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Taxing medical marijuana: could it cure Tucson’s budget crisis?

Taxing medical marijuana: could it cure Tucson’s budget crisis?

The city of Tucson wants to charge a tax on medical marijuana sales. Some city leaders see it as a growing tax base. But is the city turning to pot to help blunt the budget crisis? At least one council member thinks so. Councilwoman Shirley Scott is pushing the city to charge a 2% sales tax on all medical marijuana sales as a way to help cure its budget woes. 9 On Your Side wanted to know if the city will then earmark the revenues strictly for funding more police and fire personnel. “Number one, it has not been decided that it can be taxed,” Scott said. “And number two, if it were to be taxed, it would go into the general fund. And perhaps if we decide to do so, we could tag all monies generated there to a specific purpose.” Deborah Van Sant, who wants to run her pharmacy as one of Arizona’s 124 medical marijuana dispensaries, is against the tax. 9OYS Reporter Steve Nuñez asked why she’s against taxing patients. Van Sant pointed out that patients currently don’t pay taxes on their other medications. The City of Tucson claims it can tax medical marijuana because according to the newly passed law, doctors can only recommend a patient use it for medicinal purposes. Van Sant said marijuana is medicine and argues that a doctor writing a recommendation is the same as writing a prescription. “What are we really trying to do? Healthcare,” said Van Sant. “We’re really trying to take care of the patient.” Still, 9OYS wanted to know if taxing pot could really turn into a bonus

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