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Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure Q
Business license tax for cannabis business
City of Albany

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 4983 / 84.34% Yes votes ...... 925 / 15.66% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jan 6 2:56pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (13/13)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Do you approve of modifying the Albany Municipal Code, Chapter V, as set forth in the Voter's Pamphlet, to set a business license tax to be paid by a cannabis business operating in the City of Albany?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
A `YES' vote, by a majority of the voters voting, would approve proposed amendments to the Albany Municipal Code that establish a business license tax to be paid by an authorized cannabis business in Albany.

A `NO' vote would disapprove proposed amendments to the Albany Municipal Code that establish a business license tax to be paid by an authorized cannabis business in Albany.

Background In 1996 the voters of California approved Proposition 215, The Compassionate Use Act, which allowed Californians to obtain marijuana for medical purposes where deemed appropriate by a physician. The State Legislature, in 2003, approved a bill adding California Health and Safety Code section 11362.83. The State permitted California cities or counties, if they so choose, to approve the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries. The Albany City Council placed an advisory measure on the November, 2007 ballot asking whether Albany voters supported the establishment of a single medical marijuana dispensary in the City of Albany. The voters approved the 2006 advisory measure. Thereafter, the City Council passed an ordinance permitting the establishment of one dispensary and enacted the regulatory framework for operations of the business. This ordinance is codified in the Albany Municipal Code commencing with Section 20.20.110. Applications for the one available permit have been submitted.

The Albany Municipal Code, Chapter 5, Section 5-2, requires businesses in Albany to pay a business license tax. The City's business license code does not contain provisions that establish a business license tax for a cannabis business. Since this is a new type of business that requires a business license, the business license tax specifically applying to a cannabis business can only be approved by the voters. The City Council has placed this Measure on the ballot. This Measure requests that the voters approve amendments to Chapter 5 of the Albany Municipal Code establishing a business license tax for a cannabis business that is approved to operate in Albany.

The Proposed Measure lf this Measure is approved, a new Section 5-10 would be added to the Albany Municipal Code. A Cannabis business, as defined under Section 5-10.1 of the Code, for profit or non profit, will be required to pay an annual business license tax. Section 5-10.2 requires a for profit cannabis business to pay a business license tax of $25 per thousand dollars of gross receipts. A Non Profit Organization that operates a cannabis business would pay a business license tax of $25 per square foot on all business improvement occupied by the Cannabis Business.

If this Measure is not approved by the voters, then a cannabis business would not be required to pay a business license tax as set forth in Section 5-10 of the proposed Measure.

Financial Impact If this Measure passes, the revenue generated from a cannabis business would be placed in the General Fund. The amount of the tax would depend on either the gross receipts or the size of the premises.

s/ROBERT ZWEBEN, City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure Q Arguments Against Measure Q
Ballot Argument for cannabis business tax

The voters of California authorized the use of medical cannabis in 1996 through the passage of Proposition 215. In 2006, the voters of Albany supported a ballot measure to allow permitting of a single cannabis establishment/business in Albany. The City of Albany has created regulations and a permitting system to prevent nuisance while protecting patients. So far, there have been no businesses established, but cannabis business proprietors have shown an interest in operating in Albany.

Albany's business tax system does not have a category for medical cannabis dispensaries or sales. Without this measure a dispensary or business would pay the "Business License Tax Rate", an annual license tax based on the average number of employees. This ballot measure creates a new business tax classification and rate for cannabis dispensaries or businesses. State law requires that the voters must approve any new business tax rate. This measure was reviewed by the Albany City staff, and placed on the ballot by the Albany City Council in order to be prepared in the event a cannabis dispensary or business is approved in Albany in the future.

The proposed new tax would be comparable with nearby cities that are enacting similar ballot measures for a cannabis dispensary or business. Because permitted medical cannabis dispensaries or businesses did not exist at the time the business tax system was created, the existing business tax category list does not contain a category for cannabis businesses. We ask for your vote to amend the Albany Municipal Code to create a specific category for cannabis businesses in Albany.

s/Marge Atkinson

Council Member

s/Robert Lieber

Council Member

s/Kim Denton

City Treasurer

s/Robert Menzimer

Non-profit executive

s/Karen Auguste

Albany Business Owner


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Created: January 6, 2011 14:57 PST
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