Thursday, March 14, 2013

Medical Pot Sales Tax on the Terminally Ill May Be Lifted

By David Downs
Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The only thing for certain is death and taxes — OK, so maybe not all taxes.

Terminally ill medical marijuana patients may be able to avoid paying the 7.5 percent state sales tax on the pain-, nausea-, and wasting-combating drug if a new proposal from the California Board of Equalization becomes law.

The BOE currently mandates all sales of medical cannabis be taxed, netting the state an estimated $100 million per year in sales taxes. Scores of California cities like San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Richmond also assess their own local "sin" taxes on medical pot, on top of state sales tax, bringing in tens of millions of dollars more annually, reports show.

Medical marijuna: thatll be 7.5 percent sales tax, please.
  • David Downs
  • Medical marijuna: that'll be 7.5 percent sales tax, please.
Board of Equalization member Betty Yee's staff wrote to San Francisco activists Wednesday saying the Board of Equalization’s Legislative Committee has, as of Tuesday, begun considering exempting from sales tax medical cannabis used by hospice patients.

At the meeting, the Board decided to widen the scope of the proposal to all terminally ill patients. On Wednesday, Board Member Yee moved to revisit the Board’s action and move the proposal forward to the legislature, who would have to vote on it. The Board adopted the action, directing the BOE staff to seek an introduction of the bill in the legislature this year.

The proposal, in its current form, can be viewed at the BOE’s website here. Hospice patients would have to get a BOE exemption certificate, the proposal states.

(On a side note: it's kind of messed up that state law already exempts from sales and use tax retail sales of medicines — except for cannabis, one of the oldest, safest medications on the planet.

That's because, "generally, caregivers and medical marijuana dispensaries are not registered pharmacists or licensed health facilities. Accordingly, their medical marijuana sales do not qualify for the current medicine exemption in law, despite the purchasers’ possession of a [doctor's recommendation and a] medical marijuana identification card. Accordingly, under existing law, generally tax applies to sales of medical marijuana," the BOE writes.)

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