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San Diego Takes Steps To Tax Recreational Pot Businesses

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

Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Mark Kersey is a San Diego city councilman.

A City Council committee approved asking voters to put an 8 percent tax on gross receipts of businesses that would sell recreational marijuana if voters approve a statewide measure in November to legalize use of the drug.

Councilman Mark Kersey's plan is to establish an 8 percent tax on gross receipts of such businesses to cover extra municipal licensing and enforcement costs, should voters in November also pass a proposed statewide measure to legalize recreational use of the drug.

The city's measure would not tax marijuana designed for medicinal use, Kersey said during Monday's meeting.

RELATED: California Counts: What Could Change If Recreational Pot Is Legalized In California

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.

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