Oakland City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan, who is now running for mayor, not only spearheaded that city’s ballot
measures on taxing recreational pot sales and permitting large scale growing operations, she’s actively talking using the
Amsterdam model to revitalize the city’s downtown business district.
“[Hash bars] absolutely potentially would be part of the mix,” Kaplan told us when we asked about the issue during her
mayoral endorsement interview, seeing it as part of a multipronged economic development strategy.
When asked if Oakland should have places where people could go to blaze legally, something Oakland doesn’t allow in its
medical marijuana dispensaries, Kaplan said, “Yes. Oh yeah, we’re definitely gonna have those. The only question is gonna
be whether the consumption facilities are separate from [those for] sales,” or if they’re under the same roof.
That’s all fine and good, but what we really need to do is big picture this whole thing. Who really cares about cafes – people pretty much already get all the weed they want and smoke it wherever they want, the only difference is we’re not giving 8% to the state. But I understand why this is always listed as Benefit No. 1.
The backers of Prop 19 are selling it as tax revenue because we’re broke, but that’s the kind of logic that makes poor people buy two-dollar scratcher tickets. Sure you have a good chance of winning a small amount, but will that really cover the negative effects? (Yeah sure, pot is pretty benign but let’s not pretend that it will be all good for everyone. see: Teenagers)
I say instead they should sell Prop 19 as a jobs bill. Nor Cal has a world renown reputation for growing high quality buds. Imagine all the tourists that would come from in-state, out-of-state, abroad, to legally sample all the varieties. And they have to stay somewhere (bed and breakfast ideas anyone?), and eat somewhere (munchies).
And like the wine industry, sales reps can work throughout the state at dispensaries. Maybe one day, restaurants would be able to offer you buds before you eat, which in turn necessitate the need for a kind of pot sommelier (Oaksterdam University is arguably a better life choice than the University of Phoenix). Satellite stores could be linked with upstate growing operations so that people will have favorite growers like the currently have favorite vintners.
And most importantly for me, they’ll need writers to get comped visits and product so we can promote this Brave High World to the masses. After all, in the world of pot literature, I’m kinda
of a big deal
. So get out there and vote.