Lemon Grove Mulls Cannabis Tax Measure

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Lemon Grove was struggling to stay afloat, with disincorporation mentioned as a real possibility. And yet, in March, voters rejected a 0.75% sales tax that city leaders said was necessary to rescue the city.

Now, Lemon Grove may turn to a cannabis sales tax to alleviate the pressure, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. 

The Lemon Grove City Council unanimously agreed last week to ask voters to put a sales tax on products sold at cannabis stores. Like many communities hit hard by COVID-19, the East County city is trying to make up for revenue lost during the stay-at-home order that shuttered businesses and schools.

Staff is working on crafting language for the November ballot. A staff report said Lemon Grove could make $280,000 to $350,000 per cannabis business per year. 

City officials may seek guidance from La Mesa City Councilman Bill Baber, who helped establish the cannabis tax system in his city in 2018. La Mesa expects to bring in $1.5 million to $2 million a year from its retail cannabis industry.

A 4/5ths vote by the Lemon Grove City Council is needed to get a cannabis tax on the November ballot. The measure then needs support from 50% plus one.