Pubdate: Fri, 12 Feb 2016
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Adam Randall


As part of the sweeping changes to the state's medical marijuana 
industry, an expected new tax was introduced Wednesday that would 
target point of sale transactions for marijuana products.

Senate Bill 987, "The Marijuana Value Tax Act," would impose an 
excise tax of 15 percent on purchasers seeking medical marijuana 
products for consumption or other uses within California when 
purchased from any retailer.

The tax, if moved forward within the state Legislature, is being 
proposed to take effect beginning in January 2018, when the Bureau of 
Medical Marijuana Regulation begins to enforce operatives of the 
recent Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, according to Sen. 
Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who authored the bill.

The Bureau would receive 30 percent of the revenue, which would be 
designated toward grant programs for agencies including city or 
county governments and local law enforcement that are overseeing 
cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution and the sale of 
medical marijuana within local jurisdictions.

The rest of the tax revenue would be broken down with 30 percent 
going to the state's general fund; 20 percent to the Department of 
Parks and Recreation for "base operations of state parks;" the 
Natural Resources Agency would pull in 10 percent for "restoration 
and remediation of public and private lands and watersheds damaged by 
any medical marijuana cultivation;" and the final 10 percent could be 
available to counties and cities, distributed based on population, 
for drug and alcohol treatment programs.

"We made a commitment last year as we were working through the huge 
undertaking of setting statewide regulations for medical marijuana 
that we would follow up on a statewide excise tax," McGuire said. 
"This needed revenue will make our communities stronger by focusing 
on the impacts of cultivation and use of marijuana, including funding 
local law enforcement and neighborhood improvement programs, state 
parks, drug and alcohol treatment and environmental rehabilitation."

Total sales estimates of medical marijuana have topped $1 billion 
statewide, according to the state Board of Equalization. The state 
only expects that estimate to grow as the provisions under the 
Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act are implemented.

McGuire estimates his Marijuana Value Tax Act will bring in at least 
another $100 million in new revenue to the state.

The 15 percent tax proposal by McGuire is said to be similar to those 
offered in other states that have legalized marijuana for 
recreational uses, including Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. 
However, McGuire's tax only governs medical marijuana sales, and not 
those that may have been sold for illegal recreational uses.

Counties and cities statewide may also opt to add their own local 
taxes and fees in the spirit of local control under the new 
regulations that went into effect at the start of 2016.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom