San Diego Dispensaries Hope to Revive Local MMJ Industry Via Sales Tax Initiative

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When all else fails, show them the money.

This is the strategy medical marijuana advocates in San Diego are using to help revive the city’s comatose MMJ industry, crafting a proposed ordinance that would implement a 2.5 percent tax on dispensary sales. The plan also calls for the creation of special zones at least 600 feet from schools for dispensary operations, regulations on security, restrictions on hours of operation and mandatory inspections.

The dispensaries hope to get the proposal on the 2012 ballot.

Pot proponents are looking to win over the hearts and minds of the local population by filling the city’s coffers with millions of dollars and setting up a valid regulatory framework.

The move comes after a tumultuous year for the pot industry in San Diego, which is now a shell of its former self. The federal government has launched an aggressive crackdown on California’s pot industry, forcing many medical marijuana dispensaries to close. In San Diego alone, more than 150 pot shops have shut their doors, and more likely will in the coming weeks.

San Diego’s pot community also led an effort to repeal a new city ordinance regulating the marijuana industry, claiming it was too restrictive. But that move backfired, as it essentially left dispensaries without a legal way to operate in San Diego.

The new proposal is a last-ditch effort to breathe life into the industry and provide some long-term structure. But it won’t provide immediate relief to dispensaries, and the sector will likely continue to contract before it can expand or at least hold steady.