UPDATE June 22 – Sen. Calderon has withdrawn his Marijuana Tax Bill SBX6 – 16 from consideration by the Senate Revenue & Taxation committee, where it had been scheduled for hearings tomorrow (Wed Jun 23rd). The bill was aimed at levying a 41% tax on all medical marijuana sales and had attracted strong opposition from the MMJ community. Hopefully, the bill has been put to rest permanently for this session.
SACRAMENTO, June 20 – A bill to tax medical marijuana like tobacco is scheduled for hearings by the State Senate Revenue & Taxation Comittee on Wednesday, June 23rd.
The bill, SBX6 -16 by Sen. Ronald Calderon of Montebello, would tax all sales of cannabis (except wholesale-level distribution to collectives or cooperatives) at a rate equal to the tobacco products tax rate.
Sen. Calderon’s office has been evasive about discussing the bill and has not returned phone calls from medical marijuana proponents.
Patient advocates strongly oppose taxing medical marijuana. “We cannot support taxes on medical marijuana at present inflated black-market prices,” stated California NORML in opposition to the bill. “Many patients are poor and living on disability. Until current laws are changed to clearly recognize the legality of cannabis sales, any tax proposals are highly premature and unwarranted.”
The provisions of SBX6 16 lack basic understanding of cannabis, which is dissimilar to tobacco both in its health effects and how it is marketed. Tobacco is taxed by the cigarette, while cannabis is sold by weight, making it difficult to make sense of the bill’s mandate that they be taxed “at the same rate.”
Because SBX6 -16 is a tax bill, it requires a 2/3 majority for passage. Opponents are hopeful that they can defeat the bill in committee. Medical marijuana supporters are urged to contact the committee in opposition to SBX6-16.
Committee Chair: Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis).