Santa Barbara Urges Pot Tax to Boost County Coffers

Voters in Santa Barbara County will weigh in on an important marijuana tax measure on June 5. The passage or failure of Measure T could have major implications, not only for the county budget, but for the viability of the county’s marijuana industry as a whole.

Measure T would levy a tax on both recreational and medical marijuana operators in unincorporated Santa Barbara County. The taxes would range from 1% to 6%, depending on the type of operation.

County staff estimates it could bring in anywhere from $5 million to $25 million per year. Those funds are desperately needed, the county says, to retain vital public services, including enforcement against illegal pot operations.

If Measure T doesn’t pass, the county says it cannot move forward with the ordinances it has approved for marijuana operations already. As a result, a blanket ban on commercial cannabis operations in unincorporated Santa Barbara is a possibility.

Measure T is a general tax, so it only requires a majority to pass. But that’s also its downfall, opponents argue. The statement of opposition calls Measure T a “blank check” that “will result in more wasteful spending” in Santa Barbara County.

Read more at the Santa Maria Times