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South Lake Tahoe City Council to discuss cannabis tax ballot measure

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council will be discussing a new ballot measure which would do away with the cannabis community benefit fee and instead charge a cannabis tax during its Tuesday, June 21, meeting.

As part of the cannabis ordinance, approved in 2019, cannabis businesses were charged a community benefit fee that was set aside into a grant fund. According to the staff report, while the regulations have been working, they are time intensive for staff.

The staff report continued, “Alternate solutions which would allow for the same cost to businesses, without this annual administrative need, have been explored. There is also a desire on the part of the city to provide stability to local cannabis businesses, setting a tax that cannot be increased without voter approval, but which could be adjusted downward if the city needs and economic conditions warrant.”



The cannabis subcommittee recommended the tax and the city has since been reaching out to stakeholders. 

If the council approves the ballot measure, it would need to receive a majority vote in the Nov. 8 election. Staff recommends setting the tax at 6%, which is the highest allowable amount and the same as the current community benefit fee. 



“The revenue collected from the tax would be available for general city expenditures, including the service priorities that residents have identified as important, including maintaining fire protection and fast emergency response, reducing the threat of wildfires, repairing streets and potholes, and maintaining snow removal, as well as nonprofit community benefit grants and other services that are critical to our neighborhoods and residents’ health and safety,” the staff report states. 

Prior to discussing this item, the council will receive a presentation of the 2022 Cannabis Revenue Grant Awards. The grant applications were reviewed by the mayor, one city council finance committee member, the city manager and the city’s finance director.

Out of 23 grant applications, 14 organizations were chosen, including Soroptimist, TAMBA, Tahoe Alliance for Safe Kids, and Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless. 

Council is being asked to approve the final design for the multi-generational recreation and aquatics center, as well as approving a nearly $3.8 million contract with McCuen Construction Inc. for Phase 1 of the project. 

Phase 1 consists of site and utility work and if approved, work will begin July 2022 with an estimated completion of November 2022. 

Finally, during the meeting, council will decide whether or not to adopt stricter greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for 2030. 

“In December 2021, the City Council passed a Resolution 2021-104 aspiring to achieve 100% renewable electricity, 24/7, from carbon free sources, connected to the local grid by 2030. This goal sets a higher bar than simply ‘100% renewable energy’ because it means that the city would actually be consuming electrons generated by renewable energy 24 hours a day, rather than by purchasing renewable energy credits while actually consuming fossil-based energy,” the staff report states. 

If approved, the new reduction goal would be 59.2% by 2030, compared to the current 50% goal. 

This change would align the city with the goals established by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which a city is a member of. By aligning the goals, the city will be eligible for ICLEI grants. 

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. It can be viewed in person at 1901 Lisa Maloff Way or remotely on Channel 21, the city’s website or https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85984849161.


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