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Palm Springs Dispensary Tax Headed for Fall Ballot

Sam Sabzehzar 2013-07-03 0 comments

By Tatiana Sanchez  |  Published in The Desert Sun

Palm Springs voters will be asked this November to decide if legally operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the city will be taxed up to 15 percent on dispensary sales.

The City Council voted 5-0 to place the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If approved, the measure would allow the city to collect up to $15 for every $100 of product sold, according to City Attorney Doug Holland.

Council members also unanimously voted Wednesday night to ban medical marijuana delivery services in Palm Springs that are not affiliated with the three legal dispensaries now operating in the city.

Palm Springs is the only city in the valley that allows dispensaries to operate legally with a city-issued permit, but it caps the number at three.

Shutting down about a dozen other illegal dispensaries in the city has come at a price, council members said. The marijuana tax would be a way to recover some of that money.

“This is not a tax on the medicine,” Councilwoman Ginny Foat said. “The medicine is already taxed. This is not a tax on the product. This directly has to do with the collectives themselves.”

She added that the city has “incurred a lot of costs and we will continue to incur a lot of costs. That is why we’re suggesting this.”

Council acknowledged that if approved by voters in the fall, the tax would inevitably raise marijuana prices for patients.

“Businesses add on costs and carry it to their customers. There is certainly nothing we can do to stop that,” Foat said.