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Long Beach City Council votes to pursue medical marijuana tax

The Long Beach City Council voted 8 to 1 on Tuesday night to hold a public hearing next month on whether to place a measure on the November ballot that would levy a 5% tax on medical marijuana collectives.

The explosive growth of pot dispensaries in recent years -- and the drug’s potential legalization statewide -- has presented a rare opportunity for cities desperately searching for new sources of revenues. Oakland already taxes medical marijuana, and Berkeley, Sacramento and San Jose are considering similar measures that would tax collectives 2.5% to 5%.

For some members of the Long Beach City Council, which voted in May to regulate medical marijuana collectives, taxation is the next logical step.

“We tax alcohol. We tax cigarettes. Why wouldn’t we look at taxing marijuana?” said Councilman Patrick O’Donnell. “We’re turning over every rock to find new revenues, and under one of those rocks may be marijuana.”

In addition to the tax on medical marijuana dispensaries, Long Beach’s plan, drafted by the city’s Department of Financial Management, calls for an additional 10% tax on other marijuana businesses that would go into effect only if California voters passed Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Medical marijuana cultivation sites also would be taxed by the square foot.

-- Tony Barboza in Long Beach

 
Comments () | Archives (24)

At least one city has a productive way of handling medical marijuana dispensaries. Unlike the city of Los Angeles. LA is seeing another large loss in potential tax revenue that could be helping the city, and the expense of closing/prosecuting the dispensaries. Meanwhile, Long Beach sees them as a tax source.
Another stupid decision by the city of Los Angeles. Easy to see how the local politicians exacerbated the city's financial problems.

This would seem logical, seed-to-grain could also be taxed while supplying a very good protein that relies on little water. Clothing from hemp though might bring down the wrath of the cotton-growers who instigated the worldwide ban through their F.B.I. connections way back... I had a pair of hemp jeans once that I kept for decades before they died a natural death, that'd hurt the Levi Straus types out there to day...

Right...does anyone see an issue with taxing MEDICAL MJ? Do they tax insulin? Vicodin? Penicillin? Lexaro? Xanax? Lisinopril?

....I don't care what people can claim is being done with the MMJ, it is classified for MEDICAL USE and is not taxable. This tax would get shot down by the state supreme court if it even was not summarialy dismissed before then.

Finally some positive, happy news. Too bad it's not in Los Angeles.

When the legalization of cannabis bill passes in November, everyone can grow their own medicine. Tax it in stores if you must, just end the never ending, never winnable "War on Drugs" and the legalization of cannabis will be the first step. Common sense may just prevail!

I cannot even believe we have come to this. Just the thought of having MJ legal is scary enough. Now i will have to wonder if the people that i come into contact with daily are stoned- so stoned that they will not be able to provide good service. Let alone drive, work, etc. anyhow- taxing it was forseen from day 1.

get ready here we go...

Leave it to government officials to use Pot as a way to balance their budget - what a bunch of lame-o's.

This tax should not apply to medial use because they don't tax us extra for other prescribed drugs. This would be fine for general use, like alcohol and tobacco, but not if it's prescribed. Therefore, legalize it and then it's okay to tax it.

This is MEDICAL marijuana. Do they tax other prescription drugs like penicillin, AZT, interferon, Lovastatin, Atenolol, Darvacet, Oxycotin, Digoxin, INSULIN? I agree that RECREATIONAL marijuana should DEFINITELY be taxed, AND heavily.
#1 PATIENTS should NOT have to pay more for their MEDICINE.
#2 PARTIERS SHOULD be HEAVILY TAXED for their DRUGS.
Please tell me other people also see the difference. NO ONE uses alcohol or cigarettes to help CURB SYMPTOMS OF SERIOUS ILLNESSES. Why can't they just wait until recreational use of marijuana is legalized in November? Then tax the partiers instead of the patients. If it doesn't pass,(which it will now because they realized how much can be made from taxing it) then they can consider taxing dispensaries.

TAX THE PARTIERS, NOT THE PATIENTS! TAX THE PARTIERS, NOT THE PATIENTS! TAX THE PARTIERS, NOT THE PATIENTS!

Actually, that is a good point, grumpy3b. I mean, I'm all for legalizing marijuana (and so then tax it if you must, doesn't matter to me as long as it doesn't get ridiculous like cigarettes have. though it probably will.. sigh..) but as long as it is CURRENTLY considered MEDICAL, then you're right, we can't tax people's MEDICINE. The real solution is to make it legal, without a prescription, and THEN tax it. So good job in theory, LB city council, but try again!

@ grumpy3b.

I said it before and I'll say it again, not unless the FDA approves it, MJ shouldn't be taxed. But not until then, it should be taxed like everything else.

First of all marijuana is a dangerous drug and is very bad for the human body, it is full of carcinogenic compounds and will alter a brain's activity.
Secondly, pot isn't a quick fix to your complex life.
Lastly, I would support this "sin tax".
You all have to get real, stop making excuses.

Tax tax tax tax tax tax tax tax ...

Tax tax tax tax tax everything we cannnnn!

Because it's the American waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

tax tax tax tax ...

While us politicians make that high salary payyyyyyyy!...

tax is only if legalization passes. I dont see why the weed tax is only proposed at 10% & right now Booze is only taxed at 8% above sales tax. Both should be taxed at 80% to cover full costs to society - mayhem, neglect, public health costs. etc. 80% was the historic tax level of the 1800s.

I purchased a car today
from the taxes that you pay
it's a 2011 Lexus, costs you 60 grand
thank you mr Citizan!

I will take your taxes and spend it foolishly
come back at you and ask for more you see

taxes it's the American wayyyyyyy, I spend it all and make you payyyyy!

hell yeah tax the pot just legalize it for us medical users that cant afford to renew our licenses every year! plus the economy will survive more strongly cause about 90% of everyone i know smokes pot(medically and non-medically). not only that i hope it will drop the price cause the legalization should up the demand.

This is MEDICAL Marijuana we're talking about. Why would anyone levey a tax on SICK people. True this tax is supposed to go to the collectives but I can guarantee you that it will be the PATIENTS who have to put up the extra coin in the form of higher prices.

MMJ mentioned along with alcohol and cigarettes?! That's ridiculous in this case. If we were talking after the vote and it's legalized for everyone (just like the drink and cancer sticks) then a tax makes sense. To put extra hurt on people that are already suffering is not fair just because the collective's making outrageous money. Bring in a tax then you also need to bring in an affordable price cap for the sick.

Let's tax Viagra then we can also tax other prescriptions as well. What the heck we can support all the Illegals but let's be sure to tax everything. Remember why we left England in the first place.

The ignorance of small, simple minded politicians never cease to amaze me as well as disgust me.
Councilman Patrick O'Donnell states ,"We tax alchohol. We tax cigarettes. Why wouldn't we look at taxing marijuana?"
WOW! Councilman O'Donell....would you even listen to a response, to FACTUAL reasons or would they simply fall on deaf ears and an ignorant mind?
I am, to say the least, a contributing member to our society. I work hard and play hard which equals a lot of revenue for my state in general. Now I am being told my medicine, because that is exactly what it is may be taxed? Lets think about this shall we? I can take prescription drugs which are addictive and not be a functioning member of society but be free of medical taxes. OR utilize my current medicine and work 40 + hrs a week in addition to working out and having dinner ready nightly by 6:30 pm and pay no taxes on MY MEDICINE? Which equals more revenue Councilman?
Is ignorance truly your bliss?
I do equate the Kaiser Pharmacy I used to have to utilize to that of a nice, well maintained Medical Marijuana Dispensary. Efficient, affordable, professional AND not taxed.

good for Long Beach . Marijuana used to be legal anyway until the prohibition laws came out in the 1930's and 40's because people at the time saw it as a Drug that only poor Mexican's smoked. It grew all over the country as a wild weed. When prohibition on alcohol began they outlawed American farmers from growing it and added more laws to make it illegal. According to the anti-drug lobbyist of the day it drove people insane. Interestingly enough the Drug companies, wanting to push their own remedies, teamed up with the religious right to get it banned. Its effects are clinically proven to be less then those of alcohol. This taxation will provide some desperately needed revenue to the State and may actually lower crime, since officers can pursue crime that is not related to marijuana use. It just needs to be regulated like alcohol and treated and taxed as such, heck tax it more from the beginning (10%) so that we can generate more revenue for the city and the state, I am sure that people will pay that to make it legal.

Can't beat 'em.........join 'em!!

Why not tax all medicines? A lot of prescription meds are abuses as much as marijuana... Oxycotin, Valium, Methamphetamine, Soma, Insulin, Viagra.

A 50% tax on viagra would make the state a fortune, and viagra is 100% recreational drug.

Why only 5 percent?

Most medical marijuana users are for the tax, mainly because it is the next step to full legalization. If it is legalized, prices of marijuana will drop dramatically and it will become a non issue. The tax revenues in both cases are extremely beneficial.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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