Milpitas council kills cannabis sales tax measure proposal

MILPITAS — After briefly reviving the idea of potentially placing a cannabis business sales tax measure on the November ballot, the Milpitas City Council has killed the proposal.

The council on Tuesday night was scheduled to consider both a cannabis business sales tax measure, as well as a general sales tax measure, but ultimately decided to put the general sales tax discussion off to a later meeting, and to ditch the cannabis sales tax idea altogether.

Though the council had previously banned all cannabis businesses from operating in the city, Mayor Rich Tran late last month said he wanted to let voters decide on the sales tax issue as a way to gauge community support for cannabis.

The prospect of cannabis businesses in the city has rankled hundreds who showed up to prior council meetings, vehemently opposing the idea.

Councilman Anthony Phan, who had previously tried to get a similar tax on the ballot in 2018, said Tuesday it was clear community and council support for the latest proposal just wasn’t there.

He said he wanted to skip hearing the roughly 100 new public comments that had been submitted to the city clerk about the issue.

“The comments related to…the cannabis tax, we can skip that headache there,” Phan said.

“I’m trying to save us all time here. Because I think that I don’t have votes to further it, the arithmetic just doesn’t add up. And I’d rather not get into a heated conversation, and so that we can be productive here,” Phan said.

The council voted to ban all cannabis businesses in late 2018 after hearing a large amount of community opposition.

Although California voters legalized recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64 in November 2016, the law allows cities to regulate it within their own boundaries. In Milpitas, the initiative was supported by 51.2 percent of the vote.

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Author: Joseph Geha

Mercury News Business