The Grover Beach City Council has indicated it will ask voters to decide in November if a tax on medical and recreational marijuana is the right thing to do.
Grover Beach is following in the footsteps of Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and other California cities in taxing, or seeking to tax, the legal cultivation, sale and use of medical and possibly recreational marijuana within city limits.
The proposed Grover Beach ballot measure would levy a five percent tax on medical marijuana sales in the city, and ten percent on recreational marijuana sales should the statewide Proposition 64, allowing recreational marijuana cultivation and use, be passed by California voters in November.
Grover Beach would also seek to tax marijuana cultivation in the city.
“I don’t want everyone to think this is just a huge money grab”, said Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals Monday night, “this is really about trying to strike a balance between making sure we are paying to have this regulated to make sure our community is safe and accounted for, and sure it would be nice to have some additional funds that would go to pay for streets and some other things.”
The City Council heard from those in the medical marijuana industry that support a city tax ordinance but also caution about revenue potential for the city.
“Prices have been plummeting over the last five years”, one speaker told the Council, “five years ago I was getting $3,500 a pound, today I’m getting about $2,300 a pound.”
Grover Beach does not currently allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city but the proposed ballot measure could open the door to dispensaries if passed by voters.
“Grover Beach is a small town, there’s only a certain number of dispensaries you guys can have in this town for it to work”, another speaker said, “however there is a lot of potential to this city in terms of exportation, and if you include into your ordinance something that allows responsible players to become a licensed distribution company as well as a licensed transportation company.”
The Grover Beach City Council has until August 12 to approve the proposed marijuana tax ballot measure in order for it to make it onto the November ballot.