Southern California Cities Considering Cannabis as Pandemic Continues

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With the deadline for placing local measures on the Nov. 3rd ballot just on the horizon, some cities are looking into licensing and taxing cannabis businesses. The idea behind this that the revenue from these cannabusinesses could offset the revenue losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some cities already permit cannabis business operators. However, they’re still considering permits regarding other segments of the industry to expand their tax base. The right moves could create new jobs within these cities while providing cannabis access to locals.

Jackie McGowan, the founder of Green Street Consulting, a canna-consulting business that tracks the industry throughout the state, said, “We are seeing a significant uptick in the number of cash-strapped jurisdictions in Southern California begin to investigate regulating cannabis. Massive budget deficits have forced many to consider exploring every possible avenue available to them to collect revenue.”

But the cities and counties are not the only entities that stand to benefit from putting measures on the Nov. 3 ballot. Cannabis business operators interested in expanding into these regions could have access to an untapped market. This is progress that’s occurring almost four years after recreational cannabis was legalized in the state.

Since cities have had the authority to regulate or ban the cannabis industry in their localities, three-quarters of California’s municipalities banned cannabis businesses. The pandemic, while damaging to the national economy, could change how these communities view cannabis operations.

At this point, no other city in Orange County besides Santa Ana permits cannabis retail with cultivation, manufacturing, and other parts of this industry. And while the city faces around a $19 million deficit resulting from the pandemic, the  $11 million in 2020-21’s expected cannabis taxes will offset this deficit.

Costa Mesa allows some cannabusinesses. But this ballot will ask voters if they’d like to allow and tax retail operations. Stanton approved cannabis taxes last year, and the Mayor, David Shawver, claims to expect most of their cannabis tax revenues to support public safety.

As more South Cali localities consider cannabis a potential revenue opportunity, the possibility that cannabis retail, cultivation, and other segments of this budding industry will contribute to these cities’ finances grows.

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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