Voters in Sacramento strongly supported an initiative to tax commercial marijuana cultivation to fund youth programs, but the ballot measure remained just shy of the two-thirds margin needed for passage early Wednesday. It had received 65.2 percent of the vote after all precincts reported.
Measure Y would impose a 5 percent business tax on potential indoor marijuana growing facilities approved by the City Council.
City Councilman Jay Schenirer championed the measure because it would direct cultivation tax revenues to a special fund dedicated to programs and services for youths.
“I think if you’ve got two-thirds of the people saying this is an important issue for them, that means we need more resources for young people,” he said Tuesday night.
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Meanwhile, voters in Nevada County, long known for its cannabis culture, were rejecting a local ballot measure to ban outdoor pot farms.
Nevada County’s cultivation ban initiative, Measure W, was losing by a 58 percent to 42 early Wednesday. In Yuba County, a pro-marijuana growing measure was losing by a lopsided margin.
The cultivation battles in the neighboring Sierra Nevada counties underscored political frictions roiling over marijuana. Communities in both areas had appeared divided over whether efforts to ban outdoor pot farms unfairly affected legitimate medical marijuana producers and patients.
The Nevada County vote took on an emotional dimension as the father of a 9-year-old child suffering from debilitating seizures and developmental challenges publicly campaigned against the restrictive Measure W. The initiative would have reinforced an ordinance passed by supervisors in January to ban outdoor and commercial marijuana growing.
Penn Valley resident Forrest Hurd argued that Measure W would deprive his son, Silas, of medical marijuana treatments that have shown the greatest success in freeing him from his agonizing condition. The family had partnered with local outdoor marijuana growers who grew low-psychoactive strains and produced medicinal tinctures for the child.
“We did it,” Hurd said late Tuesday. “And now we have a chance to draft a law to protect the environment, protect to our neighbors and protect our children.”
Nevada County’s sheriff and supervisors argued that the ban was needed because the county had become a destination for criminal marijuana traffickers who were planting vast pot farms in the wooded setting and stealing water, fouling the environment and endangering communities.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Miller said Tuesday that the board would set to work on drafting new policies for outdoor marijuana gardens in the county, with rules that could address neighbors’ concerns.
“We will be looking to put something place that makes sense and we’ll work with people who supported marijuana and people who are against it,” Miller said. “We wanted this to be a vote of the people so their vote matters. So we will comply with their wishes.”
Meanwhile, in Yuba County, an outdoor marijuana cultivation ban imposed by supervisors will likely stay in place as voters were resoundingly rejecting a measure to overturn it. The pro-cultivation initiative – Measure A – was losing by 64 percent to 36 percent early Wednesday.
Yuba County voters were also rejecting a second marijuana initiative – Measure B – that would have required the county of 73,000 residents to grant permits to at least four medical marijuana dispensaries. It was losing by 57 percent to 43 percent early Wednesday.
In Davis, voters were resoundingly approving a ballot measure that would allow a tax of up to 10 percent on recreational marijuana sales should voters approve expanded legalization in November. However, the nearly 4-to-1 support for Measure C may have little impact: Davis City Council members have said they have no plans to permit marijuana dispensaries, either medical or recreational.