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The City Council voted 4-0 at a Dec. 16 meeting

Oceanside has approved its first tax rates for medical cannabis businesses, setting the numbers low to help start-ups get going against illegal operators and legal competitors in other cities.

“If we overtax and make it too burdensome, these places that are following the rules, trying to be good neighbors and not sell to children, are going to get sidelined,” said Councilman Ryan Keim. “People will get it somewhere else.”

The City Council voted 4-0 at a Dec. 16 meeting to approve tax rates of 2.5 percent for manufacturing, 2 percent for distribution, and 1.5 percent for cultivation. City staffers, based on a consultant’s report, had recommended rates 1 percent higher in each category.

“I personally would like to see the taxation even lower to allow the legal businesses, the ones that are doing it right, to get up and running,” Councilman Christopher Rodriguez said at the meeting. “We could charge these guys an arm and a leg, but that is only enforcing the illegal market.”

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