Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that San Ramon Valley residents get to vote on the East Bay Regional Park District's Measure FF, a ballot measure aimed at extending an existing parcel tax. The measure only applies to western parts of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and does not include the San Ramon Valley. DanvilleSanRamon.com regrets the error.
San Ramon Valley voters have a plethora of decisions to make in the upcoming Nov. 6, election, one of which is a local ballot measure to determine if Contra Costa County should levy a new local marijuana tax on the cultivation and sale of the substance.
Contra Costa County voters will be asked if they want to install a cannabis tax, for the sale and growth of recently legalized marijuana, with regional Measure R.
Measure R requires a simple majority to go into effect.
Since voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act -- Proposition 19 -- in 2016, the state has seen a significant boost in its tax revenue as a result. Contra Costa county voters will get the opportunity to decide if they would like their county to implement its own taxes on the substance in November, with the introduction of local Measure R.
Placed on the ballot by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Measure R proposes a cannabis tax in the county’s unincorporated area at annual rates of $7 per canopy square foot for cultivation and 4% tax of gross receipts for all other cannabis businesses including retailers.
A staff report county administrator David Twa, acknowledged that the total figure of tax revenue is difficult to estimate -- due to the cannabis industry previously being an illegal market -- but staff estimate the tax would raise between $1.7 to $4.4 million in revenue annually.
Potential revenue raised from Measure R would be added to the county’s general fund and go towards supporting regular expenses such as health services and environmental protection, according to county staff. If approved the tax will be levied indefinitely, only being removed if repealed by either the county voters or Board of Supervisors.
For some perspective, last week the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration revealed that from April 1, through June 30, state tax revenue from the cannabis industry totaled $74,240,257. That number is the state total and does not include the millions collected by local jurisdictions throughout California.
California’s excise tax on cannabis generated $43,490,668, the cultivation tax generated $4,482,119, and the sales tax generated $26,267,470 in revenue. This is an increase from the first quarter of 2018 which saw $60.9 million in tax revenue.
Medicinal cannabis is exempt from sales tax if the purchaser holds a valid medical marijuana identification card.
The East Bay Regional Park District does have Measure FF on the ballot to extend a parcel tax for an additional 20 years, but it only affects communities in the western sections of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Communities to be affected include the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Alameda, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville and Piedmont. It is not applicable to San Ramon Valley voters.