The Los Angeles City Council wants voters to approve Measure M on the March 2011 ballot, a 5% tax on medical cannabis. Including the existing state sales tax, this means legal patients would pay an extra 14.75% for medicine in LA. But the initiative provides no real protection for patients, growers, or providers in the city.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) opposes any additional taxes that will negatively affect patient access to medical cannabis. Local governments are looking to medical cannabis as a source for tax revenue in these difficult economic times. Unfortunately, the impact on legitimate patients is often overlooked in the debate about local taxation. While acknowledging that revenue concerns are a necessary part of the implementation debate, ASA rejects the strategy of excessive taxation on medical cannabis cultivation and distribution and the harmful impact on patients.
Patients already pay sales tax on medicine – a policy ASA continues to oppose. If additional taxes on medicine or cultivation are imposed, they must include specific protections for patients and providers. Not only does ASA call on elected officials to shift the tax burden away from legal medical cannabis, but it also demands that patients be more involved in the decisions that directly affect their lives. Measure M fails to meet those standards. ASA calls on voters to reject this measure and demand better solutions from elected officials in Los Angeles.