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Long Beach takes Steps to Tax Marijuana & Ban Smoking in 87 Parks

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Photo by ELI▲NA via Flickr

Photo by ELI▲NA via Flickr
Voters in Long Beach may have two marijuana decisions to make when they fill out their ballot this Fall. Along with Prop 19, which proposes to legalize marijuana, the city council is considering placing a marijuana tax -- currently proposed as 15% for recreational use, 5 percent for medicinal -- on the November 2nd ballot. It is unknown how much such a tax could raise, but the city is currently suffering a $18.5 million budget shortfall.

Tuesday's 8 to 1 vote set a hearing for August 3rd, when the council may vote place it on the ballot. The sole dissenting vote was from Councilmember Gerrie Schipske who felt it wasn't fair to tax medicine.

As the Press Telegram explains, placing the tax on the ballot is not as easy as it sounds. "A key requirement, and the one that may derail the medical marijuana tax, is that the council must unanimously declare a fiscal emergency in order to place a measure on the ballot that only needs 50 percent voter approval," said the paper. "The other option is to put the tax on the ballot without a fiscal emergency resolution, which would require a much more difficult two-thirds voter approval."

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Additionally, a proposal to ban smoking at smaller parks in Long Beach was pushed forward. A commission will work on recommendations and an ordinance for the council to consider. Although the council was mostly supportive, there were concerns with cost of signage and the reality of actually enforcing such a ban, according to the Press Telegram. Of the 152 parks in Long Beach, 87 are considered small.