Measure B would tax pot if voters pass Prop 19

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AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Lanette Davies, co-owner of CANNA CARE, a medical marijuana shop, looks at some young marijuana plants at their facility in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. Earlier in the day Davies and medical marijuana rights advocates held a news conference to discuss their opposition to Proposition 19, the November ballot initiative that would legalize the drug for recreational use claiming the measure contains inadequate protections for medical marijuana patients.

If voters approve Proposition 19, it’ll be legal for California adults to possess and use marijuana without a prescription. Local governments will also be able to tax it. Some California cities are planning to move quickly if pot is legalized.

Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley are among the cities asking voters to approve some form of tax on cannabis. And they’re asking on the same ballot as Proposition 19.

"We can’t control statewide what the result will be, but we can control how we handle that result," says Lori Ann Farrell, the director of finance for the City of Long Beach.

Long Beach voters will decide on Measure B. It calls for a 15 percent tax on businesses that will sell recreational marijuana – if Prop 19 passes.

Farrell says Measure B could help Long Beach avoid some tough choices. "Will we have to shut our libraries, or our parks and recreations facilities down? Will we have to move public safety resources from what they’re doing now to regulating these businesses because we didn’t tax at a rate that we thought was appropriate?"

Farrell says regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is already costing Long Beach plenty, and the city, like others, is facing high deficits. She’s not taking a position on Prop 19, but she’s all for Measure B.

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