Taxpaying Cannabis Deliveryman Branded Snitch for Trying to Get Others to Pay Taxes, Too

Categories: Marijuana

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"No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant."
Kevin Reed sells medical cannabis. Lots and lots of it. He sells it for $35 for an eighth of an ounce, delivered anywhere in San Francisco. Why shouldn't he? As the Green Cross delivery service president, Reed pays state taxes and shelled out more than $8,500 to secure a official San Francisco Medical Cannabis Dispensary license. Now, Reed is being dubbed a snitch for doing what any other business owner would do when someone else was breaking the rules: Reed spoke out.

Reed drew heat when he sent a Jan. 11 letter to city officials complaining that dozens of pot delivery services were openly operating illegally, and not paying taxes, in San Francisco -- and had been doing so for a long time time.

Officials at the Public Health Department knew about the problem, but they haven't been able to do anything (the department has one-half of one person's full-time position dedicated to overseeing the city's 25 medical cannabis dispensaries). So Reed sent a formal letter requesting that the city take some action. He was thorough enough to send the list of some of the scofflaws' Web sites to the city attorney and the district attorney.

Handing over a list of marijuana rule-breakers to the city's top cop? Bad juju for some on the city's Medical Cannabis Task Force.

Of course, Reed's only offense was mentioning information that could just as easily be found by a band of monkeys with Internet connection. It's also information that the city's known about for quite some time.

But this has less to do with Reed being a snitch than it does with politics. The new district attorney happens to be former SFPD Chief George Gascón, who is considered a foe of medical cannabis.

"I agree with him 100 percent that [rogue delivery services should pay taxes]," said Matthew Cohen, president of Ukiah-based delivery service Northstone Organics, which Reed names in the letter.

Cohen says he's tried to work with Reed on solving the problem collaboratively, but he was rebuffed.

"I have a problem with unfair business practices, too," he told SF Weekly. "But I also have a problem with him giving a list to the district attorney."

Northstone pays ample taxes in Mendocino County to possess the right to produce medical cannabis, while in Oakland Cohen had to buy a delivery license to possess the right to sell. No such licenses exist in San Francisco, and there's been no attempt to create any.

Reed was traveling in Hawaii as the Task Force discussed the issue on Friday, but he's sure to see some angry faces when he comes back to town.

If almost every cannabis player agrees that Reed is spot on when he says the wildcat bud-slingers should go legit, Green Cross didn't score any points in involving DA Gascon, under whose watch marijuana arrest increased. It's miraculous enough that pot growers and sellers are willing to meet in public and ask that the city enforce tax dodgers.

Yet asking those same people to be comfortable with law enforcement is a more daring request.

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6 comments
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Marin County Patient
Marin County Patient

Lynnette Shaw does this all the time here in Marin County. But, Marin County, unlike SF has no regulations or ordinances for MCD's. Yet, somehow MAMM is "licensed" and continues to be one of the 2 licensed clubs allowed; regardless of the low-quality medicine & unsanitary conditions. Safe Access for Marin, has yet to come!

Robert Willow
Robert Willow

Snitch would be a compliment to Mr. Reed. Its a very uneducated move on his part. How can you blast somebody for doing business in San Francisco. Northstone Organics has not done anything wrong according to the regulations set forth by the city's department of public health. Mr. Reed is trying to keep his inferior product being overlooked from the ever expanding medical community. I love the fact that as a consumer there is competition to choose from.

KevinReed, President
KevinReed, President

It's not just the $8500 fee we pay but the overall cooperation withthe regulatory schemes as they've developed; this has taken a lot of ourfocus and attention and we have cooperated, in the spirit of trying to workwith the City and County of San Francisco to establish good models ofmedical cannabis dispensing under State law. There's a fundamental fairnessissue with others sliding in by locating outside city limits but doingotherwise precisely what we do (although we'd like to think with lessprofessionalism and dedication to healing). We're sorry Mr. Cohen has feltrebuffed either by us or by the city, but this is part and parcel of ourpoint that this field is so new that it's not just a matter of walking up tothe counter and paying a fee. There's a lot more work involved because therules are being written as we go. This has been the source of certainfrustration on our part - we even developed a storefront dispensary withinthe proper zoned area and were still chased out by local vested interests -the rulemaking is new, raw, and playing ball is expensive, time-consumingand frustrating. We'd like to think it's been worth it and that the GreenCross has set a good example. Our advice is "keep trying and learn therules and get to know the rulemakers and administrators.

Paocommanteiga
Paocommanteiga

Unregulated dispensaries should not be rewarded in the form of a tax break because they choose to circumvent the regulatory system that has been set up for the protection of patients and the general public. Ultimately, lack of regulation will lead to scrutiny by the Federal government and those who are opposed to the movement, thus putting the status of legitimate dispensaries in jeopardy. Kevin Reed in his letter "only" recommends that The Board of Supervisors should enact legislation that will regulate each dispensary that provides services within the City's borders, regardless of the location or address of that dispensary.

M Skitler
M Skitler

These illegal and unregulated dispensaries endanger public health. If you are a friend to the MCD community, you should be happy that the system is regulated and treated like any other business, and therefore legit in the eyes of the law. Perhaps the scofflaws should pay for a permit and go through the process just like everyone else. I'm sorry, but the GC has no reason to worry about "competition." And calling Kevin Reed a snitch? Because he wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors? Are you kidding? Reed has done more for this community than anyone in this City. The bottom line is that some people are playing by the rules for the benefit of the community and some aren't. And those that aren't, should. Period.

h. brown
h. brown

Reed's a straight shooter,

He and Erich Pearson are the best retailers and Pearson is the best grower hands down. There's a cabal of phonies within the community and on the Task Force who are in it strictly for power and money. They've been harassing both Reed and Pearson for the last 3 years or so because being legal and honest hurts the bottom line of a club like Hopenet and their 'Brown Shirt' army of zombies from Axis of Love.

The smoking lamp is lit!

h.

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