Cotati voters seemed to have overwhelmingly passed the Measure G marijuana cultivation tax Tuesday night with preliminary election results, which saw 78.9 percent ‘yes’ votes and only 21.1 percent of ‘no’ votes, according to poll results from the 100 percent of reporting precincts and the County of Sonoma Registrar of Voters.
The measure will place a $25 per square foot cultivation tax on local marijuana cultivators and manufacturers and is expected to bring in a yearly revenue of around $300,000, according to city officials.
Initial tax rates on cultivators will be $5 per square foot — two percent of receipts, and will later be raised to a cap of $25 per square foot. There will also be a small percentage of the tax applied for other marijuana businesses, like retailers for recreational and medical use and distributors. Cannabis testing labs will continue to pay the city’s general business tax.
The particular measure was created to replace the city’s general business tax on marijuana businesses and instead place a particular tax on cannabis businesses that are within Cotati city limits to generate revenue for the city’s general fund.
An analysis of the tax ordinance by Cotati City Attorney Robin Donoghue, says while the tax does not guarantee or authorize new cannabis businesses, it does authorize the tax to start after the establishment of any new cannabis business in town.
“Currently, businesses operating in Cotati — including cannabis businesses — must pay a general business tax. One cannabis dispensary is currently allowed to operate in the city. The ordinance does not authorize any new cannabis businesses, but authorizes the council to add to the municipal code and establish an excise tax,” the analysis states.
Other Sonoma County measures that were on the local ballot included Measure F for the Wilmar Union School District in Petaluma — a parcel tax, which is slated to pass with primary poll results with 64 percent ‘yes’ votes and 35.7 percent ‘no’ votes. Measure H for Windsor for the Urban Growth Boundary initiative is also slated to pass with 74.8 percent ‘yes’ votes and 25.2 percent ‘no’ votes.
Sonoma County saw a voter turnout of only 28.9 percent, with 6,120 mail in, absentee ballots cast, according to County of Sonoma Registrar of Voters statistics. Due to the October wildfires, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Oct. 18 declaring that Sonoma County’s election would be an all-mail in election.
In a press release statement California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla said of the need to make Nov. 7 a mail in ballot election, “Thousands of lives have been terribly disrupted by the Northern California wildfires… The wildfires have impacted schools, places of worship and even our local elections. The unpredictability of the fires is causing difficulty for the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters to identify polling locations or recruit poll workers making it necessary to move to an all-mail ballot election.”
Despite the mail in ballots, voter turnout was small, considering there are 21,144 registered voters in Sonoma County and only 6,120 mail in ballots were cast, which means around 15,024 of those registered to vote did not vote in this week’s election.
To see other local election results as they are updated, visit: vote.sonoma-county.org.