Arizona Medical Marijuana patients are up in arms after the Phoenix city council announced they want to create a new 17% tax on cannabis operations within the city limits. Facing massive budget shortfalls, Mayor Thelda Williams and City Manager Ed Zuercher are planning the new city cannabis tax on businesses, even though the eventual burden will be shouldered by Phoenix metro area medical marijuana patients. “We are desperate for money,” Mayor Thelda Williams admitted. ” I need a whole new source.” Williams isn’t fooling around either. She plans to hold the preliminary vote THIS WEEK!
The plan is to tax the cannabis industry operations based on the size of their retail and cultivation facilities. Williams aims to raise as much as $50 million dollars a year off the industry, which means the prices of PHX cannabis products are going to increase accordingly. A cultivation operation the size of Phoenix Cannabis Company on W. McDowell would see an estimated $1.5 million a year in increased taxes. Serious public action can change this direction.
As Joe Demenna, executive director of the Arizona Dispensary Association (ADA) noted in his call to action to their members, “If you think this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live or shop in the City of Phoenix, think again. If the City of Phoenix is successful with this, every city in Arizona will quickly follow suit.” Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA) founder, Demitri Downing is also calling for action to their members: “This proposition would infringe on medical marijuana licensee’s property rights. Further, this licensing and tax structure would not only harm the local business owners, but also the patients. This tax and licensing structure would ultimately force the business owners to increase the cost of the patient’s medication to make up for the tax. It would not only hurt the business, but the patients as well.”
AZ-NORML joins these two organizations (and the dispensaries that are blasting out the message to their email lists) in calling for a public demonstration for patients and cannabis supporters outside PHX City Hall at 2pm. Interested patients and supporters are also encouraged to express their concerns to the city council at their meeting which starts at 230pm.
Go to Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington 85003 at 2pm Tuesday, Oct 2nd. Join the demonstration outside or, if you are prepared to respectfully endure a public hearing, join the audience at the city council chambers and sign-up to speak by filling out a comment card. You will be granted 1-3 minutes.
After the city council hearing, we invite you all to join us for our regularly scheduled monthly AZ-NORML meeting to share your experience. Featured speaker, LD 9’s Pam Powers-Hannley, will be introducing her 2019 legislative agenda. 929 E Indian School, 7pm.
ONE MORE THING …
We are asking all AZ cannabis supporters, patients or no, to join in a phone call/email campaign to the Phoenix City Council. PLEASE, let them know the crisis adding 17% to the cost of cancer patient medication will cause. The ADA has provided this link to directly email the members of the Phoenix City Council. And, MITA has provided this list of Phoenix City Council members’ contact info.
Thelda Williams, Mayor
THX again for fighting for cannabis rights. In the long run we know cannabis will prevail. For now help us #FighttheCancerTax ! YOU can make a difference today.
State Director, Arizona NORML
4490 Sundown Dr
So-Hi, AZ 86413