Mendocino County Voters Defeat Measure AF, Proposed by Pot Growers

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Mendocino County voters have rejected a medical cannabis regulation measure drafted by the county’s cannabis growers and opposed by a coalition of community organizations.

With 250 of 250 precincts reporting, Measure AF, the Mendocino Heritage Act, representing the industry’s vision of government regulation in a county where marijuana is a major cash crop, failed with 64 percent no votes and 36 percent yes votes.

Supervisor John McCowen said the tally, including mail-in ballots, was “big enough that I’m confident Measure AF is being soundly defeated.”

“We did an effective job of showing that claims that AF protected the environment, protected public safety and protected the small farmer were all false,” he said.

The 60-page measure placed no cap on the number of permits for cultivation, dispensaries and other medical cannabis businesses. It also called for a civil enforcement procedure for permit violations, eliminating law enforcement action.

 McCowen said the measure was “an overreach by a small group of growers.”

Two marijuana tax measures, placed on the ballot by the Mendocino supervisors, were approved.

Measure AI places a 2.5 percent to 10 percent tax on the gross receipts of cultivators and a flat rate of $2,500 a year for other cannabis business. It took 64 percent to 36 percent.

Measure AJ, which advises supervisors to spend the tax proceeds on marijuana code enforcement, mental health services, road repairs and fire and emergency medical services, won with 69 percent to 31 percent.

Lake County’s proposed cannabis tax, placed on the ballot by county supervisors and supported by the Lake County Growers Association, won with 62 percent yes votes to 38 percent no votes with all precincts counted.

The tax, ranging from $1 to $3 per square foot for cultivation, was expected to raise about $8 million a year.

Cloverdale’s Measure P, which could generate $500,000 a year from medical cannabis businesses, won 74 percent to 26 percent.

The measure allows the city to charge all permitted cannabis businesses up to 10 percent of gross receipts.

“It looks like it’s going to win hands down,” Mayor Mary Ann Brigham said. Local growers had expressed willingness to pay taxes and the mayor said she was “100 per cent sure” voters would approve it.

Point Arena’s Measure AE, a proposed tax of up to 3 percent of gross sales of medical marijuana and up to 7 percent of recreational marijuana gross sales, won with 66 percent yes votes to 34 percent no votes.