State Lawmakers Eye Marijuana Tax Cut — Again

The push to slash California’s cannabis taxes has returned in Sacramento in light of disappointing figures that show the industry's black market continuing to thrive.

On Jan. 28, State Treasurer Fiona Ma and five legislators proposed a bill that would cut the state’s excise tax from 15% to 11% and suspend the $148-per-pound cultivation tax for a period of three years. The bill was co-authored by Assemblymen Rob Bonta, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Mark Stone, Ken Cooley, and Tom Lackey.

A similar bill introduced by Bonta stalled in the Legislature last year. Lawmakers were worried about the hit to revenue but, as CalMarijuanaPolicy has reported, that’s happening anyway. The state is expecting $471 million in pot revenue this fiscal year, which is well below the $630 million that was projected. While local bans have played a large role, so too have high prices.

“The sticker shock from cannabis taxes has sent many consumers back to black market providers,” Ellen Komp of NORML told the Los Angeles Times

By lowering the tax burden temporarily, “we are helping legal cannabis businesses with their transition into the marketplace, just like we would for any start-up industry,” said Ma.