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Woodstock City Council OKs 3 percent tax on marijuana

Woodstock City Manager Roscoe Stelford discusses a 3% tax on the gross receipts of cannabis retailers on Tuesday.
Woodstock City Manager Roscoe Stelford discusses a 3% tax on the gross receipts of cannabis retailers on Tuesday.

The Woodstock City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday establishing a 3% tax on the gross sales receipts of recreational marijuana retailers.

As part of the new law legalizing recreational marijuana, which takes effect in January, municipalities may impose up to a 3% tax on marijuana-based retailers.

Council voted, 5-1, in favor of the proposal, with council member Darrin Flynn voting against it.

Flynn, who asked that the item be removed from the consent agenda for separate consideration, said that setting the tax at the cap may discourage new businesses from coming to Woodstock, especially if neighboring municipalities set lower taxes.

“It’s a new industry, and it’s a new business, and we have to show that we are open for business,” Flynn said.

Council member Mike Turner said he thinks having a 3% tax is the right decisions as it relates to future revenue for proper law enforcement. However, he asked to staff to look into offering incentives for potential retailers in order to remain competitive in the county.

Council member Wendy Piersall said it is important to note that the tax would not serve as a new source of revenue for the suit. All of the proceeds will likely go to increased police training and enforcement in response to legalization, she added.

Currently, 55 dispensaries are allowed to operate under state law. By next summer, an additional 75 will be allowed and by the end of 2021, up to 110 more may be allowed to open.

A nonrefundable application fee of $5,000 is required under the new law for a Conditional Adult use Dispensing Organization License.

In addition to a 3% local tax, the county also can levy up to 3%.

Not including local taxes and a 7% tax imposed when cannabis products are sold by cultivation centers to resellers, consumers could pay between 17% and 32% in retail taxes, depending on a products potency, according to a memo from Assistant City Manager Paul Christensen to City Manager Roscoe Stelford.

However, these taxes would not apply to medical marijuana transactions.

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