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Did Oakland Councilmembers Violate Council Procedu...

Did Oakland Councilmembers Violate Council Procedures to Pass Cannabis Proposal?

Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Abel Guillén may have violated City Council procedures last week when they tried to take a cannabis resolution that died in the Rules Committee, and then schedule the failed proposal for a vote at the full City Council. 

 

At issue is whether or not the City of Oakland can reap profits from the booming cannabis business. If passed, the item would require cannabis business owners and those who lease their property to hand over 25 percent of their profits to the city in exchange for permits, which would be restricted to people who have lived in Oakland for at least five years.

 

The 25 percent regulation would only apply to manufacturers or cultivators that had preexisting operations, which are illegal under the current law. Kalb and Guillén want to grandfather them in.

 

The money would go towards a Cannabis Equity Fund, which would support cannabis entrepreneurs through loans, job-training programs, and also fund community beautification and a council district activities fund.

 

Sources told the Post that Councilmember Kalb, who is running for re-election in District 1, has received several large campaign contributions from people in the cannabis industry, which is opposed to utilizing industry profits for community benefits.

 

“At Rules Committee, (Kalb) tried to take the item that died in committee and reschedule it to a full Council meeting, but the city’s procedures say you can’t bring the same item in that way,” said Councilmember Desley Brooks.

 

“We are trying to establish a fair process,” she said, but the two councilmembers tried to push their agenda without properly following council procedures.

 

According Brooks, the proposed 25 percent regulation – opposed by both Kalb and Guillén – would help offset the advantages that cannabis operators from outside of Oakland and outside of California currently have.

 

Of the 133 cannabis operators in the city, only 47 are Oakland based, Brooks said. The rest are not from Oakland. Of eight cannabis dispensaries in the city, only one is owned by an Oakland resident.

 

“This is an economic justice issue,” said Brooks. “Is the money generated in Oakland going to stay in Oakland?”


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