Grover Beach marijuana tax goes on the ballot
August 2, 2016
The Grover Beach City Council has placed a marijuana tax measure on the November ballot. If two thirds of voters support the initiative, it will be San Luis Obispo County’s first municipal tax on marijuana.
Grover Beach Council members gave final approval for the ballot measure on Monday. The initiative calls for taxes on medical marijuana sales and marijuana cultivation. Additionally, it proposes a tax on recreational marijuana sales, which is subject to the fate of a statewide legalization initiative that is also on the November ballot.
The city initiative calls for a 5 percent tax on medical marijuana sales based on gross receipts. Marijuana cultivation would be taxed based on on square footage licensed by the city. The ballot measure would place a $25 a square foot tax on the first 5,000 feet of cultivation space and a $10 a square foot tax on additional cultivation space.
If the state initiative passes, there will be a 15 percent statewide tax on the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The Grover Beach measure proposes an additional 10 percent tax, which would create a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales in Grover Beach.
Grover Beach officials have touted the marijuana initiative as a way for the city to raise money. Officials estimate the marijuana tax could generate between $1 million and $2 million a year.
The city currently has ordinances in place that prohibit marijuana cultivation and brick and mortar dispensaries. However, the city council recently directed staff to plan comprehensive medical marijuana regulations, which would allow for the sale, transportation and cultivation of cannabis.
Several medical marijuana businesses have already expressed interest in opening operations in Grover Beach.
Grover Beach officials are attempting to woo marijuana businesses at a time when the majority of county supervisors are trying to crack down on them. A week ago, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to pursue an urgency ordinance that would enact a moratorium on new marijuana grows.
The vote came in response to marijuana growers and armed guards flooding into California Valley on the eastern edge of the county. However, Supervisor Adam Hill, Grover Beach’s representative on the county board, opposed the moratorium and called for SLO County to capitalize on the expanding marijuana industry.