ALAMEDA — Tax revenue from future cannabis businesses in Alameda generate as much as $1.6 million annually, according to a consultant brought in to help draft rules for its local use.
Most of the taxes likely would be generated from pot clubs, which could be located in retail neighborhoods, such as Park and Webster streets, or at the city’s shopping centers.
At a minimum, taxes raised from cannabis in Alameda would be about $800,000 under a formula that the consultant used based on the city’s population and typical local tax rates.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]But Debbie Potter, the city’s community development director, sounded a note of caution: Local tax revenue, she said, can be difficult to predict, especially since it can be affected by competition from outside the area, as well as what the demand for marijuana might be.
There is also uncertainty about how quickly a tax can be put in place and the how well the industry will perform over time, Potter said.
Sharon Golden, the founder of Alameda Island Cannabis Community, wants revenue from any pot-related businesses in Alameda funneled into a fund for community programs, such as the city’s animal shelter.
The group also wants anyone working in the marijuana industry to make at least $17 an hour, calling it a living wage.
“We want local ownership,” Golden said. “And we want it to benefit the community.”
The City Council will host a workshop Tuesday as part of drafting rules for local cannabis businesses, an effort that follows California voters approving the use of recreational marijuana in November.
The draft ordinance, which the council will consider for possible future adoption, does not distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana.
It would ban cannabis businesses from within 600 feet of schools or other places where children gather, and it would allow indoor cultivation or manufacturing at the Harbor Bay and Marina Village business parks, as well as some areas of Alameda Point.
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The number of pot clubs would be capped at three, the same number that San Leandro has decided. Preference would be given to local operators.
On-site consumption would be prohibited.
The proposed rules would allow indoor cultivation for personal use — which the state has limited to six plants at a residence — and prohibit outdoor cultivation.
City officials, however, are suggesting the council revisit the outdoor ban at least six months after the ordinance has been in place to consider whether lifting it would lead to problems.
Golden said she believes more clarity is needed on where pot clubs can be located, and that the ban regarding on-site consumption at the dispensaries will hurt people who live in multilple-unit dwellings since they also may be prevented from using cannabis at home.
“Those are two huge concerns that I have,” she said.
City officials aim to have an ordinance, which will require zoning and other changes, in place by Jan. 1.
A team made up of representatives from the city’s planning and economic development departments, the police and city attorney’s office has been working on crafting the new rules since the passage of Proposition 64 passed in November 2016.
SCI Consulting Group, which has been working with cities throughout California develop similar regulations, also has been working on the ordinance.
Tuesday’s workshop will take place as a special City Council meeting. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda.