Recreational cannabis businesses are coming! Hide your children! Block your doors! Arm yourselves! (Or order a pizza! I see you, boo! Pass that dutchie on the left hand side!)
The city of SLO is trying to figure out who to let operate a legal pot biz and who to not. I mean, marijuana's not like froyo or coffee, where you want a shop on every block, right? No way! But there's got to be a way to do this fairly, to construct some sort of system that will allow the city to let the "right" business people in.
Well, never fear, SLO residents, because your local government has it well in hand. They've drafted the "Cannabis Merit-Based Criteria and Possible Points" system, and "applicants must receive a minimum score of 70 percent of all available points in order to be issued a Cannabis Operator's permit," according to the document.
Hmm. A solid C minus, eh? Nice!
Let's take a look. You earn five points if 90 percent of your employees are SLO County residents but only two points if 60 percent are local. Likewise with supplies, you get five points if 80 percent of your supplies are local but only two points if only 50 percent is bought locally. Hey look! You can also earn points by doing "approved community support"—like community service, I guess—or by simply giving $2,000 a month, which is not a bribe, right? What's an extra $24K a year to do business in SLO Town, amirite?
You can also win points by being poor—10 points when "applicant includes three or more primary principals who have historically earned 80 percent or less of the median local income." You can earn five more points if you pay employees $3 over minimum wage; another five points if you allow collective bargaining. There're also points to be earned for sustainable environmental behavior. How's that for some social engineering?
Our illustrious red rose festooned Mayor Heidi Harmon had an idea of her own. She suggested points if you give away marijuana to cancer patients. "Sorry you have cancer, man. Here's a doobie!"
Is it me, or does it seem like "capitalism" is getting weird? What other businesses do we "allow" to do business "only" if they give away their product to the infirm, pay their employees over minimum wage, give money to the local community, do forced public service, and buy supplies from local sources?
Hey The Sock Drawer, you need to give socks to the homeless if you want to stay in business in SLO Town! Also, pick up trash and hand over $2,000 to the Downtown Association every month. Sigh.
I don't remember any of this stuff in the voter-approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana.
I'm all for keeping it local, being sustainable and environmentally responsible, and all that other awesome stuff, but this point system seems a little bit ridiculous, and it wouldn't be tolerated if we were talking about any other business, though if Sidewalk Market could give me free beer and tacos, that'd be great!
Yes, recreational pot will be lucrative, but you don't get to milk pot businesses like dairy cows—that's what taxes are for! Get it together, SLO Town government!
Everyone's going to have to get it together to deal with these ordinances that penalize or criminalize homeless people for, umm, being homeless. That's thanks to a recent 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruling that basically says if there isn't anywhere else for a homeless or indigent person to sleep indoors, criminalizing them for sleeping outdoors is considered cruel and unusual punishment.
For those of you who aren't in the know, that's unconstitutional!
Luckily, here in HappyTown, we've dealt with court rulings like this before. In 2012, good ol' Stew "civil rights" Jenkins partnered up with fellow local attorney Saro Rizzo to sue the city over an ordinance that prohibited sleeping in vehicles on the streets. Under ex-SLOPD Chief Steven Gesell (glad that guy's gone, amirite), police officers use to do "midnight raids, banging on the windows of vehicles with their batons and telling people to get out of town," Rizzo said.
The judge in that case said the department's enforcement actions singled out homeless people for harsh treatment and ordered the SLOPD to stop issuing citations. SLO revised its car camping ordinance, which now only prohibits camping between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.—which is usually when people actually want to sleep—and gives violators a parking ticket.
But, umm, guys, doesn't this ordinance still single out a vulnerable population with nowhere else to go?
City Attorney Christine Dietrick explained that the city's current ordinances only ban things for certain periods of time! They just make them pay a fine for sleeping in their car at the same time that everybody else sleeps or napping on a park bench for too long or lying with their eyes closed in a city park after dark. It's only when they don't or can't pay those fines that they get criminalized!
Maybe we could add providing beds for the homeless to that points system the city's bandying about for marijuana businesses that want to set up shop. City government isn't addressing it, so we might as well socially engineer it into the private sector.
The Shredder is aghast that SLO can't figure out that pot is legal. Send ideas and comments to email@example.com.