Panel Shelves Tax on Medical Marijuana
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Panel Shelves Tax on Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 29, 2010 at 20:27:30 PT
By Barry Massey,  Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Santa Fe, NM -- A proposal to tax medical marijuana in New Mexico ran into strong opposition on Friday and a House committee shelved the measure. House Bill 186 would impose a 25 percent tax on the value of marijuana grown for medical purposes.A 2007 law allows people with certain medical conditions to get relief by using marijuana. About 1,000 patients are registered with the state.
One of those patients, Paul Culkin of Albuquerque, told lawmakers he spent $800 a month for two ounces of medical marijuana. The 30-year-old Army veteran suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.A tax would increase prices, Culkin said, and "this would cause me to go out on the street" to buy cheaper marijuana."We don't want to drive patients to the black market," said Reena Szczepanski of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico, who lobbied for the medical marijuana law.The state doesn't tax prescription medicines and opponents said the medical marijuana tax would hurt patients with serious illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries."Most of the patients are on fixed income," said Szczepanski.Len Goodman runs a nonprofit that is one of five licensed by the state to produce and distribute medical marijuana. He sells marijuana for $280 or $360 an ounce.Goodman said patients can't afford to pay the proposed 25 percent tax and producers can't absorb the tax in their costs."The licensed producers are working on very thin margins," he said.The bill's sponsor, Rep. William Rehm, an Albuquerque Republican and retired police officer, said he proposed the tax to help provide money for Medicaid. The program provides health care for the needy and is facing cutbacks because of a state budget crunch.The tax could generate $1 million a year, according to a legislative bill analysis. But Rehm said the estimate was highly uncertain because of a lack of information on marijuana prices.The House Taxation and Revenue Committee voted 14-1 to table the bill, which probably dooms it for the session. The measure remains alive but it's bottled up in committee unless members change their minds, which appears unlikely to happen. A similar proposal is pending in a Senate committee.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Barry Massey,  Associated Press WriterPublished: January 29, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on January 30, 2010 at 06:02:35 PT:
So, RunRuff, what's next?
Who are your legislators? Given what's happening, with the economy and all, and your legal status as a patient, a letter campaign against the gross waste of the taxpayer's dollars this seemingly politically motivated persecution represents is in order. (I'd bet this Tracy is an ideological 'R', most of these two-dimensional 'law n order' types swing that way. There's a few 'D's who are of the same ilk, but they are almost always the panty-waisted, milquetoasty 'me-too' types when it comes to drug legislation, with the 'R's' leading them in the band.)Enough irate taxpayers writing in to the local reps might make them realize that said taxpayers are becoming ever less patient with such nonsense...and the legislators might begin to fear for their own jobs if a failure to act on their part is seen as being nonchalant about such waste.
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on January 30, 2010 at 05:45:09 PT:
Occam's Razor needs some sharpening
Jeez. Always this dancing around. Nobody cuts to the chase.1) Cannabis prices are artificially high due to prohibition.2) Eliminate cannabis prohibition, and prices fall to market levels, which will be determined by market forces, namely, what people will be willing to shell out for.3) State tax revenues will then be based upon common sales, exactly as they are now for all other goods, which will have to reflect the same rates in each State as determined by that State's legislature, but will not be allowed to be more than the regular tax rate for any other commodity, thanks to that very same consumer demand as exemplified in 2) above. The simplest solution is usually the better. That's what ol' Will Occam was trying to tell us. And it's up to us to sharpen his Razor and show the idiot legislators how to cut through the BS. 
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 30, 2010 at 05:41:44 PT
My PO called yesterday!
He said it will not be necessary for me to call in on the color line any more.When Scott came by Thursday we had the first out and out discussion we have ever had. When he pulled up into our drive circle he honked so I went outside. We talked in front of his SUV for about half an hour.In my opinion Scott is not a bad guy. He seems to sometimes be a bit bewildered by the different personalities he meets on his job? Maybe not bewildered so much a amused in a benevolent sort of way.He is very much a product of his training for the job. He uses all the professional psycho-platitudes they teach him in order to control, without angering, too much, people who are already angry to begin with. I am sure he is on thin ice a lot of the time.I won't go into all the he said I said stuff. You guys already know me the same way he knows me, the same way my wife, mother and everyone else knows me. I am the same with one as another, basically.Just one little development to report.I guess from now on when I take my Dear Wifey to dinner in Medford it will be dinner only from now own.I know Tracy [P.P.P] will miss me, I had the "good" stuff! 
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