California Cities Approve Marijuana Taxes, Reject Dispensary Bans
November 02, 2010
Phillip Smith, Drug War Chronicle
Californians may not be quite ready to legalize marijuana, but they're eager to tax it. Local ballot measures to tax medical marijuana (or recreational pot, if Prop 19 had passed) passed overwhelmingly in several Bay Area cities, while voters in two coastal cities rejected measures to ban dispensaries.
In Sacramento, voters approved a measure to tax medical marijuana businesses at 4% passed with 71% of the vote. In San Jose, a 10% marijuana tax was approved with 78% of the vote. In Oakland, a measure raising the marijuana tax from 1.8% to 5% passed with 70% of the vote.
In Berkeley, voters approved a 2.5% medical marijuana tax with 82% of the vote a measure to allow licensed gardens with 64% of the vote. Richmond approved a 5% medical marijuana tax with 78% of the vote, while Albany approved a pot business tax with 83% of the vote.
Outside the Bay Area, Stockton approved a 2.5% medical marijuana business tax with 66% of the vote, and 72% of Long Beach voters approved a tax on recreational pot sales. In the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente, voters approved separate measures to tax medical and recreational marijuana. In the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova, voters approved a measure requiring all marijuana grows to pay up to $600 per square foot for grows up to 25 square feet and approved a tax on recreational pot with 67% of the vote.
California NORML called the Rancho Cordova grow tax "excessive," and Americans for Safe Access said it does not consider the passage of measures to tax medical marijuana "any sort of victory whatsoever." Increasing medical marijuana taxes is "absolutely unacceptable and will ultimately burden patients at the point of sale," the group said.
Measures to ban dispensaries failed in Santa Barbara, 39% to 61%, and in Morro Bay, 45% to 55%