Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pot Tax: Only a Matter of Time

California is considered by federal authorities the nation’s largest producer of marijuana … 8.6 million pounds a year worth somewhere around $13.8 billion. It was only a matter of time.

Americans have been paying for their sins for most of history. Tobacco and booze are examples. Now comes a proposal from LA Councilwoman Janice Hahn to tax the 400-plus medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in the city.

“In this current economic crisis,” she says, “we need to get creative about how we raise funds.”
In the meantime, California is sitting on a bill by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano that would legalize pot and then tax it. It will likely not get to committee soon but it’s sitting out there. (The Sac Bee story.)

The State’s Board of Equalization estimates that with 16 million ounces of marijuana consumption a year, the state could harvest $990 million in a special $50 per ounce levy and another $392 million in sales taxes.

No estimate from Hahn on how much LA might stand to gain by taxing medical pot, but Councilman Bill Rosendahl calls it a “creative solution that will help bring revenue to our city and also recognize the additional benefits that the medical marijuana industry can contribute.”

If the past forecasts the future, there is little doubt that one day … probably sooner than later considering the state of the City’s finances … a Pot Tax will be put in place. It’s just a matter of time. (Ken Draper is the editor of CityWatch. He can be reached at Editor@CityWatchLA.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ) ◘

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