Editorial: Consider the tax implications

Concern has been shown as to taxes paid by medical marijuana production facilities

While many may think that a medical marijuana grow op will bring lots of revenue to a municipality or a regional district, that may not be the case.

It appears a Medical Marijuana Production(MMP) facility can become a farm and the resulting property taxes would be far less than if the property was classed as an industrial zone. Business taxes are generally three times that of residential and can build up the coffers in a significant way compared to a property with farm status. An example would be the proposed MMP facility in Otter Point. If it was industrial the taxes would be roughly $7,600 and if it had farm status the taxes would be $176. That is a significant difference. This could destroy a community’s tax base plain and simple.

So what is the solution? A grandfather clause?  A covenant? A case by case exemption? That is something that will have to be sorted out to ensure a municipality or a regional district isn’t short-changed by changes to zoning. While the idea of MMP facilities is a good one, all of the pros and cons haven’t yet been figured out. Rushing to allow MMP facilities may be rather short-sighted and the whole picture needs to be looked at.

Those folks growing a bit of bud in the backyard or basement, whether legal or illegal, will no longer have it sanctioned and the big industrial aspect of MMP facilities will take over.  Big brother takes over and the problem with this is that a black market will continue to exist and people will take the risk and grow illegal marijuana.

What changes? The community gets less tax money, the mom and pop growers go underground and big business takes over.

This may lead to re-consideration of support for large MMP facilities because the little guys get shafted once again.