The DEA Steals From California's Teasury

December 13, 2007

Jacob Sullum, Reason Online

California NORML has a new angle on the DEA's medical marijuana raids, noting that they are costing the state "tens of millions in tax revenues":

Although the DEA has tried to portray dispensaries as illegal drug dealers, records show they have operated as legal businesses, paying income, payroll, business, and sales taxes, and offering workmen's compensation, unemployment, and health insurance benefits to their employees. Several dispensaries closed by the DEA had licenses to operate from local governments, including facilities in Alameda County, Morro Bay, and Kern County.

California NORML cites several cases in which sales tax payments by dispensaries were disrupted by DEA raids. (It also notes that the federal government has grossly exaggerated the income earned by the dispensaries, failing to take into account not only taxes but the cost of rent, payroll, and inventory.) "At this time of budget deficits," says California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, "we can ill afford the DEA's war on medical marijuana. Californians are better off having medical marijuana distributed by tax-paying businesses, than being taxed in order to arrest, prosecute, and imprison medical marijuana providers."

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