The city collected more than $3.5 million last fiscal year through taxes on medical marijuana collectives. Some city officials want more.
Councilmember Sam Liccardo, along with Rose Herrera and Pierluigi Olivero, put forth a plan Monday to put all medical marijuana collectives not paying their Measure U taxes out of business. According to the city’s Department of Finance, in the past fiscal year, 80 of the 158 medical marijuana dispensaries have “never, or only sporadically, paid the medical marijuana tax approved by voters in 2010 through Measure U.”
The councilmembers signed on to the memo have become increasingly frustrated with the failed efforts to reinforce Measure U taxes after an ordinance to cap collectives was overturned following a successful referendum effort.
“This has left many observers scratching our heads,” Liccardo said in the memo. “After all of the work and resources to pass ballot measures and ordinances to regulate and tax medical marijuana, we still don’t have any mechanism for effective enforcement of those rules.”
The three councilmembers’ memo does commend the dispensaries that “have demonstrated a good faith commitment to fully comply with state and local laws.” The memo goes on to say that these collectives “share the frustration of City Finance officials because the lawless practices of their competitors put them at a financial disadvantage.”
A proposal will be heard at the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday. The proposal offers two options. The first option is to give the city the ability to shut down non-compliant medical marijuana dispensaries and revoke their licenses. The second option would give City Manager Debra Figone the ability to arrange the closure of any business—marijuana-related or not—for not paying taxes and fees. Oversight would be done to ensure due diligence is completed.