Alameda County Supervisors Join Early Push For Legalizing Pot

ALAMEDA COUNTY//BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | It was no surprise last week the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the federal government to refrain from raids on local medical cannabis dispensaries and respect states like California, Washington and Colorado, which have passed regulatory cannabis laws.

Remember, this is the county board of supervisors where one member had no compunction about wearing a t-shirt during a meeting this year supporting a well-known Oakland dispensary and its den of pot scholarship.

The resolution, offered by Supervisor Keith Carson also asks President Obama to begin a national dialogue over the issue of legalization. “This board respectfully requests that President Obama begin the discussion about the potential benefits of reforming federal laws on marijuana use in all forms, including medicinal and recreational uses,” said the resolution. A state proposition asking California voters to legalize recreational use of cannabis will likely be on next year’s ballot.

In addition, to respecting states’ law concerning cannabis, the resolution also references rising public opinion in support of legalizing marijuana for all uses, the disproportionate number of minorities incarcerated for pot-related offenses and the strain enforcement places on the local authorities.

Tax considerations are also seen as a benefit of legalization, says the resolution. “Different levels of government, local, state and federal budgets face fiscal uncertainty for the future, and there are potential tax revenues from the subsequent taxation of cannabis.” Just last week, the San Leandro City Council approved its first medical cannabis dispensary amidst a strong desire to eventually enact a citywide sales tax.

Nevertheless, a few of Oakland’s eight dispensaries have been targeted by federal authorities, including one of its most successful. Despite an early campaign pledge by Obama to pull back from federal raids on dispensaries, some proponents of pot believe he has administration has, by far, been the more ruthless in cracking down on marijuana than its predecessors.

The seeds of last week’s resolution may have been sown last February. During a supervisors’ meeting featuring the county commendation of Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee for his efforts, Supervisor Nate Miley, who was wearing an Oaksterdam t-shirt, said the feds should relent from raiding the county’s lawful dispensaries. “My feeling is the Obama administration needs to lay off,” said Miley, “particularly in the states that passed laws that allow for medical marijuana and stop wasting their time with individuals like Rich and others.”

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