San Diego would join several other large California cities that impose local taxes on marijuana businesses if voters approve a proposed November ballot measure that Councilman Mark Kersey will unveil on Monday.
Kersey said the tax, which would start at 8 percent of gross receipts and could rise to 15 percent at council discretion, would help cover costs for code enforcement officers, police and other city workers who monitor and regulate marijuana businesses.
Marijuana advocates and local proprietors didn’t immediately condemn the idea, but warned that excessive taxation of legal marijuana would inflate prices and could help foster a more robust black market for the drug.
Opponents of legal marijuana expressed strong opposition to the proposal, citing similar concerns about a larger black market and contending that the government taxing marijuana further legitimizes a harmful drug that remains illegal under federal law.
Kersey’s proposal comes with Californians facing a likely November ballot measure that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in addition to medical use, which state voters made legal in 1996.
“With the whole landscape changing, now is probably a good time to have this conversation,” said Kersey. “Legalizing recreational use will increase demand, so I think it’s likely you’ll also see an increased demand for these kinds of city resources to monitor and regulate this industry.” [Read more at the San Diego Union Tribune]
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