Los Gatos City Council to Discuss Legalizing Marijuana Dispensaries

The Los Gatos City Council is expected to discuss legalizing marijuana dispensaries at its next meeting on Tuesday, January 18. This move would increase local tax revenue.

After California legalized marijuana in 2016, the city council passed ordinances banning the sale and cultivation of cannabis in Los Gatos for fear it would “bring more crime and nefarious characters to the city”, said said Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie.

Today, the city is looking for ways to increase local tax revenue to help offset rising costs such as pension payments. Rennie said city staff will report back to council at the Jan. 18 meeting to discuss next steps.

“Expenses, particularly pension costs, continue to rise, so we are looking for more options, more revenue generation so that we can sustain and sustain the level of service we provide Los Gatos,” Rennie said. . “Legalizing marijuana dispensaries would, they say, bring in an additional $1 million a year in taxes.”

Depending on the results of the staff report and public comment, the board could refer the matter to a committee for another report to answer questions such as how much revenue green marijuana sales might actually generate.

Ultimately, the council would decide whether or not to put the matter to the November ballot. An initiative should go through a two-thirds vote.

Los Gatos residents who purchase marijuana products must travel out of town to obtain them, so the city loses that tax revenue.

“So we think about it in terms of retail sales tax leaking to other places,” Rennie said. “How can we get people in our town to spend money here so we can collect taxes and provide services?”

San Jose, Santa Clara, Redwood City, and Mountain View all passed local taxes on cannabis after it was legalized in the state. Milpitas passed ordinances similar to those in Los Gatos to prevent the city’s marijuana sales.

While there may be some pushback from residents, Rennie said he expects all kinds of dispensaries to be placed thoughtfully, avoiding sensitive areas like school zones.

The board meeting begins at 7 p.m. on January 18 and will be held on Zoom.

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