Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2016
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Column: The 420
Copyright: 2016 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Ngaio Bealum


Last week, you mentioned a new tax on medical marijuana. Can you give 
me some more details?

- -John Q. Publique

I can indeed. Senate Bill 987, introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire, 
D-Healdsburg, imposes a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana which will 
be imposed on the purchaser at the retail level. This is in addition 
to the taxes that many cities and counties already place on the 
purchase of medicinal marijuana, making the effective rate 25 percent 
in some jurisdictions. Cannabis advocacy groups Americans for Safe 
Access and California NORML oppose this bill.

Aside from the fact the medicinal marijuana is a medicine, and 
California doesn't tax medicines (Can you imagine paying taxes for 
penicillin or oxycodone?), this tax is a horrible idea. A top-shelf 
eighth of marijuana costs about $60 pre-tax. If this tax passes, the 
cost becomes $69, or maybe even $75. The friendly neighborhood weed 
dealer sells quality bud at about $40 to $50. It doesn't take a 
degree in economics to do this math. The secondary point of 
regulating the cannabis industry-the first should always be to keep 
people who use cannabis from going to jail-is to discourage the black 
market. If the retail cannabis prices aren't competitive, no one will 
buy your overpriced weed, and nothing will change.

Oregon and Washington face a similar problem. Lawmakers in those two 
states have been working to kill their state's medical marijuana 
programs. Their argument is something like: Since adult use of 
cannabis is legal, all the people who need cannabis for medicinal 
purposes have disappeared. This is ridiculous. There are hundreds of 
thousands of people in California who use marijuana to treat symptoms 
from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain and all 
kinds of other things. Many of these people are not financially 
well-off. Using the sick and the poor to make extra money is not 
cool. SB 987 has just been introduced and there is time to kill it 
before it reaches the floor. Please call McGuire's office at (916) 
651-4902 and let him know how you feel.

I am hella excited to put some plants into the ground. Do I really 
have to wait until spring?

- -Earl E. Byrd

Nope. You can throw some decent-sized clones into your space right 
now. They will start to flower immediately, so you won't get a 
monster yield, but you will have fun playing in the garden. You may 
also want to look into getting some "autoflower" seeds. Autoflower 
strains are cannabis phenotypes bred with the Russian cannabis known 
as ruderalis. These plants flower on their own and don't need longer 
nights to start producing buds. By the way, now is the time to start 
getting your dirt ready if you plan to start your regular plants by 
4/20 (April 20, obviously). Good dirt makes great plants. Be sure to 
check the growing regulations in your city or county.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom