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Long Beach May Ask Voters to Tax Marijuana on November Ballot

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Photo by TheTruthAbout... via Flickr

Photo by TheTruthAbout... via Flickr
Long Beach may join three Northern California cities by placing a marijuana tax proposal on the November ballot. The City Council today is expected to consider an item today that would schedule a public hearing in August, which is when the councilmembers would vote to place the tax measure on the ballot.

With a $18.5 million deficit this year (and more of the same in future years), city staff is recommending the measure become a reality. When Long Beach originally set up a business license tax ordinance, medical marijuana dispensaries did not exist. "Currently, medical marijuana collectives operate in business corridors alongside businesses that pay business license taxes," explained a staff report (.pdf). "To promote equity, it is recommended that medical marijuana collectives are also assessed a business license tax."

The report notes that three other cities -- Oakland, Berkeley and Sacramento -- are going ahead with marijuana tax ballot measures in November. In Sacramento, a measure focuses both on medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana, the latter should Prop 19, which would legalize marijuana, be approved. The capitol city's gross receipts tax would be tiered: 5% for medical and 5 to 10% for other forms. Long Beach would go in a similar direction, also adding a 75-cent per square foot tax on exclusive marijuana cultivation sites."

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In Oakland, estimates have the city garnering $1 million from a tax on gross receipts at four dispensaries, the legal limit within the city. When Long Beach eventually grants permits, up to 30 locations are expected to go into business.

If the City Council approves today's item, a public hearing will take place on August 3rd.

Related: Smoking Could Get Banned at 87 Parks in Long Beach