By Daniel Borsuk
Contra Costa County Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance on Tuesday that will allow homeowners living in unincorporated areas of the county to cultivate, store, manufacture, transport and sell medical cannabis from their properties.
The hitch is that the homeowner can grow no more than six cannabis plants on each residential property.
The new law that met scant opposition will go into effect Nov. 24.
The ordinance requires that living cannabis plants in excess of 28.5 grams must be kept in a locked space, enclosed, and must not be visible to the public.
Only persons 21 years or older may be allowed to perform any of the activities included in the ordinance, such as cultivation, delivery, sales, and storage.
The ordinance is in compliance with the Nov. 8 2016 voter approved Proposition 64, which enacted the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (CRTAUMA).
The new residential cannabis ordinance is the county’s first salvo in how the county plans to regulate every aspect of the legal commercialized cannabis market.
Contra Costa County is not expected to complete implementation of CRTAUMA until at least after November 2018 when supervisors will place a cannabis tax measure on the ballot for voters to act on.
At Tuesday’s meeting, supervisors, reviewed a wide range of tax proposals presented by Mark Lovelace of the consulting firm HdL Companies.
Lovelace , who said Contra Costa like most other California counties is moving along in compliance with CRTAUMA, presented to supervisors a variety of tax scenarios set at 3 percent, 5 percent and 7 percent, but noted the cumulative tax impact on cannabis retailers, wholesalers and distributors the costs could be as high as 29.5 percent.
For Contra Costa, which could be a major cannabis manufacturing hub with 5 to 20 manufacturers, Lovelace said at a 3 percent tax rate the county could potentially generate $1.27 million in tax revenue a year. At 5 percent the county could draw $1.87 million and at 7 percent the county could ring up $2.75 million.
With that revealed, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis commented, “Five percent is a good conservative number.”
But Supervisor Karen Mitchoff seemed she could go with a higher tax rate when the supervisor for District 4 remarked, “I want to do whatever needs to be done to maximize tax revenue.”
Business owner Ben Zachery warned supervisors to not go heavy on taxes and regulations during the public hearing.
“Sixty percent of your constituents approved Proposition 64,” he said. “Don’t slap on strict rules and big taxes on cannabis.”
But Jane Rich called on supervisors to not implement CRTAUMA.
“Make marijuana an unwelcomed drug in Contra Costa County,” she said. “It’s a real issue. You have to question about the delivery of marijuana to those under 21.”
Next month, county planners are expected to unveil a revised draft of the cannabis ordinance that will address issues like prioritizing requests for proposals, establishing buffer zones, and imposing restrictions on cannabis deliveries.
Supervisors Approve $47 Million Rehabilitation Project
Supervisors unanimously approved as a consent item a $47 million proposal from Monterey Venture Ltd. to acquire and rehabilitate the 324-unit apartment complex at 680 37th Street in Richmond. Monterey Venture Ltd. is a subsidiary of MRK Partners. Monterey Venture received tax exempt financing for the rehabilitation project through the California Municipal Finance Authority.