Cannabis Tax Survey and Community Meeting
Meeting will provide a summary of County and City of Santa Rosa cannabis tax ordinances, and the opportunity for community feedback
The County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa will be holding a community meeting on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017, to provide an overview of cannabis tax ordinances from both jurisdictions. The meeting will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Glaser Center, located at 547 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. The County and the City have been working over the past two years to developing ordinances and policies to create comprehensive regulatory schemes for the cannabis industry tailored to address local needs.
The community meeting will consist of brief presentations on the business tax ordinances being proposed by both the County and the City, which would provide additional resources to assist in implementing and enforcing the land use ordinances if placed on an upcoming ballot and approved by voters. Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions and get clarification on the draft ordinances.
All residents are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions on the recommended policies for the Board of Supervisors and Santa Rosa City Council to take under consideration. In addition to the Community Meeting, the County and City have also released a short survey to receive input and feedback on various issues and opportunities presented by the proposed cannabis taxes. To fill out the survey, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cannabistax. The survey will be open until Friday, February 24th, 2017.
Additional information on the County’s Ad Hoc, current laws and policies and the regulatory process can be found at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Cannabis/. Questions and comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information on the City’s Subcommittee can be found at www.srcity.org/Cannabis.
A: The tax would be paid by medical and non- medical cannabis businesses that operate in the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. The tax may apply to any operator in the supply chain (cultivators, nurseries, distributors, transporters, manufacturers, testing labs and dispensaries), but the County can choose which operator types to tax.
A: The cannabis business tax is a general tax, which means there are no specified expenditures. Instead, the County has the flexibility to allocate and adjust funding among essential services in order to address the needs of the community, such as:
• Code Enforcement
• Public Safety
• Roads Repair and Improvements
• Health and Human Services
• Environmental Protection and Clean Up
A: The maximum taxation rate for each operator is up to 10% of gross receipts, while the Board can adopt lower tax rates and choose to only tax certain operators. For cultivation, the Board also has the authority to tax based on the size of the cultivation area (square footage) allowed under the applicable permit. Adjustments to the assessed square footage tax can be made for smaller cultivation areas or crop loss. The Board of Supervisors has chosen to adopt much lower starting tax rates to incentivize compliance and offset startup costs.
A: The County has been permitting dispensaries in the unincorporated areas for about 10 years. In December 2016, the Board of Supervisors passed a series of laws to permit and regulate nearly all medical cannabis businesses allowed under the State’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
Permits will not become available until this Cannabis Business Tax passes or another funding source
is secured. The County does not have any laws regarding nonmedical cannabis businesses and thus they are not currently allowed.
A: A simple majority of “Yes” votes.
A: The size of the medical cannabis industry and rates of compliance are difficult to estimate. Based on government and industry surveys and a moderate rate of compliance, the County estimates that the starting rates will generate approximately $6.3 million annually. All revenue will stay local.
A: Nearly 50 cities and counties throughout the State have voter-approved tax ordinances that vary by rate and structure. Measure A’s tax rates are average when compared to other jurisdictions, as 10% on gross receipts of any operator in the supply chain is one
of the more typical tax rates and structures.While maximum square footage rates for cultivation are on the higher end, the starting rates, especially for small businesses, are among the lowest.