In the June election, voters in the city of Sacramento will be asked to tax marijuana cultivation and manufacturing. The tax revenues could only be spent on children's programs.
Currently there is a four percent tax on marijuana dispensaries. If approved, a separate 5-percent tax on cultivation and manufacturing would be assessed once those activities are legalized in the city.
Councilman Jay Schenirer says he expects that to be about $5 million. $2.975 million would be available every year for children's programs run by non-profit organizations, and $1.275 million could be used to expand existing city programs. According to Schenirer, this dedicated funding stream is necessary because children's programs often get shortchanged at budget time.
"Kids don't have unions. They don't make campaign contributions. I think their voices are not heard quite as much as others," he said.
The council voted 5-to-3 to approve putting the measure on the June ballot. Larry Carr was one of the council members who voted against the idea. According to him, it takes budget control out of the council's hands.
"If there's a way to support an initiative that didn't fence the money, I would definitely be in support of the council establishing a fund," Carr said.
If voters approve the new pot tax in June, the city manager would administer the children's fund at the direction of the city council.