Mendocino, Lake, Cloverdale and Point Arena Among Those Trying to Tax Marijuana This Year

More than three dozen local governments are looking to take advantage of what could end up becoming a $6.5 billion marijuana industry by 2020. Cities and counties like Mendocino, Lake, Cloverdale and Point Arena all have cannabis taxes on the Nov. 8 ballot. Sonoma County and Santa Rosa could follow suit next year.

In Mendocino, it’s measures AF and AI. The first would impose moderate regulations on the industry with a 2.5 percent annual tax on gross receipts. AI calls for a 2.5 percent to 10 percent tax on gross receipts for cultivators plus a flat rate of $2,500 per year for other businesses.

In Lake County, voters could opt for a commercial cannabis tax ranging from $1 to $3 per square foot of cultivation. Point Arena could approve a tax of up to 3 percent of gross medical sales and 7 percent of recreational gross sales. Cloverdale’s Measure P would charge all cannabis businesses up to 10 percent of gross receipts, resulting in $500,000 from medical marijuana off the bat and far more if Proposition 64 is approved.

“We’re just getting ahead of the curve, I hope,” said Cloverdale Mayor Mary Ann Brigham, who described legalization as “a locomotive coming down the tracks at you.”

Proposition 64 itself includes a 15 percent sales tax on cannabis consumers and a cultivation tax according to weight of flowers and leaves. It also allows local governments to levy their own taxes, however. And they don't appear to be wasting any time.