Local Governments in California Desperate to Embrace Cannabis in Search of Tax Revenue
After nearly four years since legalizing recreational cannabis in California, some local governments are expected to shift their views as they try to find tax revenue during the pandemic.
While the cannabis industry has not been embraced by around 70 percent of cities and counties since legalization, it seems some are looking past the regulatory issues and potential threat to public safety.
As insurmountable budget gaps result from the worst unemployment the U.S. has seen since the Great Depression, some believe cannabis could be the answer to decrease the lay-offs and lessen the services being cut.
At this point, several cities have started developing cannabis tax measures for the November ballot; voter approval is essential to add local taxes. Many operating in the industry expect this action to continue across numerous localities so long as there’s no federal bailout for the state and local governments.
“I think at the end of the day you’ll still have those ‘not in my backyard’ arguments,” said Tiffany Devitt, chief information officer for CannaCraft, one large-scale cannabis manufacturer operating out of Cali. “But, if a person can’t find a job, or their kids can’t find work, or their jurisdiction can’t raise enough funds to cover basic social services, then people adjust.”
One Bay Area city, San Bruno, banned cannabusinesses two years ago. However, last week, the city council members held a unanimous vote to fund a tax measure and public education campaign as they voiced their support to explore an ordinance that would permit a dispensary or delivery service to open sometime in 2021.
The city officials’ projects state that an operational cannabis shop has the potential to lessen San Bruno’s projected $8.2 million deficit by approximately $300,000 in the upcoming fiscal year.
As the pandemic continues its impact on local California economies, many see the cannabis industry as a lifesaver. Now we just have to wait to see who will grab it.