marijuana plant
A marijuana plant. Times of San Diego photo

An ordinance setting tax rates for the legal cannabis industry in unincorporated areas of San Diego County was approved Tuesday by the  Board of Supervisors.

The rates approved in a 3-1 vote with Supervisor Jim Desmond dissenting are:

  • 2% of retail gross receipts
  • 2.5% of manufacturing and processing gross receipts
  • 2% of gross receipts of distribution
  • a square footage tax, tied to the cultivation area on the business permit

The taxes will go into effect July 1. They are permitted under Measure A, approved by voters in November.

Revenue from the taxes for the 2023-24 fiscal year is estimated at $1.83 million, according to information on Tuesday’s board agenda.

“This revenue projection depends on a variety of factors, including an increased concentration of retailers, market influences on the price of cannabis products, as well as future policy and land use decisions by the board,” according to the agenda. “It should not be assumed that these revenues will materialize within the first several years of the effective date of the tax rates.”

Costs for administering the cannabis taxes are $323,311, which includes increasing county staff by at least two.

Five marijuana operations are allowed to operate within unincorporated areas of the county — three in Ramona and one each in unincorporated areas bordering El Cajon and Escondido.

City News Service contributed to this article.