Applicants get one shot to run a marijuana shop in Banning

An example of a recreational marijuana shop in Berkeley.

BY DAVID JAMES HEISS

Record Gazette

Banning mayor Daniela Andrade and council member David Happe have been tasked with drafting a ballot argument in favor of a cannabis distribution tax measure, following a resolution approved at the July 14 city council meeting.

Last month Banning’s city council prepared an ordinance allowing cannabis distribution facilities to operate within the city’s industrial zone, closer to the municipal airport — specifically businesses that transport cannabis and cannabis products, transferring them between cultivators, manufacturers and retailers.

The past few months have been busy in Banning’s cannabis scene, amending an ordinance to allow for cannabis retailers to operate closer to each other, maintaining a cap on the number of dispensaries at three (one per 10,000 residents, or three for Banning’s roughly 32,000 residents); reducing taxes on canopy space for marijuana cultivators to $5 per square foot for a marijuana cultivator’s first year in business in Banning, and raising it to $10 in subsequent years; and approving a conditional use permit for Harvest Corner, LLC, a cannabis retailer that is renovating roughly 3,800 square feet of space in a suite next to the Banning DMV.

At the June 23 council meeting the council gave its approval of placing a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot let voters decide whether to allow cannabis distributors in Banning, and separately to allow a 10 percent gross receipts tax on those cannabis distribution facilities.

If approved, the measure would authorize the city council to reduce or increase taxes on cannabis distribution facilities in Banning as long as the tax does not exceed 10 percent of gross receipts.

The city sees cannabis distribution facilities as integral to the cannabis supply chain, and already allows cannabis commercial cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail outlets.

If retailers and others relied solely on out-of-town cannabis distributors, it could lead to additional expenses and inefficiencies that would put Banning’s businesses at a disadvantage, according to the city.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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