Medical Marijuana Should be Taxed, Says AZ Attorney General Tom Horne

Categories: Marijuana Biz
horne.jpg
Tom Horne

Republicans are anti-marijuana and anti-tax. Unless there's a buck to be made.

Tom Horne, the state's new Attorney General, just came out in favor of taxing the medical marijuana soon to be sold in Arizona.

True, a small tax on the product isn't such a bad idea. The pot shops will be run as non-profit businesses, but forcing them to put revenue in state coffers is actually a good long term plan for their survival. Eventually, the state will be making so much money that making medical pot re-illegal will be unthinkable.

Of course, that's not going to stop us or anyone else from seeing the irony in a GOP push to tax anything, especially pot. Which Republican legislators will take up this call to tax people? Which conservatives and Tea Party supporters will earn the title of Biggest Hypocrite?

Scroll down for Horne's news release:

HORNE TO RECOMMEND TAXATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA Phoenix (Wednesday January 26, 2011) - Attorney General Tom Horne today announced that he is recommending to the Arizona Department of Revenue that medical marijuana, made legal in a recent initiative, be taxed by the State.

Horne stated, "I was opposed to the medical marijuana initiative during the 2010 election, but it was passed by the voters and the issue now presented is whether it should be taxed under existing law."

He added, "Normally, there would be no tax on prescriptions. However, the legislation refers to doctors giving a 'written certification' rather than a prescription, an apparent effort, copied from other states, to protect doctors from discipline for giving prescriptions of substances prohibited under federal law. Since these are 'written certifications' rather than prescriptions, the sale of the substance can be taxed by the State, and we are recommending to the Department of Revenue that it tax the sales accordingly. We are informed by the Department of Revenue that they will take this advice, and tax the sales."

The taxes are estimated to yield revenues to the State of Arizona in the approximate amount of $40 million per year. This number is projected, on a pro rata basis, to the Arizona population the statistics for Denver County, as reported by the Denver Post using the Phoenix sales tax rate.



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18 comments
Kelly
Kelly

I think it is an excellent idea to tax medical marijuanna and on another note, I personally myself am not for medical marijuanna, as it will cause a multitude of further problems. So tax the heck out of it!!!!!

Phx1952
Phx1952

No problem Tommy, Jose is still selling bags of Mexican weed with no tax.

H. Brown
H. Brown

Lucky for me I can always go to Cali and buy it tax free. I recommend others do the same. If you have a card that states you can have 2 oz's, who cares where it came from. The best part is the short vacation I get in the process

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Is Arizona required by the Prop 203 to recognize other States' MMJ status?

Clw3
Clw3

NO..U must have a card from each State..since all laws in most states R different..We NEED to get The ATT..General out of that office ..for holding up this Law passed by the citizens of AZ..He says it should be taxed..Whats he go to do with the tax of anything?..Just do what OBAMA said his office will do and Not interfere with the States laws..and let the Dispensarys open up and then worry about the taxing of the Medicine..He is a RED NECK that needs to read up on the Use of Pot in the last 15yrs..Once a red neck always I guess...Nothing better to do then mess with state laws..and Something his boss told him to not to worry about..RED Neck...

J Curwen
J Curwen

The answer would be a qualified "yes." Out of state MMJ patients can possess and consume in AZ, but not use any dispensaries that might eventually be located here. So technically, somebody with a California card, for example, could hypothetically legally consume here, while in-state people will have to wait for a few months yet.

Clw3
Clw3

YOU must get a quest card to be legal in AZ if you are from CALI..it's up to the Policeman if it's ok with HIM..if not you can go to jail..I'm a patiant here in Seattle and Went to ORE..where my Buddy is a city cop in NEWPORT Ore..he told me him and his buddies would not care...but I got pulled over by a state cop and he did..WROTE me up for less then an OZ...had to go to court ...they threw it out ..but ...one card is not legal in all states..

ArizonaPatientAlliance
ArizonaPatientAlliance

Actual according to our numbers it is more along the lines of $82M a yr annually by 2013 in sales tax revenue generated by ONLY 124 dispensaries. this revenue is expected to grow every year. This does not included the $148.8M in payroll taxes to the federal government..

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The juvenile rantings of Horne remind of the reason that some people (republicans?) "say" thay abhor taxes, because it "punishes" people. This is a decidedly unconstitutional stance on taxes. Taxing authority is granted to our legislature and governor in order to be "for public purposes only." It is clear that the government has the power to tax for public purposes, but not for "punishment" of private individuals, especially sick ones. We have legitimate public needs for money from taxation: Education, Public Safety and Welfare; Community Health; and transporation just to name a few. Don't let the wing-nuts confuse you with hate or misplaced animosity against your fellow citizens.

In addition a tax "shall be uniform upon the same class of property." If someone is buying pot for medical purposes, it will be unconstiutonal to tax it as if it were different than any other prescriptive medicine.

ArizonaPatientAlliance
ArizonaPatientAlliance

Arizona PatientAlliance - i do not mind them taxing this industry. i actually encourage it. once it is intertwined into the states yearly fiscal budget, like CO, they will let the industry expand as well as let us operate free of harassment. It will get this state back on track. i hope they start to look at the amount of jobs that we are going to create. sounds like a win/ win for AZ and its residence. =)

Jmcphx85012
Jmcphx85012

I will be one of those benefitting from Prop 203 on many illnesses, and while I am in support for taxing it IF it is legal, the definition of Prop 203 was Medical Marijuana, not Marijuana. The term medical carries with it a medical use, not a personal choice use, such as beer, diapers or anything else taxed. It seems that those who were against Prop 203 will now attempt to play a semantics game in an effort to make it next to impossible for anyone but the richest to obtain and use medical marijuana.

Myself, I am on disability and have been since 1995. It was my choice based on a brain anuerysm that gave me seizures, 2 heart attacks, a trile bypass and something desperately trying to kill me. It is hard enough to make ends meet, but a tax that is reasonable, like that on alcohol, would suit that state and my needs. Of course, if the state requires a large tax on sales, and they chose to play semantic games, then I would also favor an amendment that allows anyone to grow pot as long as they have a "written certification". Growing would alleviate the sales aspect. Perhaps we should look at this?

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

The post wasn't very specific about how the Department of Revenue would tax medical cannabis. I note the closing paragraph isn't quoted, so this may just be a reasonable guess on the part of Mr. Stern. Having seen the proposed "reasonable regulations" from the Department of Health Services, I can only wonder how high the reasonable taxes proposed by the Department of Revenue might be.

Republicans like to spout off about how much they dislike burdensome taxes and regulations. Stay tuned to see their philosophy enacted with respect to medical cannabis.

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

Everything in that gray box is verbatim from Horne's news release.

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Thanks for the clarification. What about this, though?http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/5..."32 5. THREE HUNDRED PER CENT OF THE TAX BASE AS COMPUTED FOR THE BUSINESS33 OF EVERY PERSON ENGAGING OR CONTINUING IN THIS STATE IN THE NONPROFIT MEDICAL34 MARIJUANA DISPENSARY CLASSIFICATION DESCRIBED IN SECTION 42-5077."

Now I could be reading that incorrectly, but that looks like a prohibitive tax to me. Perhaps someone with a legal or accounting background could clarify? I'm thinking my initial suspicions were correct. The PDF file indicates it was created yesterday, January 26 at 2:48 PM. Not sure when it was posted, but I had those assholes dead to rights.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

BAD idea. Make pot totally legal, and tax that, it's fine, but you shouldn't be taxing medical needs anyway. Here in Utah, the Reddest of the Red States, they are so tax happy, that we have the correct number of deductions taken out, my wife added an extra $600 last year to cover state taxes, and we still owe about $125. We're getting $1,000 back from Federal tax, but the State tax here is ridiculous, even more so because Republicans claim to be anti-tax. We're not rich, just edging into middle class, but our deductions should cover taxes, they always did in AZ... On top of it, we also have sales tax on all food. The Republicans here in Utah haven't met a tax on the average Joe they didn't like, all the while handing out corporate welfare like it's candy at a 4th of July parade...

Anon
Anon

Good idea.

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