Sacramento, California

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California Legislation Aims to Cut Taxes for Compassionate-Care Cannabis

A new bill hopes to restructure the California tax code to allow medical cannabis that meets certain requirements to be donated to patients tax-free.

Full story after the jump.

A bill introduced to the California state Senate may change the tax law surrounding non-profit distribution of cannabis in the state, lightening the tax burden on some companies, according to a story by Weedmaps.

The 2016 legalization of adult-use cannabis in California caused a change in the state’s legal cannabis tax structure. Previously, non-profit cannabis providers were taxed at a reduced rate. Now, both commercial and non-profit providers are in the same tier, which pays a heavy tax per pound of cannabis.

The change in tax structure caused many non-profit collectives that previously would donate cannabis to patients in need to close. This included the oldest compassionate care collective, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in Santa Cruz.

“In 2017 we gave away thousands of dollars worth of cannabis, serving over 2,000 people. But since we had to close there are many people suffering. There were people in need but WAMM was not able to do anything.” — Valerie Corral, former director of WAMM

Compassionate-care providers, now grouped with commercial providers, are expected to pay up to $1,000 per pound of medical cannabis that they might be trying to give away for free. The new legislation, Senate Bill 34, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, aims to fix that.

The new legislation will create specific requirements for donated cannabis. It must be donated and it must be cannabis that is medical in nature. “Poverty should not be a barrier to getting your medicine. We don’t tax prescription drugs. Why should we tax medical cannabis?” said Sen. Wiener.

The bill has shown bipartisan support and is expected to reach Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk by mid-2019.

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