California cities turn to cannabis to raise missing cash

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Despite the state’s acceptance of cannabis, many local areas refused to sign on until now

Cannabis for recreational use has been legal in California for the past four years; however, a number of cities have been reluctant to support the industry. Interestingly, nearly 70% of California cities are yet to embrace cannabis businesses due to reasons like regulatory issues or public safety concerns. Now, facing crushing holes in budgets left from the coronavirus pandemic, local governments are trying to find tax revenues from every possible place, including cannabis, which has been considered a taboo until now.

Since the Great Depression, there have hardly been such large gaps in all budgets as the ones being faced right now. Therefore, many people are thinking about opening their doors and embracing the cannabis industry instead of having more workers get laid off or having to keep cutting services. Recently, a handful of cities began developing new measures for cannabis taxes with the intention of having these included on this year’s ballot in November because voters’ approval is required before they can be added.

“I think at the end of the day you’ll still have those ‘not in my backyard’ arguments,” said Tiffany Devitt, Chief Information Officer for CannaCraft, a cannabis manufacturer in the state. “But, if a person can’t find a job, or their kids can’t find work, or their jurisdiction can’t raise enough funds to cover basic social services, then people adjust.” For instance, San Bruno and Bay Area, which banned marijuana businesses for the past two years, are among the cities that are now having a change of heart. Even local council members voted in favor of running a tax measure and public education campaign so dispensary or delivery services can operate sometime next year.