Licensing Marijuana Distributors Helps Solve Budget Woes?
Numerous budget-related and job creation bills have been introduced by lawmakers as part of the special emergency session called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to deal with California’s estimated $20 billion budget shortfall.
Also introduced is a bill that would require distributors of medical marijuana to get a license from the Board of Equalization.
“This bill would state that it addresses the fiscal emergency declared by the governor,” the bill says, as do all other measures introduced in the eighth special session during the past two years.
Arguably, the bill “addresses the fiscal emergency” because it raises revenue by requiring medical marijuana distributors to pay a one-time fee and an annual renewal fee.
The measure, as yet, does not specify the amount of either fee. However, if a license expires it costs $100 to reinstate.
But the bill does nothing to help the state’s cash-starved general fund. The fee revenue would be deposited in the newly created Medical Marijuana Compliance Fund and be used “solely for the purpose of implementing, enforcing and administering the Medical Marijuana Licensing Act,” the name of the measure.
The bill, SB 53 8X by Sen. Ron Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, would not take effect until a tax is imposed on the distribution of medical marijuana. That would occur if the “Regulate, Control, Tax Cannabis” initiative qualifies for the November election and is approved by voters. The initiative’s signatures are being tallied to see if backers gathered the necessary 434,000 to palce it on the ballot.
Applicants for a distribution license would need to provide their name, address and telephone number and tell the Board of Equalization they are complying with state laws regulating the sale of medical marijuana.
The applicant also needs to state that the information on the application is “complete, true and correct.” Then sign.
Other information could be required by the board, which would also have the power to investigate the truthfulness of the information on the application. The board is also required to provide an electronic means to apply.
The Senate’s website says the bill, introduced February 12, has yet to receive a policy committee hearing.
Filed under: Budget and Economy
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