The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday a proposal to include a marijuana business tax on November ballots.
At the August board meeting, supervisors will discuss exact ballot wording.
If approved by voters, the measure will affect marijuana businesses in the county’s unincorporated areas.
Supervisors Joel Anderson, Nathan Fletcher and Terra Lawson-Remer voted in favor of the second reading. Supervisor Jim Desmond voted against.
The board voted 3-1 earlier this month — with Desmond also against — to take an early step towards putting a marijuana tax measure onto the ballot. The board approved a draft resolution that included a 75-word question on the ballot, arguments for and against it, and a fiscal impact.
Five marijuana operations are allowed to operate in San Diego County – – three in Ramona and one each in unincorporated areas bordering El Cajon and Escondido.
During a brief period of public comments, most callers opposed to the tax proposal. They claimed that any benefits would not be outweighed by the dangers of increased marijuana usage.
Kathleen Lippitt, Poway resident and public policy advocate said that a cannabis tax was presumptuous, and not in the public’s best interest.
The marijuana industry “has been running this show for the last 18 months,”Lippitt spoke of the county’s cannabis equity program.
Kelly Hayes is an attorney who represents marijuana companies and said that supervisors should consider a lower marijuana tax rate.
Hayes stated that only 26% state licensed operators are making a profit. The county must give legal workers the tools they need in order to stop illegal businesses.