Local voters in California approve three measures and defeat two, Long Beach medical marijuana tax passes easily
The following local measures were decided in California on April 8, 2014:
Proposition A: City of Long Beach Medical Marijuana Sales Tax (Los Angeles County) - Authorized a sales tax and cultivation tax on medical marijuana
Measure UUT: City of Sierra Madre Utilities Tax Question (Los Angeles County) - Sought to authorize a 10% utility tax but was defeated
Measure A: Novato-Pacheco Valle Community Facilities District Bond Issue and Parcel Tax (Marin County) - Authorized a $600,000 bond issue and a parcel tax amounting to $6.58 per month for condo/townhouse owners, $20.67 per month for single family homeowners and $325.5 per month for commercial building owners
Measure A: Bodega Bay Fire Protection District Parcel Tax (Sonoma County) - Sought to authorize a $50 parcel tax but was defeated
Long Beach voters approve medical marijuana measure in a bid to motivate the city council to re-legalize dispensaries:
Proposition A was put on the ballot by the city council in conjunction with a plan to re-legalize the retail sale of medical marijuana in the city of Long Beach after essentially banning it through repealing an ordinance in 2010. This measure, which drove a wedge of contention between medical marijuana supporters, was approved by 74 percent of city voters and authorized the city to impose a sales tax starting at 6%, with a maximum rate of 10%, on all medical marijuana sales. It also authorized an annual tax of at least $15 - with a potential maximum of $50 - per square foot for pot plant cultivation spaces in marijuana dispensaries.
The tax measure received a mix of support and opposition from activists in favor of legal medical cannabis. Some said the tax would provide the motivation of additional city revenue to the city council to go through with its announced plan to bring the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives back to the city. Supporters also argued that Proposition A would provide important revenue for Long Beach. Others said the measure was a money-grabbing scheme that overtaxes medical marijuana users and takes advantage of patients.
The most outspoken support group was found in the Long Beach Collective Association (LBCA), whose attorney wrote the official arguments in favor of Prop. A. LBCA Boardmember Adam Hijazi said, “The majority of the people we’ve talked to do not seem to have a problem with the [proposed] tax. And if it’s going to help public funding—whether it’s police, fire, parks, potholes, whatever it is—I think everybody is kind of okay with it.”
Some, however, had even stronger feelings of opposition towards the tax. Seventh District council candidate and dispensary manager Larry King wrote, “This new measure was hastily pushed through Council to create an issue for this election and is ill conceived. No other prescribed medicine is taxed in California. And no other business in Long Beach has even been taxed on both gross sales and square footage combined. […] A tax on marijuana would be acceptable for recreational purposes, just like alcohol. But this is MEDICINE, which is not taxed in California.”