California

California pot taxes lag as illegal market flourishes

Deep in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget is a figure that says a lot about California’s shaky legal marijuana market: The state is expecting a lot less cash from cannabis taxes. The Democrat’s proposed spending plan, released Thursday, projects the state will bank $355 million in marijuana excise taxes by the end of June. That’s roughly half of what was once expected after broad legal sales kicked off last year. Industry experts say the diminished tax income reflects a somber reality: Most consumers are continuing to purchase pot in the illegal marketplace, where they avoid taxes that can near 50 percent in some communities. Tax collections are expected to gradually increase over time, but predicting what that amount will be remains something of a guess. Tax collections for “a newly created market are subject to significant uncertainty,” the budget said. Josh Drayton of the California Cannabis Industry Association credited Newsom with taking “a realistic look at the challenges” after a bumpy first year of broad legal sales. Newsom also recommended a sharp increase in spending for regulatory programs, although it’s an open question whether it will be enough to help steady the state pot economy. The budget recommends just over $200 million for marijuana-related activities in the fiscal year that starts July 1, which would be over a 50 percent boost from the current year. Initially “the state was too optimistic about how the implementation of legalization was going to work. This governor has paid attention to that,” Drayton said. That said, Drayton added that legal businesses need a break from hefty tax rates that are driving consumers to the illicit economy. Various proposals have been made to cut state pot taxes. State taxes include a 15 percent levy on purchases of all cannabis and cannabis products, including medical pot. Local governments are free to slap on taxes on sales and growing too, which has created a confusing patchwork of tax rates around the state. The state’s top marijuana regulator, Lori Ajax, has said the state intends to get more businesses licensed and operating in 2019, while cracking down on rogue operators who continue to proliferate across the state. At year’s end, California’s effort to transform its longstanding illegal and medicinal marijuana markets into a unified, multibillion-dollar industry remained a work in progress. By some estimates, up to 80 percent of sales in the state remain under the table, snatching profits from legal storefronts. Drayton said more than half the municipalities in the state do not have laws governing the industry. That means pot businesses cannot locate there, since companies are required to have a local license before seeking one from the state. The budget also includes an additional $2.9 million for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to help chase down tax cheats. Meanwhile, the courts budget includes nearly $14 million for resentencing of thousands of drug offenders whose offenses are no longer crimes since California legalized recreational pot. Newsom, an advocate for legalized marijuana, said it has long been expected the new market would take five to seven years to settle in, with twists and turns along the way. The issues he intends to look at include the distribution pipeline and claims that local governments are gouging the industry. The state will “move expeditiously at licensing more and more dispensaries, making sure we go after the bad actors,” he said.

Wow..  What a mess..  Typical California big government.  It only knows how to raise taxes; not how to solve anything.  The whole state is under solid Democrat control from the governor to the state legislature which has a supermajority of Dems…  No wonder the state is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Los Angeles County agrees to purge up to 1.5 million voters from its rolls in settlement

Los Angeles County has agreed to conduct a purge of its voting rolls, in a move that could strip perhaps 1.5 million inactive voters from the lists of those eligible to cast ballots. The county made the deal in a settlement last week with Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest firm, saying that under a recent Supreme Court ruling, it has a duty to remove names of people who appear to have either died, moved from the county or lost interest in voting. The county committed to mailing hundreds of thousands of voters already deemed inactive to see whether they are still eligible voters, and to removing names of people who don’t respond to notices and who miss two subsequent federal elections. The county also agreed to try to weed out dead people still on the rolls. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who was also part of the settlement, committed to send notices to all registrars informing them that they, too, must take steps to cancel voters who miss voting in repeated elections and fail to respond to follow-up notices. Judicial Watch called the settlement, involving both the nation’s biggest state and the biggest county, a significant win for conservatives who have been trying to harness the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, better known as “Motor-Voter,” to try to clean up voter rolls even as Democrats use the law to expand voter access. “This is a major NVRA victory — probably the biggest in the history,” said Robert Popper, the Judicial Watch lawyer who fought the case. He said he expects most of the more than 1.5 million names on the county’s inactive voter list will end up being removed.

Federal Court Strikes California Handgun Advertising Ban as First Amendment Violation

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled on Tuesday that California’s ban on handgun advertisements violates the First Amendment. The ruling involved Tracy Rifle and Pistol (TRAP), Ten Percent Firearms, Sacramento Black Rifle, Inc., and PRK Arms, all of whom were supported by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. The case was brought when Sacramento Black Rifle, Tracy Rifle and Pistol, and others were told aspects of their logo violated the state’s ban on advertising handgun sales with photographs and/or images of handguns. CBS Sacramento reports that Rob Adams, owner of Sacramento Black Rifle, was told he was breaking the law by having a pistol embedded with an “R” in his company logo. Adams said, “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment, you know, advertising. It’s censoring.” California argued that the ban on handgun advertisements helps reduce suicides and crime, but court rejected these arguments, ruling that California did not provide evidence sufficient to support these claims Judge Troy L. Nunley wrote, ” In the absence of evidence and with no common-sense relation, the Government has not met its burden of demonstrating that § 26820 directly and materially advances that interest. In sum, the Government fails to show that § 26820 has any effect on handgun suicide or crime.” Nunley also addressed the issues put for by Sacramento Black Rifle owner Rob Adams, writing, “California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment.” He noted, “The Supreme Court has rejected this highly paternalistic approach to limiting speech.” Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb commented on legal victory, saying, “A state cannot legislate political correctness at the expense of a fundamental, constitutionally-delineated civil right. We were delighted to offer financial support to this case.” The case is Tracy Rifle and Pistol, LLC, v. Harris (No. 2:14-cv-02626).

Excellent decision!!  The court was exactly right, and slapped fascist California right across the face for their brazen violation of the First Amendment ostensibly to squash advertising of firearms.  Outstanding!!     🙂

Antifa members in Berkeley smash windows of US Marine Corps recruiting office during protest

An Antifa protest in Berkeley turned violent Sunday when one masked group member sucker-punched a detractor and other agitators smashed the windows at a Marine Corps recruiting post, cellphone video showed. Authorities arrested 20 people during the dueling California demonstrations between Antifa and individuals affiliated with the so-called “alt-right.” Three people suffered minor injuries after a group of “extremists” threw “explosives” — believed to be fireworks and flares — at police and the Alameda County Sheriff’s officers. No members of law enforcement were hurt. In a series of photos posted to Twitter by filmmaker Ford Fischer, members of Antifa can be seen smashing the windows of the U.S. Marines Corps recruiting office on Shattuck Avenue. “No police were around as the black bloc traveled down the street, and a handful used hammers to smash the windows of Shattuck Ave US Marine Corps Recruiting office,” Fischer wrote in a tweet. He added: “After I filmed the antifa break the Marine Corps office window and throw a torch into a dumpster, one of them called a few over to confront me. They basically told me to leave, implying attack if I didn’t. I left. ‘Get the f— back. Cops aren’t here. They won’t help you.” Besides the damage to the Marine Corps post, Berkeley police also said “an extremist element among a large group” damaged 21 city vehicles, setting one on fire, and slashed their tires. The group also set fires in trash bins, which were extinguished quickly. Officials did not identify the “extremist element.” The incident began percolating days earlier when two groups announced plans for a “No to Marxism” rally at the city’s Civic Center Park, an announcement that prompted plans for a “Sweep Out The Fascists” march. A counter-rally drew hundreds of people downtown. City officials said neither group had sought or obtained a permit for their respective rallies. On Friday, police issued rules prohibiting masks and items that could be used as weapons. Police said the list of banned items at Civic Center and Ohlone parks included metal pipes, baseball bats, glass bottles, pepper spray, knives or daggers, shields and slingshots, KTVU reported. Police also banned people from wearing masks, scarves or bandannas or anything covering their faces except for religious or medical reasons. Multiple videos taken of the demonstrations, however, showed several people — mostly Antifa-aligned — wearing masks. Sunday’s protests in California came one day after police in Portland, Ore. clashed with demonstrators. Protesters aligned with Patriot Prayer and an affiliated group, the Proud Boys, met in a park at a rally organized by their group leader, Joey Gibson. But they were met by Antifa protesters carrying signs saying “Nazis go home” and “Alt right scum not welcome in Portland.” Police reportedly ordered the counter-protesters to disperse, then moved in behind a volley of stun grenades. One of the rounds hit a counter-protester in the head, becoming embedded in his helmet and injuring him, reports said. One woman was taken to a hospital after being hit in the arm and chest with a “flash-bang” grenade. Another video showed an Antifa member wearing all black sucker punching someone as he was having a heated conversation on a sidewalk. At one point, authorities deployed “flash bang” devices to break up the feuding parties. Long sticks and homemade shields were confiscated, the AP reported.

Antifa is really just a bunch of suburban, white, skinny, millennial guys who still have peach fuzz on their face, and probably live at home.  You know the type.  What a bunch of self-righteous losers and cowards.  Hey you Antifa tools, how about you go back to that Marine Corps office and attack it…while the Marines are in there, and see what happens!  lol   Anyway, to see photos and videos of this event, click on the text above.

SF’s appalling street life repels residents — now it’s driven away a convention

In a move that is alarming San Francisco’s biggest industry, a major medical association is pulling its annual convention out of the city — saying its members no longer feel safe. “It’s the first time that we have had an out-and-out cancellation over the issue, and this is a group that has been coming here every three or four years since the 1980s,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of S.F. Travel, the city’s convention bureau. D’Alessandro declined to name the medical association, saying the bureau still hopes to bring the group back in the future. As a rule, major conventions book their visits at least five years in advance. So when D’Alessandro and members of the hospitality industry hadn’t heard from the doctors about re-upping, they flew to the organization’s Chicago headquarters for a face-to-face meeting with its executive board. And with good reason: The group’s annual five-day trade show draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy. “They said that they are committed to this year and to 2023, but nothing in between or nothing thereafter,” D’Alessandro said. “After that, they told us they are planning to go elsewhere — I believe it’s Los Angeles.” The doctors group told the San Francisco delegation that while they loved the city, postconvention surveys showed their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets. It didn’t help that one board member had been assaulted near Moscone Center last year. “There was a time when the biggest obstacle to having a convention here was that it can be expensive, but now we have this new factor,” D’Alessandro said.

Indeed..  We’re seeing more and more stories like this out of San Francisco..  While disturbing and certainly unfortunate for it’s residents, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  San Fran is a city that has been under solid Democrat control for 50 years, with some of the most liberal policies and ordinances in the nation.  They have spectacularly high taxes, an out-of-control homeless problem, and streets filled with drug paraphernalia and human feces.  It’s common to see people urinate and defecate right in the open.  And, car break-ins and thefts are on the rise, as are assaults.  Going out to Pier 39 just isn’t worth it anymore.  No wonder this professional group is taking their business elsewhere.  As for the residents..  This is what they continue to vote for.  So, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Opinion/Analysis: California’s new water rationing law is a tax in disguise, complete with fines

Last week’s column about California’s new water rationing apparently upset some of the Golden State’s swamp. This columnist pointed out that a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown set new “standards” of water usage. Here’s what their water-rationing bill (now law) says, in language everyone can understand: “The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use. … The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.” Yet, when confronted with a public discussion about what this means, the swamp pulled together to “debunk” the argument that the water rationing with fines was, well, water rationing with fines. The spin machine went into overdrive. A woman who works for the bill’s author in the California legislature assured everyone on Twitter that stories would be forthcoming in the Sacramento Bee and Snopes to prove what critics were saying were lies. The result looked very much like something the infamous Jonathan Gruber would have arranged. You remember Mr. Gruber — he’s the guy who worked on Obamacare and admitted they had no idea what economic impact the law would have on Americans, but they saw the polls and said what people wanted to hear. They relied on the “stupidity of the American voter” to get the law passed. It appears Democrats in California are hoping that theory is true. The Sacramento Bee came out swinging with a fascinating spin. If you take the Bee seriously, the new standard, which was important enough to specify in gallons and make law, is really just a suggestion. “Water agencies will be encouraged to have their customers limit indoor water use to an average of 55 gallons a day per person … as part of a broader ‘water budget’ strategy,” offered the Bee. The fact of the matter is this: Water agencies will be fined based on how well their districts ration. Those fines are $1,000 a day. After assuring people that all they need to do is buy a new washing machine or change their shower heads, the Bee coyly mentions at the end of its article, “Sure, a district could pass those costs onto your water bill, but think dollars and cents instead of thousands out of your bank account.” Wouldn’t you love to have the Bee’s oracle? Because never in recent history have we been told one thing about what a new law would cost you and have it be the opposite. You know, like being told a national health insurance scheme would save your family $2,300 a year, when it ended up costing you at least $5,000 or more. As those reporters shamefully run interference for Sacramento’s politicians, what they describe is even more disturbing than individuals being targeted: If a family follows all the rules and rations their water use, they will still be fined or penalized based on what others in the district are doing. When you’re paying for what others are doing, how is one to protest? This is a new tax, plain and simple; the arrangement of a rationing law so absurd that it cannot be adhered to by most, guarantees the new cash flow into Sacramento. In other words, this scheme isn’t about water conservation or climate change. It’s about the state taking more of your money ostensibly for wasting water, an issue on which they are the most egregious offender. Harmeet Dhillon, California attorney and Republican National Committeewoman from the Golden State, had this to say about the shenanigans: “We are used to being conned with taxes hidden in ‘plans’ and ‘budgets’ and ‘goals’ every day in California — see our recent carbon tax in the guise of ‘cap and trade,’ the highest gas taxes in the nation, high tolls on the roads, and even a proposal by the governor to tax us per mile we drive. But even Californians inured to the rising tax burdens are beginning to fight back against our command economy overlords. “In June’s primary, voters in Southern California recalled — by a large margin — a state Senator who voted to raise gas taxes on his car-loving constituents. And like the Boston patriots who protested the haughty British imposition of a heavy tax on tea, legislators and bureaucrats who dare to impose higher taxes and penalties on ordinary citizens going about their business and utilizing a totally renewable resource — water — in a hygienic and responsible way — may find that it is the water police who get dunked this time around.” The willingness of reporters to help California politicians gaslight the citizens like this has been shocking. The San Diego Tribune went so far as to mock the use of math that critics use to explain what California’s bill actually means. Math often matters when it comes to facts. The Department of Interior thinks numbers are important, too. It reports the average person uses on everyday, necessary activities 80-100 gallons of water a day. In the meantime, California will continue to waste hundreds of billions of gallons of water a year through a crumbling infrastructure. But in the words of Democratic leader Rahm Emanuel, liberals should never let a good crisis go to waste. Apparently including those they create.

Thanks to Tammy Bruce for this sobering follow-up to her article on this ridiculous situation in California which we posted last week.  Scroll down about 21 articles to see that article.  In a recent poll, 46% of Californians said they were planning on the leaving the state in a few years.  With nonsense like this latest water law, we certainly can understand why.

Analysis: Will California’s new water rules push people out of the Golden State?

“Please sir, I want some more,” is no longer a sentiment just for Oliver Twist in the orphanage. A new law in California limits how much water can be used by each household. Now their showers, how many flushes, and how often they can do their laundry will be under the watchful eye of the state government. This from politicians who have pushed policies creating homeless and drug abuse crises throughout the state. They have now decided to clamp down on the use of the most basic needs of civilized living. As the blog Zero Hedge put it, “it’s now against the law to do laundry and shower on the same day in the Sunshine State,” and they’re not exaggerating. Under the guise of addressing “climate change,” the new bill rations water to a degree that makes it impossible to maintain a healthy home environment. Perhaps the state wants everyone to feel like the drug addicts living in California’s ever-expanding homeless tent cities? Zero Hedge reported, “Assembly Bill 1668 is where it gets personal. This establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years. ‘The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use …’” How do families feel about the rationing of water? CBS-13 in Sacramento asked a few: “‘With a child and every day having to wash clothes, that’s, just my opinion, not feasible. But I get it and I understand that we’re trying to preserve … but 55 gallons a day?” said Tanya Allen, who has a 4-year-old daughter.” To give you perspective on how much water basic chores require, the station noted an eight-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water, a load of laundry up to 40, and a bathtub can hold 80 to 100 gallons of water. Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, explained this is happening, “So that everyone in California is at least integrating efficiency into our preparations for climate change.” That’s nice. This same bureaucrat then noted to CBS-13, “Right now we lose up to 30 percent of urban water just to leaks in the system.” As the state rations the water of the average of family, making it impossible for everyone to shower and wash clothes, let alone use water to wash the dishes, and perform any myriad of other efforts to keep a home clean and a family healthy, it’s the state itself and its crumbling infrastructure that is the biggest waster of water. In 2014, during the drought, Californians found out what happens when policy focuses on controlling people, which is much easier than actually governing and maintaining infrastructure. The Pasadena Star-News reported, “As 20 million gallons of drinking water rushed down Sunset Boulevard and flooded the UCLA campus this summer, drought-conscious residents threw up their hands. How are three-minute showers going to make a difference, they asked, when the city’s pipes are bursting? Turns out the UCLA flood was just a drop in the sea of potable water that leaks or blows out of underground pipes. California’s water distribution systems lose up to 228 billion gallons a year, the state Department of Water Resources estimates — more than enough to supply the entire city of Los Angeles for a year.” The wasted water isn’t relegated to local areas in Southern California. The San Jose Mercury News reported about the Bay Area at the time, “Aging and broken pipes, usually underground and out of sight, have leaked enough water annually to submerge the whole of Manhattan by 5 feet — enough to meet the needs of 71,000 families for an entire year.” No wonder people are fleeing the state. This week Fox News reported, “A whopping 46 percent of California Bay Area residents fed up with the region’s high cost of living and soaring home prices are planning to pack their bags and move out in the next few years, a poll has found.” The report indicated homelessness and traffic were key reasons why residents wanted to flee. And this is while they can still shower, bathe their child and do laundry on the same day without being fined. “Ron and Elizabeth Haines, who have lived in the city of Pleasanton, say they are moving to Idaho this summer and are among the residents who believe living in the Bay Area is getting too expensive,” Fox News said. “We are excited,” Elizabeth Haines told the station. “I have tons of friends and family here. It’s going to be hard, but I have a feeling we’re going to have lots of visitors.” They sure will, but forget about that BBQ and table-tennis. Little do they know their friends will be bringing their laundry and want to soak in their bathtub. And then they’ll ask about the neighborhood and school system.

No kidding…  Thanks to radio talk show host, and New York Times best-selling author Tammy Bruce for bringing us that depressing report out of California.  Yeah..  No wonder a “whopping 46 percent” of Californians are planning on leaving the state in the next few years according to that recent poll. ..  And the two states highest on the list of where that 46 percent said they wanted to move to are Texas and Arizona; red/conservative/Republican states that have low taxes, and far less fascist regulations.  Gee..  Imagine that!  California is the state poster child of what happens when you have out-of-control, liberal, fascist, Democrats in power at every level of state government.  A state whose taxes and regulations are through the roof, and their infrastructure is broken…oh, and lets not forget that the state is on the verge of financial bankruptcy.  It is the ultimate example of the failure of liberal Democrat policy failures.  And, God-forbid you want to own a firearm for sport or personal defense….  Now you have to register…to purchase ammunition.  Unreal..