Pedro Ribeiro Simões

L.A. County Likely Abandoning Cannabis Tax to Fund Homeless Services

Los Angeles County’s “marijuana tax” to fund programs aimed at providing homeless services is likely going to be scrapped by the Board of Supervisors over fears that voters would not pass the measure in November, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the proposal, introduced a measure last Friday to pull the measure from the ballot due to “a good deal of ambivalence” surrounding the plan. She suggested that substance abuse treatment providers were not enthusiastic about legalizing cannabis, which might make it difficult to garner the two-thirds majority support needed to pass a ballot initiative.

The board approved the tax in a 3-2 vote earlier this month, which would have added a 10 percent tax to cannabis sales, raising an estimated $130 million a year for homeless housing and health services. Now it appears that no county tax measure to fund homeless programs will be put to voters.

Ariel Clarke, chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, said any talk about potential cannabis taxes on revenues are “premature” because of the split in county and state law — not to mention the legalization legislation has not yet been voted on or passed.

“…Today, cannabis businesses are banned in L.A. County and illegal in the City of L.A.,” Clarke said in a statement. “We need fair local licensing laws that align with state law. Until then, proposals like these are wishful thinking.”

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