Drug Law

Arizona Lawmakers Want 300% Medical Marijuana Tax

| by NORML
This story shows that although AZ is going about this the wrong way, they have the right idea.  Yes, taxing marijuana will generate over a billion dollars a year for the state, but that tax needs to be a reasonable tax on legal marijuana and not a 300% tax on medical marijuana!  300% of something is 3 times that amount!  So if your medical marijuana costs $100, Representative Steve Farley’s proposed tax would add $300 to the $100 medicine to make it cost $400!  What kind of evil person does that to the sick and dying?

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – When Arizonans voted to legalize marijuana for medical use, they likely didn’t realize it could also solve the state’s budget problems.  But state leaders found a loophole in the law that opens the door for a pot tax.

State law exempts prescriptions from being taxed, but Attorney General Tom Horne says since marijuana would be sold to patients with “written certification” from doctors, that allows the drug to be taxed, “That decision, having been made to avoid the word prescription and use certification instead, there are consequences of that choice, and one of the consequences is that the exemption for prescription no longer applies.”

Representative Steve Farley… wants to increase the pot tax to 300-percent. He says the extra money would be enough to fill the 1.1 billion dollar state deficit for next year. He tells KGUN 9, he doesn’t believe increasing the tax to 300-percent would encourage people to buy the drug illegally. He told KGUN 9, “I think being able to have this tax in place may make it a little more expensive, but it will make it legal, and it would also cause money to go towards inspecting it’s quality and it’s safety.”

[Russ adds: We use "recommendation" instead of "prescription" because the latter runs afoul of federal laws for controlled substances.  It's why Arizona's original 1996 medical marijuana initiative was never implemented, because any doctor that "prescribes" cannabis loses his license.  So "recommendation" is the loophole word we used to get it pseudo-legal.  I'm afraid the Arizona AG may be right on this one - medical marijuana is not a "prescription" so it can be taxed.  Should it be?  Hell, no!  So reformers, add something protecting medicine from exorbitant taxation in the next initiative.]