Valley News -

Multiple local marijuana tax measures on the ballot in Riverside County


Last updated 11/4/2018 at 11:32am

RIVERSIDE - Voters in cities throughout Riverside County will cast ballots Tuesday on a bevy of commercial marijuana licensing and tax proposals, two of which are opposed by elected officials in the municipalities.

Eight cannabis-related proposals are in play, including two stemming from petition drives.

In Hemet, Measure Y would undo the city's prohibition of commercial marijuana cultivation. The proposal was placed on the ballot after a successful signature-gathering campaign, and it stipulates that indoor cannabis manufacturing businesses could be established without a discretionary permit from the city -- even though they would have to procure a state permit and be vetted by the city clerk's office.

The petitioners are proposing a $10 per square foot tax on businesses, none of which would be permitted to sell and market cannabis products to the general public, and all of which would be required to operate in the city's manufacturing district, according to the measure.

Leading opponents of cannabis grow, including four-fifths of the Hemet City Council, placed a competing measure, Z, on the ballot in response to Measure Y. Under Z, no indoor or outdoor cannabis manufacturing facilities would be allowed in Hemet until at least Jan. 1, 2021, and if permitted, businesses would face $30 per square foot in fees and a 25 percent levy on gross receipts. Further, if dispensaries were to be legalized, they would be assessed a 15 percent tax on gross receipts.

In Perris, another city where cannabis businesses are permitted, Measure G would establish a 10 percent straight tax on entities engaged in commercial marijuana manufacturing and distribution, generating an estimated $2.3 million annually, according to the proposal.

In Banning, voters will decide whether to affirm a pair of companion measures, N and O, that establish tax guidelines for indoor commercial marijuana cultivators, as well as retailers.

In Jurupa Valley, Measure L seeks to leapfrog over voter-approved Measure B from the June 5 primary election. The latter imposed a blanket ban on commercial cannabis activity citywide, but a petition drive put L on the general election ballot.

In Moreno Valley, where cannabis businesses are legal, voters will be asked to decide Measure M, which would impose a $15 per square foot tax on commercial cultivators.

In Palm Desert, where cannabis businesses are also legal, Measure Q would establish a maximum $20 per square foot tax on cultivators, a 3 percent tax on the gross receipts of manufacturers and a 15 percent tax on sales from mobile and storefront operations.


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