Pot excise tax in Rifle likely before voters
Citizen Telegram Editor
An excise tax on the marijuana grow operations in Rifle that is likely to be on the November general election ballot and whether to allow open containers of alcohol in a confined downtown area were among issues discussed in a wide-ranging July 2 City Council work session.
City Attorney Jim Neu said since other local governments and the state of Colorado have excise taxes on recreational marijuana grow operations, “there’s no reason not to get going on it here.”
“We’ll probably just piggy back on what the state does,” he added.
According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, retail marijuana is subject to a 15 percent state excise tax on the average market price of retail marijuana. The excise tax is imposed on the first sale or transfer from a retail marijuana cultivation facility to a retail marijuana store, retail marijuana product manufacturing facility or to another retail marijuana cultivation facility.
Neu said a council workshop would likely be scheduled before the issue comes before council for a decision on placing it on the ballot. Council workshops are public meetings, but council can not make any decisions on items discussed.
Councilman Dirk Myers brought up the idea of allowing open containers of alcohol within a three- to four-block area of downtown at certain times and events, so bar and restaurant customers could take their drinks from one establishment to another. Myers said other municipalities had allowed the idea as a way of boosting local business.
Councilman Hans Parkinson wondered if the liability of one business owner follows a customer who takes a drink elsewhere and something illegal happens.
Myers also said he thought the current practice of having City Council appoint members of the planning and zoning commission and then not being allowed to comment on issues before that body – since the council is the appeals board – should be changed.
“I think it might be better to have all P&Z decisions go to council, even on the consent agenda, and we appoint a different appeals board,” Myers said.
Neu said while individual council members can comment at P&Z meetings as individuals, it is possible for P&Z members to feel threatened if private discussions with a council member occur.
“As long as you only comment at the meetings, I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” he added.
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