The Lemon Grove City Council unanimously agreed last week to ask voters to allow the city to tax a percentage of the gross sales receipts from retail medical marijuana dispensaries.
The City Council would have the authority to increase or decrease the tax rate up to 8 percent.
Lemon Grove estimates that it could receive between $280,000 and $420,000 annually from two cannabis stores. The measure will also include industrial hemp and hemp products. The measure will need a simple majority of 50 percent, plus one, to pass.
Lemon Grove currently has one legal dispensary serving customers, The Boulevard Dispensary on Federal Boulevard, but at least three others should be opening soon.
City Manager Lydia Romero said an independent California cannabis tax expert provided an analysis of its business tax and said that with four operational dispensaries, the city could bring in $560,000 at 4 percent and $1.12 million at 8 percent.
If voters pass the measure, the city would start collecting money from any dispensary in the city effective January 1, 2021.
Although the city currently only has legalized the retail sales of medical marijuana, the Nov. 3 ballot measure also will include the option to tax at lower rates commercial cultivation (up to 4 percent), laboratory testing (up to 2 percent), distribution (up to 3 percent) and manufacturing (up to 4 percent), should those become legalized at a later date.
At the meeting, the council also said it will fast-track allowing the sale of recreational cannabis in Lemon Grove, which it can do by approving it through a land-use ordinance.
“We have had several meetings (about) recreational versus medicinal and we’re headed in that (recreational use) direction,” said City Councilman David Arambula. “I get it. Some like it, some don’t,