L.A. Pot Tax Passes: Marijuana Advocates Defeated Again (Why Are We Not Surprised?)
No big surprise here:
Stoners Marijuana advocates were defeated once again at the polls.
You couldn't get pot fully legalized via the November ballot in California (but you were close), and now you were rejected in your attempts to stop a 5 percent medical marijuana tax from being imposed in the City of Angels. Yeah, City Hall is taxing it, even as it's trying to shut down most pot shops in town (welcome to L.A.).
But, hey, look on the bright side:
Taxation is a step toward full legitimization.
Look, America was founded on taxes, and blood was shed over them. No taxation without representation? Well, you're representing now.
Kris Hermes, legal campaign director of Americans for Save Access, notes that at least 10 cities across the state have passed such taxes.
"You would think it would bring greater legitimacy," he told the Weekly Wednesday.
Hermes noted that a vast majority of voters aren't medical marijuana users, so passing the tax, called Measure M, was no skin off their backs. (It passed 59.34 percent to 40.66).
"Less than 2 percent of the population are actually patients," he said. "There could be a perception that they need to pay their fair share. That would be fine if it was consistent with other businesses in Los Angeles. But that's not the case. This is well beyond fair share."
ASA opposed the measure on the grounds that it would make marijuana less affordable to those most in need.
In fact it seemed like most dispensaries and most marijuana organizations were against it, also arguing that the extra $2.50 per $50 worth of weed would be too much to handle for grandma's medicinal budget.
ASA and L.A's Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance joined hands to oppose the measure.
Even he Los Angeles Times said no.
City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who introduced the measure, argued that the city needed the $3 to $5 million in tax revenue it would generate. She was right.
But City Attorney Carmen Trutanich argued that even if M passed it might not survive a legal challenge: He says you can't tax weed since it's supposed to be doled out on a nonprofit, "collective" basis under California law.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.