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November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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City of Brisbane
Measure E Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


565 votes yes (80.3%)

139 votes no (19.7%)

To pay for general municipal expenses, shall the City establish a business license tax on cannabis businesses in the City in the amount of up to six percent (6%) of the gross receipts of such businesses?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Thomas McMorrow, Interim City Attorney, City of Brisbane

In the last few years, the California Legislature and the voters of the State of California have passed legislation legalizing adult, non-medicinal use of cannabis and creating a state licensing framework and regulatory scheme for medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis. Taken together, these laws allow local regulation of cannabis businesses and the Brisbane City Council recently adopted an ordinance to authorize and regulate a limited number of cannabis testing laboratories, medical cannabis infused, product manufacturers, and medical cannabis delivery businesses within the City.  

These laws also permit a local agency to impose a business license tax (an excise tax) on such businesses. After public input and discussion, the Brisbane City Council has placed this ballot measure before the Brisbane voters that would impose such a tax on these businesses. The tax would be calculated based on the percentage of the gross receipts, depending on the type of cannabis business: retail cannabis businesses, including delivery businesses, would be taxed up to 5% of their gross receipts; manufacturing; up to 4% distribution and testing, up to 2%, and for other, currently unspecified cannabis businesses, up to 6%. The ballot measure would authorize the City Council to impose the exact rate for each business but not in excess of the percentage that the voters approve.

Each cannabis business would be required to register with the City and obtain a Certificate of Registration, then to submit a tax return for every calendar quarter and pay the taxes owing at that time. The Finance Department would be authorized to audit the records of any cannabis business in the City.  Businesses will be subject to penalities and interest on delinquent payments. As legal cannabis businesses are new to Brisbane, the City anticipates that it may take some time for the revenues from the cannabis business license tax to reach their potential of approximately $300,000 annually.

Because this tax is for general municipal purposes, under Proposition 218, adopted by the voters in 1996, the proposed tax is subject to approval by a majority of the voters voting on the proposed increase at a regularly scheduled election at which members of the Brisbane City Council are elected. The next regularly scheduled election for Council members is November 5, 2019.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of allowing the City to impose a tax on the gross receipts of cannabis businesses as described above.

A "no" vote is a vote against allowing the City to impose a tax on the gross receipts of cannabis businesses as described above.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

This ballot measure would adopt a business license tax on cannabis business in Brisbane, whether they be a retail, distribution, or research business. Depending on the type of cannabis business, the City Council will be authorized on an annual basis to set a rate of taxation up to 6% of the business' gross receipts. Voters should approve this measure because funds generated from the new tax will be used for general city services such as Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation.

/s/ Madison Davis, Mayor

/s/ Terry O'Connell, Mayor Pro Tempore

/s/ W. Clarke Conway, Councilmember

/s/ Karen Cunningham, Councilmember

/s/ Cliff Lentz, Councilmember 

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