Lompoc voters supported a proposal to change the cannabis tax rate for manufacturing and distribution businesses on Tuesday, as the rest of the state, voting in a recall election, decided to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office.
Measure Q, which appeared only on the ballots for Lompoc voters, centered on changes to the city’s cannabis tax rates and some regulations.
In semi-official election results released late Tuesday, Measure Q had 76.03% of votes in favor and 23.97% opposed, according to the Santa Barbara County Elections Division.
The measure requires more than 50% voter approval to pass.
Specifically, Measure Q would revise the tax rate for cannabis manufacturing and distributing operations in Lompoc.
Instead of a current flat rate of $15,000 for operations with less than $2 million in annual revenue, and a flat rate of $30,000 for operations with higher revenues, the city proposed a tiered structure.
Measure Q would see the rate switch to five levels at half-cent increments starting with 0.5 cents per dollar for $10 million or less in annual revenue. The gradual increases would be capped at 2.5 cents per dollar for businesses making $55 million or more in revenue yearly, and the tax rate does not have a sunset clause.
Based on the existing cannabis businesses, the switch could generate up to $1.2 million annually for city coffers.
The measure also would clean up some other cannabis-related regulations, including allowing Lompoc’s cannabis taxes to be shown on customers’ receipts, modifying the definition of manufacturing and distribution, and adding a definition for cultivation.
The County Elections Office released a semi-official summary of votes Tuesday night, and it plans updates to the count in the next week as more mail-in ballots are received and counted.
Final results of the election will be certified in about 30 days.
How Santa Barbara County Voted in the Gubernatorial Recall Election
Across Santa Barbara County and the rest of the state Tuesday, Californians decided whether Newsom should be removed from office.
In the semi-official election night results report from the County Elections Office, 65% of local voters rejected the recall, with 35% of voters in favor.
Statewide results as of Wednesday morning showed 63.9% of voters voting no on the recall and 36.1% voting yes on the recall, according to the Secretary of State tally.
Results from Tuesday night’s election will continue to be updated as more ballots are received and counted by county elections offices statewide.
Additionally, voters picked the possible replacement for Newsom from a field of more than 40 candidates.
Republican radio host Larry Elder led the field of candidates statewide, and county voters also picked Elder as the top possible replacement candidate in early results.
Newsom would lose his job if more than 50% of voters favor the recall. If he were to be removed from office, the replacement candidate with the most votes would replace him, even if that person received less than 50% of votes.
Voters could reject the recall but still pick a possible replacement for Newsom as a precaution.
Newsom was elected by nearly 62% of voters in 2018 to a four-year term.
His decision to close businesses, schools and houses of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic fueled the anger that led to the recall effort.
The state’s challenges such as homelessness, drought and wildfire concerns, and crime also contributed to the 2.1 million petition signatures submitted in support of a recall election to remove him from office.
Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s recall election, the next election for California governor will be held in 2022, when Newsom’s first term ends.
As of Sept. 8, Santa Barbara County’s registered votes stood at 59,511 Republicans, 111,621 Democrats, 51,605 no party preference and 5,720 between other political parties for a total of 238,457, according to the Elections Division.
Appromimately 44% of the county’s registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday.
Last week, about 30% of registered voters had already returned their ballots, and Democratic voters were leading the number of ballots cast, according to elections officials.
Tuesday’s election is one of two elections for Santa Barbara city voters in two months.
Voters will pick a mayor and three council members in the Nov. 2 municipal election, which is the last odd-year election for the city.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.