Shutting down illegal pot shops


A recent editorial in the Daily Monopoly (The Union-Tribune) pointed out: “It’s been a year since the first legal recreational marijuana shops opened in California . . . and fewer shops are in business than had been expected, leading to much less of a revenue windfall from local and state taxes.” And a recent study by Southern California News Group noted: “the illicit side of the weed business is only growing stronger” . . . because illegal sales and cultivation are so much cheaper.

Duh, simple economics would have predicted this — the legal shops (including in Chula Vista) will have regulations to deal with plus, Chula Vista hopes, generating $6 million in tax revenue to the city. The illegal shops will have a much lower cost of business, and so will easily under bid the legal shops.

Chula Vista has had a difficult time shutting down illegal shops because the Office of the City Attorney does not have a ‘criminal’ section. The City Attorney has asked the City Council to approve one, which only means even higher costs for the legal shops to cover.
If the City Council in 2019 decides it wants to run the illegal shops out of business, they should do just the opposite of what they did — subsidize the legal shops, instead of penalizing them with taxes, and make it so the legal shops can under bid the illegal ones— that will shut down the illegal shops in Chula Vista very quickly.


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