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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on June 6th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 14

Measure for unincorporated county pot taxes passes easily

By SPENCER COLE

Santa Barbara County residents voted resoundingly on June 5 to rake in the green, with more than 75 percent of ballots cast tallied in favor of Measure T, or a general tax on marijuana.

"With legalization comes needed enforcement, education, and other services," Supervisor Das Williams stated in favor of the measure. "Santa Barbara County needs to tax cannabis growers and businesses to enforce our ordinance and fund other priorities such as the Sheriff's Department, District Attorney's Office, Mental Health Services, Public Health, and other general services."


GREEN LIGHT
The vast majority of Santa Barbara County residents voted to place a general tax on recreational marijuana on June 5.
FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM

Measure T's proponents say the taxes will help the county regulate a nascent industry known for deep ties to the black market. Its opponents, on the other hand, argue that the structure of the current tax measure does little to ensure the money won't be spent on "employee salaries and benefits" and that the funds "must be earmarked for police protection, law enforcement, and code compliance."

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam and Joe Armendariz, the executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, stated leading up to the election that "opposing Measure T isn't about opposing the legalization of marijuana, it has solely to do with demanding our politicians be accountable by specifying how they will spend future new taxes."

On this year's ballot, the two men pointed to the coastal cities Carpinteria and Goleta. Both communities oppose the regulatory framework the county adopted to mitigate impacts from marijuana grows, according to Adam and Armendariz.

On election night, Adam criticized the tax measure in its current form.

"Not because I don't want to tax cannabis, but because I don't like these taxes where nobody has to tell you where they're going to spend the money," he said. "I would love to see the public demand of politicians that they tell you where they're going to spend the money, and not just give you the laundry list of people's favorite things that they might spend the money on."

Measure T enacts a tax on gross receipts and is scaled depending on the type of cannabis operation: nurseries and distributors are taxed 1 percent; manufacturers 3 percent; cultivators 4 percent; retailers 6 percent; and micro businesses 6 percent. The taxes are effective only in the county's unincorporated areas and, as general taxes, go straight to the county's general fund once collected.




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