County predicts millions from Measure C

Nearly four months after recreational marijuana sales became legal in California, voters in unincorporated San Benito County will vote June 5 whether to adopt Measure C, an ordinance to tax cannabis producers.

Before the voters have the opportunity to test the merits of taxing the expansion of the cannabis industry into rural San Benito County, a burgeoning industry already ramping up in Hollister.

In the fertile soils of San Benito County, cannabis could be a gold mine for local governments.

Measure C will impose a tax on cannabis business in the county based on square footage of the operation, or, gross receipts. The rates will range from $3 – $17 per square feet for cannabis cultivators. Gross sales for distributors will range from .5 to 4 percent, for manufacturers 2.5 to 4 percent, for retailers .5 to 8 percent, and 2.5 to 5 percent on microbusinesses, a special license that allows for every aspect of cannabis operation.

The passage of Measure C will not legalize recreational cannabis sales, cultivation, and manufacturing in the county. Should the measure pass, the county will have a tax structure in place before supervisors decide whether to approve sales or cultivation of recreational cannabis in rural San Benito County.

As of today, there are no medical or recreational cannabis retail or cultivation operations allowed in unincorporated San Benito County.

San Benito County Sheriff’s Department Sheriff Darren Thompson was asked by the county to estimate how much tax revenue could be generated and his department estimated that $3.3 million to $3.8 million from 25 to 30 acres of cannabis crops was possible, based on the lowest tax rate.

The estimate was based on the previous cannabis grows that occurred in the county before a moratorium put an end to what was largely informal, ungovernable, or illegal production.

“We are more interested in the manner in which the marijuana industry will operate, then in the manner in which they are taxed,” Sheriff Thompson said. “The 25-30 acre estimate is a prediction of potential grows sites, based on the amount of interest shown by the industry to date. It’s not a scientific estimate, as there is no factual way to determine who or how many will ultimately choose to pursue that business in San Benito.”

Measure C proponent Victor Gomez, a former mayor, believes the county’s estimate is low, and that the tax per square foot for cultivators will be close to $7 per square foot.

“If you can get $22,000 per acre or about $160,000 per we could bring in between $5 and up to $20 million a year,” Gomez said.

Opponents of Measure C are not confident that the tax revenue will outweigh the adverse effects of expanding the cannabis industry in San Benito County.

“That is an extremely difficult question and really part of the problem with not having a clear and defined regulatory structure in place which spells out what exactly the ordinance will allow and how they will be required to operate,” No on Measure C leader Steve Becerra said.

In the City Hollister, several cannabis producers are licensed, and are required to pay an assortment of fees and taxes. Owners pay a $7,482 application fee, a $1,498 cannabis conditional use permit, $1,498 for a site and architectural review, a yearly $5,992 permit renewal fee, and 5 percent each of sales for manufacturing, testing, distribution and dispensing. None of the fees or taxes was voted on by the voters of Hollister.

1 COMMENT

  1. MEASURE C HAS HIDDEN INGREDIENTS UNDER ITS LABEL.

    Measure C’s primary goal seems to be to trick voters in San Benito County into voting to overturn the County Ban on Commercial Marijuana Cultivation next to Rural Homes and Neighborhoods – without telling you that is what you would be voting for!

    Deceptive Measure C was submitted without a CON argument, but it SHOULD have told you that Measure C will have Majorly Negative Impacts on:
    – Public Safety, Environment, Air Quality, Property Values, Water Supply, Neighborhood Safety and Quality of Life.
    – It is being funded by OUT OF THE AREA marijuana trade groups and growers

    MEASURE C IS A SNEAKY CON that aims to pull the wool over the eyes of County residents, and it has a secret punchline:
    “You thought you were voting for a tax? Well you actually just voted to allow commercial marijuana farms next to your home.” It’s not funny.

    Measure C claims to provide funds for public safety, BUT the truth is that it will CREATE massive THREATS to Public Safety! Don’t be Fooled, Vote NO on Measure C!

    Last FALL, a BAN was passed that FINALLY shut down commercial marijuana farms across the County. These grows were neighborhood nuisances, caused major public safety impacts, and were associated with other criminal activity in the area.

    If Measure C passes, Supervisors say that residents are fine with allowing commercial marijuana cultivation just 150 feet from their homes. In the Freelance, Mark Medina is quoted in the Freelance as saying: “If we put this on the June ballot, we will have buy-in from our residents…” They are using this measure to get your buy-in to open back up the County to major commercial marijuana grows.

    Do we really want to go from being a Lettuce Bowl to being a stench-filled Marijuana Bowl? Is this what we want for San Benito County??? In Greenfield, people are now being driven out of their homes they have been in for 20+ years by the overwhelming stench from marijuana cultivation facilities with filtration systems similar to those proposed by our Supervisors. http://www.ksbw.com/article/marijuana-farms-stinking-up-greenfield/20109057

    MEASURE C DOESN’T ADD UP
    – Other Counties have found that Big Marijuana doesn’t live up to its promises.
    – The costs have far outpaced marijuana industry lobbyists’ promises of revenue, and the base tax rate proposed in Measure C is even LOWER than neighboring Counties!
    – There is an over-abundance of Commercial Marijuana already being produced in California and prices have tumbled over the past year, and now barely even cover their cost of production.
    – How will this already oversaturated market benefit San Benito County? The Answer is: IT WON’T.

    From one neighbor to another, please:
    – Protect our Property Values & Quality of Life
    – Keep our Community & Neighborhoods Safe
    – Keep our, environment Environment and Air Clean!

    And VOTE NO ON MEASURE C! Please Also Tell All Your Friends to VOTE NO ON MEASURE C!

    For more info on why you should VOTE NO ON C, visit http://www.facebook.com/drugfreesbc or http://www.gofundme.com/vote-no-on-c

    Please note: Voting NO ON C will not impact personal access to marijuana or Prop 64. This is strictly about banning commercial marijuana cultivation in the County, next to our homes.

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