Voters in Colorado town OK medical pot tax

FRUITA, Colo. — A small western Colorado town has become the first in the state to levy a city tax on medical marijuana, even though it doesn’t yet have a dispensary.

Voters in Fruita, a town of about 11,000 at the foot of the Colorado National Monument, decided Tuesday to impose a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana.

One application to sell medical marijuana was pending, but has since been withdrawn. City leaders said they wanted to be ready with a tax source in case a dispensary opens and requires city resources such as additional police patrol.

The tax passed 1,533-936. Dispensaries already pay a 2.9 percent state sales tax, though Colorado revenue officials aren’t sure exactly how much comes from the sale of pot.

Last year, Oakland, Calif., became the first city in the country to create a special tax on marijuana sales.

A voter-approved amendment to the Colorado Constitution allows limited marijuana use for certain medical conditions. Fruita’s rules include background checks for dispensary owners.

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