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North Bay Business Journal – Op-Ed: Napa Needs to Embrace Adult Use Sale of Cannabis

Caity Maple is the vice president of Government Affairs & Compliance for Perfect Union, a cannabis retailer. Maple educates and advises policymakers on cannabis regulatory systems, local revenue funding mechanisms and compliance.

AUGUST 13, 2021

NAPA, Calif. — As California reopens from the global pandemic, Napa has a unique opportunity to stabilize its local economy and maintain a high quality of life.

Embracing the adult use sale of cannabis could help the City of Napa grow its sales tax base and build tourism without sacrificing its ethos or safety.

California’s cannabis industry has helped both the state and local governments achieve financial stability in recent years. At the beginning of June, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) reported that California’s cannabis excise tax generated $131.9 million in revenue and the cultivation tax generated $30.7 million so far this year. Sales tax from cannabis businesses totaled $82.4 million in revenue for the same period.

The city of Marysville recently expanded into adult use after allowing only medicinal sales and attributed cannabis sales as key to their stable revenue during COVID-19. The town of over 12,300 residents budgeted for $400,000 from cannabis – but had already collected $361,000 in March 2021. They’re now estimating the city will end the fiscal year with almost $800,000 for the general budget fund.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also recently announced regulations for “Appellations of Origin” in cannabis, which presents another tremendous marketing and tourism opportunity across the valley. The appellation process also provides an opportunity for local thought leadership towards protecting legacy growers and environmental farming practices.

In addition, allowing safe and regulated access to cannabis would help diminish the illicit market that is alive and well in the region. Two years after legalization, illegal sellers still outnumber legal and regulated businesses almost 3 to 1, as many municipalities across California have been slow or hesitant to embrace the regulated market.

The reality is that many Napa residents choose not to obtain a medical cannabis card for a variety of reasons, including the associated costs or a desire to not be on a government-maintained list.

Yet, nearly all adult use customers purchase cannabis in seek of relief. Perfect Union customers report cannabis helping with sleep, pain management and increasing appetite, and our adult use cannabis dispensaries in other cities help many customers battling serious diseases and opioid addiction.

The legal and regulated cannabis industry also offers local residents good-paying jobs and the opportunity to serve their communities with compassionate care rooted in consumer education and quality products.

Perfect Union was among the first in the industry to embrace labor principles and practices, providing our employees all of the health benefits and protection afforded to United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) workers.

The stigma around this healing plant is fast eroding. More than 9 in 10 Americans now support making cannabis legal for either adult use or medical purposes. Napa’s city ordinance would also honor the will of the voters who passed Proposition 64 (2016), which enshrined the legal right for those over the age of 21 to access and consume cannabis into the state’s constitution.

It’s time for the Napa City Council to follow the policy priorities they outlined earlier this year to adopt an ordinance that allows the adult use sale of cannabis within city boundaries. It would be a major step forward to fuel economic growth and quality of life for Napa residents.

SOURCE: North Bay Business Journal 

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