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Stanton residents will have a chance to vote on a marijuana tax Nov. 5 which, if approved, would lay the framework for marijuana-related businesses to come into the city.

The Stanton City Council voted unanimously July 23 to add the measure to a consolidated special election ballot Nov. 5.

“[Marijuana businesses] will have a structure to allow them to come in. [The tax] gives us our own authority to write our own regulations, and the parameters to tax them based on how [the city] wants.” said City Clerk Patricia Vasquez after the council’s meeting.

Marijuana and hemp businesses are currently illegal and unregulated in Stanton. Vazquez said this measure would give the city local control to decide what businesses to allow, and what to tax them. The special election will cost the city $133,500, according to the staff report.

If approved, the city expects the marijuana tax to bring in $1 million to $1.4 million annually, which would be put in the general fund. Money gained from the tax will go toward paying for public safety, road repair and other services, according to the staff report.

Revenue from the tax would also help the city counter budget shortfalls of $100,000 annually, which they expect to face starting next fiscal year. That deficit is projected to rise to $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2023-2024, according to the staff report.

The tax would charge marijuana and industrial hemp cultivation facilities $12.00 per square foot of canopy space, and dispensaries and weed delivery services would be charged 6% of their gross receipts.

Costa Mesa taxes marijuana businesses 6% of gross receipts, according to an informational flyer on the city’s website. However, Costa Mesa only allows for medical marijuana businesses in certain parts of the city through Measure X, which was approved by voters in 2016. Stanton’s measure would apply to recreational businesses, and medical marijuana businesses are not mentioned in Stanton’s staff report.

La Habra and Santa Ana also allow for certain types of marijuana businesses in the city. La Habra permits cannabis testing and distribution facilities within specific areas of the city, and Santa Ana has a process for dispensaries, testing and distribution facilities to open.

Miranda Andrade is a Voice of OC reporting intern and can be reached at mandrade@voiceofoc.org.

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