San Jose Tackles Cannabis Club Issue

Collectives' taxes could be boon for city's funds

Monday, Mar 29, 2010  |  Updated 10:03 AM PDT
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Justin Sullivan

Allowing medical cannabis collectives and benifiting from the taxes could be a golden -- green -- opportunity to help keep the city from falling further into debt.

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San Jose city leaders are expected this week to decide how to regulate the city's growing crop of medical marijuana dispensaries.

The city's code enforcement division recently sent letters to the landlords of 20 dispensaries, warning them that they could face huge fines if cannabis clubs on their property stay in business.

The legal action fueled the dispensaries to form a super-collective of a sort, which have been working to become more politically organized. They now are lobbying the City Council and are asking to be taxed. They are also working to clean up the language surrounding the debate. Instead of the terms "pot" and "marijuana," they are calling for the collectives to use the more politically-accepted term, "cannabis."

The city council on Tuesday will debate whether it should impose a special tax on collectives instead. With a state initiative to legalize pot for adults headed to the November ballot, the decision could have even further implications. Allowing the clubs and benifitting from the taxes could be a golden -- green -- opportunity to help keep the city from falling further into debt.

Councilman Oliverio Pierluigi recognizes the importance of taxing medical marijuana establishments that are following state rules. He sees the proposal to legalize marijuana for recreatuional use as a "gift to the cities" because of the funds they could generate.

Council members will also consider new regulations to keep them out of residential neighbohoods.

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