Excerpts from Joel Warner’s eye-opening article, EMBRACING POT: Weedtown, USA: Home to America’s First City-Owned Pot Shop:
Inside the Cannabis Corner’s . . . facility is a one-of-a-kind experiment. The shop, which opened its doors in 2015, is run by the city, making it the only government-operated cannabis store in the country. By September 2016, it had generated $2.2 million in revenue, and once the Cannabis Corner covers its start-up costs, proceeds will go to updating the local playground, bankrolling law enforcement, and other municipal expenditures. Not bad for a town that was nearly bankrupt in 2013.
Because the Cannabis Corner is a government entity, not only is it exempt from federal taxes, but all the proceeds go back to the town, keeping cannabis — and its profits — in the hands of the people. “In states that legalize, there’s no reason other towns can’t do the same thing,” says Pat Oglesby, a North Carolina marijuana policy expert and former chief tax counsel for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. “If they could show something, like four shiny police cars, this model would be enticing,” says local pastor Tom Flanagan, who remains opposed to the shop.
Some of “[t]hose pushing for legalization — diehard libertarians and liberals fed up with the war on drugs — aren’t likely to trust government,” so municipal stores may need a John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a Dry teetotaling capitalist, who urged channeling the profit motive for the sale of intoxicants, and invested his money for the public good, as he saw it, for intoxicant policy.