pot

California pot taxes lag as illegal market flourishes

Deep in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget is a figure that says a lot about California’s shaky legal marijuana market: The state is expecting a lot less cash from cannabis taxes. The Democrat’s proposed spending plan, released Thursday, projects the state will bank $355 million in marijuana excise taxes by the end of June. That’s roughly half of what was once expected after broad legal sales kicked off last year. Industry experts say the diminished tax income reflects a somber reality: Most consumers are continuing to purchase pot in the illegal marketplace, where they avoid taxes that can near 50 percent in some communities. Tax collections are expected to gradually increase over time, but predicting what that amount will be remains something of a guess. Tax collections for “a newly created market are subject to significant uncertainty,” the budget said. Josh Drayton of the California Cannabis Industry Association credited Newsom with taking “a realistic look at the challenges” after a bumpy first year of broad legal sales. Newsom also recommended a sharp increase in spending for regulatory programs, although it’s an open question whether it will be enough to help steady the state pot economy. The budget recommends just over $200 million for marijuana-related activities in the fiscal year that starts July 1, which would be over a 50 percent boost from the current year. Initially “the state was too optimistic about how the implementation of legalization was going to work. This governor has paid attention to that,” Drayton said. That said, Drayton added that legal businesses need a break from hefty tax rates that are driving consumers to the illicit economy. Various proposals have been made to cut state pot taxes. State taxes include a 15 percent levy on purchases of all cannabis and cannabis products, including medical pot. Local governments are free to slap on taxes on sales and growing too, which has created a confusing patchwork of tax rates around the state. The state’s top marijuana regulator, Lori Ajax, has said the state intends to get more businesses licensed and operating in 2019, while cracking down on rogue operators who continue to proliferate across the state. At year’s end, California’s effort to transform its longstanding illegal and medicinal marijuana markets into a unified, multibillion-dollar industry remained a work in progress. By some estimates, up to 80 percent of sales in the state remain under the table, snatching profits from legal storefronts. Drayton said more than half the municipalities in the state do not have laws governing the industry. That means pot businesses cannot locate there, since companies are required to have a local license before seeking one from the state. The budget also includes an additional $2.9 million for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to help chase down tax cheats. Meanwhile, the courts budget includes nearly $14 million for resentencing of thousands of drug offenders whose offenses are no longer crimes since California legalized recreational pot. Newsom, an advocate for legalized marijuana, said it has long been expected the new market would take five to seven years to settle in, with twists and turns along the way. The issues he intends to look at include the distribution pipeline and claims that local governments are gouging the industry. The state will “move expeditiously at licensing more and more dispensaries, making sure we go after the bad actors,” he said.

Wow..  What a mess..  Typical California big government.  It only knows how to raise taxes; not how to solve anything.  The whole state is under solid Democrat control from the governor to the state legislature which has a supermajority of Dems…  No wonder the state is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Marijuana legalization outperforms Senate winners in Michigan, Missouri

Measures legalizing marijuana in Michigan and Missouri garnered more votes during Tuesday’s midterms than Senate candidates elected in either state. Michigan voted to legalize recreational marijuana by casting over 2.34 million ballots Tuesday in favor of a measure, Proposal 1, that will allow adults to possess, buy and grow limited amounts of the plant for personal use, as well as pave the way for the state to implement a system for regulating and taxing retail sales. The measure, which makes Michigan the tenth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, received more votes than the Democratic winners of the state’s Senate race, incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and the state’s attorney general race, Dana Nessel, as first reported Thursday by Marijuana Moment, a cannabis news site. Ms. Stabenow and Ms. Nessel received roughly 2.2 million and 2 million votes, respectively. A measure legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri, meanwhile, Amendment 2, was passed by a margin of 65.5 to 34.5 upon approved by over 1.5 million votes. Similarly the measure outperformed both the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Josh Hawley, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. They received over 1.2 million and 1.1 million votes, respectively. Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana as well Tuesday, but the measure, Proposition 2, received roughly 70,000 votes less than the winner of the state’s Senate race, Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Marijuana Moment noted. A fourth state to consider marijuana legalization Tuesday, North Dakota, ultimately rejected the effort by a margin of roughly 60-40. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, though 33 states and D.C. have passed legislation permitting the plant for either medicinal or recreational purposes as of Tuesday’s elections. In the nation’s capital, meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that the District will mount efforts to legalize recreational marijuana sales starting early next year. Both medical and recreational marijuana have been legal in D.C. for years, but previous efforts to establish a system for licensed and regulated sales have been halted by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats are poised to take control of the House as a result of Tuesday’s races, however, giving D.C. its best odds ever of joining the seven states that have previously passed laws permitting retail sales: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Study: Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Worse Than Cigarettes

Secondhand marijuana smoke may damage your blood vessels even more than cigarette smoke. That’s according to a new study from the American Heart Association. In the study, arteries in rats that inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke for one minute carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. Similar exposure to second hand tobacco smoke cause blood vessel impairment for 30 minutes. In a news release the AHA says, “While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Matthew Springer, Ph.D., study senior author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology. Researchers say arteries of rats and humans are similar in how they respond to second hand tobacco smoke. Researchers also found the mere burning of the plant material appears to cause the impaired blood vessels, not chemicals like nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol. “There is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign,” Springer said. “We in public health have been telling the public to avoid secondhand tobacco smoke for years. But we don’t tell them to avoid secondhand marijuana smoke, because until now we haven’t had evidence that it can be harmful.”

Interesting…

Significant increase in marijuana-related Colorado traffic deaths, hospital visits and school suspensions, study suggests

The results of a new study about the impact of Colorado’s marijuana legalization is raising troubling questions for parents. The study cites a significant increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths, hospital visits and school suspensions. The parents CBS4’s Melissa Garcia spoke with say they’re concerned about their children seeing messages promoting pot all over town. Activists say it’s the way pot is marketed and sold that has started to create some serious problems. “I never dreamed in a million years that this would happen to my son,” said parent Kendal, who didn’t want to use his last name. Kendal came home one evening to find his 13-year-old son unconscious from what he says was a marijuana overdose. He was gray. His heart wasn’t beating and he wasn’t breathing,” he said. Kendal used CPR to resuscitate him and later talked to his son’s high school peer and supplier. “I had heard from kids that there was 60 percent of this particular high school using drugs, and she shook her head and said, ‘That’s way low,’” Kendal said. “Kendal’s story breaks my heart, but I’ve got to tell you we have heard that from hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents throughout the state,” said Diane Carlson, Smart Colorado co-founder. Carlson says Colorado’s child and teen use of marijuana has become an epidemic. “Kids have no idea how dangerous or harmful Colorado’s pot is,” she said. According to a report released this month by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Colorado saw a 29 percent increase in emergency room visits, and a 38 percent increase in hospitalizations during retail marijuana’s first year. The study states that over 11 percent of Colorado’s 12 to 17 year-olds use pot — 56 percent higher than the national average. It also cites a 40 percent increase in drug-related suspensions and expulsions — the vast majority from marijuana. Carlson says the culprit is its commercialization.

Greeley, Colorado Barber Shop Refuses Customers Who Smell Like Pot

Greeley, Colorado Barber Shop Refuses Customers Who Smell Like Pot

Hey..  I say good for this shop owner.  If that’s important to him and his other patrons, then he should have every right to make that a rule..  just like the right to refuse service to someone not wearing shoes or a shirt, etc.  Perfectly reasonable.   I bet we’ll see more of this sorta thing in Colorado…and Washington state.