A Senate committee is holding off for a couple of days on voting whether to legalize and license medical-marijuana dispensaries.
The Health Committee is considering a series of changes to SB 5073, including one that could provide some relief to state and local budgets: It would make sure patients pay sales tax when they buy pot.
That's part of an amendment that committee Chairwoman Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, plans to offer that would also allow local governments to levy business taxes on producers and dispensaries.
"I'm just not in the mood this year to provide tax exemptions," Keiser said after a meeting this afternoon where her committee postponed voting on the bill until at least Wednesday.
Keiser's amendment also would dramatically scale down the bill's proposal for large "collective gardens" where patients could band together to grow marijuana. Instead of 25 patients, just three patients could participate in a garden.
And it would eliminate a provision of the bill that would ban employers from discriminating against medical marijuana patients. That idea gave business groups heartburn.
Republican Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood plans to offer an amendment that would try to make sure medical providers aren't just handing out authorizations for marijuana to anyone who comes through the door. Among other things, it would require patients to undergo a physical examination before receiving a doctor's note.
Here's what's not in the amendments: The ideas offered by prosecutors and sheriffs that would make sure dispensaries are banned. That seems to be a nonstarter in the committee. Keiser said a regulated dispensary system is essential for patients' health and safety.