Taxing Marijuana Would Earn California $1.4 Billion

Friday, July 17, 2009

With a $26 billion deficit to fill, California needs to take advantage of something it does more than any other state—grow marijuana plants—according to Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. The San Francisco lawmaker has introduced AB 390, which would legalize marijuana for anyone 21 and older and tax the sales of it. According to an analysis by the state’s tax board, marijuana retail sales could add as much as $1.4 billion to California’s treasury as a result of taxes and license fees.

Ammiano said, “It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available.” His bill still has a long way to go—it hasn’t even made it out of committee yet—and even if lawmakers embrace Ammiano’s idea, the state might find itself butting heads with the federal government over legalizing marijuana.
The idea has proven popular among some members of the Los Angeles City Council, who are proposing a tax on medical marijuana sales to help close the city’s budget gap.
A recent poll conducted by The Field Poll showed that 56% of registered voters in California favor legalization of marijuana.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Analysis of AB 390 (California State Board of Equalization)
The Field Poll (page 7) (PDF)


scottportraits 14 years ago
Ammiano is a courageous law-maker. We need more like him here in Florida, where there is now a petition drive underway to make a medical cannabis exemption for the sick and dying. Check it out at Legal or decriminalized smokeable weed is one thing, medical use is another. And so is industrial hemp, which Ammiano's proposed law also allows. So there are 3 ideas here: recreational, medical, and industrial. ALL would benefit the State's coffers. Let it happen. DEA - Go Away !!
Carl In San Francisco 14 years ago
Legalizing pot faces serious political obstacles, but do not let that keep you from helping the state out. It might happen but why wait? For those who endorse legalizing pot and taxing it as a means by which to help ease California’s budget problems, take responsibility for your self and simply voluntarily pay the tax you owe. For California (illegal) pot smokers, simply declare on your annual tax return that you purchased X dollars of pot in the prior year, multiply that dollar amount by your local tax rate, where I live, its 9.25%, and add it to your tax liability. Come to think of it, this would work regardless of the illegal drug used – cocaine, methamphetamine, extasy, LSD, heroin, etc. Remember though, California is broke so be honest about the amount of illegal drugs you buy. We don't need more unnecessary laws; we just need to enforce the laws that are already on the books. California like every other state I know has both a sales and use tax. The sales tax is reported and remitted by retailers while the consumer reports and pays the use tax. So when illegal drug users buy dope and don’t pay either a sales or a use tax, they are not only contributing to death and violence such as is going on in Mexico right now, but they are also tax cheats and are helping deprive California of revenues it needs to keep nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, park rangers and tax collectors, on the job. Join ranks with medicinal pot users who already pay sales tax. You don't need to the cowards in Sacramento to legalize your drug addictions to pay the tax you owe, just declare your usage on your tax return. Take a page from the Gay & Lesbian community and come out of your closet. Do it for the kids.
DrNNEAD 14 years ago
Come on nobody needs to have job cuts and park closures just bypass A.B. 390 and make it effective immediately Governor. Save our State employees jobs and save the important services needed by Californians with health needs and require constant hospitalization and physician monitoring. Come on Governor be an American, take a chance before you start cutting jobs and services and try what will work in the short term. The longer you take on this issue (which will eventually be legalized) the deeper our State goes into economic digression.
M-One 14 years ago
Legalize, legalize, legalize. Honestly, besides the whole "gateway drug" (which has yet to be actually proven with any kind of experimental or scientific study) argument, what reason do we have to not legalize? Let's honestly weigh the options. We'll even give credit to the gateway drug theory. Negative - Gateway drug, and possible lung damage or other negative health impacts(although no link to lung cancer and marijuana has ever been established). Positive - More revenue for economy, running illegal marijuana dealers out of business, which will decrease crime and open up prisons to keep real dangers to society, a non-chemical pain reliever(among other medicinal benefits), a nice release for all the hard working Americans who contribute to society, and taking the "voice from behind the curtain" type of revealing that marijuana isn't the horrible drug like cocaine and crack that people, who have obviously never experienced marijuana and simply accept the opinion from another person as truth, try to group it with. It's like a previous commenter said, it will be something new for about 3 months then after that nobody will even care. What do you think people's attitude towards marijuana was before the US Government convinced us it was wrong? George Washington was quoted once as saying, "The best thing to do with Indian Hemp is plant a lot of it and plant it often." I say we get on board with our first president.
Legalize, Tax, Regulate 14 years ago
Legalize it. Treat it like alcohol plain and simple. End black market and violence. Once it’s legal it will be exciting for the first 3 months. After that, the people who smoke now, will probably smoke the same amount. And the people who won’t, simply won’t. Not much will change. \ I’m so sick of the Gateway Drug Argument. Alcohol is the ULTIMATE GATEWAY DRUG. It’s probably 90% of people’s first buzz. And if they like it, the want more. None of my successful friends that smoke got into heavy drugs like coke. It's a shame that the people who get addicted and kill themselves with crack & cocaine get wrapped in the same category as an adult that want to smoke a joint on a Friday night..... What a weird world. And if treated like alcohol. Kids will have as much access to it as a 6 pack of beer. In otherwords, if regulated, kids can’t get it. So legalize it. And to the folks that say NO and that have never done it, what right do they have to judge it?
AB390 14 years ago
No matter how many people we arrest, pot is still easier to buy for high school students than beer. Keeping marijuana illegal does not benefit our children. It benefits special interest groups: the alcoholic beverage industry, the prison industry, police departments, government bureaucrats, and drug cartels. Tell your legislators in Sacramento to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Visit

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