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Colfax, With One Dispensary, Weighs Cannabis Tax

COLFAX -- A marijuana tax in the City of Colfax is becoming a big issue in this upcoming election.

However, there’s currently only one medical marijuana dispensary within the city’s limits. The owners say the measure is unfairly taxing those who need the medication, including cancer patients.

But the city’s mayor says without the tax, on the ballot as Measure C, the city could lose out on a lot of money.

Wendy Dion’s family has run the Golden State Patient Care collective since 2003, but she says they only recently re-opened in December after the city refused to renew their business license in 2012.

Dion says that five-year hiatus already caused problems for patients because the next closest dispensary is 15 miles away in Nevada City.

“Now that we’ve been put back into business, they are very thankful to be able to come here, but a 6 percent increase on their taxes is going to really put a big dent in the medicine that they’re allowed to get,” Dion said.

Dion says many of her patients are on a fixed income. With diagnoses like cancer, any increase hurts their bottom lines.

“Most prescription medications are tax-exempt in all 50 states,” Dion said. “Adding an extra tax to cannabis is just kind of like kicking someone when they’re down.”

One of the biggest supporters of Measure C is Mayor William Stockwin, and he says without it the city won’t get any money from cannabis sales. If that’s the case, Stockwin says, there’s no reason for city council to approve cannabis sales in Colfax.

“If it doesn’t pass, I would see no purpose in restarting an application process,” Stockwin said.

A process to allow another medical business license and two recreational licenses, which the city council put on hold in August, waiting until after the election to continue.

While Dion’s is currently the only cannabis business in town, Stockwin says when that process begins again, that could change.

“I will be in favor of permitting all of them,” Stockwin told FOX40.

If passed, Measure C will allow the city to tax medical and recreational cannabis up to 6 percent, but Stockwin says that doesn’t mean it has to.

He says the city council will ultimately decide the rate, but he hopes to tax medical cannabis lower than recreational.

“Two percent is what I would want to tax them. And I understand they’re cancer patients,” Stockwin said. “Nevertheless, the city needs the money.”