Merced City Council to Discuss Cannabis Tax

As an ordinance creating cannabis businesses goes up for final approval Monday night, the City Council also will be asked for direction regarding a potential ballot measure for a cannabis tax.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St.

The City had been on track to create an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the City after approval Aug. 1, 2016. However, in November of that year, California voters passed Proposition 64, the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” which legalized recreational cannabis.

The ordinance before the City Council would allow both medical and recreational cannabis sales, along with delivery services, manufacturing, commercial cultivation, testing labs and distribution businesses.

Council is being asked to provide staff with direction on placing a ballot measure on the June 5 or Nov. 6 ballot for the taxation of cannabis sales and commercial activity within the City limits. Based on previous ballot measures, the cost to place the tax measure on the ballot would be approximately $20,000.

Also on the agenda is the second reading of the ordinance adopting regulations for commercial cannabis businesses in Merced. If approved by the Council the ordinance would go into effect Jan. 3.

The Council will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to confer with labor negotiators.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City’s web site at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. Those services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast’s Government Channel 96.

The Council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City’s website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council.

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