Crime /

San Francisco Suspends Cannabis Tax in Attempt to Decrease Crime

The ordinance also aims to alleviate financial pressure on retail cannabis stores struggling to compete with the illicit market

This week San Francisco’s city supervisors voted unanimously to accept an ordinance suspending an incoming tax on cannabis retailers.  

San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. who is responsible for the ordinance, said in a recent interview that the suspension is intended to help out legal cannabis retailers who are trying to compete with illegal dealers and a spike in theft — both issues that appear to be plaguing the city.

The tax, a 1% to 5% citywide tax on cannabis businesses, was approved by voters in November 2018 and was slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. This new ordinance, which passed last Tuesday, suspends the tax through Dec. 31, 2022.

“Cannabis businesses create good jobs for San Franciscans and provide safe, regulated products to their customers,” Mandelman told the San Francisco Examiner.

“Sadly, the illegal market is flourishing by undercutting the prices of legal businesses, which is bad for our economy as illegal businesses pay no taxes while subjecting workers to dangerous conditions and consumers to dangerous products. Now is not the time to impose a new tax on small businesses that are just getting established and trying to compete with illicit operators,” Mandelman added.

Mandelman suggested that the ordinance is intended to help offset the losses due to a staggering surge in crime during the past year in San Francisco; a surge that has directly impacted cannabis retailers.

“Cannabis businesses, along with many other retailers in San Francisco, are struggling under the weight of out-of-control retail theft,” Mandelman said. “San Francisco needs to do more to protect these businesses, their employees, and their customers before we hit them with a new tax.”

The weekend after Thanksgiving, large groups of thieves hit a handful of pharmacies and marijuana dispensaries in Oakland. Local police reported that the mobs in Oakland fired 175 shots during the incidents, forcing all officers to pull back to safe locations.

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