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Utility tax for marijuana growers approved in Northern California

November 7, 2012 | 10:35 am

FULL RESULTS: California races

Three Northern California communities on Tuesday moved to impose or maintain restrictions on the medical marijuana economy.

In the Humboldt County town of Arcata, 69% of voters ensured easy passage of a utility tax aimed at households growing marijuana indoors. 

The 45% tax will apply to residential electric bills that are six times over a baseline level set by the state. Nearly 7% of homes in Arcata, located in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, have bills that high, suggesting they are electricity-guzzling "grow houses."

FULL RESULTS: California races

To the east, in the Siskiyou County town of Dunsmuir, medical marijuana advocates launched a failed attempt to roll back broad restrictions placed on medical marijuana grows last year.

The ballot measure, which was rejected by 53% of voters, would have removed limits on the canopy area allowed for each qualified patient and permitted cultivation on property that is not the grower’s primary residence.

Under the measure, growing would have also been allowed outdoors in view of the public, inside attached or detached garage structures that are fully enclosed, in Dunsmuir's historic district, and in proximity to youth-oriented activities.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Opponents had argued that the onetime rail town was at last emerging from a painful downturn and could not afford to be labeled a marijuana haven.  Situated on the upper Sacramento River with views of snowcapped Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir relies largely on tourists drawn to its fishing and other outdoor activities.

In wealthier Palo Alto, meanwhile, an attempt to overturn a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries and allow up to three of them was defeated by 62% of voters. It would have rolled back a 1996 ban on such marijuana stores, taxing their gross receipts by 4 cents on the dollar.

But the measure faced civic disapproval. In September, the Palo Alto City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing it, saying the dispensaries would open the door to increased criminal activity and send the wrong message about marijuana to kids.


Several California races still too close to call

Hotel worker minimum wage measure passes in Long Beach

Berkeley measure banning sidewalk loitering narrowly defeated

— Lee Romney in San Francisco

Photo: Three Northern California cities voted on measures dealing with marijuana in this election. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times