California Pot Growers Say High Taxes Hurting Marijuana Industry

Photo Credit: Brian Myrick

The first quarter tax revenue numbers are in on tax money raised for the state from legal marijuana sales; $34 million dollars has been raised so far.

That figure is well below the governor’s prediction of  $175 million dollars in the first six months.

On Friday, KRON4 talked to pot growers and dispensaries. They say the state’s taxes are too high and hurting the new legal industry and even forcing some customers to the black market.

“The problem with the cannabis tax is for some people this is a very important medicine and it’s a hardship,” Apothecarium Cannabis Store Head of Marketing and Communications Eliot Dobris said.

Buying the legal way adds on average 30 percent to the purchase price of pot.

Dobris says they constantly hear from their customers that they can buy weed cheaper the illegal way.

“The problem with high taxes is that it makes people turn to the black market and then you have the problem with all of that,” Dobris said.

State officials predicted that in the first six months. California would rake in $175 million in new taxes off recreational cannabis sales.

We’re one month short of six months, but so far, the state has earned far below that–just $34 million.

“Legal cannabis is not off to a smooth start here in California,” California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen said.

Allen says besides the high taxes hurting growers and dispensaries, politics and red tape is keeping thousands of dispensaries from legally opening and being able to contribute tax money to the state.

“Seventy-five percent or more of the state still prohibits they have bands at the city level,” Allen said. “They have to permit the business before they obtain a state license. If a business doesn’t obtain a state license, they can’t open and legally pay the state. We have a problem. Cannabis is not legal in most of California “