Tears from concerned parents flowed at a city council meeting in Chula Vista Tuesday where a tax measure that might pave the way for legal pot shops was approved.
In a 4 to 1 decision, with Councilman John McCann voting no, councilmembers agreed to put a marijuana tax measure on the November ballot.
Mayor Mary Casillas-Salas is hoping legalized shops will help limit the illegal ones on Third Avenue they're having a tough time closing.
“It’s really important for the City of Chula Vista to control our own destiny,” said Mayor Salas. “We were facing an initiative that was supported by outside forces that would have put something on the ballot that would have most likely passed… We’d have the problems of the dispensaries without the revenues coming in to balance out the problems that come with that.”
City leaders are estimating $6 million in revenue per year from taxing legalized pot shops.
They say that money will be used for health and safety laws governing cannabis businesses and provide youth intervention education.
“The city will collect tax money,” Janet Asaro said. “But it's the families who will pay the price.”
America is facing epidemics right now, but we’re focused on the wrong things and the epidemic is not marijuana,” said Molly Jones.
If the tax passes, it would allow the city to implement a plan already approved in March to roll out a limited number of pot shops. It would also allow cultivation as well as delivery services.
If voters approve the sales tax initiative tied to cannabis, the licensing process could open in April 2019.
If it’s voted dow, then there won't be a legal cannabis industry in Chula Vista.