July 22, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: Voters approve tax on medical marijuana

From Wire Reports
 

OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland residents overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to approve a first-of-its kind tax on medical marijuana sold at the city’s four cannabis dispensaries.

Preliminary election results showed the measure passing with 80 percent of the vote, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

The dispensary tax was one of four measures in a vote-by-mail special election aimed at raising money for the cash-strapped city. All four won, but Measure F had the highest level of support.

Scheduled to take effect on New Year’s Day, the measure created a special business tax rate for the pot clubs, which now pay the same $1.20 for every $1,000 in gross sales applied to all retail businesses. The new rate will be $18.

Oakland’s auditor estimates that based on annual sales of $17.5 million for the four clubs, it will generate an estimated $294,000 for city coffers in its first year.

Airman loses legs in gallbladder surgery

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – An airman lost parts of both legs and was in critical condition after routine gallbladder surgery at Travis Air Force Base went terribly wrong, his family said.

Airman 1st Class Colton Read was supposed to get his gallbladder removed laparoscopically – via a small incision – at Travis’ David Grant Medical Center on July 9.

During the procedure, surgeons nicked or punctured an aorta, a large artery that carries blood from the heart throughout the body, according to his wife, Jessica Read. The surgeons repaired the breach enough to save his life, but the repair began leaking and disrupted the blood supply to his legs, she said.

Read was flown to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where doctors told the family that damage from the lack of blood required amputation. Family members say he’s undergone 10 surgeries to remove dead tissue from his legs, leaving him without much of his right leg and the lower portion of his left. And Read still hasn’t had his gallbladder removed because of the surgery complications, relatives said.

Travis officials would not comment on specifics, only saying a “serious medical incident” occurred at the hospital.

The case is under investigation by the base, a national hospital accrediting commission and the U.S. surgeon general.

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