It took LA’s former top cop, Bernard Parks, to blow the whistle Wednesday on the City Council’s latest attempt to show its contempt for the rule of law.
But his efforts were to no avail, only getting support from fellow law-abiders Jan Perry and Greig Smith. The rest of the Council voted to support Janice Hahn’s proposal to draft a measure for the March 2011 to impose a 5 percent tax on the money taken in by the city’s hundreds of “medicinal marijuana cooperatives” — a $3 million to $5 million pot of gold.
Since the cooperatives are theoretically charities, a gross receipts tax isn’t legal so Hahn did contortions to come up with language referring to the “reimbursements” they receive.
Parks questioned how the city can impose a tax on a product that is illegal to grow or possess under federal law and illegal to sell under state law, sort of like taxing shoplifters, embezzlers, corporate criminals and anyone else who profits from illegal activity.
And he brought out the opinion of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich — whose war on illegal pot shops has forced hundreds of the city’s nearly 1,000 marijuana dispensaries to close — in that regard as well the illegality of taxing charities among other problems.
Did Janice or her colleagues care?
Of course not, the Council violates the law on a daily basis so what’s one more crime.
Richard Alarcon, a guy who knows a lot about disrespect the law, suggested maybe the city could get back the full cost of regulating the pot shops although that would hardly bring in the princely sums Hahn is seeking, presumably for other more noble purposes of her own.
The upshot was the City Attorney will draft the ballot language and we’ll see by the Nov. 17 deadline for approving ballot measures wherher the Council really wants voters to pass judgment on their illegal actions.