MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) – After the city council approves the electoral language on Wednesday night, Montpelier voters will decide on city assembly day – less than two months away – whether or not to allow retail marijuana to be sold in the city for the next year.
Back in September, the Vermont House and the Senate approved a system of taxed and regulated retail sales. Governor Phil Scott made the bill into law in October without signing it.
“I think we (in Montpelier) want to make the decision early in this process – do we want retail cannabis? If we don’t do that, that’s fine. I don’t feel like showing it a second time, ”said Councilor Conor Casey. “But when we do that, we go over the motions to get it right.”
Marijuana and its by-products have a government surcharge of 20% – a government excise tax of 14% and a government sales tax of 6%. Pot sales are expected to generate government revenues of $ 13.3 million to $ 24.2 million each year through 2025.
However, are there any local taxes or fees added to that? According to Virginia Renfrew, an advisor who helped pass the Vermont Act, that depends on whether there is already a local option tax in place.
“If you have a local tax – which I think is 1% – when you have that now, you can apply that to the cannabis retail business,” she said. “My understanding, if you’re a city that doesn’t have this, you can’t put it in after the store comes in.”
It’s unclear whether Montpelier would have a local marijuana tax. There is already a local option tax on meals, rooms and alcohol, but no local option sales tax. Police Chief Brian Peete added that marijuana legislation may be advancing faster than law enforcement can keep up.
“On my previous assignment, when marijuana was legalized, we used to see break-ins and robberies in pharmacies, so I’d say to make sure we deal with security practices,” he said.
The vote on the day of the city assembly in Montpelier on March 2nd is not just about independent retail stores. A medical marijuana pharmacy is already in operation in the capital. Because of this, voters will not only be considering retail licenses, but also built-in licenses that will allow anyone who already runs a pharmacy to expand into retail.
Companies with an integrated license can start selling pots in May next year. Anyone with a retail license can start five months later, in October 2022.