San Benito County

Group gathering signatures for medical marijuana initiatives

Proposed initiative taxes marijuana dispensaries and regulates the business in San Benito County

Group calls for marijuana regulation and tax in San Benito County

For the past two weeks, a San Benito County medical marijuana group has been gathering signatures. They are looking to put two initiatives up for vote, one would tax medical marijuana dispensaries and one would regulate them.

The group says they are less than 1,000 signatures away from getting two marijuana initiatives on the county November ballot.

"Right now we have our two initiatives, one is a tax initiative the other is a zoning regulation," said Kimberly Hurtado.

In 2010, the Purple Cross RX dispensary was given an eviction notice, that was followed by legal battles with San Benito county. County leaders have tried to ban marijuana businesses.

"It stems from an agreement that made us close down our medical marijuana dispensary," said Hurtado.

The proposed initiative to regulate marijuana says the county is prohibited from banning dispensaries, allowing at least two to open up shop in the county. The initiative would give the county the right to limit the number.

"Three dispensaries we feel is enough, in San Benito county, its not that big of city or town," said Hurtado.

The second initiative seeks to tax marijuana, dispensaries would pay a 7 percent tax to the county.

"Its abut bringing in tax revenue to San Benito county," said Hurtado.

Purple Cross RX said not having a dispensary in the county has had a negative impact on patients who need their medicine. They say passing the initiative will keep marijuana safer and off the streets.

"They are coming back saying 'it's too far to drive to get our medicine - we are happy you are here, we hope you don't go,'" said Hurtado. "A lot of support is pouring in."

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