The Other Ballot Measures On Marijuana
On Tuesday, November 8, Long Beach Voters will be voting on a statewide ballot measure on Marijuana (Proposition 64). However, it will not be the only decision on Marijuana they’ll need to make. In Long Beach, there are two local ballot measures, MA and MM, awaiting their votes.
Long Beach Marijuana Ballot Measure MA
An Ordinance Of The City Of Long Beach Repealing Section 3.80.260 And Amending Section 3.80.261 Of The Long Beach Municipal Code To Update A Business License Tax On Marijuana Businesses Operating Within The City Of Long Beach.
What your ballot says:
LONG BEACH MARIJUANA TAXATION MEASURE. To fund public safety, 9-1-1 emergency response, police officers, homelessness, and general City services, shall Long Beach update gross receipts tax rates between 6-8% for medical marijuana dispensaries, 8-12% for non-medical marijuana dispensaries, 6-8% for processing, distributing, transporting or testing marijuana/related products and a square foot tax between $12-15 for marijuana cultivation, raising approximately $13 million annually, requiring annual expenditure reports, until ended by voters?
On the City of Long Beach Website, they explain the measure with these questions and answers:
- What is Measure MA?
Measure MA is a tax on medical and recreational marijuana. It sets a gross receipts tax for sales of both medical and recreational marijuana and establishes a tax on marijuana cultivation, processing, testing and distribution in the City.
- How would the Measure MA Revenue be spent?
Measure MA is a general tax to fund city services. Revenues from the tax would pay for general City services, such as public safety, 9-1-1 emergency response, police officers, regulation of the marijuana industry and homeless assistance programs.
- How much money would Measure MA raise if both medical and recreational sales are allowed?
Measure MA would raise approximately $13 million annually.
You can find argument for and against Measure MA on the website for the Office of the Long Beach City Clerk.
Argument In Favor Of Measure MA
Long Beach Marijuana Taxation Measure – Vote Yes on Measure MA
This November, Long Beach voters will consider measures to allow medical and recreational marijuana sales in our city. Should voters approve either measure, Long Beach will desperately need additional public safety and public health resources to continue to keep our community safe. As public safety leaders in Long Beach, we work hard to make sure Long Beach stays safe. Public safety is the most important service our City provides, and we must have the resources to do the job our community has come to expect. Measure MA provides a sensible solution, generating up to $13 million for our City to fund critically needed services if voters allow marijuana sales. Measure MA taxes the sale, distribution and cultivation of marijuana. Only those purchasing marijuana will pay the tax, and if legalized in the city, this industry should pay their fair share. A vote on Measure MA is not a vote for marijuana use, but rather a vote to fund public safety. Measure MA will tax marijuana sales in our city if approved by voters. After years of the lowest crime rates on record, crime has increased in Long Beach and throughout the State, requiring new approaches to public safety. Homelessness is a national problem, and we feel its effects in Long Beach. Every year the number of calls to our 911 dispatch center increases, as we ask our police officers and firefighters to do more and more. Measure MA will invest in police officers, fire resources, public health, solutions to homelessness, and the necessary enforcement and regulation of the marijuana industry, with annual expenditure reports on how the funds are used. Please join us in voting yes on Measure MA to keep Long Beach safe.
ROBERT GARCIA Mayor
MICHAEL DUREE Fire Chief
ROBERT LUNA Police Chief
Argument Against Measure MA
Argument Against The Long Beach Marijuana Taxation Measure
Imagine that you are suffering from Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, MS, arthritis, epilepsy, or cancer with its horrific chemotherapy side effects that keep you from being able to eat. Pharmaceuticals are not helping and may cause worse health problems. Your only relief is through MEDICAL marijuana, recommended by your physician. Now consider that collectives could be taxed at exorbitantly high rates as outlined in this measure. You will not be reimbursed by your insurance. You might even have to choose between necessities like food or MEDICINE. Both sides agree that MEDICAL and recreational marijuana should be taxed in Long Beach. But Medical taxation needs to be done fairly, as it already is in the REGULATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESSES INITIATIVE, also on this November ballot. But this competing Long Beach Marijuana Taxation Measure, along with high state and sales taxes, will make Long Beach taxes among the highest in the US, exacting an enormous immoral burden on patients as well as enabling a competitive black market. Supporters want you to believe that these funds will be used for police and fire, but there are no guarantees as to how it will be used, nor is there any oversight! They admit their projected costs to the city are speculative. They say that the revenue will not cover the costs. Their cost estimates are outrageously over-inflated. Their projected tax revenue is grossly underestimated. They also say that they need increased enforcement which is equally unfounded. Facts support the opposite. It has been proven that legitimate dispensaries lead to less expense on enforcement. There are no illegal shops in Colorado, Washington, or Illinois. Fair taxes will enable the system to bring in revenue for needed programs. Overtaxing will bolster a thriving black market that pays NO tax! VOTE NO!
LARRY KING L.B. Cannabis Task Force, and Business Consultant
NICK J. MORROW L.B. Cannabis Task Force/Retired Law Enforcement STEPHEN DOWNING L.A.P.D. Deputy Chief (Retired)
DIANA LEJINS Disabilities Rights Advocate
RAE GABELICH Long Beach Council Person, Retired
Impartial Analysis Of Measure MA
By Charles Parkin, City Attorney
Voter approval of Measure MA would amend the Long Beach Municipal Code to update the City’s business license tax on medical and non-medical marijuana businesses, if such businesses should be legalized. This is a “general tax” that must be approved by a majority of voters. Revenues from the tax would be deposited in the City’s general fund to pay for general City services, such as public safety, 9-1-1 emergency response, police officers and homeless assistance programs. Currently, Long Beach has a tax on medical and non-medical marijuana (i.e., recreational) businesses which was approved by voters in 2014. It established a maximum 10% gross receipts tax and a maximum $50 per square foot cultivation tax. This tax currently covers marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, testers and distributors. A marijuana related voter-petition initiative measure is also on this ballot (Long Beach Measure MM), which would reduce the City’s maximum gross receipts tax rate from 10% to 6%, and limit collection of this tax to retail marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana manufacturers, testers and distributors (who do no retail) would pay no gross receipts tax – only the minimum $1,000 annual tax. Measure MM would also reduce the cultivation tax to a maximum of $10 per square foot. Measure MA was placed on the ballot by the City Council as a competing measure in order to propose alternative marijuana tax rates to those in Measure MM. Measure MA, if approved, would update these tax rates to: – Six to eight percent (6-8%) of gross receipts for medical marijuana dispensaries; – Eight to twelve percent (8-12%) of gross receipts for non-medical (i.e., recreational) marijuana dispensaries; – Six to eight percent (6-8%) of gross receipts for processing, distributing, transporting or testing marijuana and marijuana-related products; and – Twelve to fifteen dollars ($12-15) per square foot for marijuana cultivation. All marijuana businesses would still be required to pay a minimum tax of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) annually. The taxes set by Measure MA could be increased or decreased, within the established ranges, by the City Council provided the maximum rates listed above are not exceeded. Measure MA would require annual expenditure reports by the City Manager and is estimated to raise approximately $13 million annually in general fund revenue. To be adopted, Measure MA must be approved by a majority of eligible Long Beach voters, and must also receive a higher number of affirmative votes than Long Beach Measure MM. This Measure MA conflicts and competes with the taxes set forth in Section 2 of Measure MM. It does not conflict with any of the other medical marijuana regulations of Measure MM. A “yes” vote on this proposition is a vote to approve the updated medical and non-medical (i.e., recreational) marijuana business license tax rates if such businesses are legalized. A “no” vote is a vote to reject these tax rates.
Long Beach Marijuana Ballot Measure MM
REGULATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESSES. Shall an ordinance be adopted repealing the City’s ban on marijuana businesses, reducing the City’s tax on recreational and medical marijuana, and adopting regulations permitting approximately 32 retail medical marijuana businesses located in areas not zoned exclusively for residential use with minimum distance restrictions from sensitive uses, and providing for the establishment of an unspecified number of marijuana cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing businesses?
Argument In Favor Of Measure MM
Safe Neighborhoods for Long Beach Long Beach residents want safe, clean neighborhoods while supporting safe access to medical cannabis for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Yes on Measure MM to protect our children and patients. Long Beach Measure MM, improves public safety, protects our youth and cleans up our neighborhoods. Measure MM establishes sensible regulations for the sale of medical marijuana within city limits. Patients can access safe, affordable medicine with tough lab testing standards for safety. Most importantly, this measure keeps our kids safe. State identification with proof of age will be required for all purchases, and Long Beach will have some of the toughest requirements in the state. Safe Neighborhoods Community safety is paramount in this initiative with tough restrictions to keep neighborhoods safe: – Prohibits dispensaries in areas zoned exclusively for residential use and prohibits operations after 8 p.m. – Requires large buffer zones between dispensaries and schools, parks, beaches and libraries. – Strictly limits the number of dispensaries by population, currently about 26 citywide – Creates community liaisons to provide immediate response to concerns Legal dispensaries put in place extensive safety plans and provide security around the clock to deter loitering and prevent crime. Funds public safety and community priorities Only medical marijuana businesses will pay new taxes under this initiative. Measure MM will put millions of dollars into our City’s public safety and local priorities. Long Beach residents, patients, public safety officials, and workers who are on the front lines of patient safety support this measure. This initiative will root out illicit activity from our neighborhoods, protect our citizens, create good-paying jobs and invest in our city’s safety. Yes on Measure MM.
JEANNINE PEARCE Long Beach Councilmember, District 2
TONIA REYES URANGA Former LB City Councilmember
RANDALL SCOTT HAUSAUER Long Beach P.D. Lieutenant (Retired) ROBERT BENNETT KELTON Cancer Patient/Software Consultant
Argument Against Measure MM
Don’t be fooled. This Measure is about greed at taxpayer expense – it is not about access to medical marijuana. There are thirty companies that deliver medical marijuana to Long Beach, today. Even if you are in favor of medical marijuana, beware this Measure is about lining the pockets of dispensary owners at the expense of Long Beach citizens. Here are the facts you need to know: – If passed, the City’s Director of Financial Management determined this Measure will cause a net loss to the City of $5 to $7 million dollars. Your tax dollars will have to make up that loss. – If passed, this Measure reduces or eliminates the tax on marijuana previously approved the Long Beach voters in 2014. More greed at taxpayer expense. – History showed us that for each permitted dispensary that opens in Long Beach 3-7 illegal dispensaries will open as well. However, this Measure prohibits Long Beach from making dispensary owners to pay the cost to regulate dispensaries or close down illegal dispensaries. – This time the crime will be worse because the dispensary owners included language that prohibits a police officer from even entering a dispensary absent a search warrant. What other business in the State is so afraid of the proper enforcement of the law that police officers cannot even walk in? – This Measure allows deliveries to 18 year-old children! Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a marijuana supporter, has cautioned that he would not allow his children to have marijuana “until they are in their mid-20s when their brains are fully developed.” How does this measure protect our children? A yes vote is a vote for higher taxes, lower property values and more crime. This Measure does NOT “Regulate Medical Marijuana”, it gives tax dollars to marijuana dispensary owners. Don’t be fooled.
MARC R. GREENBERG, ESQ. Attorney at Law
MELVIN MARKS M.D. Physician
EDWIN B. SHACKEROFF, M.D. Physician, OB/GYN, Retired
Impartial Analysis Of Measure MM
By Charles Parkin, City Attorney
The City of Long Beach currently bans medical marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and delivery activities. Measure MM would repeal this ban. It would permit and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, manufacturing, distribution, and delivery operations. The City Council determined that Measure MM obtained sufficient petition signatures to qualify for the November 8, 2016, ballot. Using population estimates, Measure MM would allow between 26 and 32 storefront medical marijuana dispensaries. Measure MM requires the City to issue the maximum number of storefront dispensary licenses, but sets no limit on the number of non-dispensary licenses (e.g., cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, etc.). It would establish a priority system requiring the City to issue licenses to applicants who were successful in a 2010 City lottery. Medical marijuana businesses could not be located in exclusively residential zones, within 1000 feet of schools or beaches, or within 600 feet of parks or libraries. Storefront dispensaries could not be located within 1000 feet of one another, although this restriction does not apply to cultivation, manufacturing, or other marijuana businesses. Marijuana businesses would be subject to applicable food handling, testing, labeling, and packaging regulations. Measure MM would also amend the City’s current marijuana business license tax, which voters approved in 2014. This tax covers dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, testers, and distributors. The current maximum rate is 10% on gross receipts and up to $50 per square foot for cultivation sites. Measure MM would reduce the maximum gross receipts tax rate from 10% to 6%, and limit collection of this tax to storefront dispensaries. Marijuana manufacturers, testers and distributors (who do no retail) would pay no gross receipts tax – only a minimum $1,000 annual tax. Measure MM would also reduce the cultivation tax to a maximum of $10 per square foot. City license fees would be limited to 150% of the average business license fee charged to non-marijuana personal service businesses. The City has identified the following potential impacts of Measure MM: – Significantly greater administrative and legal resources required to evaluate applications, issue licenses, program oversight, and address unlicensed marijuana businesses that will attempt to establish themselves in light of removing the current ban. – With no upper limit on licenses for cultivators, manufacturers, testers, or distributors, up to 100 non-dispensary businesses could potentially operate within the City. (Continued on next page) IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE MM (Continued) – Because Measure MM reduces the City’s current marijuana tax rate and base, significantly less tax revenue will be generated from medical marijuana businesses to offset the City’s costs of administering the program and addressing secondary effects (e.g., law enforcement, code enforcement, fire/emergency response, zoning/building/planning, etc.). For a more detailed discussion of potential impacts, we refer you via the hyperlink below to Staff’s impact report to the Council on August 2, 2016. http://www.longbeach.gov/cityclerk/elections/ballot-measure-information/ Measure MM requires simple majority approval to pass, except that Section 2 of Measure MM must also receive more votes than competing Measure MA to pass.
A “Yes” vote will approve Measure MM.
A “No” vote will not approve Measure MM.