Measure A, a proposed Trinity County cannabis tax, appeared to be squeaking out a win on Election Night with 1,529 voters (51.7 percent) saying ‘yes’ and 1,431 (48.3 percent) voting ‘no’ in preliminary, unofficial tallies. As a general tax, its passage requires a majority vote plus one, and the revenue generated could be used for any general purpose allocated annually by the Trinity County Board of Supervisors.
The ballot measure asked voters a yes or no question whether to establish by county ordinance a cannabis cultivation tax of $0.85 per square foot for 2,500 square feet or less of licensed outdoor/mixed canopy area and $1.45 per square foot for 2,501 square feet or greater; a gross proceeds tax of 7 percent on manufacturing of cultivated cannabis; and a gross proceeds tax of 7 percent on medicinal or legal cannabis storefronts and collectives for general governmental purposes.
The proponent of Measure A was John Fenley, acting independently from his role as county supervisor representing District 5. He argued that Trinity is the only county in the state with a commercial cannabis program that doesn’t collect a tax on it. The county only collects fees from license holders and applicants to cover the cost of administering the program and an eventual update of the county general plan to address cannabis impacts.
Opponents argued Measure A would place too great a burden on legal cannabis license holders, making it impossible to compete with those operating illegally in the ‘black market’. Measure A is also subject to pending litigation over the process used by the county Elections Office to place the initiative on the ballot.