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. musclecarfreak says:

      See, when we say we want to help our communities by paying our fair share of taxes we mean it. Oakland will be the first city in the USA to reap the monitory blessings of cannabis sales. Why to go!

    2. HMS says:

      Way to go Oakland & NORML. I just saw this on CNN and said, let me check out, and low and behold, it’s front page news!

      One step closer!

    3. Anonymous says:

      wooo im happy to hear this =) GO CALI

    4. Nick says:

      WOOO im so happy lol =), GO Cali

    5. R.O.E. says:

      More good news! Go Cali!

    6. Krist says:

      Amazing news, hopefully the whole state follows along with other states. When they see how much revenue this produces they would be stupid to not legalize during these hard economic times!

    7. High East says:


      good job California!

    8. Mikey says:

      Now all we have to do is work on New Jersey. The WORST state in the country against marijuana business of ANY kind. I am a very ill man with extensive GI disorders anoung other health problems. It’s bad enough dealing with legal worries, but I also get urine tested randomly at work so I am totally out of luck. NO RELIEF in site. And I’m only a plumber! HELP US GOD!!!

    9. JAS from NY says:

      Nice to see ppl finally moving toward a “war on drug” free world. We need to continue this and all efforts to end the persecution of the new age minority and work together to make this a peaceful world. Let the ppl decide what is right, let the governments support that. Sadly in this time the only way to change the world is to show them that they can make money without having to persecute ppl. And this is truly a first step. Ty to all who voted on this first step to sanity!