Pages tagged "taxation"

  • ASA defeated state and local medical cannabis tax measures this year

    The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 2243 in its suspense file this week, blocking the bill from being approved this year. The bill by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) would have imposed a new tax of up to $9.25 per ounce on licensed medical cannabis distributors. This is the second medical cannabis tax bill to die this year. The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee killed SB 987 in June. That bill by Senator Mike McGuire (D-San Rafael) would have imposed an additional 15% excise tax on medical cannabis consumption.

    ASA opposed both medical cannabis tax bills this year because we believe the imposition of additional taxes is premature and represents an undue burden on legal patients. We rallied our base to email, call and visit lawmakers in opposition to AB 2243 and SB 987. It paid off this year, but tax proposals affecting patients will keep coming up at the state and local level. That is why it is so important for ASA to bring the patients’ voices to the table and to empower local advocates.

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  • Los Angeles Votes on Medical Cannabis Tax

    [caption id="attachment_1305" align="alignleft" width="86" caption="LA City Hall"]
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    On Tuesday, Angelenos will decide whether or not to put an additional 5% tax on medical cannabis and vote in seven City Council races. Medical cannabis patients have a lot at stake in the Primary Election. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on patients and advocates in Los Angeles to reject a “Sin Tax” on medical cannabis by voting no on Measure M, and to consider  City Council Members’stance on medcial cannabis before casting a ballot.

    Tuesday’s Primary Election is a great opportunity to make a difference for patients in a city that is still struggling to implement its medical cannabis program. Less than sixteen percent of registered voters showed up for the last Primary Elections in 2009. That means medical cannabis patients and advocates can make a big difference in the election – if they turn out in larger than expected numbers.



    Measure M will impose a business license tax on patients’ collectives and cooperatives of $50 per $1,000 in gross receipts (5% on top of 9.75% sales tax). This is disproportionate with existing business license taxes in Los Angeles, which range from $1.07 to $5.07 per $1,000 in revenue. Why should legal patients pay almost ten times more tax than anyone else in the city? Is that the legal patients' fair share? Public ambivalence and media bias make medical cannabis an easy revenue target, but that does not make a “sin tax” on medical cannabis fair or reasonable.

    Some proponents argue that the city needs the money from Measure M to offset the cost of implementing the city’s controversial Medical Cannabis Ordinance. However, Measure M funds are not ear marked for that purpose; and the ordinance already requires the collectives and cooperatives to pay for registration, inspection, and enforcement. In reality, Measure M is simply an attempt to raise revenue during tough economic times.

    ASA calls on the Los Angeles City Council, which voted to place Measure M on the ballot,  to shift the tax burden away from legal patients, and to find fair and reasonable solutions to the city’s budget shortfall. ASA and medical cannabis patients are not alone in opposing Measure M. The Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily Breeze have both urged voters to reject the measure.

    Voters will also cast ballots in seven City Council races, and frustration with the protracted regulatory process in the city will be a factor for voters in several districts. City Council Member Bernard Parks (District 8 ) co-sponsored a motion, seconded by Council Member Greig Smith (District 12) to ban medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives outright in December. Medical cannabis patients and advocates in those districts should feel justified in voting for opponents in either race, although neither district is considered “in play” in Tuesday’s election. Medical cannabis voters in District 14 have organized a campaign called “No Way Jose” to unseat incumbent City Council Member Jose Huizar in the city’s closest and most controversial race.

    ASA urges Angelenos to making voting on Tuesday a priority. A relatively small number of voters will decide Measure M and the City Council races, so this is a great opportunity to be influential. So find your polling place and vote no on Measure M on Tuesday.
  • ASA Rejects Unfair Taxes - No on SBX6 16 (CA)

    Update June 23 - Sen. Calderon has withdrawn SBX6 16. Thanks to everyone who helped get this done! California Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) wants to add a new tax medical cannabis in California. If adopted, SBX6 16 would tax legal medicine at the same rate as tobacco – forty one percent!  ASA opposes this unreasonable burden on legal patients, who already pay sales tax on their medicine. Medical cannabis is expensive and usually not covered by insurance. ASA is calling on Senator Calderon’s colleagues on the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee to reject SBX6 16 at a hearing on Wednesday, June 23. ASA appreciates the state’s need for additional tax revenue during these tough economic times. A more reasonable approach would be to seek wider compliance with the Board of Equalization (BOE) ruling from October of 2005, which requires patients’ collectives and cooperatives to pay sales tax at the normal rate. This could bring large sums of money into state coffers without creating additional economic hardships for sick and dying Californians who lawfully use medical cannabis. (ASA opposes the application of sales tax to medical cannabis, but supports compliance with the BOE ruling until the law changes.) Research conducted by ASA shows that regulating medical cannabis is beneficial for communities, and revenue issues should be a part of a comprehensive regulatory strategy. However, SBX6 16 is a premature effort. Revenue issues must be addressed along with other crucial issues – (1) inconsistencies in local policies on sales of cannabis, (2) clarity on the scope and nature of conduct permitted under the law, (3) licensing and legal protection for cannabis growers, and (4) protection for patients’ civil rights. ASA is willing to work with lawmakers on sensible and comprehensive legislation in the future. Please join ASA in opposing SBX6 16 before Wednesday’s hearing. You can contact members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee from the committee web page. Tell them to vote no on SBX6 16.