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Long Beach Contemplates Taxing Medical Pot

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Long Beach contemplates taxing the medical marijuana sold within its city limits, while the citizens of the entire state get to contemplate trying to tax all marijuana sales through a legalize-and-tax initiative on the November ballot.

Details on Long Beach's plan from the L.A. Times:

[Long Beach's] City Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to place a measure on the November ballot that would levy a 5% tax on medical marijuana collectives....Long Beach's proposal, drafted by the city's Department of Financial Management, also calls for taxing medical marijuana cultivation sites at .0075 cents per square foot.

Long Beach is not alone--Berkeley and Sacramento are also contemplating imposing a levy on medical pot. Oakland is already taxing medical marijuana collections, a 1.8 percent tax that they say will get them $1 million this year. (Los Angeles so far has not seriously attempted to do so.) Long Beach has $18.5 million in deficit spending to try to wipe out.

Medical marijuana activists aren't thrilled at the prospect of taxation:

Americans for Safe Access, the nation's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, opposes taxing medical marijuana because it believes the drub should be treated the same as any other doctor-prescribed medications, which are untaxed.

Here are the steps Long Beach will have to take for such a pot tax to become reality:

Approving a marijuana tax in Long Beach would require a public hearing in August, an OK from the City Council and voter approval this fall. Since no local offices are up for election in November, the city would have to declare a fiscal emergency to get the measure on the ballot.

The official website for the proponents of Prop 19, this November's California initiative to legalize and tax adult marijuana use statewide.

Image taken by Flickr user Laughing Squid. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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