Oakland Councilmember Kaplan, who has been a leader in regulating and legalizing medical cannabis, is calling for the City of Oakland to move with urgency in issuing Adult Use Permits.
Oakland City Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan authored the nation’s first cannabis tax in 2009. The proposal, to create a special (higher) tax rate for cannabis in the City of Oakland, through the creation of a dedicated business license tax, was then placed on the ballot and passed overwhelmingly by Oakland voters.
Now, as the State of California is about to have cannabis sales legal for adults coming January 2018, and as the City of Oakland struggles to pay for vitally needed services including for the homeless, and to remedy illegal dumping and other threats to the community, Kaplan is calling for action to tax, and permit, cannabis sales for adults age 21+ through Oakland-permitted dispensaries.
The voters of California passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, legalizing cannabis for adult use. It passed by 57% of the vote statewide, and received a 77% yes vote in Oakland! Under Proposition 64, state officials will begin issuing permits on Jan. 1, allowing businesses to sell pot to Californians age 21 and over. But as press has reported, unlike in Colorado and Washington, where the first days of legalization were met with fanfare and created long lines at pot dispensaries, that date won’t mean much in California unless cities act quickly. This is because, under Prop 64, stores can’t actually sell recreational marijuana unless they get permits from both the state and their local city.
“Oakland needs to fund expansion of vital public services, including homeless solutions and to remedy illegal dumping which threatens public health. We should not miss an opportunity to bring in vitally needed tax dollars, by harnessing California’s coming legalization of cannabis for adult use. The people of Oakland voted overwhelmingly to support the legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis, and our city has successfully provided permitted medical cannabis dispensaries for over a decade — leading the nation in this effort,” said Kaplan.
Kaplan’s ideas for adult use permitting include:
- Allowing permitted cannabis dispensaries in good standing licensed by the city of Oakland to conduct sales for Adult Use, commencing January 1, 2018.
- Requiring the dispensaries to track, collect, and remit the relevant taxes and check for proper ID, for each category of Medical and Adult Use sales.
- Affirming and implementing the City Council’s prior vote for a Resolution authored by Kaplan, last year, which devotes a portion of new cannabis tax revenues to vital public needs, including homeless services, illegal dumping remediation, job training, and more.
- Allowing cannabis producers (e.g. growers, edibles manufacturers, etc.) to produce for both Medical and Adult Use sales to permitted dispensaries.
” Now, as Adult Use cannabis sales are about to become legal in California, Oakland can, and should, build on this work by providing for adult use sales, including by permitting existing cannabis dispensaries to conduct adult use sales in compliance with state and local laws. I am calling for us to take action soon, to enable already-existing cannabis dispensaries in Oakland to conduct adult use sales January 1, 2018,” added Kaplan
As many other cities throughout our region do not expect to be ready by January 1, 2018, Oakland has the opportunity both to show moral leadership in ending the racist and wasteful “war on marijuana” and to harness revenue to help fund local jobs and vital public needs.