A California bill allowing medical marijuana dispensary owners to pay their taxes in cash has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown following its approval by the Senate last week, the Calaveras Enterprise reports. The bill passed the Senate 28-9.
Under current law, businesses that owe more than $10,000 a month in taxes must pay those bills electronically; however due to marijuana’s federal Schedule status, cannabis-related businesses can neither conduct such electronic transactions, nor open bank accounts. While the measure would not open up the sector to financial institutions, it would make it easier for those businesses to pay their taxes. The bill also removes the 10 percent cash tax-payment penalty for the industry.
“Currently, due to the fact that marijuana is still federally classified as a Schedule 1 substance, the medical marijuana industry has been rendered unbankable,” Assemblyman Mike Gipson wrote in his argument in support of the bill. “This leads to companies having to hold large amounts of cash and requires that tax payments be made in cash as well.”
Some Republicans objected to the bill because they viewed it as special treatment for the industry.
“Why are we making exceptions for this industry and not all industries?” Sen. Joel Anderson asked during the floor debate. “What would be the compelling reason to give them special treatment?”
Gov. Brown has not indicated whether or not he will sign the bill into law.