CA: Redding City Council Rejects Marijuana Tax


Photo: The Sacramento Bee
Medical marijuana entrepreneur Stephen Gasparas operates a Redding warehouse where he grows medical marijuana for patients.

​Redding won’t be joining a growing group of California cities looking to fix budget deficits by taxing medical marijuana.

A City Council majority on Tuesday evening strongly rejected the idea of taxing the city’s 19 medical cannabis dispensaries, reports Scott Mobley at The Redding Record Searchlight.
“There are people who abuse it (medical marijuana), and people who don’t, and that is the people (this tax) would impact,” said council member Dick Dickerson, who, along with Mary Stegall, strongly opposed the concept of taxing medicinal cannabis.

Photo: Dick Dickerson
Redding City Councilman Dick Dickerson: “There are people who abuse it and people who don’t, and that is the people (this tax) would impact”

​​Council members signaled more willingness to consider a tax on recreational marijuana, should voters approve Prop 19, a ballot measure to legalize up to an ounce for adults, in November.
But with the legalization measure facing an uncertain future, council members said it is too soon to consider a tax, or to discuss whether the city would allow non-medical marijuana retailers to operate.
No formal vote was taken on whether to go forward with a marijuana tax.
The council had planned to discuss in August a possible tax on medical marijuana dispensaries, when it is due to review the city’s regulations on the nonprofit collectives.
But Vice Mayor Missy McArthur had an idea: She wanted to bring the tax idea up in time to put a companion measure on the November ballot, as Sacramento, Long Beach, Berkeley and other cities have already done.
Money from the tax would go to the police department, according to McArthur.
“I am not normally a tax person, but if it’s something negative for your health we all pay for it,” McArthur said, neglecting to mention any studies which have actually shown marijuana to be harmful.
McArthur’s moronic statement did not go unchallenged by several medical marijuana patients and growers who spoke at the City Council meeting. Many criticized the idea of taxing medicinal cannabis when other medications are not taxed.
“Other pharmaceuticals make our noses bleed and our rectums bleed and cause loss of hearing,” said patient James Engle. “I don’t see the council taxing pharmacies because they are dispensing something that abuses bodies.”
Dispensary owner Jess Brewer, who operates the Trusted Friends collective, said his business already pays state sales tax, even though it is a nonprofit.
Still, Brewer said, he would favor a tax if it directly benefited the community. But the city should relax some of its medical marijuana regulations in exchange, he said.