Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration is moving to collect 2 percent medical cannabis transfer tax from sales at the dispensary located close to Route 20.
Municipal officials said 2% is the maximum amount the city is able to collect under state law. Municipal officials will collect approximately $120,000 per year through the new tax.
Economic development director Michael Powell said the Green Thumb Industries (GTI) dispensary on 3rd Avenue has been generating approximately $500,000 in sales per month.
The dispensary called “RiSE” opened in December 2019. But the Sayegh administration was late to present the taxing measure to the City Council.
“This could have been done earlier in the year. We could have collected that money on behalf of taxpayers,” said council president Flavio Rivera on Tuesday. “We already lost revenue.”
Council members suggested the city missed out on approximately $90,000 in revenue by not having the taxing measure in place at the beginning of the year.
Powell blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the delay.
“Regardless of Covid this should have been done as soon as this entity opened,” replied Rivera. He pointed out the Covid-19 crisis did not stop or delay Powell from presenting projects tied to the state tax credits to the council.
Powell then audibly grumbled and complained his committee did not meet.
“That’s a poor excuse,” interjected councilwoman Maritza Davila.
Davila said the tax should have been imposed months ago. She said Powell should have planned and prepared better to impose the fee.
“We were researching the tax revenue ordinance and then the pandemic arrived,” said Sayegh in explaining the delay in presenting the measure.
When the marijuana dispensary opened, company officials said 13 jobs were created. Most of those jobs were filled by Paterson residents. Median wage for the workers were $45,000 with benefits, company officials said at the time.
GTI opened both a dispensary and a growing facility in Paterson.
Rivera fast-tracked the measure and scheduled it for a vote next Tuesday. He said he doesn’t want the city to lose out on further revenue.