Feb 122016
 February 12, 2016

california marijuanaA bill to impose a new 15% state excise tax on retail purchases of medical marijuana has been proposed in the California legislature (SB 987 by Sen. McGuire).  The tax would be in addition to the current 7.5+% sales tax plus various local business taxes assessed by some localities.

“At this time when providers already face burdensome new costs under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), it is unwise and inappropriate to impose any new state tax on medical marijuana,” says California NORML director Dale Gieringer.  Many patient advocates regard any taxes on medicine as unjust in principle.

The tax in SB 987 is modeled on a similar 15% tax that would be imposed on all marijuana purchases under the proposed AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) legalization initiative.  “If AUMA passes, SB 897 is redundant and moot,” says Gieringer, “If not, it will only encourage marijuana suppliers to move to the illegal, untaxed, unregulated adult use market.”

Proceeds of the tax would be divided between the general fund, local oversight agencies, state parks, drug and alcohol treatment programs,  and environmental restoration for land damaged by illegal growers.  In a statement, Sen. McGuire said that the taxes are needed to compensate “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.”

No other state imposes a comparable tax exclusively on medical marijuana, though several, including California, make it subject to the standard sales tax on retail items.

“It is neither just nor appropriate to charge those who are doing their best to supply medicine legally to patients for the costs caused by illicit traffickers,”  remarks Gieringer.  “We call on the legislature to reject taxation without legalization.”

Source: California NORMLjoin

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  22 Responses to “California NORML Opposes Medical-Only Marijuana Tax”

  1.  

    NO! NO! NO! Stop this now you money grubbing, blood sucking leach of a ultra-authoritarian people’s servant. Sen. McGuire do you know nothing but Tax, TAx, TAX. Get in line to screw up California’s cannabis laws right out of the box. Can you be any more ridiculous. You sad, sad little minded man.

  2.  

    No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.

  3.  

    If you over-tax legal pot, the black market will continue to flourish. 15% is way too high for a state pot tax, especially on top of the already high state sales tax… It leaves local governments no wiggle room for their own local pot tax. It’s the promise of badly needed LOCAL tax revenues that prevents small, conservative towns and counties from banning cannabis sales outright. Maybe 7.5% for state taxes and 7.5% for local taxes….

  4.  

    As Dale Gieringer notes, Sen. McGuire’s excuse for high taxes on marijuana is specious and without merit. – The somewhat rational explanation for extra taxes on alcohol and tobacco is to, at least partially, compensate for the destruction those drugs have on individuals and society.

    Marijuana has no significant harms and thus, no legitimate basis for extra taxes. – However, the political reality is governments are going to get their pound of flesh because….. they can. – They are holding the freedom of citizens hostage until they get their extortion money.

    It’s not right, but that’s the way it is. – First, we re-legalize marijuana and stop the insane persecution – by passing AUMA. – Then, we will refine marijuana policy until it reaches its optimum form, just as we did with alcohol after ending ITS misguided prohibition.

  5.  

    jonthomas wants people to vote for Sean Parker’s POS AUMA to “relegalize” marijuana? And THEN fix it later? What a terrible idea. NEVER vote for a bad initiative and then think that “we” will fix it later! How will “we” fix it? Who has the time or money to fight against a voter-enacted law? Is jonthoas going to lead the charge? I doubt it.
    Don’t forget, using or growing cannabis (marijuana and hemp) didn’t use to be a crime. So marijuana and hemp don’t need to be “RE-legalized,” they need to be DECRIMINALIZED.
    Cannabis and marijuana are just plants, medical herbs and a source of fiber, that were first taxed out of existence (the Marihuana Stamp Tax Act of 1937), and then criminalized by governments that are taking away the People’s individual rights. Check the Constitution. Did We the People give the states or the federal government the right to tell us what we could put in our bodies? To control plants as food, medicine or fiber? No. The rights not delegated to the states or the federal government belong to the People.
    AUMA puts a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana used as either medicine or as “adult” (recreational) marijuana. But that pales in comparison to what the cost of marijuana is going to be, when you read all the expenses that AUMA creates and which must be paid for from the sale of marijuana, Layer after layer of bureaucracy, high fees for mandatory licenses, and marijuana businesses will also be subject to local regulations and taxes, which will just add even more to the cost. I’ve spent the last three days working my way through this POS, and it’s both tedious AND deceptive. Stay tuned for a full report on AUMA, to be posted on the Internet pretty soon.

    •  

      It will be MUCH easier to fix it later, than to try to pass your “perfect” legalization now. You act like most voters are marijuana consumers. They’re not, of course. They are the ones we have to satisfy, and we have seen in other states they will not pass legalization initiatives without these regulations, controls and taxes.

      Your dream world is a nice place, but it gets us nowhere, thanks.

  6.  

    NORML opposes “medical only” marijuana taxes? Do readers realize that this could mean that NORML supports taxes on ALL marijuana, whether for medical or recreational use? In act, that is just what it means.
    Because, in fact, NORML supported taxing medical marijuana when it supported the unconstitutional Legislative adoption of MMRSA (unconstitutional because it purports to take away rights under Prop. 215, which only the People can change, not the Legislature). MMRSA is the MEDICAL Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act — and now NORML supports AUMA, the Sean Parker POS initiative, which hopes to lock all these bans and controls and taxes into place by destroying Prop. 215 with a vote of the People.
    AUMA is 62 pages of dense legalese, which DOES take away patients’ rights to grow, and renders most adult use of marijuana a meaningless right, because AUMA re-affirms businesses’ right to ban ANY use of marijuana by employees, even if at home and even if they are never impaired at work. AUMA doesn’t even really protect people from losing their kids because they use marijuana. It pretends to protect parental and custodial rights — but only of people using MEDICAL marijuana, not “Adult” marijuana.
    Stay tuned for a full analysis of AUMA on an Internet near you.

    •  

      Sorry. You can’t justifiably cry about anything done to “medical” marijuana when most of the “patients” are there for recreational purposes. That’s a large part of what MMRSA is addressing. – As explained below, there is no justification for extra taxes on marijuana, but they will happen because that’s what it takes to get an initiative passed. (See Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska).

      AUMA doesn’t affect medical marijuana. That’s the state legislature making those changes. Again, the ‘medical excuse marijuana’ has no moral legs to stand on. – Not until they are purged of recreational consumers.

      AUMA institutes legalization similar to the four Free States and will END marijuana prohibition in California. – We can’t get EVERYTHING all at once. – Marijuana reform is a process, not an event. AUMA gets us 90 percent down the road to freedom and will put us in a position to actually get the extra protections you want.

      One legal ounce changes everything. – Ask anyone in the four Free States.

      •  

        Who is crying about “medical marijuana”? I said that AUMA would tax ALL marijuana. And why do you care if people who aren’t (yet) deathly sick use medical marijuana? Regular use of cannabis, even if the user thinks it’s purely “recreational,” prevents tumors. And AUMA WILL affect patients, BIG TIME. The “Four Free States”? Bullshit. Don’t you read the posts from real people living in those “free states” or are you just reading the media’s reports?

        •  

          Because the greedy growers (aka “medical marijuana growers”) are the ones who are fighting against AUMA which is the only real chance to re-legalize in this decade.

          Are you saying you don’t grow and sell, or want to grow and sell marijuana?

          I didn’t care that recreational consumers get their pot from “medical” dispensaries in the beginning. But now that so many of these “medical” vendors and growers are fighting to protect the status quo, I understand the Big Lie is what is holding back legalization.

          No. AUMA will only BENEFIT patients, and everyone else. – You are in such denial about how one legal ounce changes everything.

          I read all the information. I have not read any posts lately about people in the Free States who wish they hadn’t passed their legalization. – Please link to any of these imaginary writings.

        •  

          I responded once, but it wasn’t “approved” for some reason.

          8^) You were clearly crying about medical marijuana when you said, “NORML supported taxing medical marijuana when it supported the unconstitutional Legislative adoption of MMRSA.” – Remember?

          I don’t care how people get their marijuana, of course. What I DO care about is “medical” marijuana growers and sellers trying to get special rights in “medical marijuana” grows and stores when 80 percent of their customers are recreational consumers. I also don’t like being forced to break the law and lie about a medical condition to purchase marijuana. No sane person would.

          That you are in denial the four Free States have re-legalized marijuana shows how far over backward you will bend to attack legalization in California.

          •  

            No, YOU are in denial about what “free” means. When the government can tell you you cannot grow a plant for your own use, you are not “free.” When a government makes you have a license or permit to grow a plant for your own use, you are not “free.” When you can be fined $250 for smoking or vaping marijuana in any public place — which includes streets, parks, beaches, mountains, etc. — you are not “free.” (AUMA sets the fine for smoking or vaping in ANY public place at $250.)

            People who are providing marijuana as medicine are not trying to get “special rights” — they are using the rights that We the People of the State of California created by passing Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act.

            No one is forcing you to break the law. If you don’t want to get a doctor’s recommendation that marijuana might help you (and lucky you to be so healthy!), then just obtain marijuana like people always did BEFORE Prop. 215.

            “Legalization” is not freedom — DECRIMINALIZATION is freedom. AUMA is more fines, more felonies, more misdemeanors and infractions. And minors who get caught growing are looking at jail terms of 16 months to three years. Is that “freedom”? I don’t think so.

            With “friends” like Sean Parker, who needs enemies?

  7.  

    I heard Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris say at a NORML event in LA that AUMA doesn’t affect medical marijuana patients’ rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    AUMA is a disaster waiting to happen. I just spent the last three days (the long President’s Day weekend) working my way through AUMA’s dense 62 pages and annotating it as I went. There are so many problems with it that it’s hard to know where to start. So if anyone wants a copy of AUMA with my annotations, you can e-mail me at letitiapepper@yahoo.com.
    A short preview: AUMA is specifically written so that its provisions can be changed AFTER it becomes law (which I certainly hope doesn’t happen). So the provisions in which it “gives” adults 21 and older the “right” to grow no more than 6 plants (that goes for patients, too) can all be repealed by the Legislature! No kidding!
    It creates MORE felonies and misdemeanors — almost all related to efforts for unlicensed businesses and people to compete with the money-making commercial system it sets up, but with plenty of little rules about where people are allowed to smoke marijuana that should result in lots of citations and fines.
    For example, it is unlawful to smoke in ANY public place unless the place is licensed for marijuana smoking. So no smoking on the cliffs overlooking the ocean — the nanny state wouldn’t want you to fall. But no smoking (or vaping) on streets, sidewalks, parks, etc. If your backyard is close to a park, school, or other place where children might be, and if ANYONE (doesn’t have to be a kid) can smell your marijuana smoke wafting over your fence, you’ve committed a fine-able offense.
    But if you think AUMA is all about protecting the children, guess again. Minors who are caught growing are looking at 16 months to three years in jail (not prison). (Again, I’m not kidding.) It creates a HUGE bureaucracy and all the money they intend to rake in from marijuana goes only to fuel that bureaucracy — none of the money goes into the General Fund, and it specifically provides that NONE of the money goes to public schools or to community colleges!
    So all the money stays with the huge bureaucracy. This means that getting an assignment to be one of its various state employees or their staffs will be a plum assignment, because there won’t be any budget cuts that might affect your employment. So prepare for the Democrats in control of the Legislature to push like crazy for people to vote for AUMA, so they can get assigned to various positions as a perk when they have to leave office.
    AUMA also makes references to federal law, and provides that if any of its provisions are violative of federal law, they can be changed! What!?!?!? This makes AUMA a true Trojan Horse. Its provisions — the “come-on” to get people to vote for it — are that it purports to make “adult” and “nonmedicinal” use of marijuana “legal.” But as long as marijuana is scheduled at ANY level — 1 to 5 –it cannot truly be legalized as a recreational drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act. (What’s going on in Washington and Colorado is just people breaking federal law with impunity — thus far.) So after AUMA passes, the State of California could decide that its provisions related to “adult use” violate federal law and repeal them. What may be going on is that the big plan, country wide, is to set up a special category for marijuana (like for alcohol) for noin-medicinal, and force people who use marijuana as medicine back into the arms of Big Pharma, for guinea pigs to use all the patented cannabinoid, synthetic drugs Big Pharma is now anxious to try out and charge us for.
    Cannabis IS a nutricutical. I’ve used only its raw extracts and leaf juice for the last 9 years in place of ALL the prescription drugs that were making me sick. That is why I do this volunteer work as an attorney. Cannabis prohibition, engineered by the US government, has cost the world a huge price in lost lives and misery. Cannabis needs to be treated like a plant that anyone and everyone can grow and use. The people behind these efforts to control cannabis, who are behind initiatives like AUMA, who continue to push Prohibition-lite, are the 1 percent, the evil people who’ve profited from wars, depressions, housing market collapses and government prohibitions of all kinds. We, the 99 percent, must expose and oppose them.

    •  

      Again you are confusing regulations made by the California legislature and AUMA. – AUMA makes no new crimes. –

      Now you want a state initiative to change the federal prohibition? You’re in serious denial that legalization in Colorado is not real and will disintegrate at any moment. Sorry, that’s just your wishful thinking.

      If there’s anything worse than a prohibitionist, it’s a prohibitionist that tries to pass for a marijuana reformer.

  8.  

    With great polling on its language, millions in the campaign fund, signature gathering well underway, and the support of all the major reform groups, AUMA is clearly California’s path to ending the fraudulent marijuana prohibition and, at last, obtaining freedom!

    Cannabis Radio’s astute observer, Russ Belville, sums up the hysterical negativity of the greedy growers and vendors:

    “We’re all for True Legalization™ in the sense that we all think nobody
    should go to jail for a plant. If you’re polling me, it’s all the weed
    you wish to possess and cultivate, it’s legal for everyone 18 and older
    and no employer or government can discriminate against you because you
    use it.”

    “But you need the votes of 50 percent of Californians, too, and they are
    not ready for True Legalization™. Put it in front of them too soon, and
    it loses, which mean prohibition wins. With AUMA, we have a chance to
    move away from prohibition.”

    “And that’s the key—legalization is a process that leads to freedom, not
    an instantaneous realization of freedom. You don’t get to choose
    between the legalization that makes the ballot and the legalization you
    want. You get to choose between the legalization that makes the ballot
    and the prohibition you currently have.”

  9.  

    “With great polling on its language” — these polls are BS. They don’t read people the whole text, and until you read the whole thing, you don’t realize what it is actually going to do. It is going to turn marijuana and hemp over to total government and corporate control, and the 99 percent will be mere consumers, only allowed to smoke what the corporations and government decide is allowed, and prevented from growing for themselves. You can grow tobacco and grapes and grain and make wine and beer and cigarettes for yourself — but not marijuana? Why? AUMA actually allows the State to take away ALL cultivation rights! This is a Trojan Horse. And those “reform groups” have all been shills for the drug cartels.
    “Greedy growers and vendors” is the line they used to say to get people to vote for Prop. 19. Who says growers and vendors are greedy? Where’s that f**king poll? And who says 50 plus percent won’t vote for DECRIMINALIZATION, which is better than legalization?
    A few years ago, voters were polled with a Field Poll (the gold standard of polls) on the Jack Herer initiative, and read a statement about what it would do. The 55 percent who said they’d vote to “legalize marijuana before they were read it went to 56 percent.
    AUMA locks the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act into place, by KILLING Prop. 215. Who is going to have the time and funds necessary to get rid of AUMA once it’s in place and earning the government and corporations all the profits on marijuana? No one. So vote no on AUMA, and hold out for DECRIMINALIZATION, the only way to make life for the 99 percent better.

    •  

      Total nonsense and taken straight out of the strategy book of the greedy growers against legalization (GGAL) who screamed that Washington’s I-502 would have giant waves of police descending on marijuana consumers.

      Of course, no such thing happened, just like none of the Chicken Little fairy tales here will happen. Washington consumers are THRILLED with their legalization. AUMA is an improvement over Washington’s legalization.

      Down with the GGAL that try to fool marijuana consumers into voting against their own freedom! – AUMA for the win – and freedom at last!

  10.  

    AUMA is a terrific initiative that will free California marijuana consumers and put California in the club of the Free States – breaking the back of the fraudulent federal prohibition.

    All consumers and all the major reform organizations are excited about California finally legalizing marijuana! – The only ones against it are the prohibitionists like GGAL – greedy growers against legalization.

  11.  

    So jonthomas now claims that “greedy growers” screamed that legalization in Washington would cause the police to descend on consumers. Really? Where was such a story ever published before “legalization” occurred in Washington? I don’t think that ever happened. Let’s see the link, jonthomas.
    And where are medical marijuana patients saying how happy they are with the changes in Washington’s law? Where are the links to all those stories?
    In fact, the New York Times published an article on the BAD effects “legalization” in Washington had on medical marijuana patients, their providers, and local economies: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/us/medical-marijuana-providers-fear-effects-of-wider-legalization.html?_r=0
    Give it up, jonthomas. You are just a shill for the 1 percent. “Greedy growers”? The people who’ve been growing marijuana in Mendocino and Humboldt and elsewhere for generations, risking arrests, risking loss of liberty, keeping their local economies alive as the US shipped more and more jobs overseas? These people aren’t greedy. They are small business people, who Monsanto and R.J. Reynolds and CVS pharmacy-types will happily put out of business.

  12.  

    letitita — I don’t keep archives of bogus rants by deceptive people. Perhaps I
    should. I could start with you, I suppose. – But for you to act like
    this didn’t happen is just one more big lie you try to foist off on
    consumers. Ask Russ Belville, if you really are interested. He’s got
    all that information in spades.

    I can give you a few trail guides if you REALLY want to go down that path. They were thick at Steve Elliot’s old blog, “Toke of the Town,” and his partner in crime, Steve Sarich. – Just look at any of their writings in the year prior to
    I-502 passing. – They did, indeed, predict all sorts of police calamities and mass attacks on consumers would occur with passing I-502.

    While you’re in the historical stacks, just look at ANY marijuana blog or article about I-502 before the election and you’ll see the GGAL out in full force.

    That old NYT article you linked is laughable. It’s not about medical marijuana patients. It’s about “medical” marijuana growers and sellers – also known as GGAL. Yep, just like you, they hate legalization all right.

    The Emerald Triangle? – A hot bed of GGAL, of course. The fact that the three
    main counties of the ET voted down California legalization in 2010 says it all.

    In your desperation, just like all prohibitionists, you try to throw any dirt imaginable on activists that represent consumers – like the absurd “shill of the one percent,” when that’s clearly the opposite of what we are. We simply represent marijuana consumers and their quest for freedom. –

    You have clearly set yourself against that quest in your hysteria to protect your outrageous prices (price gouging) and quasi-monopolies.

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