Exeter City Council indicates they do not want commercial marijuana within city limits at all

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By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

EXETER – Cities are starting to put their foot down on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to commercial marijuana. And when it comes to Exeter, they’re saying wait and see what happens in other cities.

At the Sept. 12 Exeter City Council meeting last week, city attorney Julia Lew said that the Council needs to do something if they do not want to accept the State’s law at the beginning for 2018 which is far more relaxed than most cities’ ordinances. The last time the Council took on the issue of commercial marijuana they were ambivalent over which way the City should go. But last week the Council all but explicitly said that they do not want commercial sales of marijuana in the city limits – for now.

“I don’t think that Exeter should be a trailblazer for anything…so I’m in favor of prohibition over commercial activities in Exeter. But down the line we can see what everyone else does,” mayor Teresa Boyce said.

Nearby cities like Woodlake and Farmersville have adopted ordinances to regulate cannabis businesses whether it is distribution centers, indoor cultivation plants or direct to consumer sales. The Exeter Council agreed to have Lew draw up an ordinance that prohibits any commercial sales of marijuana in the city limits but leave it up to change if the council or future councils want to allow it.

Current councilmember Gordon Gerdes said that he would only go as far as to allow distribution centers in the city as long as they are out in the industrial park. He cited that cities looking for additional revenue will need to look for cannabis sales in the future.  But he concurred with the rest of the Council over prohibiting it for now.

“I’m not for it. I’m totally against it, but if you’re a city and you need revenue then that’s where it’s going to be in the future,” Gerdes said.

And if the City wanted to allow for sales, distribution or cultivation of cannabis by next year they would not be able to gather any tax revenue from it anyway. Exeter voters would have to pass a tax on cannabis businesses in order to gather revenue from sales, but the City’s next election is not until November of next year.

Taxes on cannabis sales can be as high as 10 percent on top of the already existing sales tax in the City, plus a 15 percent tax levied by the State. Marijuana businesses could theoretically be taxed 33 percent to 35 percent on every sale depending on the city they are in. And as of now Exeter has yet to raise their sales tax rate like the City of Lindsay did in June and Woodlake and Farmersville hope to do in November. So for now it is unclear how much the tax would be if the City did allow cannabis sales next year.

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