Pubdate: Sun, 23 Aug 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Yuba-Sutter's representative on the state Board of Equalization said 
last week he supports imposing an excise tax on medical marijuana in 
connection with any state legislation regulating cannabis.

"I'm the first to admit that government is too bloated and that 
Californians are overtaxed," said 1st District Board of Equalization 
member George Runner, a Republican. "But the fundamental question 
here is who should pay the steep costs of marijuana-related 
activities that include trespass on public lands, water theft and 
unregulated use of pesticides."

State lawmakers have been considering the idea of statewide 
legislation regulating marijuana amid confusion over current cannabis 
regulations that vary from county to county and city to city.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, earlier opposed a bill that 
would give the state more control over regulating medical marijuana. 
But since then, he has acknowledged there might be a need for state oversight.

Runner said an excise tax on pot would provide local law enforcement 
with revenue needed to fight crimes associated with marijuana cultivation.

"Simply put, why should those who don't use marijuana pay the 
environmental costs associated with growing marijuana?" Runner asked.

Area Congressman John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is a supporter of 
the Environmental Protection Agency's recently released Clean Power Plan.

The plan, announced by President Barack Obama and the EPA earlier 
this month, would regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from existing 
generation sources.

Garamendi, a member of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, said he 
believes "reversing the dangerous trends of global warming and 
climate change is the central challenge of our time."

State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, whose district includes Yuba and 
Sutter counties, decried legislation last week that would increase 
the fee for submitting a proposed state ballot initiative.

Under AB 1100 authored by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, the 
filing fee would increase from $200 to $2,000.

Nielsen said the bill, which passed on the Senate floor and will go 
back to the Assembly for concurrence, "is all about discouraging 
citizens from initiating and repealing laws."

The state Fair Political Practices Commission last week approved a 
settlement agreement with Nielsen over an allegation he made an 
illegal political donation in 2012.

The commission voted 4-0 to uphold the agreement after pulling it 
from the consent agenda for separate discussion. Nielsen and campaign 
officials allegedly made a contribution through a third party that 
exceeded Political Reform Act limits.

The agreement settles an allegation that Nielsen, R-Gerber, made a 
$4,320 contribution through Tehama GOP to pay for a radio ad 
supporting unsuccessful Assembly candidate Bob Williams.

Nielsen, Taxpayers for Nielsen and treasurer Charles Bell are 
required to pay $9,000 of a penalty totaling $23,000. Nielsen is also 
responsible for a $1,000 fine for receiving an unlawful gift.

Also paying portions of the fine are Tehama GOP, Williams, Friends of 
Bob Williams and David Bauer. Marysville office, 1530 Ellis Lake Drive
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom