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A 15 Percent Medical Marijuana Sales Tax Proposed In California

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california medical cannabisCalifornia has the oldest medical marijuana program in the nation. I will never forget when California voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. I was a freshman in high school, and I remember it being such a historical thing. I vividly remember thinking about how I was going to graduate high school later that decade, and move to California to try to land a job in the medical marijuana industry there, which had been operating in the shadows prior to the passage of Prop 215. Oregon of course legalized medical marijuana two years later, prior to me graduating high school, so the urge to move to California never became enough to actually do it.

California is home to the largest medical marijuana industry in America, and it’s not even close compared to other states. I heard an estimate one time that half of the entire medical marijuana industry in America is in California. Last year medical marijuana industry legislation was passed at the state level in California, which will create a state level regulatory system in California. As with most marijuana related legislation, the California legislation left a lot to be desired. There will no doubt be some unanticipated consequences, but one thing that everyone anticipated was a medical marijuana sales tax. One has been introduced in California, which would result in a 15% sales tax. Per SFGate:

California would levy a new 15 percent tax on medical marijuana sales to enforce new regulations and pay for state programs, rehabilitation and parks under a bill introduced Wednesday.

The Marijuana Value Tax Act could bring the state more than $100 million in new revenue. The tax was anticipated after the state passed historic regulations last year that require state and local licenses for medical marijuana businesses under the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulations.

“Now that there is a long overdue regulatory framework put into place, it’s time to help fund the areas that are most affected by the cultivation — those communities that have long been paying the price of the negative effects of cultivation brought on by the ‘bad actors’ who destroy the environment and bring in crime,” state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who authored SB987 and parts of last year’s marijuana regulations, said in a statement.

How do readers feel about a 15% tax? Is it too much? Is it not enough? I know that in a perfect world there would be no taxes on marijuana, especially for patients. However, it seems to be a required ‘necessary evil’ in order to have a regulated system. I personally don’t mind a tax, as long as it’s reasonable. Oregon currently has a 25% tax on recreational marijuana, but no tax on medical marijuana. California obviously can’t have a model like that because recreational marijuana is still illegal there. Although, that could change after this year’s election.

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  • Valient

    What “‘bad actors’ who destroy the environment and bring in crime”? Pay for parks, sure, but no rehab or state programs. This isn’t a revenue generating system, it’s a medical one. Should we also put a 15% tax on tylenol, aspirin, and other otc medications? How about birth control? (Please don’t take those suggestions seriously, government)

    • Tom Moreno

      Bad actors exist. Profiteers who have raped the land in Humbolt and adjacent counties to cultivate and sell mainly to the black market. Gangsters running pop up dispensaries in and around LA. The majority of the mmj market is run by good people, but bad actors exist in abundance.

      Regardless, a 15% sales tax will hurt the emerging regulated mmj market and only benefit these bad actors. At least in the short run the MMRSA is so tightly regulated it will put many existing businesses into the black market. I actually worry that as it stands, the MMRSA will cause price spikes so extreme that surviving businesses who try to abide by the new regulations will get hurt, badly.

  • Linda Roundy

    We don’t pay taxes on other prescription meds and I need a RX to buy MM. CA has a horrible track record for dumping taxes into the general fund EVEN when prohibited. Legalize recreational use and tax THAT!

  • Yujin Ito

    Taxing the sick leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It just seems wrong. There is nothing “necessary” about it. When you say necessary it’s only because of all the misinformed people out there that think they are taxing a vice. Here’s an idea. How about we start taxing cancer patients on their chemo? It would be really nice to have some new parks. I think its time that those suffering people paid their fair share. This whole thing is a shakedown. I don’t have a problem with a tax on recreational cannabis. But taxing patients on medical treatments? Since when has taxing patients ever been necessary? Or acceptable for that matter.

  • David Yoseph Schreiber

    I’m against special taxes on cannabis. It should be subject to the sales tax, nothing else.

    • Sniglet66

      This. It feels like extortion. It is The State, deeming this substance illegal, that created these “bad actors” in the FIRST PLACE!

  • Superstorm250

    To me, this almost seems like the state government is trying to incentivize people into approving recreational legalization this November. Because if the state approves this and adds 15% sales tax to MMJ sales under the new MMRSA regulations, then its not much different than the medical taxation under AUMA. The only difference between the two is that under AUMA, patients are only charged the 15% excise tax and no additional taxes, so there’s pretty much no difference for patients buying their meds on wether or not California legalizes this November because they’re going to have to pay the same percentage of sales tax either way if the state government approves this.

  • UchihaNative

    It won’t get through…too many sick. Big phrama will step in too.

  • Jetdoc

    There should NEVER be a tax on medication! They don’t charge a sales tax on ANY of my other medications that I get from a pharmacy. So WHY are you putting one on the most NATURAL and Non-lethal medication known to man? If you wanna tax recreational? Go ahead, but NOT medical!

  • Willy Mels

    Enough regulations and taxes. Reparations would be a more palatable idea or Free Market, lais a faire as we’ve lived through a lifetime of this CONTROL ??? We’ve paid more than our fair share. What price for our FREEDOM over our life-time ??? And the status quo wonders why Bernie or Trump?

  • Closet Warrior

    It’s obvious to any rational person that you don’t kick a man when he’s down! No tax, hell, people shouldn’t even have to pay at all if they have serious medical problems. With all this cash flowing, couldn’t patients be given cheap to free eds. We do for Medicaid and Medicare! Thomas Jefferson said when laws become tyrannical it is the duty of its citizens(patriots) to break those laws and Ben Franklin stated that all governments become stale and corrupt after 200 yrs and therefore need to revolt as to correct the problems. Well, if everyone that medicated or just wanna feel good then they should all grow their own if possible. The feds would be so busy chasing their tails that they would come to the conclusion that the can’t jail the whole country. This would excise both moral quote’s validity. Sadly, the people don’t stand together like we should these days. I don’t pay anything but attention for my meds!!!