The Los Angeles Times is encouraging voters to say “no” to Measure M, which would create a city tax on medical marijuana even as the city attempts to force most existing dispensaries out of business.
As our Los Angeles medical marijuana defense lawyers have reported, the city is seeking to tax medical marijuana despite championing an embattled ordinance that seeks to close the vast majority of medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under state law.
Similar taxes have already been approved in Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Jose and Long Beach. However, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office has said it does not believe such a tax would be legal. City council — never ones to listen to its own legal advice — voted to put the issue before voters anyway.
Central to the issue is whether collectives and dispensaries can be considered for-profit enterprises. The state Attorney General’s Office has already ruled that marijuana businesses must operate as nonprofit cooperatives. Nonprofits are exempt from city taxes.
Other municipalities have gotten around the issue by claiming the vast majority of marijuana businesses have not registered as nonprofits with the Internal Revenue Service because marijuana sales are illegal under federal law.
So voters are essentially being asked to condone an unlawful tax on non-profits that is being pushed by politicians in direct opposition to the advice of their own legal counsel. City council will no doubt next be hollering about the legal fees associated with defending its actions.
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.