California Lawmaker Introduces New Bill for 15 Percent Tax on MMJ

Under a new bill introduced Wednesday by state Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), called the Marijuana Value Tax Act, California would see a tax hike up to 15 percent on medical marijuana to fund land restoration and rehabilitation programs.

The tax could go even higher if SB987 becomes law, as the 15 percent figure does not include local taxes that cities and counties may choose to levy. Eddie Miller, chief strategy officer for GreenRush.com, said, “I won’t say it’s not excessive — it is excessive, but it really provides a budget for the state to make it a legitimate industry like alcohol, tobacco or even gambling.”

The new bill could bring in $100 million in tax revenue to California, a state that claims “steep costs” associated with marijuana-related activities — mainly cultivation. Last year, Former Republican state Sen. George Runner described the effect of these activites as “trespass[ing] on public lands, water theft and unregulated use of pesticides.”

The new tax comes after a regulatory framework was finally put in place last year on licensing marijuana-related businesses. California’s legal medical marijuana industry went unregulated for nearly two decades.

Several ballot initiatives are being proposed to legalize recreational marijuana in November. One in particular would use the same tax structure as the new proposed medical cannabis tax.

To pass into law, the bill will still need to win approval from two-thirds of state lawmakers.

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