PACE Students look at unique opportunity behind marijuana sales taxes

Thursday, July 27, 2017

SF State study recommends ways new revenue could fund community programs

Local governments in California are about to be flush with cash from a potentially lucrative source: pot sales. They will also be faced with how to best use that money.

State voters last year approved Proposition 64, which will decriminalize recreational use, establish a state system for taxing marijuana businesses and allow for local regulation and taxation of pot sales. It’s expected to provide hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue to cities and counties throughout the state.

“Every local government is looking at this as a potential funding stream,” said Sheldon Gen, an associate professor at San Francisco State University’s School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. “This is such a rare opportunity to have a new source of revenue.”

Four of Gen’s students spent the spring semester looking at how cities and counties responded to the influx of revenue after medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 1996. Jordan Harrison, Kevin Miller, Adam Patterson and Evan Xu ― all of whom are in the Master of Public Administration Program ― read through news articles, regulations, budgets, legislation, information from other states and minutes of local policymaking bodies.

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