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Supervisors to hold hearing on proposed cannabis tax for unincorporated area
Cannabis tax indoor
The county intends to have voters decide in November if a tax should be placed on cannabis business activities in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County in lieu of other fees charged.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27 regarding a proposed ballot measure on Nov. 5 that would tax cannabis sales within the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. 

The county is proposing an 8 percent tax on retail cannabis shops in the county’s unincorporated areas. If approved the tax would replace the county’s fees associated with development agreements that many retailers feel are excessive.

The county proposes an 8 percent tax on retail sales of cannabis products and initially a 2.5 percent rate on cultivation, nursery, distribution, manufacturing and testing activities. Supervisors would have the ability to increase or decrease the tax from year to year as long as increases don’t exceed a half percent in any single calendar year.

If approved by the voters, the tax would not apply to cannabis activity in cities which have allowed sales.

Developer agreements with cannabis businesses generate about $3 million which is spent on program oversight and enforcement activities of illegal cannabis activities. 

If the tax measure is approved, the initial tax rate is estimated to generate $1.7 million or more in revenue annually for unrestricted general purposes, including strengthening neighborhood safety, community enhancement, eliminating illegal grows, as well as drug prevention and treatment.

The public hearing will be held inside the board chambers at 1010 10th Street, Modesto.

In November 2016 California voters approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act which made it legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use, with the sales and taxation of commercial marijuana. The county set a limit of seven retail permits.