Capitol and California

By Peter Hecht
Published: Saturday, Sep. 25, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The state Board of Equalization, which last year famously declared that legalizing marijuana could generate $1.4 billion in new tax revenues for California state coffers, has an updated analysis out for Proposition 19, the November ballot measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

This time, the BOE says it is clueless on what legal weed can bring in.

Officials also said it may take them months – or years – to implement potentially needed systems for collecting new marijuana taxes that may result from Proposition 19.

In its previous analysis, the BOE heavily based its tax revenues estimate on a $50 per ounce pot tax proposed in state legislation by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. But no such tax is proposed in Proposition 19.

The initiative leaves it up to local governments to tax and regulate retail marijuana operations. Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has introduced a bill to regulate the sale of recreational pot, but he says he’ll likely pick up his push in the Legislature for a statewide pot tax if Proposition 19 is approved.

But until then, BOE officials say, don’t expect them to come up with a state pot revenues estimate.

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