Oakland First City in Nation to Pass Pot Tax

Voters back levy on medical marijuana that could raise $1M
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 22, 2009 7:17 AM CDT
A binder showcasing high-grade marijuana buds and other cannabis are displayed at the Coffeeshop Blue Sky dispensary, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008, in Oakland, Calif.    (AP Photo/Dino Vournas)
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(Newser) – In a landslide, Oakland voters yesterday made their city the nation's first to levy a special tax on medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reports. By an 80% margin, voters backed a tax of $18 on every $1,000 in pot sales, a move that may catch on in other cities. Currently, Oakland businesses pay $1.20 on every $1,000 in sales.

A city councilwoman says the move could bring in $1 million in revenue, though the city administrator puts the figure at $300,000. "Oakland will show that this can work if it's done right," says a seller. "There will be some cash-strapped areas that will use this to balance their budgets."