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Friday, January 21, 2011

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

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM


click to enlarge "No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant."
  • "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.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF

and @SFWeekly  



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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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