Taxpaying Cannabis Deliveryman Branded Snitch for Trying to Get Others to Pay Taxes, Too
|"No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant."|
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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