Stigma, Weed, and Taxes (Hold On To Your Hats)

Recently, LA city voters passed a proposition that will shut down roughly one thousand law-abiding, tax-paying businesses in its greater metro area. Business which contributed roughly 2.5 Million dollars to the local economy in taxes ALONE over the past year, not to mention the contributions made via payroll, mortgage/rents, suppliers, and the like. As you may know, Los Angeles is grossly in debt and has one of the worst school systems in the country. So why would they spit in the face of much needed tax dollars and entry-level jobs in a tough market? Because those one thousand stores are amongst the city’s legal medical marijuana dispensaries, and if L.A.’s total and complete failure to effectively manage or capitalize on this booming seventeen-year-old industry is any indication, stigma always wins.

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If you’re following the tale of SoCal’s epic Weed Wars it would be easy to believe that the City of Angels exists under a looming cloud of pot smoke. Media images covering the story show large signs and colorful banners touting free bong rips and hazy happy hours luring unsuspecting innocents into dark dens of unsavory cannibis culture.

Like with most tall tales the Weed Wars narrative is woven from threads of truth in to tapestries of embellishment. [continue reading...]

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