How high can taxes go? Ask L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose Wednesday proposal to tax local pot dispensaries received approving nods from colleagues Dennis Zine and Bill Rosendahl. Perhaps the District 15 councilwoman is taking her cue from ballot Measure F in Oakland, whose voters are set to decide next week whether to tax their medical marijuana dispensaries. Hahn figures, according to a statement released by her office yesterday, that “with over 400 operating dispensaries in Los Angeles, a medical marijuana tax could generate
significant revenue for the cash-strapped city.”
A pot tax would be a shoo-in politically, especially since there's no real pot pharmacy lobby in town. Although Californians, particularly Angelenos, have repeatedly shown their tolerance for individual marijuana use, I would bet most of us would view such a tariff as just another sin tax — the kind voters almost routinely pass on cigarettes and liquor. And with signs evident that communities are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing number of pot pharms, amid stories of crimes associated with them, it's difficult to imagine a credible opposition to Hahn's plan.
But taxing pot pharms would also, as Hahn herself acknowledges, legitimize them. Nothing, after all, says you're legit better than being taxed by the government.