Pubdate: Sat, 04 Jun 2016
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Ukiah Daily Journal


North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood's proposed medical marijuana excise 
tax advanced Thursday, passing the Assembly with the required 
bipartisan two-thirds votes needed for any new state tax.

Assembly Bill 2243 would levy a $9.25 per ounce tax on cannabis 
flowers; a $2.75 per ounce tax on cannabis leaves; and a $1.25 tax on 
immature cannabis plants from nurseries.

Wood's proposal is a tiered approach similar to how alcohol is taxed: 
based on the potency of the product.

"I have worked from day one to ensure our rural communities have the 
resources we need to prevent, and clean-up the environmental 
catastrophe currently underway in our forests and watersheds," Wood 
said in a statement.

The "environmental catastrophe," says Wood, is years of abuse caused 
by illegal marijuana grows that have trashed forests, caused runoff 
of chemicals into local waterways, and have sucked rivers and streams dry.

Wood's proposed excise tax was originally part of his legislation, AB 
243, that was combined with other bills and became the Medical 
Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

The tax, however, ended up being pulled at the last minute in order 
to move the MMRSA legislation forward. Wood kept the tax alive by 
putting it into a new bill, or AB 2243.

Wood estimates that AB 2243 would raise nearly $80 million annually 
and would be distributed in the following way:

30 percent to fund the Watershed Enforcement Team

30 percent for local law enforcement

30 percent for environmental clean-up on public and private lands

8 percent to restart state funding of the Williamson Act

2 percent to fund interagency regional enforcement coordinators 
within the Department of Justice

"AB 2243 imposes a reasonable tax on the production and distribution 
of commercial cannabis, and will focus revenue on the communities, 
forests and rivers," said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the 
California Growers Association. "This legislation is an important 
step to take to ensure immediate relief is available for the 
watersheds and communities that need help now."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom