Recreational pot one step closer to being taxed in San Diego if its use becomes legal statewide

Posted at 12:33 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 15:33:32-04

A proposal to impose a tax on businesses that would sell recreational marijuana in the future in San Diego was approved by the City Council's Rules Committee Monday and might go before voters for adoption in November.

Councilman Mark Kersey's plan is to establish an 8 percent tax on gross receipts of such businesses in order to cover extra municipal licensing and enforcement costs, should voters pass a statewide measure to legalize recreational use of the drug. It would not tax marijuana designed for medicinal use, Kersey said during today's meeting.

He said approval of the state proposition would create an unfunded mandate that would financially burden city government.

"I do not want to divert money away from street repair or further stretch our public safety resources in order to manage an unorthodox legal framework that will be imposed on our city in November when it passes," Kersey said.

He described his proposal as "prudent policy planning" that he wouldn't pursue except for the state's recreational use measure.

The committee voted 4-1 to have staff develop ballot language and bring it back to the full City Council, which will decide whether to put it before San Diego voters. Councilman Chris Cate cast the dissenting vote.