Laguna Woods to Vote on Cannabis Tax

By Carol Cassis
Carol Cassis
Carol Cassis
April 21, 2022Updated: April 21, 2022

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif.—The Laguna Woods City Council voted 4–1 on April 20 to move forward a tax on cannabis businesses, despite the city’s existing ban on retail cannabis.

Mayor Carol Moore, who is up for reelection this year, was the dissenting vote.

The ordinance—which will need final approval from the city council at its May 18 meeting—would place a measure on the November ballot to tax cannabis businesses in the city.

Such an ordinance would not lift the city’s ban on retail cannabis, but it would place regulations on cannabis businesses if the city were to lift the ban in the future.

The ordinance proposes maximum tax rates on cannabis businesses in the city—similar to Santa Ana—and would allow the council to increase rates over time.

Retail businesses would pay 4 to 10 percent on their total revenues, with non-retail businesses—such as indoor cultivation and distribution—paying between 1 to 10 percent.

This would generate roughly $750,000 for the city annually, according to the city.

The ordinance was first introduced in September 2021, when the council agreed to draft the provision.

These efforts followed Measure V—approved by a narrow margin in 2020—in which a majority of residents voted in support of allowing cannabis dispensaries, both medical and recreational, to operate commercially in the city.

Similar efforts were made in Huntington Beach, another city prohibiting cannabis businesses, in early March.

The Laguna Woods City Councilors did not respond to requests for comment.