So, what does it say when 77% of voters are OK with a potential 10% tax on retail cannabis? It tells us exactly what the business owners have been saying all along, "Make us legit! Regulate us and tax us, treat us like any other normal business." and it would appear that consumers are feeling the same way.
This comes as welcomed news as some of the other cannabis regulation negotiations on the county level have not been met with such unanimity. I will admit that my eyebrows raised a little when I saw 77% voter approval. SLO County voters are not known for passing tax measures so readily. "As long as the tax is fair and the money is spent responsibly, I don't have a problem with it. We just want to get on with doing business.", is the feedback from one hopeful dispensary owner. Entrepreneurs here in SLO County do like to give their fair share in taxs, so let's hope that the revenue generated for the county is used efficiently and with continued stakeholder input.
Key points to consider:
- Tax rate will be flexible per license type
- BOS will vote annually to maintain or increase the tax rate based upon revenue vs. expenses
- Initial tax rate is competitive with other counties and municipalities
- The key to generating revenue now is to get cannabis businesses through the local and state licensing process so they can operate legally within the regulated marketplace.
Little known fact, back in November of 2017 the SLO County Tax Controller, Jim Erb and staff reached out to cannabis industry stakeholders and actually asked them how they'd like to be taxed. So, what you see in the measure is direct feedback from the local industry participants with a little bit of Supervisor fairy dust sprinkled on top. (4% instead of 3%).