Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

September 24, 2010
New state analysis on Prop 19 pot tax revenues: Don't ask us

The state Board of Equalization, which last year famously declared that legalizing marijuana could generate $1.4 billion in new tax revenues for California state coffers, has an updated analysis out for Proposition 19, the November ballot measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

This time, the BOE says it can't predict what legal weed can bring in.

Officials also said it may take them months - or years - to implement potentially needed systems for collecting new marijuana taxes that may result from Proposition 19.

In its previous analysis, the BOE heavily based its tax revenues estimate on a $50 per ounce pot tax proposed in state legislation by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. But no such tax is proposed in Proposition 19.

The initiative leaves it up to local governments to tax and regulate retail marijuana operations. Ammiano, D-San Francisco, says he'll likely pick up his statewide pot tax push in the Legislature if Prop. 19 is approved by voters.

But until then, BOE officials say, don't expect them to come up with a state pot revenues estimate.

"Proposition 19 does not contain specific provisions at the state level governing taxation or retail sale (of marijuana)," the BOE analysis says. "Local jurisdictions are free to choose to impose licensing fees or implement differing tax schemes or rates. BOE staff is not able to create estimates of marijuana consumption and price at the local level. BOE staff is not able to estimate the impact that legalization, local regulation and taxation will have..."

The BOE currently collects sales taxes on medical marijuana dispensaries. But its analysis says a system for collecting new taxes on potential retail and commercial operations for recreational pot use may not be easy to implement.

"The BOE would need a minimum of 8 months to implement a new marijuana tax or fee program and a minimum of two years to implement a marijuana tax or fee program requiring the application of a stamp program," the analysis reads, italics included.

To read the new report, click here.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.