FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks City Council has approved a proposed tax on marijuana retail sales that will now be up for debate among voters.
The council unanimously approved a 5 percent tax on marijuana sales on Monday. Fairbanks voters will decide in October whether to accept or reject the tax during Fairbanks' general election, reported The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
"If you look at this, we're not passing a tax, we're letting the people decide if they wanna have a tax on this or not," said Councilman David Pruhs, who sponsored the ordinance.
The levy would apply to transfers of marijuana from any retail establishment to any person or entity, making the buyer responsible for the tax.
If the tax is adopted by voters, the council could lower or eliminate the fee altogether. But any increase, or additional tax on growing or distributing marijuana, would need voter approval.
Under the proposed tax, sellers would be reimbursed 2 percent for collecting the levy if they report and pay taxes on time.
Three members of the public spoke out in opposition of the tax on Monday. Their main objections were taxes in addition to the state imposed $50 per ounce tax, and the likelihood of the tax perpetuating the black market.
According to Fairbanks Charter, any new sales tax — other than hotel, motel, alcohol or tobacco — must be approved by voters.