-Mario Conde, Reporter
Calexico will look to expand its cannabis zoning activities now that the Calexico City Council has given direction to do so.
By a vote of 3-1 with council member Maritza Hurtado voting against, the council voted to allow city staff look at the Cannabis Overlay Zone and possibly expanding it to include retail of cannabis, dispensing and delivery which is not part of the current cannabis zone. A subcommittee made of two council members made the recommendation to look into expanding opportunities in order to bring more revenue to the city.
Expanded commercial cannabis activities could consider shared-used facilities, retailers, non-storefront retailers, and micro-businesses, (commercial business for the cultivation of cannabis on an area less than 10,000 square feet).
In a related agenda item, the council postponed adding a measure on the November ballot establishing a tax to cannabis businesses operating in Calexico. The proposed measure would establish a tax on all cannabis businesses of up to 15% of gross receipts from the sale of cannabis and related products. The measure would also establish an additional tax on cannabis businesses of up to $20 of square foot utilized for cannabis businesses, which may generally apply to cultivation/processing.
Calexico city staff believed that if approved, the tax is anticipated to generate approximately $700,000 General Fund revenues that will go to support city programs, parks, fire and police services. The tax initiative needed to be passed by four affirmative votes but since council member Armando Real was absent due to illness and Hurtado against it, the council decided to bring back this issue at the next regular meeting.
In 2017, Calexico became the first city in the Imperial Valley to pass an ordinance regarding permits for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distributing. The item went before the planning commission to discuss the zoning of where the cultivation facilities may be located and the requirements to open one.