Yesterday, California’s State Board of Equalization announced every single medicine recommended for use by a doctor is exempt from taxation except one; medical marijuana! Riddle us this, CA; if marijuana is medicine shouldn’t it be no more taxed than an antibiotic or heart pills? If it’s a taxable product, like beer or cigs or cough medicine, shouldn’t all adults be able to use it, without a medical need?
“The time is overdue for the state to provide leadership for this industry regarding the manufacturing and sale of marijuana similar to what we did for cigarettes and liquor,” said board Chairman Jerome Horton, who represents Los Angeles County.
The new announcement reaffirms current CA policy that buying and selling medical marijuana “involves taxable tangible property”, the board said. Legal or not…any and all income is taxable. Say you’re out of a job and need some cash and someone hires you to commit a murder. That income is taxable even though murder remains illegal. Say you steal a Ferrari and sell it, you’re still responsible for sales and use tax as well as capital gains tax on that profit of the sale…even if Grand Theft Auto is a fun game…er uh, we mean illegal. It’s how they got Al Capone, man. The didn’t get him for committing all his gansta activities…they got him because he didn’t pay taxes on those gansta activities.
But this announcement isn’t about helping sick people or about whether marijuana is a medicine. It’s about “regulating and controlling sales and capturing appropriate sales tax,” Horton reminds us. And we’re talking about a lot of money here. Anita Gore, a board spokeswoman estimates the state of California already collects $58 million to $105 million in sales taxes on $700 to $1.3 billion in retail sales of medical marijuana every year. And keep in mind a large portion of this revenue is used to pay for six figure salaries, benefits and early retirements for police officers who hate weed. And, a portion will also be deducted as “union dues” and spent supporting candidates and campaigns that oppose legalizing and taxing marijuana, instead of being spent on defending law-abiding, tax-paying dispensaries from federal harassment and providing legal representation for those already arrested. We know of several owners who were hit with shocking, draconian 20-plus year sentences by the Feds just for operating a business the state considers to be a tax-worthy legal enterprise.
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