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March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
Ballot and voting information for Los Angeles County.
This is an archive of a past election.

Impose Tax on Cannabis Related Businesses

Local
March 7, 2017Local Elections

City of Bellflower
Measure B - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

3,159 votes yes (73.84%)

1,119 votes no (26.16%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (13/13).

Shall the proposition imposing a tax on cannabis related businesses operating within the City of Bellflower be adopted?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Measure B is a proposition placed on the ballot by the Bellflower City Council. If approved by voters, Measure B would impose a new general tax upon cannabis businesses operating within the City of Bellflower including commercial cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and retail sales. All tax revenue derived from the tax would be deposited in the City’s General Fund.

Measure B itself does not authorize or permit cannabis business activities. Rather, beginning July 1, 2017, it authorizes imposition of an annual tax upon all commercial cannabis activities authorized by separate City Council action and state law.

For commercial cannabis cultivation (except for nurseries) the tax would be $15.00 per fiscal year, per square foot of authorized space. Commencing July 1, 2020, this tax will increase each fiscal year by $2.50 per square foot until it reaches a maximum annual tax rate of $25.00 per square foot. For nurseries, the tax would be $2.00 per square foot of authorized space. Beginning July 1, 2020, this tax will increase each fiscal year by $1.50 per square foot until it reaches a maximum annual tax rate of $5.00 per square foot.

Every person transporting cannabis or cannabis products from one permitted business location of one permittee to another must pay an annual tax of $1,500.00 per year.

Every person who operates a dispensary, manufacturing facility, testing laboratory, or distribution facility, or engages in delivery of cannabis in the City must pay an initial annual tax of 5% of the gross receipts per fiscal year. That rate would increase on July 1, 2020 (and for each fiscal year thereafter) by 2.5% until it reaches an annual maximum tax rate of 10%.

Beginning July 1, 2024, and continuing each July 1st thereafter, non-gross receipt based cannabis taxes (cultivation, nurseries, and transportation) would increase based upon the consumer price index.

There is no sunset clause on the taxes. All the taxes implemented by Measure B may be suspended or reduced by City Council action. Any other increase of the tax would require voter approval.

Measure B would impose a “general tax.” Therefore, all tax revenue would be available for use by the City to pay for general City operations and services. The City would not be legally bound in any way to use the tax monies for any special purpose or for any particular facilities or programs. Since this ballot measure proposes a “general tax” rather than a “special tax,” it requires approval by a simple majority of the City’s voters.

 

A “yes” vote on Measure B favors the Measure. A “no” vote on Measure B opposes the Measure.

— City Attorney for City of Bellflower

Arguments FOR

A YES vote on Measure B will make Bellflower a fiscally sound City at no cost to the residents of Bellflower. The anticipated revenues from Measure B will provide funding for needed law enforcement, including additional neighborhood patrols, parks and recreation and after-school programs. The estimated new funds of up to $3 million annually would allow the City to continue providing the existing law enforcement and economic development services provided by the existing utility user tax fees that are set to expire in April 2018. All programs funded by Measure B will be subject to citizen oversight and review, and the funds will be fully audited every year.

Measure B will be implemented through a tightly regulated Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process and regulatory ordinance. It is the City’s intent to allow only a very limited number of highly qualified operators to do business in the City. We recognize that cultivation and distribution of cannabis is not necessarily a preferred activity among all facets of the community. However, it is simply a matter of good government to regulate and tax a lucrative business that that has been overwhelmingly approved by voters throughout the State and in the City on November 8, 2016.

Vote YES on Measure B. It is a matter of good government and good business.

RON SCHNABLEGGER
Mayor Pro Tem

RAY DUNTON
City Councilmember

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Arguments AGAINST

Argument Against 12 Pot Businesses in Bellflower & their taxation Please VOTE NO, against the sale of pot in our city!

This measure doesn’t allow enough distance away from schools, safe passages to & from school, homes where children live, & churches from these 12 pot businesses that could harm the brain development of kids with an increased drug supply & drug culture.

Where is the urgency on the part of the city manager, Mayor, & City Council for more regular businesses among the vacant lots & buildings throughout Bellflower? The City will open its doors wide open for up to 12 pot businesses in your neighborhood? Why has the city given up on our family oriented community & our kids’ brain development? (google the research)

Maybe a few pot businesses, but 12?

Is the city withholding accurate information about the true nature of the city’s finances?

Why wasn’t a community task force set up to research the best practices on such an important issue to develop our community standards on this issue with forums at local schools & parks?

Federal law is against this, plus a new President might enforce all drug laws. His proposed Attorney General is against Pot Businesses. Especially if Marijuana sold in Bellflower will be sold in another state, like what is happening in Colorado. We should take a wait & see approach to this, like surrounding bedroom communities. We do not have large industrial areas to hide pot businesses, like Long Beach.

With the city’s new direction will our property values drop? What will be the total liability & cost to the city & its residents with higher emergency room visits with kids experimenting at a higher levels. VOTE NO, SAY NO TO POT & TAXES!

JOHN PAUL DRAYER
Bellflower Homeowner & Educator 562 331-5028
johnpauldrayer@gmail.com

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Replies to Arguments FOR

PLEASE VOTE NO AGAINST THE 12 PROPOSED POT BUSINESSES & NEW TAXES

This is a question of zoning & changing the quality of life issues in our Family Friendly Hometown of Bellflower. How many new POT businesses will determine the change in the character, & direction of our city. Can we afford these extra police & city code enforcement costs?

The question of advertising to minors has not been fully answered by the city council in their mad rush to waste taxpayers money by prematurely placing this on the ballot without a complete community engagement or answering all our concerns to protect the brain development of our children.

Why didn’t the city engage in community forums with parents & concerned citizens in the 12 proposed Pot Business locations throughout the city at the nearest Park or School to them, to seriously, truthfully, & honestly discuss the total impacts to these neighborhoods. Will their property values drop, will the Pot businesses try to recruit children, will the Pot Businesses have insurance if Pot is still against Federal Law, will insurance rates go up? What has happened in the other states & neighborhoods that have legalized Pot? We need to fully educate the public of all the risks. We are not prepared! The city has put the cart before the horse! This is bad public policy!

PLEASE VOTE NO ON THE 12 POT BUSINESSES!

JOHN PAUL DRAYER
Bellflower Homeowner, Educator
562 331-5028

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The argument against Measure B is a purposeful misrepresentation of the facts, and like a report from a poor student, it needs to be corrected.

Correction #1 – The effort to regulate cannabis in Bellflower is not being considered with a sense of “urgency.” The City Council began researching “best practices” last April and is still engaging the community in finalizing its standards.

Correction #2 – The Conditional Use Process being considered for cannabis facilities is a tightly regulated process, which includes approvals by the City’s Planning Commission, City Council and the State of California. It is not an “Open Arms” approach and a set number of approved facilities has not been decided.

Correction #3 – The City’s efforts include every protection for our young people – starting with regulations that EXCEED the Proposition 64 standards approved by the voters. State law requires every commercially grown cannabis plant to be tagged and traceable. Anyone seeking to pass such cannabis to kids will be caught and arrested.

Correction #4 – Whether we like it or not, cannabis was approved by voters throughout the State, and in Bellflower, on November 8. Measure B is recognition by the current City Council that local regulation and taxation of cannabis presents an opportunity to make Bellflower fiscally sound. The “wait and see” approach stated within the argument against Measure B has failed Bellflower many times in the past.

It is not time to wait and see! VOTE YES ON MEASURE B.

RON SCHNABLEGGER
Mayor Pro Tem
 

RAY DUNTON
Councilmember

— Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

Proposed legislation

A PROPOSITION ADOPTING AN ORDINANCE TO APPROVE ARTICLE II OF CHAPTER 3.37 TO TITLE 3 OF THE BELLFLOWER MUNICIPAL CODE ENTITLED “CANNABIS TAX” AND IMPOSING A TAX ON VARIOUS CANNABIS RELATED BUSINESSES.

THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF BELLFLOWER DO HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Article II of Chapter 3.37 in Title 3 of the Bellflower Municipal Code (“BMC”) , entitled “Cannabis tax,” is approved to read as follows:

ARTICLE II – VOTER APPROVED TAX § 3.37.040 VOTER APPROVAL REQUIRED.

This Article II of Chapter 3.37 of the Bellflower Municipal Code must be approved by voters in accordance with applicable law.

§ 3.37.050 TAX IMPOSED.

There is established and imposed, beginning July 1, 2017, a cannabis tax in the manner and rates set forth in this chapter.

§ 3.37.060 CANNABIS TAX.

A. Tax on commercial cannabis cultivation except nurseries.

1.    Every person who is engaged in commercial cannabis cultivation in the City must pay an annual Cannabis tax. The initial tax rate effective July 1, 2017 for commercial cannabis cultivation, excluding nurseries, is set at $15.00 per fiscal year, per square foot of canopy space authorized by each City permit, or by each state license in the absence of a City permit, not deducting for unutilized square footage. The square footage is the maximum square footage of canopy allowed by the City permit for commercial cannabis cultivation, or, in the absence of a City permit, the square footage is the maximum square footage of canopy for commercial cannabis cultivation allowed by the state license type. In no case can canopy square footage which is authorized by the permit or license, but not utilized for cultivation, be deducted for the purpose of determining the tax for cultivation unless duly authorized in writing by the administrator.

2.    Beginning on July 1, 2020, the tax rate will automatically increase each fiscal year by $2.50 per square foot of authorized canopy. Except as otherwise provided, the maximum tax rate is $25.00 per square foot.

B. Tax on cultivation of cannabis as a nursery.

1.  Every person who is engaged in cultivation of cannabis as a nursery as defined in this chapter in the City must pay an annual Cannabis tax. The initial tax rate effective July 1, 2017 is set at $2.00 per square foot of canopy authorized by each City permit, or by each state license in the absence of a City permit, not deducting for unutilized square footage. The square footage is the maximum square footage of canopy allowed by the City permit for cultivation of cannabis as a nursery, or, in the absence of a City permit, the square footage is the maximum square footage of canopy for cultivation of cannabis as a nursery allowed by the state license type. In no case must canopy square footage which is authorized by the permit or license but not utilized for cultivation as a nursery be deducted for the purpose of determining the tax for cultivation as a nursery unless duly authorized in writing by the administrator.

2.  Beginning on July 1, 2020, such tax rate will automatically increase each fiscal year by $1.50 per square foot of canopy utilized for cannabis cultivation as a nursery. Except as otherwise provided, the maximum tax rate is $5.00 per square foot per annum.

C. Tax on transportation businesses.

Every person who is engaged in a cannabis transportation business must pay an annual Cannabis tax of $1,500.00 per year effective July 1, 2017.

D. Tax on all other commercial cannabis businesses.

1.  Every person who is engaged in business as a dispensary, manufacturer, testing laboratory, or distribution facility, or engaging in delivery of cannabis in the City must pay an annual commercial Cannabis tax. The initial tax rate effective July 1, 2017 is set at 5% of the gross receipts per fiscal year.

2.  Beginning on July 1, 2020, the tax rate will automatically increase each fiscal year by 2.5%. Except as otherwise provided, the maximum tax rate is 10% per fiscal year on gross receipts.

§ 3.37.070 AUTOMATIC TAX INCREASE.

A. Beginning on July 1, 2024, non-gross receipts based taxes imposed by this chapter will be increased annually each July 1st on a percentage basis using the percentage increase in the consumer price index (“CPI”) for all urban consumers as calculated by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County area, for the 12 months ending March 31st of each year.

 

B. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code, the tax imposed in this chapter will be increased by a minimum of one cent ($0.01) every year for square footage-based or other non-gross receipts based taxes.

§ 3.37.080 REPORTING AND REMITTANCE OF TAX.

A. Each person required by this chapter to remit a tax must file a return to the administrator on forms approved by the administrator on or before the due date. The full amount of the tax owed must be included with the return and filed with the administrator. The administrator is authorized to require such additional information as deemed necessary to determine if the tax is being levied, collected, and remitted in accordance with this chapter. Pursuant to Revenue and Tax Code § 7284.6, the administrator, and its agents, must maintain such filing returns as confidential information, and not subject to the California Public Records Act.

B. The Cannabis tax imposed by this chapter is imposed on a fiscal year basis and is due and payable in quarterly installments as follows:

1.  Each person or business owing a Cannabis tax must, on or before the last day of the month following the close of each fiscal year quarter remit to the administrator the tax due. The tax due is no less than the quarterly installment due, but the taxpayer may at any time pay the tax due for the entire fiscal year.

2.  If the Cannabis tax is owed on commercial cannabis cultivation, the square footage tax due is paid based on the square footage of cultivation authorized by the City permit. The tax will not be prorated or adjusted for any reduction in the square footage authorized but not utilized for cultivation unless duly authorized in writing by the administrator. If the cultivation begins in the middle of a fiscal year, the administrator must prorate, in daily increments, the amount due for the fiscal year.

C. Tax statements and payments for all outstanding taxes owed the City are immediately due to the administrator upon cessation of business for any reason. 

D. The administrator may establish shorter reporting and payment periods for any taxpayer as the administrator deems necessary to ensure collection of the tax. 

E. The administrator may, as part of administering the tax, modify the form of payment and take such other administrative actions as needed to facilitate collection of the tax. 

§ 3.37.090 CONSTITUTIONAL EXEMPTIONS.

A. The tax imposed by this chapter does not apply to:

1.     Any person or service when imposition of the tax upon that person or service would violate a federal or state statute, the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution of the state of California;

2.     The city.

B. Except as otherwise provided, any person that is exempt from the tax imposed by this chapter must file an application with the administrator for an exemption. The application for a Tax exemption must be made upon a form approved by the administrator and state those facts, declared under penalty of perjury, which qualify the applicant for an exemption, and include the names of all utility service providers serving that person. If deemed exempt by the administrator, such person must give the administrator timely written notice of any change in utility service providers so that the administrator can properly notify the new utility service provider of the person’s Tax exempt status.

C. A person failing to comply with this section is not entitled to a refund of Tax remitted to the administrator from such person as a result of such non-compliance.

§ 3.37.100 SUSPENSION OR REDUCTION.

Nothing in this chapter requires the City Council to collect a tax; the city council may suspend or reduce tax rates imposed by this chapter by resolution after a public hearing.

§ 3.37.110 CITY COUNCIL AUTHORITY TO AMEND.

Unless voter is approval is required by the California Constitution or applicable law, the City Council may exercise all applicable powers set forth in the Government Code including, without limitation, amending this chapter by ordinance upon three affirmative votes by its members. It may, in additional, adopt by ordinance or resolution such additional regulations that may be necessary to implement the purposes of this chapter.”

SECTION 2. Environmental Analysis. This Resolution is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code §§ 2100, et seq., “CEQA”) and CEQA regulations (14 California Code of Regulations §§ 15000, et seq.) because it establishes rules and procedures to implement government funding mechanisms; does not involve any commitment to a specific project which could result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment; and constitutes an organizational or administrative activity that will not result in direct or indirect physical changes in the environment. Accordingly, this Resolution does not constitute a “project” that requires environmental review (see specifically 14 CCR § 15378(b)(4-5)).

SECTION 3.       Interpretation. This Proposition must be interpreted so as to be consistent with all federal and state laws, rules, and regulations. If any section, sub-section, sentence, clause, phrase, part, or portion of this Proposition is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision does not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Proposition. The voters declare that this Proposition, and each section, sub-section, sentence, clause, phrase, part, or portion thereof, would have been adopted or passed irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, sub-sections, sentences, clauses, phrases, part, or portion is found to be invalid. If any provision of this Proposition is held invalid as applied to any person or circumstance, such invalidity does not affect any application of this Proposition that can be given effect without the invalid application.

SECTION 4.        Severability. If any portion of this Proposition is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the remainder of the Proposition and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances will not be affected thereby. We the People indicate our strong desire that: (i) the City Council use its best efforts to sustain and reenact that portion, and (ii) the City Council implement this Proposition by taking all steps possible to cure any inadequacies or deficiencies identified by the court in a manner consistent with the express and implied intent of this Proposition, and then adopting or reenacting such portion as necessary or desirable to allow imposition of the tax.

SECTION 5.        Construction. This Proposition must be broadly construed in order to achieve the purposes stated in this Proposition. It is the intent of the voters that the provisions of this Proposition be interpreted or implemented by the City and others in a manner that facilitates the purposes set forth in this Proposition.

SECTION 6.        Effective Date. This Proposition will enact and impose a general tax. Accordingly, it will be submitted to a general election on March 7, 2017 for voter approval. If a majority of voters vote in favor of this Proposition, it will become valid and binding ten days after the date that the City Council certifies the election results in accordance with Elections Code § 9217.

SECTION 7. City Council Authority. BMC Chapter 3.37 may be repealed or amended by a majority of the City Council without voter approval. However, voter approval is required for any amendment that would increase the rate of any tax levied pursuant to this Proposition as required by California Constitution Article XIIIC. Should the provisions of Government Code § 53720, et seq. or California Constitution Article XIIIC be repealed or amended, or interpreted by the courts so that voter approval is not required for enacting this Proposition, then this Proposition will take effect as provided for all other City ordinances and may be amended in the same manner as all other City ordinances.

 

SECTION 8.        Effective Date. The Mayor will sign this Proposition and the City Clerk will attest and certify to the passage and adoption of this Ordinance if a majority of the voters voting in the City’s general election on March 7, 2017 approve the Proposition.

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