Monday, April 20, 2009

Mirkarimi grandstands on the pot issue

Now that the city is more than $500 million in the red, progs on the Board of Supervisors have radically reduced opportunities to do anything substantive. Hence, it's all about symbolism, with resolutions and statements to keep their names in the news, which is apparently why Supervisor Mirkarimi grabbed some publicity with his proposal to get the city get into the marijuana business.

Mirkarimi called the legislation the "next step" toward codifying the state laws that legalized medical marijuana, adding that he wanted to introduce the legislation in 2005 when the city was passing the laws regulating the city's marijuana clubs. But he said he waited out of concern that federal law does not recognize California's legalization of medical marijuana..."We're spending much more money keeping marijuana underground, trying to hide a fact that is occurring all around us," Mirkarimi said. "Now is the time to take responsibility for something we've deflected to others and to test our ability to take responsibility."

There is no policy justification for the city to open its own pot club, since we already have 19 clubs in San Francisco, while poor Oakland somehow makes do with only four. Can anyone really think the city can do it better than existing clubs? What will surely happen if the Murk's proposal is adopted: another expensive program will be launched, with an undetermined number of pot club workers added to the city's payroll.

Mirkarimi seems to think that opening up a city pot club will somehow increase the legitimacy of pot clubs, thus leading to outright legalization. Since the city is now regulating the clubs---under legislation Mirkarimi himself belatedly introduced several years ago---it's hard to see how they can be any more legitimate, especially now that Obama's Attorney General has said that he's not particularly interested in shutting down pot clubs.

“I feel that the question of ‘legalization’ or legitimization is enhanced when government is also held responsible for liabilities that are unfairly deflected onto others, especially to the medical cannabis dispensary community,” Mirkarimi wrote.

Are the pot clubs---aka the "medical cannabis dispensary community"---which are now making pots of money, by the way---complaining about that onerous responsibility? The city is now exercising its primary responsibility, which is to regulate the pot clubs.

Nothing but grandstanding by our District 5 Supervisor.

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