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article imageOp-Ed: Pot Plantation Raids Could Stoke Profits for California

By Sandy Sand     Jul 26, 2009 in Crime
If California and the Los Angeles had passed proposed taxes on sales at prescription marijuana clinics, they could have harvested huge profits by not sending 3,500 pot plants seized in raids of three illegal plantations up in smoke.
Proposals to tax the sales of marijuana at medical marijuana clinics languish in both the California state legislature and with the city council in Los Angeles.
Voters in the city of Oakland have already approved a ballot measure that will tax the clinics $18 for every $1,000 in gross sales.
Think of what Los Angeles could have done with the 3,500 marijuana plants they seized in a raid on three illegal plantations in the Santa Monica Mountains last week.
They could have turned the plants over to the clinics for sales, and if nothing else, taxes from the sales could have defrayed some of the policing costs.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, in addition to the plants with an estimated street value of $10 million being seized, costs involved a multi-agency effort to removed garbage, PVC piping, camping equipment, fertilizer and chemicals from the sites.
According to the National Park Service:
…marijuana plantations often disturb soil, irrigation installations, natural vegetation and wildlife. The plantation site in Zuma Canyon was located in a wildlife corridor, where a number of animals including bobcats and mountain lions reside.
Even though the sale of medical marijuana is legal in California, raiding these illegal plantation sites isn’t going to go away.
Therefore, the cash-strapped state and cities should find a way to make a profit -- or at the very least break even on the costs of the raids -- by getting some good medical use out of the plants by selling them to the state approved clinics, and then taxing the sales.
Someone went to a lot of trouble and expense to covertly grown these plants, and the state should figure out a way to profit from it.
Of course, heaven forbid they did anything logical by legalize the growing, sale and use of pot across the board and eliminate all policing of it, which would also free up the jails and make room for the “real” criminals.
Legalizing marijuana would cut deeply into the profits of drug cartels and gang bangers, and it would be a shame to not take advantage of the good taxing pot sales can produce and simply let it go up in smoke.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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