Marijuana sales could become legal in Sacramento County

A vote by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday afternoon could pave the way for the first legalized cannabis sales in unincorporated areas of Sacramento County.

Supervisors were to vote on a plan to put on the ballot in November an authorization that would allow marijuana companies to be taxed.

If the board of supervisors approves the ballot measure and Nov. 8 voters accept the taxes, supervisors are expected to hold a second vote to approve a regulatory framework to allow the legal sale of cannabis.

The city of Sacramento has allowed legalized cannabis sales since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal statewide in 2018.

But the Board of Supervisors did not agree to allow sales in unincorporated parts of the county after statewide votes approved the sale of recreational marijuana.

The ordinance that will be passed by supervisors estimates the county would collect between $5.8 million and $8.8 million in taxes annually from legalized cannabis sales.

However, there is already controversy over where taxpayers’ money is going.

The supervisors propose to put the money in the county’s general fund. A coalition of youth and civil rights organizations want the money to go towards efforts to stop minors from smoking marijuana.

Some of these organizations are expected to testify at the Tuesday afternoon supervisory board meeting.

The same groups have lobbied Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other city council members to allocate some of the more than $20 million the city collects from taxes on cannabis businesses to youth education programs and other efforts that discourage marijuana use.

The effort seems to be working.

A spokesperson for Mayor Steinberg said Tuesday that the mayor will propose at the July 19 council meeting that the council approve a ballot measure for next November that would direct 40% of marijuana tax money to the youth programs.

This story was originally published July 12, 2022 12:29 p.m.

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Randy Diamond is a business reporter for The Sacramento Bee.

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