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California Tax Officials: Legal Pot Would Raise $1.4 Billion in Revenue

MsRedEye

420 Staff
A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials.

The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall.

"It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available," Ammiano said in a statement.

The way the bill is written, the state could not begin collecting taxes until the federal government legalizes marijuana. A spokesman says Ammiano plans to amend the bill to remove that provision.

The legislation requires all revenue generated by the $50-per-ounce fee to be used for drug education and rehabilitation programs. The state's 9 percent sales tax would be applied to retail sales, while the fee would likely be charged at the wholesale level and built into the retail price.

The Equalization Board used law enforcement and academic studies to calculate that about 16 million ounces _ or 500 tons _ of marijuana are consumed in California each year.

Marijuana use would likely increase by about 30 percent once the law took effect because legalization would lead to falling prices, the board said.

Estimates of marijuana use, cultivation and sales are notoriously difficult to come by because of the drug's status as a black-market substance. Calculations by marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials often differ widely.

"That's one reason why we look at multiple reports from multiple sources _ so that no one agenda is considered to be the deciding or determining data," said board spokeswoman Anita Gore.

Advocates and opponents do agree that California is by far the country's top pot-producing state. Last year law enforcement agencies in California seized nearly 5.3 million plants.

If passed, Ammiano's bill could increase the tension between the state and the U.S. government over marijuana, which is banned outright under federal law. The two sides have clashed often since state voters passed a ballot measure in 1996 legalizing marijuana for medical use.

At the same time, some medical marijuana dispensary operators in the state have said they are less fearful of federal raids since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would defer to state marijuana regulations.

Advocates pounced on the analysis as ammunition for their claim that the ban on marijuana is obsolete.

"We can't borrow or slash our way out of this deficit," said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The legislature must consider innovative sources of new revenue, and marijuana should be at the top of that list."

Ammiano's bill is still in committee. Hearings on the legislation are expected this fall.


News Hawk: MsRedEye: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Southern Ledge (AP)
Author: Associated Press
Copyright: 2009 Associated Press
Contact: CONTACT US
Website: Calif. tax officials Legal pot would bring $1.4B
 

CynCritter

New Member
What's next, then? Are they going to begin taxing all our other prescriptions?

When marijuana is used ONLY as a prescribed drug for specific illnesses and/or symptoms caused by illnesses, WHY should it be taxed, at all, when pharmaceutical drugs with unknown to long-term and deadly side affects are NOT?

And, just as equally perplexing, WHY are physicians who issue medical marijuana prescriptions, allowed to charge such high prices for issuing a prescription?

And the really BIG question: WHY are those who know how to grow the many different strains of medical marijuana, strains which treat the separate symptoms created by separate ailments, NOT protected so they can cultivate the medical marijuana for legally protected distribution?

Most people who suffer numerous ailments are not well enough to grow the proper strains needed for their individual symptoms. And I'm guessing that most of those same sufferers have no idea what the difference in the strains are, and how to ensure that they are growing the correct one(s), if indeed they are well and active enough to do so.

While allowing medical marijuana to be taxed so as to create a greater possibility of forcing the D.E.A. to back off, it seems to me that we are allowing ourselves to be victimized ... again! And we're opening the door to the taxation of other medications which, at this point in time, are exempt from such an atrocity.

So then, the State and the Federal Government can waltz on in and tax every diagnostic procedure, every necessary surgery, every doctor's appointment, and on and on and on.

If we are truly going to be using medical marijuana for medical purposes ONLY, then I see no logic in allowing it to be bundled in with alcohol, tobacco, kleenex and toilet paper. It's should not be optional for many of the people who's symptoms respond more favorably to MMJ than to pharmaceuticals, to be taxed for it. Taxation for ANY legal medication should not have to be a negotiated deal. If we allow this to be the cornerstone of having it legalized for all who can benefit from it, then we're permitting taxation WITH representation... something that will cause our Founding Fathers to spin in their graves.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I suppose with a monetary figure like that that they are operating under the assumption that every person that was going to buy/grow MJ would do it under the eyes/regulations of the government?

I don't know about you guys/gals, but I've SEEN the results of purchasing govt-regulated smokables in the form of tobacco cigarettes.

And I don't mind telling you that they lost any chance of EVER having me for a customer OR retailer.

They want to change my mind, they're going to have to fix the cigarette debacle first. Remove ALL unnatural substances. While they're at it they can get rid of the bugs and stemmage too. Then take that stupid warning that nobody in the history of mankind has ever read and thought, "Oh, wow, I better quit right now, then," and instead put something in every cigarette sold that will make anyone under the age of 21 that tries to smoke one violently ill for about a month...

And THEN we'll talk.

Screw the government. After all, it's THEIR turn to get bent over the chair this time.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
What's next, then? Are they going to begin taxing all our other prescriptions?

When marijuana is used ONLY as a prescribed drug for specific illnesses and/or symptoms caused by illnesses, WHY should it be taxed, at all, when pharmaceutical drugs with unknown to long-term and deadly side affects are NOT?

And, just as equally perplexing, WHY are physicians who issue medical marijuana prescriptions, allowed to charge such high prices for issuing a prescription?

And the really BIG question: WHY are those who know how to grow the many different strains of medical marijuana, strains which treat the separate symptoms created by separate ailments, NOT protected so they can cultivate the medical marijuana for legally protected distribution?

Most people who suffer numerous ailments are not well enough to grow the proper strains needed for their individual symptoms. And I'm guessing that most of those same sufferers have no idea what the difference in the strains are, and how to ensure that they are growing the correct one(s), if indeed they are well and active enough to do so.

While allowing medical marijuana to be taxed so as to create a greater possibility of forcing the D.E.A. to back off, it seems to me that we are allowing ourselves to be victimized ... again! And we're opening the door to the taxation of other medications which, at this point in time, are exempt from such an atrocity.

So then, the State and the Federal Government can waltz on in and tax every diagnostic procedure, every necessary surgery, every doctor's appointment, and on and on and on.

If we are truly going to be using medical marijuana for medical purposes ONLY, then I see no logic in allowing it to be bundled in with alcohol, tobacco, kleenex and toilet paper. It's should not be optional for many of the people who's symptoms respond more favorably to MMJ than to pharmaceuticals, to be taxed for it. Taxation for ANY legal medication should not have to be a negotiated deal. If we allow this to be the cornerstone of having it legalized for all who can benefit from it, then we're permitting taxation WITH representation... something that will cause our Founding Fathers to spin in their graves.

I wouldn't have a problem with taxing meds IF they set things up based on income. I'll pay a little tax on a bottle of aspirin, a shot of penicillin, or what have you because I only have to go without a LITTLE food if/when I need to buy that kind of stuff.

But there are people that have to do without because that little bit of food that they'd have to give up in order to pay for their meds just happens to be the sum total of what little bit of food they have to live on. They shouldn't have to pay any tax. In fact, if this travesty of a government is going to keep on interfering in people's very lives instead of sticking to things like infrastructure and defense like they should, well, then they ought to take whatever tax is collected and use it to subsidize meds for those who are already doing without. And start following the "like to like" rule for Pete's sakes. Tax meds = spend it on a med-related problem. Tax gasoline = spend it on roads/auto pollution/etc. Tax prepared food = use it to feed people and to ensure the cleanliness/safety or prepared food.

And there are people who don't have to go hungry AT ALL when they have to buy medicine. And I'd tax them to within an inch of the poverty level that the skeletons and scarecrows are existing under lol. After all, this is a welfare nation... Time to start thinking about everyone's WELL fare.

Everything in the universe has SOME impact on people's health either positive or negative. So I think that it's utter folly to have an FDA department for regulating this, an ATF department for regulating that, etc. Put everything together and treat it ALL equally. And stop categorizing stuff according to what gives you more money and according to what (one way or t'other) allows you to exert control over your population!

Where do I sign up for the revolution?
 

Propa Gator

New Member
It's a whirlwind rats nest they fear backing off any draconian controls. They've created an inflated market with prohibition and they want to sieze and grow that market. A conundrum with distasteful ethical implications.

PG
 
Last edited by a moderator:
E

ecoins

Guest
Oh excellent, I'm glad they are looking beyond just for Medical MJ users. I am a med. user, and I hope they tax everyone, it makes sence, like cigs and beer and liq. and so on it should be supported tax.
As long as I can grow, sell, buy, tax away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cause personally, I grow now 6 babies/vegie and 6 full budding, ta da ain't no bady taxing me on my private stash...so everyone just grow your own, seeds will be taxed, those will go for about $100. a seed.....lol oh plus tax....lol
A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials.

The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall.

"It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available," Ammiano said in a statement.

The way the bill is written, the state could not begin collecting taxes until the federal government legalizes marijuana. A spokesman says Ammiano plans to amend the bill to remove that provision.

The legislation requires all revenue generated by the $50-per-ounce fee to be used for drug education and rehabilitation programs. The state's 9 percent sales tax would be applied to retail sales, while the fee would likely be charged at the wholesale level and built into the retail price.

The Equalization Board used law enforcement and academic studies to calculate that about 16 million ounces _ or 500 tons _ of marijuana are consumed in California each year.

Marijuana use would likely increase by about 30 percent once the law took effect because legalization would lead to falling prices, the board said.

Estimates of marijuana use, cultivation and sales are notoriously difficult to come by because of the drug's status as a black-market substance. Calculations by marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials often differ widely.

"That's one reason why we look at multiple reports from multiple sources _ so that no one agenda is considered to be the deciding or determining data," said board spokeswoman Anita Gore.

Advocates and opponents do agree that California is by far the country's top pot-producing state. Last year law enforcement agencies in California seized nearly 5.3 million plants.

If passed, Ammiano's bill could increase the tension between the state and the U.S. government over marijuana, which is banned outright under federal law. The two sides have clashed often since state voters passed a ballot measure in 1996 legalizing marijuana for medical use.

At the same time, some medical marijuana dispensary operators in the state have said they are less fearful of federal raids since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would defer to state marijuana regulations.

Advocates pounced on the analysis as ammunition for their claim that the ban on marijuana is obsolete.

"We can't borrow or slash our way out of this deficit," said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The legislature must consider innovative sources of new revenue, and marijuana should be at the top of that list."

Ammiano's bill is still in committee. Hearings on the legislation are expected this fall.


News Hawk: MsRedEye: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Southern Ledge (AP)
Author: Associated Press
Copyright: 2009 Associated Press
Contact: CONTACT US
Website: Calif. tax officials Legal pot would bring $1.4B
 
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