SF Board of Sups looks at taxing marijuana

December 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It's an idea some would call "only in San Francisco" -- a proposal to tax marijuana, and not medicinal marijuana. ABC7 takes a closer look at the goals of a task force being proposed by the Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos was greeted like a hero at Thursday's Harvey Milk Democratic Club's town hall meeting. The event's topic was marijuana and Campos just introduced legislation to create a task force to look at marijuana regulations.

Katherine Smith has been smoking marijuana for 30 years and running a medical marijuana dispensary for six. She says it's time for recreational users to be taxed and for the drug to be regulated.

"Most of the recreational users I have are willing to pay their tax. I think everyone's tired of running from the government," said Smith.

"The taxation of non-medical cannabis is something people have talked about," said Campos.

Campos says the task force would look at a number of different issues and report back to the Board of Supervisors over the course of three years. There is one group -- San Francisco S.O.S. -- that hopes the task force would look at how to keep it from becoming too available.

"What I'm worried about whether or not the number of dispensaries is going to grow close to schools, close to parks, whether or not it is going to be easier to get medical marijuana even if don't have condition," said Wade Randlett from San Francisco S.O.S.

"I am someone who is very committed to making sure this industry is responsible," says Campos.

Regulation could have a negative impact of some marijuana users. For instance, if they tax the growers, they say they might have to pass that cost onto the medical marijuana users. Still, in general, there is a lot of support for regulation.

"In order for it to be legal and out in the sunshine, there has to be regulation," said Smith.

But the debate over what that regulation will look like, is just getting started.


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