Ballotpedia.com maintains a database of local ballot measures extending back to the beginning of the century. According to the website, there have been 164 cannabis-related local ballot measures in California since 2000. Amazingly, 77 of them—or 47 percent—appeared this year, a remarkable spike in number.
Eighteen of these measures have already gone to a vote earlier this year, so even before next month’s deluge of ballot measures, there have already been some significant decisions made by Californians across the state. Among the notable results thus far in 2018, in June voters in the city of Pasadena repealed the city’s ban on commercial marijuana businesses to operate in the city (61%), while also passing a tax (76%) on commercial marijuana businesses at rates of up to $10.00 per canopy square foot for cultivation, 6 percent of gross receipts for retail cannabis businesses, and 4 percent for all other cannabis businesses.
Elsewhere, Santa Barbara County voters approved an operations tax (76%), assessed on gross receipts, on a range of cannabis businesses, ranging from one percent for nurseries and distributors to six percent on retail operations. Voters in the city of Merced likewise passed a tax-related measure (77%) that will collect from commercial marijuana businesses $25 per square foot of cultivation space or 10 percent of gross receipts, whichever is greater. Measure F in Nevada City passed easily (84%), assessing taxes of $7.00 per canopy square foot for cultivation, eight percent of gross receipts for retail marijuana businesses, and six percent for all other marijuana businesses.
One of the few California cannabis ballot-measure failures to date in 2018 was in January, when voters in Compton rejected a pair of competing measures (76% and 77%) that would have allowed commercial operations in the city. Currently, marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis-related operations are illegal in Compton.
On balance this year the cannabis-related ballot drives in California have greatly increased the scope for the regulated industry. Will that trend extend into the November elections? Check back with us next month when we break down a variety of state and local elections and what they mean for the cannabis industry.