Southern California

Three cannabis measures could be on Banning’s November ballot

Voters in Banning may see three cannabis-related measures on the November ballot.

The city already approved a measure asking voters if they will allow and tax commercial cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and testing laboratories.

On Tuesday, June 12, the City Council will consider a second measure that would allow retail cannabis businesses. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at the Civic Center.

A third proposed measure was brought by Nick Fraser, who submitted a notice of intent to circulate a petition to qualify an initiative that would allow up to three types of commercial cannabis businesses to operate in the city — commercial cultivation, retail sales plus an unspecified use, which could include processing and manufacturing, testing or delivery and distribution. The businesses would pay a $5,000 per year permit fee.

That initiative does not include a limit on the number of businesses but restricts, to a degree, where they could be located.

Fraser used a Banning address when he submitted the preliminary paperwork. He hasn’t yet turned in final paperwork to move the initiative forward, which requires the signatures of approximately 1,271 registered voters from Banning. The deadline to get a measure on the November ballot is Aug. 10.

The potential city-backed measure would allow for taxation and zoning while the other proposal calls only for a flat annual fee per business.

In response to Fraser’s proposal, Banning’s cannabis ad hoc committee recommended the city set its own rules.

“It would be better to have lawful businesses operating that pay a tax rather than illegal operators that don’t pay a tax and attempt to evade law enforcement controls,” reads a report prepared by Community Development Director Parry Nevins.

The committee recommends allowing business only in the commercial zone along Ramsey Street between N. 8th. Street and N. Sunset Avenue; keeping such businesses away from homes, schools, churches and parks and from being too close to each other; and setting a tax rate starting at 10 percent of gross receipts of each retail cannabis business.

If approved Tuesday, the measure would be crafted and come back to the council for approval.

The two city measures would be separate.

If both the city and Fraser’s initiatives make it to the ballot and pass, the one that receives the most votes would prevail.