HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — After the city's cannabis business tax measure failed by a narrow margin, the Huntington Beach City Council plans to bring the initiative back to the table next week.
At its next city council meeting Tuesday, the council plans to discuss whether to ask voters, again, to adopt a special tax on cannabis businesses, the first step to allowing pot shops and manufacturers to operate in the city in the upcoming November election.
The council decided to table the discussion at its last meeting and will discuss the issue Tuesday.
"It's apparent that residents support the tax and [implicitly] support commercial cannabis in Huntington Beach," said Dan Kalmick, a Huntington Beach council member, Wednesday to Spectrum News. "We've had all but no opposition in our many public meetings on the matter. We're still working on the how, not the if."
Measure A failed to get the supermajority votes needed in the recent June election cycle.
The measure would place a 6% tax on cannabis retailers and up to 1% on other types of cannabis operations, such as manufacturing and distribution. The city currently prohibits cannabis businesses.
City officials estimated the tax money from cannabis businesses could add $300,000 to $600,000 annually to the city's coffers, earmarking the money to fund police and homeless and behavioral health services.
More than 49,000 registered voters voted on the measure. More than 64% voted in favor of it. Meanwhile, 35% voted against it. The initiative needed at least 66% to pass.
"The special tax measure in June required two-thirds to pass," said Kalmick. "We came up just short but well above a majority 50% needed to pass in November."
Kalmick said no one anticipated a 35% voter turnout, and they brought the initiative to the June election hoping for a 50% to 60% turnout.
Only two cities in Orange County allow commercial retail cannabis: Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. Kalmick hopes cannabis retail could help revitalize Huntington Beach's retail economy.
"Huntington Beach is in the driver seat, and I want professional, established organizations that employ HB workers with good jobs and can revitalize our languishing strip malls and shopping centers around town but mostly down Beach Boulevard," he said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled council member Dan Kalmick's name. The error has been corrected. (June 30, 2022)