Guest column: Cannabis referendum is what South Lake Tahoe needs (opinion)
September 14, 2018
I am a longtime cannabis activist attorney and the proponent of the referendum against the recent South Lake Tahoe cannabis ordinance passed by the City Council last month.
I have worked on SLT cannabis issues for more than 10 years. I represent Tahoe Wellness Cooperative (TWC) in its fight against the city's unfair and irrational attempt to close them for the last two years.
The city has never said that TWC is any kind of problem, so why then are they so bent on its destruction? This ordinance is the final nail in the coffin of TWC making it impossible for them to compete because it invites a big money corporate takeover of SLT cannabis.
Instead the city should recognize their right to operate and allow a fair market of competition to best serve Tahoe medical patients and responsible adult cannabis consumers.
I was given an hour to write this response to the opposition piece published at the same time, but which I have never seen. It is no doubt sponsored by the same big money corporate interests looking to profit by unfairly driving the competition out by tilting the playing field with an unfair ordinance tilted toward wealthy outside investors.
The Ordinance harms local access to medical cannabis.
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It essentially puts the town's home-grown dispensary, Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, out of business by denying it the right to transition into the Adult Use ("Recreational") market through a clever "zoning" trap.
The ordinance pretends to bring Adult Use to Tahoe, but it will really make it impossible to create new cannabis businesses without big outside corporate money.
It would limit retail, cultivation, and manufacturing businesses to only two permits in each each category. And it would require expensive insider deal "Development Agreements"with the City, driving up costs and prices.
This bad ordinance is the City's latest attempt to end access to medical cannabis in South Lake Tahoe in the guise of new regulations.
Don't be fooled by the big money coming into SLT with slick lobbyists looking to lock up the future of cannabis in Tahoe for rich investors by hoodwinking the City Council.
Sign the referendum petition and tell the City Council to write a fair and honest ordinance with a level playing field where all local small businesses can compete.
James Anthony is an attorney with the Anthony Law Group.