California — Here’s a sure sign that marijuana dispensaries are on their way to becoming big business: On July 13 the city council of Berkeley, Calif., asked voters to approve a 2.5 percent tax on the city’s marijuana outlets, three of which grossed a total of $19 million last year, all cash. “This is huge,” says Mayor Tom Bates.
The tax will not only help close a $16.2 million budget gap, but it also makes sure that as the sale of pot goes mass market, the local community benefits, not outside business interests, Bates says. “We don’t want to have Philip Morris coming in here, sucking up all the money.”
Taxing pot sales is a growing trend across the nation as fiscally challenged cities eye the public’s budding acceptance of cannabis use. Denver has generated $1.2 million since December, when the city began collecting sales taxes from its 256 dispensaries. On June 15, Washington, D.C., approved a 6 percent tax on what will eventually be five dispensaries. Read the rest of this entry »