Fruita voters decide on sales tax for marijuana

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Voters in the western Colorado town of Fruita were deciding today whether to make their town the first in the state to tax medical marijuana.

The City Council decided to ask voters whether to impose a 5 percent sales tax on medical marijuana to help the town of about 11,000 cover costs of regulating dispensaries.

City Manager Clint Kinney says the town estimates the most it could possibly generate from the tax is $100,000, although even that may be lofty. Only one application to open a dispensary is pending.

A voter-approved amendment to the Colorado constitution allows limited marijuana use for certain medical conditions but doesn’t regulate dispensaries. Fruita’s rules include background checks for dispensary owners.

Last year, Oakland, Calif., became the first city in the country to create a special tax on marijuana sales. Voters approved a measure requiring dispensaries to pay $18 for every $1,000 in gross sales. The rate for other retailers is $1.20 for every $1,000 in gross sales.

The ballot question in Fruita is among dozens of questions posed to voters in at least 134 Colorado cities and towns Tuesday, according to the Colorado Municipal League.

The nine towns of Buena Vista, De Beque, Fruita, Garden City, Haxtun, Moffat, Morrison, New Castle, and Woodland Park had sales or use tax measures on the ballot.

Among other towns, Nederland was asking voters whether it should remove criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana for persons over the age of 21, similar to a measure passed last fall in Breckenridge.

Gilcrest was asking voter approval to operate a high-speed Internet service.

Associated Press

One Response to Fruita voters decide on sales tax for marijuana

  1. It’s only a matter of time. We tax liquor, cigarettes and gambling. Candy and soda pop. Gum. Why not pot?

    Green Flash
    April 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm