Cities weigh taxes on California medical marijuana dispensaries

Long Beach is seeking to tax medical marijuana dispensaries in an effort to raise money and plug holes in the city budget, Businessweek reported.

The Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys at the CANNABIS LAW GROUP represent more than a dozen collectives in the Los Angeles area that have been targeted for closure. As we have reported on our Marijuana Lawyer Blog, both the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County are pushing forward with tough new ordinances that would prevent most marijuana collectives from operating illegally.

While we are no fan of taxes, it is encouraging that some of the outlying areas, including Long Beach, apparently have no intentions of forcing these businesses to close. Medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under California law. We believe Los Angeles will not only miss out on this tax revenue, it could be forced to pay damages to the owners of these legal businesses if our L.A. dispensary attorneys and attorneys working on behalf of other dispensaries are successful in challenging these ordinances.

Long Beach, a Los Angeles suburb with a population of 500,000, has scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 3. If council approves the measure, a ballot initiative establishing a 5 percent tax on the city’s 35 dispensaries would go to voters in November.

The state capital of Sacramento is among other cities weighing the benefits of a dispensary tax in an effort to bridge gaps in the budget.

Long Beach plans an additional 10 percent tax on marijuana-related businesses if voters pass Proposition 19, which would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by anyone over the age of 21.

In San Jose, the 10th largest city in the United States, city leaders are considering putting a marijuana tax up for public referendum on Aug. 3.

Berkley is also considering putting a tax on the ballot in November. There, a tax of 1.8 percent would be applied to its three dispensaries. The city estimates it would receive $300,000 from the tax.

The City of Oakland estimates it will receive more than $1 million a year from taxes levied on its four dispensaries.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP is a law firm dedicated to the rights of medical marijuana patients, collectives and growers and has built a reputation for high-powered, aggressive legal representation of the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.