use medical marijuana, representing approximately 10% of all marijuana smokers in the state. According to California NORML, altogether Californians consume nearly $6 billion worth of marijuana per year, which could net the state between $1.5 to $2.5 billion per year if marijuana were taxed and regulated for adult use.For more information, or contact California NORML Director Dale Gieringer. Ph.D,: canorml igc.orgDL: Dutch City Seeks To Expand ‘Coffee Shop’ Model for Cannabis DistributionJanuary 4, 2007 - Terneuzen, HollandTerneuzen, Holland: Local municipal officials are reportedly considering a plan to auction off licenses for the so-called ‘coffee shops’, the small shops that are permitted to sell marijuana and hashish, in the border town of Terneuzen, across from Belgium on the southwestern tip of The Netherlands. According to the local paper, between 2,000 and 3,000 customers visit the local shops each day, and many of them are visitors from Belgium and France. The level of business has become an inconvenience for locals, who now have to pay for parking spaces. According to a local Labour Party city alderman, this would permit the town to create new jobs as well as raise millions of dollars for civic improvements to compensate local citizens for the inconvenience.The problems created by the so-called ‘drug tourists’ has been an issue in other border towns in Holland, where the coffee shops are licensed and tolerated by the Dutch government, although technically they are not legal.DL: Legal Medical Marijuana Users Decline by 22% in Hawaii January 4, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, USAHonolulu, HI: Following five years of rapid growth in the number of patients legally permitted to use marijuana as a medicine in the state of Hawaii since the law was adopted in 2000, enrollment in the program dropped sharply last year. According to Keith Kamita, administrator of the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety, the state agency that runs the medical use program, the number of certified patients has dropped nearly 22% over the last ten months.Pamela Lichty, head of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said the cause of the decline in patients is uncertain, but troubling, indicating she suspects there may be fewer physicians willing to certify patients. Lichty’s group has been lobbying the state legislature to move the program out of the Department of Public Safety, a law enforcement agency, to the Department of Health, a more appropriate agency for handling a program for seriously ill patients. Moving the program will encourage more patients to use the program, and will ease the anxiety of physicians who are asked to certify patients, Lichty said.More than 2,000 patients have been certified for medical use in Hawaii, with more than half of those living on the Big Island. Allegedly one single physician is responsible for 879 patients, more than half of those certified on the Big Island. Certification permits a patient to have up to three mature marijuana plants, four immature plants, and up to one ounce of usable plant material for each mature plant. A patient has to renew his certification each year.For more information on medical marijuana in Hawaii, contact the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: January 4, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 

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Comment #14 posted by FoM on January 06, 2007 at 19:50:25 PT

charmed quark 
I really need to have hope about this or I have no idea how we will get anything changed. Nancy Pelosi seems like a person who is well aware of the history of marijuana in San Francisco's culture. I can tell alot about people by the music they like. They say Nancy Pelosi is a DeadHead. I also read that Harry Reid is a DeadHead too. I believe San Francisco still has the Spirit of the 60s embedded into it's very existence. Now we have that mindset in DC! That makes me smile.
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Comment #13 posted by charmed quark on January 06, 2007 at 19:34:27 PT

Perhaps you're right, FOM
Maybe the 2008 election will bring in enough Dems to pass such laws.I'd also really like to see the elimination of the Federal Drug Loyality Oath, aka "the drug free workspace", a law that encourages the use of hard drugs over pot. Of course, without pot there would be no drug war.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 06, 2007 at 11:55:54 PT

charmed quark
When I look at this link it shows how Republicans and Democrats voted on the Hinchey Amendment. Maybe I'm wrong but I am really keeping my fingers crossed.
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Comment #11 posted by charmed quark on January 06, 2007 at 11:36:18 PT

Democrats, really?
Arnold's a Republican and he supports Medical Marijuana. I really don't see a difference between Rebubs and Dems on this issue. In fact, I think a lot of Dems are afraid to come out for this as they might get labeled "soft on drugs".
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 06, 2007 at 07:52:33 PT

 charmed quark 
What I hope will happen is because of the Democrats taking power that we might see MMJ laws pass. They are way more sympathetic and we know that Republicans all in all are not that way. That's the hope that keeps me going. 
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Comment #9 posted by charmed quark on January 06, 2007 at 06:27:23 PT

Fewer doctors willing to make recommendations
I'm afraid that is also going to be a problem in New Jersey if they pass a medical cannabis law. Do any of you know how to overcome this problem? I know of a number of doctors here he truely believe in medical cannabis but who won't even offer public support for the law because they don't want to be harassed. I doubt they will write recommendations for the same reason.How has this been solved in other states.
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Comment #8 posted by potpal on January 06, 2007 at 04:33:20 PT

ot parade
Mummers go!
Superstation WGN (Direct TV channel 307 and Dish Network channel 239)The strings bands are worth a peek and a poke...aloha.
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Comment #7 posted by museman on January 05, 2007 at 19:17:50 PT

Just doin' my dirty job. Progress is just alright with me. I do hear about it. When I actually see it spread in an even enough fashion to tell me if it's real or not, I'll like as not give it it's due. That's part of my 'job description.'From here, I am able to report that rumors abound with little evidence to support them. I live in a supposedly 'liberal' state. The "loser state" as mr monkey bush coined us, because in the greater metropolitian areas they oppose that (bush's) kind of mentality.However, the 'war' has escalated. More will be arrested this year for pot related crimes, and a lot of fines will be issued this year. People are under the illusion that some of our victories have assumed a stable place in the scheme of law enforcement and their inflicting injustice on the world. All those 'victories' are under attack, or very likely will be soon.I am glad that progress in awareness is the real stability, so that eventually that can be built upon. Until one has edured the constant and consistent harassment of the thugs and thieves known as 'law enforcement', had their hands tied behind them, heads bashed into walls floors, and vehicles, not to mention imprisonment, families seperated, and on and on it goes, one cannot appreciate the actual wall of resistance that we are up against.Sure, there is a larger percentage of aware people, compared to 25 years ago, but I remain unconvinced that any real lasting progress has occurred that isn't just as likely to disapear as not.Stop fighting? Never. Give up? Never. Celebrate before the final victim is realeased from their illegal clutches? Not me.
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Comment #6 posted by MikeEEEEE on January 05, 2007 at 15:59:40 PT

I was around 25 years ago. I remember feeling the same.With all due respect, I think now is different, however, progress is slow. It's very easy and tempting to get discouraged. Retreat and re-group, retreat and re-group. The Russians did it again and again against the nazi's, until they won.
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Comment #5 posted by museman on January 05, 2007 at 10:58:12 PT

I said that
"It's only a matter of time before the drug war is over."Only I said "It's only a matter of time before marijuana is legalized." in a sheriff ready room handcuffed to a chair.
That was 25 years ago. The cops laughed. They still laugh.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 05, 2007 at 07:04:59 PT

Feds Jail Elderly Medical Cannabis Caregiver
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on January 05, 2007 at 06:30:45 PT

Freak Weather
I hope our politicians in D.C. begin to take climate change seriously as they witness the cherry trees blossom in early January! It's supposed to be 72 degrees there tomorrow. El Niño, greenhouse gases predicted to make 2007 hottest ever: need industrial hemp and we need it now! The world can't wait!!!
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on January 05, 2007 at 06:20:05 PT

$mall mind$
"California Loses Out on Tax Revenue"It's only a matter of time before the drug war is over.When they can put the problem in terms (revenue) the mental midgets can understand, it won't take too long for new markets to develop.

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Comment #1 posted by mayan on January 05, 2007 at 05:37:40 PT

Medical pot shop debate still burning: are some unrelated reads...40% See 2007 War With Iran As Second Carrier Deployed: "Demonization" of Muslims and the Battle for Oil:

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