And where would we be without a marijuana law blog on 4/20?
The Long Beach city counsel does not yet have regulations in place to govern the sale of medical marijuana. Despite the fact that medical marijuana is not legal for sale in Long Beach yet, voters have already approved a ballot measure to tax the marijuana in the event that it can be sold.
The ballot measure related to taxing marijuana dispensaries was written by the Long Beach Collective Association, with the hopes that the tax would bring necessary revenue to the city. The government is generally eager to benefit from the revenue that marijuana can provide and an approved tax could create additional incentive for Long Beach to act quickly in moving forward with marijuana sales.
With medicinal and recreational marijuana use gaining acceptance and more locations legalizing at least medicinal marijuana, the ability to tax marijuana sales is a win for the government and Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know that legalization can help replace the underground market for cannabis with a legitimate one.
Voters Favor Ballot Measure to Tax Marijuana
Long Beach has undertaken a multi-year effort to try to regulate the sale of medical marijuana. A broad framework has been developed and the issue is before the Planning Commission, which will make a recommendation and send it to the council.
The approval of the tax measure on the ballot could be a good first start at helping the process move forward, as the Council can now see an accepted method for generating revenue through marijuana sales.
The measure related to taxing marijuana passed with 74 percent of the vote according to the unofficial results released early in April. The Press Telegram reported that the city will be able to impose a business license tax at an initial rate of six percent. This tax would apply to the gross sales receipts for marijuana sold at dispensaries. A levy could also increase this tax rate up to 10 percent of gross marijuana sales at for-profit dispensaries.
In addition to the sales tax on marijuana, the measure also allows the government to generate revenue from improvements made to business properties that would make it possible to grow medical marijuana. This tax is initially set at $15 per square foot, but could be increased to as much as a $50 per square foot assessment.
A nonprofit would be taxed at a rate of $10 per square foot for improvements made to the business. There would be no taxed levied as a percentage of sales.
While a taxation structure may make it easier for logical solutions to move forward, it is essential to avoid overtaxing cannabis to the point where it remains viable to continue to sell the drug on the black market. The need for revenue must be balanced with the needs of people who use cannabis to improve their quality of life.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
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Obama Admin Pot Policy Dazed, Confusing to Many, February 23, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog