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California: Oakland Voters Approve Nation’s First Marijuana Business Tax

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 22, 2009

    [Editor's note: This post is excerpted from this week's forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory.]

    Oakland voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nation’s first ever business tax on retail marijuana sales.

    According to preliminary election results, approximately 80 percent of Oakland voters approved the new tax (which appeared on the ballot as Measure F), which imposes an additional tax for “cannabis businesses” of $18 for every $1,000 of gross receipts beginning January 1, 2010.

    Presently, Oakland’s medical cannabis dispensaries are taxed at the same rate as other retail sales businesses ($60 per year for the $50,000 of gross receipts, plus $1.20 for each additional $100,000).

    Four dispensaries are licensed by the Oakland City Council to sell and dispense medical marijuana.

    According to a financial analysis by the Oakland City Auditor, Oakland’s new cannabis business tax will generate an estimated $300,000 in additional annual tax revenue.

    Representatives from the Oakland City Council, the California Nurses Association, and the dispensary community publicly advocated for the new tax, which had no formal opposition.

    “The passage of this first-in-the-nation tax further legitimizes cannabis-based enterprises in Oakland and elsewhere,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “These outlets are contributing to the health and welfare of their local communities, both socially and now economically. At a time when many municipalities  are strapped for tax revenues and cutting public services it is likely that public officials in other cities will begin considering similar proposals.”

    91 Responses to “California: Oakland Voters Approve Nation’s First Marijuana Business Tax”

    1. Chrokee Fred Jesus says:

      DC are you paying attention??? 80%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%5

      CFJ

    2. LoopFiasco says:

      The court case mentioned above was Dr Timothy Leary’s – the double jeopardy clause came into issue because of the previous tax stamps (prior to controlled substances act which came about in 1971 or so and which put cannabis in schedule 1 thanks to Nixon and other dick’s).

      The tax stamps are long gone – the double jeopardy issue no longer relevant along with em.

      While I abhor taxes on principle as a form of plunder (anyone remember Bastiat?) – i realize the positive benefit this will have for the movement in general. If we view the state of California as a bunch of individual domino’s at the local level, very very broke domino’s at that, the first revenue domino has fallen and others are sure to follow. Thank you NORML, thank you California NORML, all other grassroots advocacy groups and all the dispensaries and private business owners for making this a reality!

      Let us just hope the politicians don’t get ganja tax crazy and price the truly needy or those on fixed incomes out of quality life saving medicine.

    3. Atomi zer X says:

      Hopefullyy the government will classify it as what it is. A PLANT. Something that has been growing on this planet since God knows when and let us choose if we want to grow it or not. Its the man made drugs that are dangerous, coke, heroin, meth. Quit focusing on Cannabis as a crime and go after the real dangerous drugs.

    4. bromontana says:

      this isnt really anything good… it’s for a tax on medical marijuana, which means in the long run the medicine will cost more… legalize and tax commercial marijuana, don’t tax legitimate medicine.

    5. bromontana says:

      NativeSonKY Says:
      July 22nd, 2009 at 7:57 pm

      “To discuss one of the very valid points I see above, it was *my impression* that this was a TAX UPON THE BUSINESS, Not the PATIENT. That is how I understood it from the articles I read, so I hope THE REALITY of the tax is that it stays on the Business, and not the patient! ”

      ———————

      Who do you think ends up paying for the taxes…. the customer always does, just indirectly without you noticing (increase prices of product to counter taxes that have to be paid). Although this tax doesn’t seem like too much

    6. JeremyVA says:

      Great news! I dont mind a bigger tax if I can help my community while smoking legaly, thats fine by me as long as the prices dont get too outragious.

    7. finally some sense is being made in all this. if the government is willing to listen, they would probably hear a LOT more of this nationwide.. way to go!!

    8. Rick says:

      This is a good thing

    9. Lindsay says:

      ahh the good life…go cali!

    10. kevin says:

      The problem with “Government” is the fact that it has gotten so large ,its a separate entity instead of the extension of “We The People” it was created to be.
      “We The People” are suppose to control the “Government” not be controlled by it.That being said NOW its time for
      “We The People” to stop sitting by silently and allowing the steady erosion of our Liberties.Our Ancestors died so we could have them but its up to us to preserve them.If we all do our part we can reverse this cycle of erosion .Vote ,don’t just assume your vote don’t matter. Write,E-mail,Call your State Representatives,let them know how you want to be represented on all the issues ,don’t assume they will make the right decision.And we need to always vote for the new man,re-electing breeds corruption that’s how we got in this situation voting them ALL out is the only fix.this is my assessment, am i alone on this ? Or is this the general consensus?

    11. proud pot head jared w says:

      go cali lead the nation and hopefully Indiana god knows we need it

    12. Justice says:

      It’s about time now can we get the rest of Northern Cali or the whole state to agree that marijuana has real medical uses!

    13. NativeSonKY says:

      bromontana Says:
      July 22nd, 2009 at 10:57 pm
      ———————

      Who do you think ends up paying for the taxes…. the customer always does, just indirectly without you noticing (increase prices of product to counter taxes that have to be paid). Although this tax doesn’t seem like too much
      ________

      Well, I’m 50 yrs. old and I sure know how things work, yes. BUT – the dispensaries in CA are NOT FOR PROFIT as I understand. And you’re correct – when broken up by the ounce and quarter ounce, the patient stands to pay very little tax. Also, I’d have to commend the providers in CA as being a compassionate lot who won’t pass any big increases in price due to the tax. AT least I would hope so!

      Just be glad you don’t live in KY, where we live 50 years behind the times as compared to CA. It is my hope to someday move back to CA also since I have a need for the weed myself. As with any new advance on the marijuana subject it is going to take awhile to iron out the details. I really hope it stays affordable for the patients and also becomes completely legalized in which case the taxes can be put on the commercial sales where it would generate MUCH more income for a state that badly needs it.

      I’m WITH you ALL in Spirit!
      John in KY

    14. Anonymous says:

      Yo! Califorina is a done deal! If you want to talk to someone about the advantages, talk to someone who is against it, or is just plain ignorant (uninformed). 85% of Californians are for it. You need to talk to the 15% who are against it. Quit talkin’ to the easy sell…talk to the hard sell. Let’s make it 99.9%.

    15. Andrew 3 says:

      all eyes are on you Cali!

    16. Bye , Bye Alcohol , Drug and tobacco Companies . Despite your Billions of dollars in your obvious attempt to do everything to snuff out marijuana you are losing the battle because we the people are bringing the public truth about the safety ( not harm like your dope ) of marijuana . We have little money but , WE WILL WIN THIS BATTLE .

    17. Anonymous says:

      61 Jared and 62 Justin are you guys up for CDXX Communion.

      62 Every county in California is in for MPP. That’s what HS 11362.5 and SB420 is all about. Justin…Northern California looks like an over-grown chia pet.

    18. medical user says:

      This doesn`t help there are people still fighting casesin Solano county Ca. cases that Das in difference parts of the state would dismiss but not Solano county the power that be refuse to follow state law prop 215 or ab 420 we need help in Solano county.

    19. R.O.E. says:

      Now,if we could get this kind of support for changing our government ,as we see here fighting drug policy,we wouldnt have this problem. The main issue IS controlling our government,not them controlling us. They we would have real change with common sense, not the bull shiy we see happening everyday on the news. How much you wanna bet they pass this health care bill whether we the people want it or not? Its just another bill to be used to control the masses.

    20. John says:

      Awesome! As other counties/cities see how well this is going to work out for Oakland, especially in a cash-strapped state such as California, I expect to see many others follow.

      It is also a big help that the Obama Administration is not wasting federal resources and tax dollars on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries who abide by state laws. This is very unlike the Bush Administration. Oh how I do not miss the “Bush Era!” Haha!

      We are almost there guys (and gals)! NORML, GREAT JOB, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

      To everyone else, keep fighting and DO NOT GIVE UP UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! We are way too close to even CONSIDER GIVING UP!

      Contact your elected officials, voice your opinion here and on other prominent websites such as The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/), tell all of your friends about the current and new legislation to come, and follow the big media coverage Marijuana is continuing to get!

    21. Anonymous says:

      68 Medical User

      Did you hear about Butte County, and how we sue their asses now for de facto action.

    22. A says:

      Just want to throw this in as well. For those who are writing their reps please also discuss how we don’t need govt controlling our health care. Take a long hard look @ the UK and Canada and ask some people just how great their health care is. People are having to wait weeks, months and years just to get in to have tests, checks and operations. This is why those people who are being placed on the back burner in their own country are traveling to the US to get treatment. That should say it all right there. I thought I heard someone say before “If it’s not broke then we’re not fixing it.” If this health care reform bill is so great then why doesn’t congress/senate/govt accept the same coverage for it’s employees? Members in congress don’t want it, so why is it so great for everyone else? Either they think people are really that stupid to keep blindly following their lead as they suck us dry or they know that people aren’t as stupid as they think but they believe theirs nothing we can do about anything. Their wrong! I would like the assurance that if anything were to happen to any of my loved ones, myself or any of you that we can all get help if we need it. Not to wait until the situation gets worse then discard someone for being too sick or untreatable. I’m not willing to place my life, and neither should anyone else, in an invisible board of bureaucrats to determine whether or not I am eligible to receive aid for what ails me. By the way it’s another bill that is thousands of pages that our reps could pass w/o reading it. Please, read the bill in it’s entirety and you will see exactly what I’m talking about. Anyone who reads any of these bills would see just how uncouth some people can be. Quit with the politics! These are people’s lives your messing with and I feel we’re being pushed to a ledge. I have nowhere to go and I’m slowly being pushed to that ledge so what can I do. Fight or flight response and if we all fight instead of jump then they won’t have a choice but to listen. Politics? More like poli-ticks. Blood hungry parasites.

    23. Anonymous says:

      72 A

      I wixh every single person in this great country could read what you have just posted. You coudn’t be more right, period, period, period. Please…listen to A folks. This comes from 35 years a healthcare consultant and mediator. When they gain control of your healthcare, they got you “BODY AND SOUL,” and you will soon know what putty in their hands feels like.
      Your brain won’t amount to, well! as they say…”SHIT FOR BRAINS.”

    24. 71. Anonymous Says – 68 medical user – sue their asses for de facto action?

      ..may something along the line got nipped in the Butte!

    25. B says:

      GREAT NEWS!!!! Now I’m sure the other counties will follow suit since they don’t want all their residents sales taxes going to the city of Oakland.

      WAKE UP SAN FRANCISCO AND THE REST OF THE BAY AREA, at the moment this is the duck laying the golden eggs!!! Other cities need that $$$$$ as well just to keep food on the tables.

    26. NativeSonKY says:

      Oh no…please let’s don’t debate the health care issues alongside the Marijuana Reform issue – it’s just not a good idea. I won’t bother to inject my view except to say that ANY health care would be better than what I have now, which is none, except the ER. And alarmists of ANY type are not to be trusted in my experience…

    27. Anonymous says:

      76 NativeSonKY

      We have the greatest healthcare system in the world…what could be better? Except for socialized medicine aka insurance companies, government is NOT in our healthcare, unless one is on welfare aka social services. Medicare is a different story…but its still controlled. I agree…we should not mix apples and oranges.

    28. Anonymous says:

      (added by Mobile using Mippin)

    29. alan says:

      I have said for 35 years if pot was legal we could end paranoia ,take the revenue and stop the hard drugs and show that people who smoke arent drugies just people who like a little buzz at the end of the day so they can get up the next day and go to their jobs without a problem ,spend time with there families and enjoy the one thing the good lord put here to be consumed in this manner, its absolutly natural and now if the rest of America sees this and follows through we can take the profit away from the cartels and eliminate the flow of precious green money from leaving our great country. post script A big high five to Carlo Santana who laid it right on the line.

    30. On the surface I tip my hat to Oakland, Ca. and NORML for this accomplishment… but offering my ’2 $ence’ on a deeper thought.

      The Times – They Are A Changing:-]

      Can you believe this load of CRAP! (Crazy-Radical-American-Politics)

      After a government that has ‘demonized’ one of God’s natural wonders of medicinal healing through plant life – marijuana – for almost a century now… they find a way to get their greedy little paws wedged into our ‘American Health System’ by taxing it, with some even taunting it as a solution to our – American Bail-Out Plan.  WTF!

      Don’t buy into this load of CRAP.  It’s just another ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ strategy produced to blindside us of their corrupt nature.

      The USA should provide ‘FREE Clinics’ on how to grow and maintain our medicine within the confines of our own private properties and use.

      This type of Medicine should be FREE.  I’m so sick of mother-fuckers knocking at your door, standing there looking like ‘Mother Theresa’ holding a shiv behind their ‘unacceptable’ spineless backs!

      We grow tomatoes in our back yards don’t we?

      Stand Up & Fight – not just to ‘FREE the WEED’ but our ‘GOD Given Right’ to grow ‘FREE WEED’! 

      Don’t be a pussy - make some noise on this issue… my tomatoes are ripe and ready to be tossed at any unforgiving law that stomps across what should be my constitutional right to legal and affordable healthcare.

      pEACE,
      hAROLD

    31. Rebel with a cause says:

      80 hAROLD mORALES
      Says: The Times They are a Changing!

      “The one who would be constant in happiness must frequently change.”

    32. Norman Lepoff, M.D. ret. says:

      Great posts. Gives me hope.

    33. Hey Rebel…

      Bob Dylan said it first…

      p,
      h

    34. chris says:

      major progress in reforming marijuana laws! now Idaho (and everyone else) just needs to get on board! i agree you should be able to “grow your own” tax-free but even by regulating legal taxed-sales to the public, i wont bitch. too bad it took them billions of dollars (that they didnt have) and 80+ years, to open their minds and start looking at the subject rationally. nobody should be penalized for choosing to relax with a natural, safe (PROVE me wrong) alternative that you can actually function on, vs. popping pills and drinking which you can acquire legally. Not to mention the multi-BILLION dollar revenue it brings in which would otherwise be collected by druglords. I dont understand why its even a question.

    35. C-R-A-P = Crazy Radical American Politics

      Re: What Chris says #84 – ‘Major Progress’ I say ‘Major Acceptance’

      While all the brainiacs are up on Capitol Hill outlining the “Legal Conditions of Cannabis’… in my not so humble opinion…

      1) They should spell out that anyone has the right and/or choice to use or grow Cannabis and that you must use it in as part of your HealthCare – To be Licensed to Grow and harvest it.
      2) They should spell out that there should be NO Monetary Value attached so as to keep out the Criminal Element$ surrounding cannabis. ( there is enough profit to made of the manufacturing of Bongs, Pipes, Rolling Papers, Vaporizer’s etc… not even beginning to discuss Clothing, Food, Fuel and numerous other uses of this product.
      3) Individuals whom are too disabled, the elderly or individuals who just plain want it packaged and sent to them could call upon a Licensed Grower who should be required to setup a portion of their harvest to supply to these individuals at a small cost, $mall as in reasonable costs to cover Harvesting, Shipping and Handling expenses. That is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

      Anyone who agrees with this idea say – HERE YE!

      pEACE,
      hAROLD

    36. Moderator please delete my first comment on this same topic if approved. Thanks

      C-R-A-P = Crazy Radical American Politics

      Re: What Chris says #84 – ‘Major Progress’ I say ‘Major Acceptance’

      While all the brainiacs are up on Capitol Hill outlining the “Legal Conditions of Cannabis’… in my not so humble opinion…

      1) They should spell out that anyone has the right and/or choice to use or grow Cannabis and that you must use it in as part of your HealthCare – To be Licensed to Grow and harvest it.
      2) They should spell out that there should be NO Monetary Value attached so as to keep out the Criminal Element$ surrounding cannabis. ( there is enough profit to made of the manufacturing of Bongs, Pipes, Rolling Papers, Vaporizer’s etc… not even beginning to discuss Clothing, Food, Fuel and numerous other uses of this product.
      3) Individuals whom are too disabled, the elderly or individuals who just plain want it packaged and sent to them could call upon a Licensed Grower who should be required to setup a portion of their harvest to supply to these individuals at a small cost, $mall as in reasonable costs to cover Harvesting, Shipping and Handling expenses. That is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
      4) Regarding Age appropriateness. This should be a Parental Rights issue. How many kids out there are on Ritalin or other ADHD drugs… or allowed to take a sip off your nice cold brewski when your not looking.

      Anyone who agrees with this idea say – HERE YE!

      pEACE,
      hAROLD

    37. rigpa44 says:

      BONG! :-)

    38. Chris says:

      “A Drug Against War, The Chronic”
      People who are going to smoke will smoke. The U.S can continue to SPEND BILLIONS of dollars on irrational laws on Marijuana from the P.O’s to the jail housing for potheads. Yet they have no problem making billions off the tobacco and alcohol sales which KILL thousands of people each year. Besides that the Cartels make millions off the sales which will continue. I guess the govt. can let the $ go where they will. When you are that close minded on a subject, based on propaganda vs. FACTS is ignorance in my opinion.

    39. Chris says:

      Plus, i think it would CUT DOWN on harder drug use if pot was available as alcohol is. Im sure if people still had to bootleg alcohol, the bootleggers would have more to offer, as they are already in the business of illicit sales.

    40. Dane Harper says:

      Many millions of former Cali residents bailed out of there because of excessively high taxes and fees. That would include me and my family. Yeah, go Cali while you enjoy your brain drain; intelligent educated wealthy people do not hang around and watch ever larger portions of their income go into a failed state, they get the Hell out of Dodge!

      Better take a closer look at this new tax because it very well may empower Oakland to increase the tax by a vote of the commissioners. Taxes never legitimize anything ; more often they hurt the poor

    41. [...] of NORML, they think this is just ducky.  Allen St. Pierre, current director of NORML, had this to say, “The passage of this first-in-the-nation tax further legitimizes cannabis-based enterprises in [...]

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