A bill that would provide tax amnesty to medical marijuana shops in California who have yet to pay their taxes has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. The scheme would allow operators to temporarily avoid the typical 25 percent to 50 percent penalty on late tax payments, but would also prevent continuing violators from being issued new state licenses.
State officials say that dispensaries owe about $106 million in back taxes, representing a 66 percent non-payment rate, according to the state Board of Equalization.
Assemblyman Mike Gipson, who sponsored the legislation, said many dispensaries have not registered with the state or paid their taxes out of fear of criminal prosecution due to marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I substance. The amnesty plan comes after the legislature approved a plan last year that would issue licenses to dispensaries in starting in 2018. In November, Californians will vote on legalizing cannabis for recreational use.
“Now that California has officially taken steps to establish a regulatory framework for cannabis, we have an opportunity to engage these businesses to ensure they pay their dues,” Gipson said in the report.
The six-month amnesty period would begin on July 1, 2017, ending on Dec. 31. It would apply to tax payments due prior to Jan. 1, 2015.