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Youth Radio — Youth Media International: Oakland Approves Marijuana Tax

July 23rd, 2009, 03:07 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Orlando Campbell

Yesterday, Oakland, California voted on four local measures designed to bring more money into the struggling city by the bay. All passed, and the much talked about Measure F, designed to drastically increase the local tax on medicinal marijuana, won by a landslide.

Measure F’s overwhelming success is seen as a major victory for local cannabis clubs who actually went to the city requesting that they be taxed more. It may seem weird for any business, or human being for that matter, to actually want to be taxed more, but for cannabis clubs, it’s about building a positive relationship with the city, and moving towards a day when marijuana will become completely legal. In short, the city further legitimizes the local medical marijuana industry. How can the government, police, or any other official hate on weed, when weed is paying the bills?

Oakland is the first city to levee a task specifically aimed at the sale of marijuana, and it’s also the only place in the country with a cannabis college. Founded in 2007, Oaksterdam University (O.U.) educates students in the business and botany of legal marijuana. Their storefront would probably go unnoticed to a passerby; that is until they read the big white letters reading Oaksterdam University. O.U. shares the block with a barber college, a music store, and a bank, and the youth organization where I work.

Oaksterdam University and the surrounding cannabis clubs are also right around the corner from Oakland city hall, and have, in the past, stirred a pinch of controversy into the city’s soup. Apart from the weed based businesses, downtown Oakland is also home to restaurants, office buildings, schools, and dedicated youth programs such as the one where I work. Of course one can argue that drugs and youth do not belong in the same sentence, which is true, but they would be leaving out most of the deeper rooted facts.

In general, the youth I know wouldn’t even consider going to a cannabis club to get their fix. If they want some weed, they will find someone at their school or in their neighborhood to sell it to them. Not far removed from youth myself, I know that it is easier for a teen to get weed on the streets than it is alcohol. This is for the simple fact that alcohol is sold legally, but with restrictions, similar to the way medicinal marijuana is sold throughout California. If weed was treated in the same way as alcohol, and not just sold on the street, its accessibility to young people would decrease, not increase.

Medical marijuana is legal in this state, just like any other medicine; a buyer must be over 18 to even enter a club, and they need a prescription to even purchase it. And even though those are the current regulations, I believe sooner or later marijuana will be treated similarly to alcohol, and considered completely legal in California. Measure F encouraged voters to consider and accept this unavoidable reality and make the most of it. I for one hope that the profits of marijuana sales will help fund Oakland’s
schools and youth programs.

Oakland is hungry right now, and an estimated $294,000 of annual revenue from the weed tax will help feed its growling belly.

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