Marijuana measures approved for November ballot

By Deb Murphy

After some wordsmithing and extensive discussion, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors added three measures to the November 8 ballot to determine voters’ mindset on medical and recreational marijuana businesses and local taxes on those businesses.

The latter will be dependent on the passage of Prop. 64 legalizing recreational marijuana and on the outcome of the two advisory measures.

The wording on the actual advisory measures is a little confusing: “Should the County of Inyo adopt land-use regulations on commercial cannabis businesses within the County…..” However, the explanation is clear: a “yes shall be counted in favor of the County developing laws authorizing commercial medical” (or recreational) “cannabis businesses.

The taxation measure is crystal clear: If approved, the county will levy a 5-percent tax on the gross receipts from cultivation, dispensaries and all other commercial businesses. The tax will be in place January 1, 2017 with the potential of 2.5-percent incremental increases as of July 1, 2020. Those increases can be imposed once every fiscal year with a cap of 12.5-percent.

One of the issues brought up at last week’s workshop was the danger of black market pot sales if local taxes were set too high. The legislation passed in preparation of Prop. 64 already imposes a 15-percent tax on commercial operations. County Counsel Rudolph Marshall explained that the gross receipt tax rate could be lowered to discourage an influx of black market product.

The taxation resolution also sets minimum taxes on cultivation based on the size of the operation: 2,500-square foot sites will pay a minimum of $1,250 in taxes; from 2,500 to 5,000 square ft., a $2,500 minimum and more than 5,000 square feet, a $5,000 minimum.

The minimums made the Supervisors nervous; Chair Jeff Griffiths initially felt the $1,250 was “too draconian” and could discourage small cottage industries.

However County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio explained that the resolution was modeled on Mendicino County’s ordinance with a focus on protecting smaller operations. And, Marshall assured the Supervisors that details of the taxation ordinance could be changed at a later date if the minimums proved to be onerous.


7 Responses to Marijuana measures approved for November ballot

  1. Low Inyo August 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Trouble….my new “own stance” on marijuana legalization is if anyone wants to go through their life all high and dumb,playing window-nintendo,so be it….their choice…. but please just don’t do it while driving a vehicle and come crashing into me on the highway….and if you do,I hope they have a little extra money left after their last pot purchase to be able to have auto insurance….the more people in my town that smoke pot the more work I have to do that they don’t want to do…I’m voting against legalization,but if it passes,who cares ?… be it.

    • Trouble August 16, 2016 at 7:01 am #

      You just lost my vote Low Inyo

    • T-Bone August 17, 2016 at 10:44 am #

      So Low, do you feel equally indignant about drunk drivers, Oxycontin drivers, sleepy drivers, old drivers with poor eyesight, texting drivers, chatting-on-the-phone drivers, and otherwise bad drivers? You’ll never be totally safe on the roads, so get over it, drive defensively, and stop whining. Prohibition is not protecting you on the road, Mr. Inyo.

  2. Low Inyo August 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    Badfinger……if that racist clown gets elected….which isn’t going to happen…..but if it did,I’d want to stay high too…. every minute of everyday just to get through his 4 years….

    • Trouble August 15, 2016 at 10:30 am #

      I’m writing you in Low Inyo?

  3. Badfinger009 August 13, 2016 at 6:57 am #

    Whoohoo my can’t wait to Vote Yes for “Legalization” and Donald Trump”

  4. Trouble August 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    How can you have a vote on a measure that hasn’t even passed yet?


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