What About a Tax On Marijuana Businesses?


How quickly things change.

It wasn’t too long ago that the prospect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use was unthinkable, and now the Los Angeles Count Board of Supervisors want voters in November to approve a special marijuana business tax of up to 10 percent of gross receipts to fund the fight against homelessness.

We have little objection to the tax, since pot usage is sometimes associated with the homeless.

We find it ironic, perhaps even sad, that we are now at the point where our local elected officials are discussing ways to collect taxes from a business that is simply a cash-cow for its purveyors.

How does this jive with federal law? We’ve seen on the medical dispensary side that operators work with cash, unable to deposit their gains in banks.

Is the County prepared to hire a fleet of armored cares to collect the taxes? Will the armored cars, loaded with cash, become targets of heavily armed hijackers?

It’s time to change the laws that prevent operators of marijuana-related business from using our banking system, and for them to be required to pay their share of taxes owed into a government account.

We also want to know how government auditors will go about enforcing the taxes to make sure operators are not getting away with paying less than what they owe.

As it looks now, the November ballot will be loaded down with dozens of initiatives and taxing measures for voters to decide. Many will increase sales, parcel, or income taxes to pay for transportation projects, parks, homeless housing and services.

The question is, with so many tax hikes on the ballot, will voters rebel.

It seems to us that a tax on marijuana producers is not likely to be viewed by most voters as another hit to their wallet.

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