Don Duncan, California Director, Americans for Safe Access, today provided Etopia News with the following comments regarding SB 987 (the “Marijuana Value Tax Act”), a bill now pending in the California State Senate that would impose a 15% excise (i.e., sales) tax on all medical cannabis sold in the state. Here’s what he had to say:
“Thanks for your call regarding SB 987. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) opposes this bill because it imposes an unfair burden of legal medical cannabis patients. Medical cannabis in California is already subject to sales tax, and many cities and counties impose additional local taxes. Adding an additional 15% will make this expensive medicine unaffordable for some patients. Recall that medical cannabis is not covered by insurance.
“ASA understands that some taxation may be a necessary evil in the context of a state licensing program. However, we believe that SB 987 is premature and the tax is too high. We are asking lawmakers to wait until next year, when we will know more about the state of local taxes, the cost of implementing the newly-adopted Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, and the outcome of an anticipated vote on legal non-medical use (the likely initiative also contains a 15% tax).
“SB 987 is currently in the Senate Appropriation suspense file, where the committee hods bills with a significant financial impact. The committee must vote to send or hold each suspense bill at a special hearing on May 27. ASA is hosting our annual citizen lobby day on May 23. A primary focus of that lobby day will be opposing taxation.
“Visit http://californiacitizenlobbyday.org/ for more information about lobby day.
“On a related note, the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation just rejected AB 2243 (Wood) on Monday. That will would have put a tax on medical cannabis cultivation statewide.”