April 8, 2008
Questioning new Marijuana Tax
From NPR.com: California's potential $16 billion budget shortfall has led state officials to an unusual source for tax revenue — medical marijuana storefronts. In a state where it's legal to buy prescription pot, those shops generate millions of dollars each year. But there's just one problem — buying and selling marijuana is still a federal crime.
Richard Lee, owner of a coffee shop and marijuana dispensary in Oakland, says he's proud of the more than $200,000 a year he pays in sales tax. His store sells marijuana buds in one-eighth ounce bags.
"We have one medium grade on our menu, that's $30 an eighth plus tax," Lee says. "And three high grades, that's $40 an eighth plus tax, so it comes to $44 with tax, sales tax included."
Medical marijuana advocates estimate that the aggregate annual sales tax revenue that's paid by the approximately 400 dispensaries in California is $100 million. Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, says the state actually makes it easy for pot venders to do business without revealing their product by issuing generic "sellers permits." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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