Porterville to talk pot business possibilities

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Currently, commercial cannabis activity is not allowed within Porterville city limits.

But on Wednesday night, councilmembers will start a conversation about holding a city election, where voters could decide to change that.

Voters would say yes or no to giving the city authority to tax marijuana-related businesses, such as dispensaries or testing facilities.

"In Porterville, we're just so small, (a) small community," said Martin Tapia, a lifetime Porterville resident. "It just surprised me a lot to hear that."

"It's a very broad issue in a short period of time," said Porterville City Manager John Lollis.

If councilmembers want to put the pot business tax on the November ballot, they'll have to decide soon, the deadline is next Friday.

They're also considering a sales tax measure that would help fund public safety and road projects.

"As that's being looked at, perhaps we should also get the community's or the voters' sense of what their receptiveness is or what their interests are in regards to cannabis-related businesses in the community," Lollis said.

Lollis says the city has a history of supporting medical marijuana use, so he thinks councilmembers will limit this discussion to those types of businesses.

But unlike the sales tax measure, he says the cannabis tax does not have to be on a general election ballot, so councilmembers could wait.

Or, they may decide to move forward, when they meet at next week's regularly scheduled meeting.

Lollis says the ballot language would include the tax mechanisms and specify if it's related to medical or recreational marijuana businesses.
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