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Walnut Creek Council Opposed to Prop 64

Oct 03, 2016 02:35PM ● By Jennifer Neys

Council Opposed to Prop 64

At the September 20 city council meeting, council voted in opposition to upcoming ballot measure Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use and sale of marijuana, with a 4 to 1 vote. Councilmember Bob Simmons was the only dissenting vote.

Police Chief Thomas Chaplin made a presentation in front of city council in which he evaluated the measure and discussed potential community impacts (safety, quality of life) should Prop 64 pass. He stated it was also difficult to accurately estimate the fiscal impacts the measure would have on the city.

If Proposition 64 is passed by a majority of voters, it would impose a 15% excise tax on recreational marijuana products and a cultivation tax on all marijuana entering the commercial market of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers and $2.75 per ounce of marijuana leaves. Monies collected from excise taxes and fines would be deposited into a new special fund, the California Marijuana Tax Fund. The special fund would first reimburse state agencies for regulation and implementation costs. Using marijuana in public would remain illegal, and driving while impaired would remain illegal. Under the proposed initiative, the city would not receive any revenue generated by the excise or cultivation taxes.

In his agenda report sent to city council, Police Chief Chaplin said, “In order to recoup what could be significant local costs associated with the initiative, the city could decide to mandate additional taxes or business license taxes specific to marijuana businesses. However, any newly adopted local tax measures, including a business license increase, would be subject to the voter-approval requirements of Proposition 218.”

Bob Simmons, the only councilmember in opposition of the proposition, said, “It is time for California to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana use is pervasive in our culture, in our society, throughout California, and opposing this proposition will not change this and supporting the position will not change this. Proposition 64 is not a perfect law, but it is time to change our approach to the treatment of marijuana and people who use marijuana, and this is the best course that is available to us.”



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