California slapping high taxes on marijuana, causing sticker shock for some
Published on 11/3/17
California has had one of the longest standing medical marijuana programs stretching back the last 20 years, and with this coming January's legalization of recreational marijuana the state has come a long way in legal cannabis. With the incoming legalization comes quite a few new laws and regulations including taxes that are not too popular with consumers. Currently in California about $35 can get you enough quality bud for 5-6 joints, but with the increased taxes customers can expect to pay about $50-60 for the same amount. What was considered cheap before, large bags of leaves and trim, often used for concentrates and edibles, will now be almost useless once it's taxed by it's hefty weight. Some are saying these new taxes are only encouraging the black market to thrive, and if so then regulators will have to adjust soon after the law begins. Ontop of the already large taxes, cities and local governments will have their chance to add additional taxes and take their own cut, creating inconsistent rates and prices for both business owners and consumers.
On a retail level, it costs about $35 to buy a small bag of good quality medical marijuana in Los Angeles, enough to roll five or six joints.But in 2018, when recreational sales take hold and additional taxes kick in, the cost of that same purchase in the new market is expected to increase at the retail counter to $50 or $60.
At the high end, that’s about a 70% jump.
Medical pot purchases are expected to rise in cost too, but not as steeply, industry experts say.
But higher taxes for businesses and consumers give the state’s thriving illicit market a built-in advantage. Operators in the legal market have been urging regulators to be aggressive about shutting down rogue operators.