County Measure B, which will impose taxes on commercial cannabis activity, was on track to pass by a wide margin, with 62 percent of voters in favor of the measure and only 37.14 percent opposed, easily surpassing the needed 50 percent margin to pass.
Now passed, taxes from commercial cannabis will go into the county general fund to be spent on unrestricted general revenue purposes.
The tax will impose a 2 to 6 percent tax on the gross receipts of non-medicinal cannabis retailers but would not be imposed on medicinal cannabis retailers.
For manufacturers of cannabis products, a 1 to 3 percent tax on gross receipts will apply for both medicinal and non-medicinal products.
Outdoor cultivators would pay $1 per square foot of grow space while indoor cultivators would pay $3 per square foot.
The county is on track to lift its ban on commercial cannabis activity, so that ordinances on cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales can be put on place.
Inscore retains council seat
Sitting Mayor Blake Inscore will retain his seat on the Crescent City Council after pulling in a wide lead with voters Tuesday night.
Final results showed Inscore with a healthy lead of 42.59 percent of votes, followed by Isaiah Wright, with 34.10 percent and Tony Cervantez with 22.79 percent.
Shortly after the results came back, Inscore seemed unsurprised.
“Well, you never know with these things,” he said. “I just tried my best to get my message out and I’m thankful the voters spoke and are willing to give me the opportunity to keep doing the job.”
Wright was less casual, saying, “I’m excited. I can’t wait to serve the community.” Asked for his priorities once seated on the council, Wright deferred comment, saying he’s still reeling from the news.
Wright will be sworn in at the next city council meeting Nov. 19. Council member Darrin Short reached the end of his term and chose not to seek re-election. He will not be in attendance, due to a family event.
Inscore will also be sworn in again and the council may choose to retain him as mayor or appoint another council member.
County support doesn’t float Prop 6
Despite Del Norte County’s majority vote to repeal the gas tax, Tuesday, Proposition 6 was defeated in state elections, meaning fuel prices will remain the same.
Final results of county mail-in and Election Day ballots showed 52.79 percent of county voters supported the proposition, while 47.21 did not. Results at the state election were broader and reversed, with 44.9 percent of voters approving the proposition and 55.1 percent opposing it.
While a state proposition, it has sparked significant discussion about whether motorists are justified in driving over the border to Brookings to fill up their tanks with tax-free fuel.
Del Norte County Supervisor Lori Cowan opposed Prop 6, saying it would eliminate funding for many state and local road projects, including the rerouting of Last Chance Grade. Supervisors Gerry Hemmingsen and Chris Howard supported Prop 6 but changed their positions upon learning that its passage would eliminate certain road funding.
Supervisors Bob Berkowitz and Roger Gitlin have supported the proposition, saying increased fuel and registration costs impact low-earning families in the county.
State Sen. Mike McGuire, who was soundly re-elected Tuesday, has been a vocal advocate of SB1, the gas tax, saying it brings money to Del Norte County roads and will be the primary funding source for Last Chance Grade.
“If you go buy your gas in Oregon, keep going,” he said at a town hall forum in October. “The reason I say that is because we have to keep this gas tax in this state. If you continue to go buy your gas in Oregon, I get it, but what I’ll tell you is Oregon won’t fix Last Chance Grade.”
SB1, or the gas tax, was signed into law in April 2017, adding 12 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline and 20 cents per gallon to diesel fuel. According to ca.gov, the legislative package invests $54 billion in its first 10 years to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety.