Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jul 2010
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley


Redding will not join a small but growing group of California cities
looking to shore up faltering budgets by taxing marijuana.

A City Council majority this evening strongly rejected the idea of
taxing Redding's 19 medicinal cannabis clubs.

Council members seemed more willing to consider a tax on recreational
marijuana, should voters on Nov. 2 approve Prop. 19. That ballot
measure would allow possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for any

But with Prop. 19's passage far from certain, council members said
it's too soon to consider a tax -- or to discuss whether the city
would even allow non-medical marijuana retailers to operate.

Council members did not take a formal vote on whether or not to go
forward with a marijuana tax.

The council had planned to discuss a possible tax on cannabis clubs in
August, when it's due to review the city's regulations on the
nonprofit collectives.

But Vice Mayor Missy McArthur 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 done.

Money from the tax would go to the police department, she

"I am not normally a tax person, but if it's something negative for
your health we all pay for it," McArthur said.

That statement drew sharp rebukes from several medicinal cannabis
patients and growers who spoke. 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 James Eagle." I don't see the council
taxing pharmacies because they are dispensing something that abuses

Jess Brewer, who owns the Trusted Friends collective, said his
business already pays state sales tax on its product even though it's
a nonprofit.

Still, he said, he'd favor a tax if it directly benefitted the
community. But the city should relent on some of its regulations in
exchange, he said.

Council members Dick Dickerson and Mary Stegall strongly opposed the
idea of taxing medical marijuana.

"There are people who abuse it (medical marijuana) and people who
don't, and that is the people (this tax) would impact," Dickerson said. 
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