Friday, February 19, 2016

Cannabis defense attorney Bruce Margolin opposes SB 987

A new state-wide excise tax on the retail sale of medical cannabis will be imposed under the terms of SB 987 ("Marijuana Value Tax Act"), now pending in Sacramento, authored by California State Senator Mike McGuire, who represents the North Coast in the California State Senate.  Senator McGuire is also the author of SB 643, the "Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act," (MMRSA) which establishes a state-wide program for licensing participants in the medical cannabis supply chain.  The MMRSA was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 9, 2015, and went into effect on January 1, 2016.    

Noted California cannabis defense attorney Bruce Margolin told Etopia News today that levying a 15% excise tax on retail sales of medical cannabis “would put a burden on patients and shows prejudice and bias against medical cannabis users.”  

 Margolin said that trying to implement this additional tax is a sign of “prejudice that doesn’t recognize the rights of patients.”

On a related matter, he also said he expects that the Sean Parker Initiative, which legalizes, within limits, recreational cannabis in California, would qualify for the November, 2016, ballot.  He also said he expects it to be the only cannabis-legalizing initiative to make it to the ballot this fall.  He said it will “probably pass.”

Although this long-time advocate of cannabis legalization finds the limits set by the Parker Initiative to be unduly restrictive, he thinks that passing legislation that finally legalizes cannabis will help “take away the stigma” associated with the drug.  He contends that this stigma derives at least in part from anti-black and anti-Latino prejudice, and continues to be responsible for such things as this effort to impose an additional tax on medical cannabis patients.

You can read the views of California NORML on SB 987 here.

You can watch Senator McGuire preside over the Southern Humboldt County Community Forum on Medical Marijuana on January 29, 2015, here.  Senator McGuire represents California's North Coast, which includes Humboldt County, in the state senate.  His second senatorial district includes most of the "Emerald Triangle," (Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties), which is, according to Wikipedia, "the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States and the world." 

For more about opposition to SB 987, in an article entitled "Marijuana Advocates Battle Huge Pot Tax Increase," in the LA Weekly by Dennis Romero, click here.

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