Anchorage Assembly set to debate proposed marijuana tax
Anchorage Assembly members have a busy night ahead of them as members prepare to debate the ballot measures and bonds that will go before voters this April.
One hot issue is a five percent sales tax on all retail marijuana products sold within the municipality.
If approved, it would also allow the Assembly to increase the tax every two years by two percent — with a 12 percent cap.
Assembly chair Dick Traini said he supports the tax, and said it’s necessary to cover the cost of enforcing regulations.
“We have to have new people in code enforcement to make sure these businesses are operating correctly,” Traini said. “We are going to need more police officers and we are going to need more clerks to process the applications. There’s a cost associated with it.”
Marijuana advocates say a five percent tax is reasonable but if it increases over time it would create pricing that can’t compete with the black market.
Kim Kole with the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation said the Assembly’s actions do not welcome the new industry.
“The cannabis community is a little frustrated that we are perpetually having to go and testify over and over and over again for the same things,” Kole said. “We feel that these are back door channels in trying to opt out or trying to suffocate the industry itself.”
If the Assembly passes the marijuana tax, it will then go before the voters in April and must obtain at least 60 percent voter approval to be enacted.
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