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CA: Study - Marijuana Measure Could Bring $18 Million To San Bernardino

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
San Bernardino - Allowing marijuana in the city through Measure N would bring more than $18 million in net revenue to the city, several times more than either of the competing marijuana measures, according to a study released by the campaign for Measure N.

The numbers, prepared by San Diego-based New ERA, are vastly different from an earlier study focused only on Measure O.

That study, done by Whitney Economics on behalf of the committee for Measure O, concluded Measure O would bring between $19.5M and $24.8M in revenue.

By contrast, New ERA calculates Measure N would bring in $18.2 million, Measure O would bring in $2.4 million, and Measure P would bring in $4.8 million, after the costs related to each measure are accounted for.

The analysts behind both studies say they are completely impartial.

"I'm not going to discredit that one, but I think possibly there wasn't some precision done in that analysis," said Mario Cerretto, founding partner of New ERA.

Cerretto's 12-page study estimated revenue generated from sales tax, permit fees, and other assessments stipulated in each initiative, as well as job creation potential from retail, manufacturing and cultivation allowed by each initiative.

After years of technically outlawing marijuana - although Cerretto's study notes that w*edmaps.com lists 22 dispensaries in the city and leafly.com lists 17 - San Bernardino will have three different measures on November's ballot that would each replace the ban with a different approach to regulation.

If more than one of them gets greater than 50 percent of the vote, whichever measure has more "yes" votes will become law in the city.

- Measure N, submitted by San Bernardino citizen Katharine Redmon, would establish a 5 percent tax on gross receipts and allow at least 20 medical marijuana dispensaries, if at least 20 apply.

- Measure O, submitted by citizen Vincent Guzman, would establish an application fee of $250 and annual fees of $5 per square foot of canopy for cultivation, $5 per square foot occupied by the business for manufacturing/test, $100 per vehicle used in transportation, $5 per square foot of dispensary and $1 per square foot of canopy for nurseries.

- Measure P, prepared by the city attorney's office, was intended by the City Council as a way to maintain more control over marijuana businesses if residents are inclined to allow them. Because of that, state law would allow fees equal to the cost of enforcement.

Gross receipts for dispensaries are based on the maximum dispensaries allowed under the restrictions of each measure - 20 under Measure N, 5 under Measure O and 10 under Measure P, with the demand at each dispensary estimated based on Palm Springs.

That's then combined with the gross receipts tax - $2.3 million expected for Measure N, zero for Measures O and P - and sales tax revenue of $930,027, $744,022 and $837,025, respectively.

Similar calculations are done for cultivation, manufacturing and distribution.

Measure P allows the most cultivation, with expected output totaling more than 500,000 pounds of product and employing 840 people, according to Cerretto's study. Measure N compares at 155,000 pounds and 380 employees, while Measure O would be close to 116,000 pounds and 285 employees in cultivation, according to the study.

"It really seems like Measure P was placing San Bernardino on the map for being a major producer and having a surplus of export," Cerretto said. "If you kind of look at it, the way it would benefit the city, it seems like most the benefits would only be necessary by having so many thousands of square feet to where the utility tax and other taxes would make sense."

Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics in Portland said he hadn't had time to study Cerretto's proposal in detail, but he stood by his own.

His four-page study criticizes Measure N for exempting cooperatives and nonprofits, which is how existing illegal dispensaries in the city are organized, and says Measure P offers limited revenue potential.

"Other proposals put forth by comparison, either have limited amounts of revenue generation or provide protectionist policies and carve outs for special groups," he wrote.

Both authors also anticipate significant positive indirect economic impact, dismissing critics' concerns that dispensaries would hurt property values and other aspects of the economy.

Darren Espiritu, San Bernardino Chair of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana Revenue, said revenue forecasts in Colorado fell short of industry promises. (Colorado officials now expect about $150 million per year in marijuana tax revenue, out of the state's $10 billion general fund.)

"No amount of revenue can replace a child's life," Espiritu said. "Marijuana is ending up in the hands of children at an increasingly younger age. Marijuana use has dramatic negative impacts on the growing brain up to the age of 25."

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News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Study - Marijuana Measure Could Bring $18 Million To San Bernardino
Author: Ryan Hagen
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