The Dixon City Council approved 5-0 a first reading of an ordinance that would tax marijuana-related businesses.
The ordinance discussed Tuesday will take effect if Dixon voters approve Measure K in November. If approved, the measure would impose a business license tax of up to 15 percent of the gross receipts for all marijuana-related businesses.
It would repeal the existing prohibition against commercial cannabis activity in Dixon, but the city’s ban on marijuana cultivation would remain. City Attorney Douglas White said they would wait for the state to establish rules on cultivation before proceeding with a local ordinance on that.
The city council specifically prohibited the commercial cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana in Dixon in January.
The new ordinance would also state that marijuana businesses would have to apply for a city permit.
They would be subject to an application filing fee, a program administration fee, a permit renewal fee and an appeal fee. The amounts of those fees would be determined by the city council.
There would be several standards and restrictions placed on dispensaries.
“This I think is a wise way to go,” Councilman Ted Hickman said, likening this to when the city implemented hotel taxes before they were needed.
Before the council approved the first reading, Mayor Jack Batchelor suggested the maximum hours of operation for this type of business be changed to noon to 9 p.m. In the requirements drawn up by staff, the hours were 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
He was also concerned about effects of odors on businesses adjoining dispensaries, and took issue with only specific felony convictions within the past 10 years prohibiting a person from owning or working at a dispensary.
“Any felony conviction of the operator or the employees would be prohibited from them conducting the business,” Batchelor proposed.
Former councilman Michael Ceremello said he tried to get marijuana dispensaries allowed when he was on the council.
“I want to know what’s changed from when I was on the council to now,” he said during public comment.
He suggested it was the “dollar signs” the council now sees, and said that if medicinal marijuana is allowed, so should recreational.
White said legalizing marijuana is polling more favorably in California now than it was in the past, which is why they are preparing this ordinance. It is written for medical marijuana because that is what is currently in the municipal code, he said. However, the language also anticipates the recreational use of marijuana being legalized in California.
The ordinance will return to the city council for a second reading.