No on Measure M
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No on Measure M
Posted by CN Staff on February 20, 2011 at 06:13:38 PT
Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles -- Measure M is one of those voter initiatives that at first glance look a lot more straightforward than they really are. There are, after all, hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles  just look for the green crosses  that pay state sales tax but not city taxes. Measure M would make them pay their fair share and then some, by imposing a steep gross receipts tax. That sounds like a reasonable way to help the city avoid cuts in public services as it digs itself out of a budget hole. But it's a dangerous step.State lawmakers and municipalities still haven't agreed on how to regulate a drug that the state considers medicinal and the federal government considers illegal, so cities are deciding for themselves.
Several  including Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Jose and Long Beach  have already approved taxes similar to the one that would be imposed by Measure M. And yet the city attorney's office believes that Los Angeles "should not, and indeed legally cannot, allow and tax marijuana sales," and opines that passing Measure M "would be of little or no effect." How can that be?At the heart of the question is whether or not medical marijuana dispensaries  or collectives, or cooperatives, or whatever they choose to call themselves  are for-profit operations. Back when Gov. Jerry Brown was California's attorney general, he issued an opinion that they can operate only as nonprofit cooperatives or collectives in which patients or their "primary caregivers" grow marijuana and supply other members. They can charge members for their cannabis, but only enough to cover their overhead costs. Yet Brown's opinion hasn't been tested in court, and there is no telling how many of California's storefront dispensaries are really operating as nonprofits. In December, the operators of a San Jose marijuana "collective" were charged with illegal sales and money laundering after police said they discovered two sets of books, one showing an operating loss and the other showing a profit of $222,238.If marijuana collectives are genuinely nonprofits, they're exempt from city taxes. So why have Long Beach and other cities been able to tax them? Because to be considered tax-exempt charitable nonprofits, organizations have to register as such with the Internal Revenue Service, which is like sending a cable to the federal government to tell it you're distributing a product that Washington considers illegal. Very few, if any, medical marijuana facilities have done this, opting instead to pay local taxes.Getting in bed with a quasi-legal industry has drawbacks. If city government became reliant on tax revenue from medical marijuana sellers, city officials would be less likely to pass ordinances restricting their operations and police would be less inclined to raid their establishments to check whether they're really running on a nonprofit basis. A decrease in such scrutiny would encourage more illegal for-profit dispensaries, which draw other kinds of crime. Prices for a drug that many people use to relieve suffering (even if others use it to get high) would rise, which is why legitimate patient advocates such as Americans for Safe Access oppose taxation measures.We agree with Brown that medical marijuana should only be distributed by nonprofit cooperatives or collectives. If they're truly operating that way, it's unfair for the city to tax them, and if they aren't, they should be shut down rather than taxed. That's why we urge a no vote on Measure M. Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Published: February 20, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 21, 2011 at 18:16:09 PT
As long as I have been doing CNews I don't understand why reform orgaanizations haven't addressed the basic and most important problem and it is changing the Federal Law. 
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Comment #3 posted by weedoflife on February 21, 2011 at 12:13:55 PT:
State should challenge
If Califorina is ever going to go anywhere,the STATE as in the attorney general needs to take on the federal goverment by filing a reclassification petition to set there laws straight, that there state has medical use of the controlled substance!!! Once theese states start filing for it and challenging the federal CSA that marijuana has medical use in the United states ,it is going to open up a major door for medical marijuana throughout the country!!!!
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Comment #2 posted by gloovins on February 20, 2011 at 22:08:51 PT
Another LA Times joke op ed
Not one place in this article does it mention pharmacuiticals are NOT TAXED but now they want to tax our herbal medicine.LA Times, you are a joke....still.
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Comment #1 posted by Paul Pot on February 20, 2011 at 07:25:43 PT:
drug profits
I don't get it? Why is no-one allowed to profit from medical cannabis when big pharma makes billions out of all the other synthetic so-called medical drugs. Something really stinks here!Just what are these people afraid of? Apart from lots of people getting stoned openly instead of in secret like they used to nothing else has changed. People are not falling dead in the street, anarchy has not broken out and the sky is still up. Obviously ending prohibition has led to nothing more than parking problems and a few anal people loosing their power to control others and have people believe their lies. I laugh at these idiots. Enroll to vote, sign those petitions and vote. Pot will be legal in Nov 2012. 20 months to legalhighs and counting down!!!
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