Was it really necessary to close Herb King down? The DEA was told (by whom?) that “Santa Monica does not want them in town,” and so they put pressure on the Main Street landlord who immediately asked them to leave. By the time you read this they will be closed. Sometimes it feels like we are still controlled by a small minority who insist on control. There is very little question that the general public had no objection to Herb King dispensing medical marijuana, particularly since it was being handled by an experienced purveyor who knew how to conform to state regulations and had no prior history of misconduct. The Herb King would have been a good way for Santa Monica to allow its resident population to acquire this herb in a legal and safe way. Of course someone was going to object; perhaps this is inevitable for the first truly legitimate attempt. Now the city planning department and City Council can go about its business of creating rules for the next business that tries. I am sure in time a farmacy will come, and the forces of repression and control will fade away.
When the city gets movement on something it is very difficult to slow them down or ask them to revise their direction. Sometimes you wonder where it all begins and how does a bad move start in the first place. What I have seen is that money often plays a big part. City Hall knows how to mine state, county, and federal government coffers for special funds. When they get it, they find a purpose for those funds, and just having the money becomes reason enough to proceed with a project. The cutting of the ficus trees downtown may be one of those instances. I notice they have a $1.8 million federal transportation grant that will partially go towards cutting down these trees. By altering the plan, it is possible the city may lose those funds and there you have the crux of the problem. No one will admit that the possibility of losing this money keeps the momentum to cut moving forward, but I have seen this one before. And we may see the end of our beautiful downtown canopy as a result.