Each week author Tess Lynne takes us into the depths of all things left emanating from those on where else — the Left Coast. Here’s this week’s installment:
It’s no secret that Golden State politicians are tax-hungry sharks. Californians are regularly getting hit with a new tax on something. Now it appears the wacky left coast will get walloped on their wacky-tobaccy as the state increases the tax on legal marijuana by up to 70%.
Medicinal cannabis has been legal in California for a couple of decades, but recreational pot was only approved last year. And state officials can’t wait to get their greedy little paws on the taxable income. Currently, a decent quality bag of medical marijuana that produces about five joints sells for roughly $35. However, in 2018 after the recreational tax goes into effect, and that same bag will cost between $50 and $60.
And that’s only the beginning of it. Apparently, growers stuff their left-over cannabis leaves and clippings into trash bags and sell them to manufacturers for about $50 each. The manufacturers then use the material to make ointments, cookies, and other edibles and goodies. Soon, those trash bags will cost $44 a pound just in taxes:
That means the tax payment on a bag holding 7 or 8 pounds would exceed the current market price by five or six times, forcing a huge price hike or, more likely, rendering it essentially valueless.
Another concern is how much easier this will make it for illegal growers and sellers. Not all of the state is like the Silicon Valley – rich in money and resources. There are rural areas rife with poverty, with many living on government aid and paycheck-to-paycheck. A price hike like this makes it far too expensive for many, leading users – medicinal and recreational alike – to go outside the legal pot shops to feed their need.
The increased tax rates are just one part of California’s sprawling plan to transform its long-standing medical and illegal markets into a multibillion-dollar regulated economy, the nation’s largest legal pot shop. The reshaping of such an expansive illegal economy into a legal one hasn’t been witnessed since the end of Prohibition in 1933.
To make matters even more confusing, cities and counties can further regulate the marijuana business. In Salinas, for example, the voters approved a $25 per square foot tax on areas used to cultivate cannabis. That equals out to a whopping $1 million an acre. In Humboldt County, a place known for its pot-loving residents, the rates will be much cheaper – “ranging from $1 to $3 for a square foot for cultivation.”
Is this a step in the direction of Calexit? Officials have also talked for years of splitting California into three smaller states. Are government officials trying to tax Californians to death to stockpile money in anticipation of a separation? What are they thinking?