Measure Q – Medical Cannabis Business License Tax

On June 28, 2016, the Stockton City Council approved placing two ballot Measures on the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot that would overturn the current ban on medical cannabis (marijuana) dispensaries, allow medical cannabis cultivation businesses within the City, and would allow for the increase of business license tax on medical cannabis and marijuana-related businesses. Council approved placing both Measures on the ballot by a vote of 7 – 0, adopting Resolutions 2016-06-28-1503-01 and 2016-06-28-1503-02.  Measure Q was approved by 63.79 percent of voters.


Measure Q - Approved by Voters

Measure Q increases the rate of the medical cannabis business license tax by proposing amendments to Chapters 5.98 and 5.99 of the Stockton Municipal Code (SMC):

  • Increases and establishes a range of rates for the City’s medical cannabis business license tax;
  • Allows the City Council to raise or lower the business license tax within a range of between $35 - $50, per $1,000 in gross receipts of medical cannabis, and
  • Authorizes a business license tax for non-medical/recreational marijuana of $100 per $1,000 in gross receipts, should State or Federal law be changed to allow the use of marijuana for any non-medical purpose.


Ballot Question 

The following ballot question will be submitted to the voters at the municipal election called for on Tuesday, November 8, 2016:


"Shall Ordinance 2016-06-28-1503 be adopted to amend provisions of the City of Stockton Municipal Code governing businesses subject to the marijuana business license tax and to increase the rate for the medical cannabis business license tax to a minimum of $35.00 and a maximum of $50.00 per $1,000 of the annual gross receipts of medical cannabis businesses, estimated to raise $672,000 - $1,000,000 annually for general City Services, which tax shall continue until repealed by the City Council or City voters?"


Impartial Analysis

The following impartial analysis of the proposed ballot measure has been prepared by the City Attorney and will appear in the Voter Information Guide for City of Stockton voters:


The City Council of the City of Stockton is submitting to the voters the question of whether to approve an ordinance that would amend Chapter 5.98 of the Stockton Municipal Code to increase the business license tax on a medical cannabis business from $25 per $1,000 in gross receipts to a maximum tax of $50 per $1,000 in gross receipts and make certain changes to Chapter 5.99 that do not affect the existing tax rate for marijuana businesses that are not medical cannabis businesses. The measure does not authorize illegal activity or supplant any other state law or local prerequisite or requirement for operation of any business.


The new tax rate would be levied on the gross receipts of every medical cannabis business operating in the City of Stockton beginning January 1, 2017. The precise amount of the tax to be imposed would be set by ordinance or resolution of the Stockton City Council, but it may not exceed the maximum amount of tax stated above.


The current tax rate of $25 per $1,000 in gross receipts will continue to be effective, unless this measure is approved by a majority vote of the electors casting ballots on the measure at the November 8, 2016 election and until the new rate is then subsequently set by the City Council.


The measure would amend the definition of "gross receipts" to broaden and simplify the application of the tax; define the term "Medical Cannabis"; and define the term "Medical Cannabis Business" to encompass a broad range of potential businesses, including dispensaries and cultivators.


The measure also amends Chapter 5.99 by updating the purpose and intent provisions; broadening the definition of "Marijuana Business" and clarifying that the application of the tax on recreational or other non-medical marijuana shall apply at such time that state or federal law, and the City Code allow such a use in the City.


If approved, tax proceeds would be placed in the City's general fund and would be available for any legal purpose.


A "Yes" vote is a vote to approve the imposition of the increased business license tax. A "No" vote is a vote to not impose the increase in tax, and the tax would remain at the current rate. The measure would be approved and the increased tax imposed if a majority of the qualified electors voting on the measure vote "Yes".


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Measure Q?

There are currently two (2) medical cannabis dispensaries in the city of Stockton that were permitted before the current ban. Measure Q would increase the business license tax for these medical cannabis dispensaries, any future additional medical cannabis businesses, such as those being proposed under Measure P, and any future non-medical/recreational marijuana-related businesses should state or federal law change.


What is the Stockton Municipal Code? 

The Stockton Municipal Code is a set of local laws, specific to our city, that apply within the city, in addition to state and federal law.


How come the City Council doesn’t change the Municipal Code?

State law requires that authority to increase business license taxes must be approved by voters.


Is there more information?

A complete copy of the proposed changes is available as part of the June 28, 2016, City Council Meeting Agenda Item 15.3. Following are links to the Council Resolution and a copy of the proposed changes:


For addition information, please see Measure P Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Cultivation.


External Links

California Secretary of State - Ballot Initiative Guide

San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters

This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 1/4/2017