City puts marijuana tax question back on ballot
The marijuana tax question is being put before the City of Yuma electors again.
The Yuma City Council voted to approve putting the question on the April municipal ballot, which also includes a council election, Tuesday night during its regular meeting.
It is the exact same tax question that was narrowly defeated (635-657) in the November 2016 election.
City Manager Scott Moore put it on the agenda for this past Tuesday’s meeting because, he said, he thought it was important voters have a chance to re-read the ballot question.
He stressed it is a tax question, not a question seeking approval for the legal sale of marijuana in Yuma.
The question asks voters to approve a city sales tax of at least 5 percent, with wiggle room to increase to as much as 10 percent, and for the city to generate up to $1 million annually from the tax, on the legal sale of marijuana.
Currently, there is not any effort underway to attempt to bring medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries to Yuma. That would require a separate vote by the electors. It could be presented as a citizens’ initiative.
The tax question that will be on the April ballot will allow the city to have a tax system in place to generate revenue if that ever was to come to pass.
If the city does not have a tax system in place, and a voter-initiated ballot question was approved to allow dispensaries in town, the city would have no way to generate its own sales tax revenue off the sales.
Therefore, Moore said he thought it was important for the electors to have another chance at it.
He added that research done by the city showed that most municipalities set the pot sales tax at 5 percent.
“It’s not a tax everyone has to pay,” Moore said. “It’s a tax someone might pay if a dispensary were to ever locate here.”