Will Mom-and-Pop Pot Users be Priced Out of Their Medicine by L.A.'s Proposed Marijuana Tax? That's What Opponents Say
Only in L.A: While a proposed marijuana tax in the City of Angels might actually end up legitimizing gray-market dispensaries and could hypothetically discourage crackdowns so long as City Hall is getting a greater cut, pot advocates aren't having it.
On Wednesday the group Americans for Safe Access declared its opposition to measure M, the proposal to tax L.A. pot shops by an extra 5 percent. ASA spokesman Kris Hermes told the Weekly that if it passed a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the tax was possible.
"There are people who strongly oppose it who may want to challenge it legally," he said.
In the quote of the day, Hermes blamed the L.A. City Council for ...
... outlawing more than one in five pot shops as part of its dispensary ordinance last year (which was updated recently) while at the same time asking the stores to give the city more cash with measure M.
"While one hand taketh away the other hand also taketh," he laughed. " ... The tax is just sort of another appendage to a Frankenstein monster of legislation the city of L.A. has created for dispensaries."
ASA joined a coalition against measure M that also includes the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance.
The groups' main gripe is that the tax, even if it's only $2.50 on a $50 eighth ounce of weed could price some patients out of their medicine. Dispensaries already face a nearly 10 percent sales tax in L.A. County.
"The issue at hand is whether patients should provide the extra revenue the cash-strapped city of L.A. is seeking to collect," Hermes said.
He suggests that growers and dispensaries themselves -- as opposed to customers -- would be better targets if the city wants to raise more money.
"There are parties in this industry that are making enough to be able to absorb it," he said, "like a fee for an operator of a dispensary, or taxing the production side of the industry instead of the distribution side."