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San Rafael Out Of Joint

I feel so safe now.  I live in San Rafael, where a police undercover operation shut down the business office of Compassionate Caregivers, a nefarious medical marijuana dispensary’s business office.  You just have to bask in how protected we are here.

With San Rafael’s police department staff slashed 15% due to budget cuts, and only one public school resource officer remaining for all three of the city’s school districts, the police must be very judicious in targeting their investigative efforts.

It is reassuring that they knew it was a waste of time to focus on violent crime, or the 20 erotic massage parlors doing business in plain sight.  We need to dedicate our resources to eradicating marijuana in San Rafael’s private offices. 

We have been fighting marijuana since the 1960s, so surely we are on the verge of winning!

I know there are a lot of naysayers who will second guess the police decision to use scarce resources for this.  After all, the War On Drugs has also been around for a half century with only minimal impact.  And the continued prohibition on drugs has all but destabilized Mexico, leading to thousands of murders, and now spilling across the American border to spread terror and crime here at our home. 

And I hear those arguments that marijuana has medicinal powers that relieve those in horrible pain.  But the federal government has continually ruled that marijuana has no medicinal value.  We know our government would not lie to us.

All of the problems…the crime, the murders, the empowerment of underground economy and its attendant loss of tax revenue…is a small price to pay if it means that little Bobby and Susie will never ever smoke pot like we did.  Not that we ever did, of course.

Sure, San Rafael is the historic home of the national day of marijuana smoking (4/20).  And sure we were home to the Grateful Dead.  And surely sure marijuana will be legal in California within two years.  But there is no point in San Rafael doing strategic planning to reap the economic benefits  by getting ahead of the curve instead of following far behind.

When I ran for San Rafael City Council, I called for the city to support medical marijuana dispensaries in the North San Rafael Commercial Center where there are no schools or parks, and children are seldom seen.  The city has responded by launching a police raid on our last (known) dispensary.  I guess I was just being foolish or having one of those marijuana flashbacks.

I suppose the city council members, most or all of whom have probably smoked a spliff at some point in their life, could decide to make San Rafael the progressive city we are supposed to be.  They could support medical marijuana as our voters overwhelmingly approved it, and find appropriate locations for it.  They could start thinking about how to operate San Rafael in the coming world of legalization, and position us for a tax base.

They could lead instead of follow.

In San Rafael we pay a higher sales tax than any other community in Marin, Sonoma, or San Francisco.  We have a crushing debt of unfunded public pensions.  We cannot afford to maintain a full police force anymore. 

The city could gain revenues through sales tax and business licenses for dispensaries in industrial parks or medical centers, and help address the city’s truly desperate financial health.

Would this be a better plan than using our underfunded police department to instead run an undercover operation against the medical marijuana dispensary?  Do you think so?  You must be high.





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Jonathan Frieman January 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Randy, you should know that I am the very first person to ever publicly suggest to the SR City Council that they endorse the opening of a med marijuana dispensary downtown and tax it to, so to speak, high heaven. Such an establishment would be a very strong anchor store. Getting those funds into the city coffers would pay for more police and the new homeless shelter. So let's join hands across the cityverse and agitate for such. We'd solve all our problems.
Michael January 27, 2014 at 09:08 PM
Right on Randy. I am so sick of the few who continue to support keeping pot illegal. We simply must keep pushing until these people are silenced (just as they have worked to silence any rational, intelligent, factual discussion on pot for the last 40+ years. The future is already cast as we will soon be free from the rule of those compulsive control freaks who have worked to tell us how we will lead our lives. I watched in amazement as the people of SR actually voted to increase taxes on themselves (sales tax increase) when it was clear that the increase in the sales tax revenue could and would be spent any way our elected officials wanted to spend it. Amazing people would vote for. Continued out of control and unfunded government worker's retirement benefits and our elected officials waste money on raiding a LEGAL pot club. The city council could have told the police to stand down but they did nothing! A pitiful statement. We need new leaders.
Patti January 27, 2014 at 09:11 PM
I am so glad i voted for you! Keep up the good work, some of us out there know who you are and need people like you. thank you so much for posting this intelligent article.

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