The vote was consentaneous to eliminate a proposal that would’ve enforced extra taxes for medical marijuana dispensaries and growers at the Oct Second Phoenix City Council conference. Mayor Thelda Williams heard reaction from the medical marijuana neighborhood along with issues from members of the City Council concerning openness issues.
The proposed tax was said to raise in between $40– $50 million yearly for Phoenix’s police and fire departments, AZ Central reports. Medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation areas would have been paying the substantial tax.
The tax on growing websites would have been designated at a particular rate per facility size which could been as much as $1 million.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona proposed the brand-new tax. According to Bryan Jeffries, chief of staff for the mayor and likewise president of the firemens union, acknowledged having studied a potential medical cannabis tax for about a year. He suggested that it was due to issues over public safety in Phoenix.
Something like this would normally go before a subcommittee first, however somehow made its method to the City board’s conversation program without other necessary steps initially. Some in the market called this move an ambush.
Medical marijuana clients and dispensary owners packed the City Council’s chambers advising the committee to eliminate the proposal. Some used stickers saying “No New Taxes” and “No Tax on Medicine.”
Councilwoman Debra Stark had an alternative idea to continue the subject for 30-days: meet those in the market prior to making a decision. Her suggestion was not popular amongst those packing the area as boos sounded loudly.
Joe DeMenna of the Arizona Dispensary Association reacted by saying the industry would meet with the council, but under a specific time-frame such as the 30-days discussed.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio recommended killing the proposition and beginning over. DiCiccio recommended that transparent conversations should be held between the council, medical cannabis patients and dispensary owners. He went further to slam the mayor and city staff for being so secretive about the proposal.
J.P. Holyoak of Arizona Natural Selections dispensaries noted that his businesses would have had to pay as much as $2.9 million if the proposal passed. He stated, “I can not manage it. I will close my doors. This is a job killer. But, beyond being just a job killer, we offer medicine to thousands and countless individuals including my child Reese.”
Holyoak was strong and brought his handicapped daughter before the council members. He stated, “See the face of who you’re pursuing.” This move appeared to strike a nerve amongst the council. Shortly later on, an unanimous vote to kill the proposal occurred.
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