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California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By North Coast Congressman

JaredHuffmanCaliforniaCongressmanDemocrat.jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

North Coast Congressman and longtime environmental leader U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on Wednesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Prior to his election to Congress in November of 2012, Huffman served six years in the California State Assembly and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus. He previously served as a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a congressman, he serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

"The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a necessary statewide reform that brings a billion-dollar industry out of the shadows and into a regulated market," said Rep. Huffman, whose district spans from the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Oregon border and includes the Emerald Triangle, the three-county region that produces some of America's best domestically grown marijuana.

"The measure takes historic, first-of-its-kind steps to reverse the devastating environmental and water damage that has been done by illegal marijuana grows in our state," Rep. Huffman said. "AUMA is not just good social justice and public health policy. It's forward-thinking environmental reform as well."

Oregon: Marijuana Shoppers Adjust To 25% Sales Tax

OregonMarijuanaLeaf[TheMarijuanaReport]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana shoppers in Oregon are taking a new 25 percent sales tax in stride, according to many dispensary owners and industry observers.

The state on January 1, after a three-month tax holiday, imposed the tax on recreational cannabis sales, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The tax will eventually be replaced with a 17 percent sales tax, once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes control of the new recreational marijuana industry later this year.

While some customers have shrugged off the tax, "we have people that say they would rather go back to their 'guy,' so to speak, and walk out," said Matt Price, who owns the Cannabliss chain of dispensaries.

General manager Nathan Krytenberg at Glisan Buds and Foster Buds took the unusual step of absorbing the tax. He says his "strategic decision" should generate enough additional sales to cover the 25 percent hit.

Krytenberg said he hopes his move generates customer loyalty. More than 100 shops compete for cannabis customers in Portland, and there's a well-established black market, as well.

"To be quite honest with you, if we even take a small hit, I believe the fact that we are doing this will put us in a better market position," said Krytenberg. His Glisan Buds and Foster Buds shops sell marijuana for $9 and $15 a gram.

California: Adult-Use Marijuana Initiative Cleared For Circulation

CaliforniaCannabisLegalization2016[420intel.com]

Coalition announces formation of official committee: Californians to Control, Regulate & Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children

Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to "control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana while protecting children" on Wednesday announced that they have received an official title and summary for their proposed November measure, have been cleared for circulation and intend to “hit the ground running” to qualify their measure for the ballot.

They also announced the formation of an official political committee in support of the measure: “Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children.” (I know! "Is it a committee name or a NOVEL?")

The coalition in support of this measure includes business people, physicians, farmers, environmental leaders and social-justice advocacy organizations, according to the group.

The new committee announced $1.25 million in initial contributions, including from co-chairs and respected advocacy organizations such as Drug Policy Action, Marijuana Policy Project of California, New Approach PAC and Californians for Sensible Reform.

Joint Statement of Co-Proponents

Dr. Donald O. Lyman, MD, former chief of the Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Control at the CA Department of Public Health and
Michael Sutton, former president of the California Fish and Game Commission and former vice president of National Audubon Society:

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax Begins Jan. 4

OregonMarijuanaLeaf[CannabisIndustryToday]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

All good things must come to an end, it seems, and it's the same with the Oregon weed tax holiday. Recreational marijuana consumers in the state will have to pay a 25 percent sales tax starting Monday, January 4.

The Oregon Legislature earlier this year approved allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot to adults 21 and older, tax-free, starting on Oct. 1, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. But tax-free sales end on Monday, when the state imposes a tax that will last until the end of 2016.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission isn't expected to open state-licensed recreational marijuana stores until late 2016; once that program is up and running, the 25 percent tax at dispensaries will be replaced with permanent 17 percent sales tax at recreational pot stores.

The Oregon Department of Revenue on Tuesday said they are prepared to deal with large sums of cash from dispensaries paying the new tax. Cameras have been added, employees have gotten security training, and a new "cash handling location" has been set up to accept large payments, according to the agency.

Marijuana's Schedule I classification under federal law has kept most traditional banks away from the business, fearing conspiracy charges and money laundering investigations. That means most marijuana transactions must be handled in cash.

Colorado: Marijuana Tax For Schools Hits Record; Exceeds 2014 Total

MarijuanaMoney[AssociationsNow]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Just-released marijuana tax data from the Colorado Department of Revenue shows that schools in the state received more money from the state's cannabis excise tax in the first five months of 2015 than they did all year in 2014.

"It sounds very encouraging," said state Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), reports Ricardo Baca at The Cannabist. "Voters wanted the school capital construction program to benefit, and despite some bumps in the road at the beginning, it looks like what was intended is coming to fruition."

Recreational marijuana is taxed three ways in Colorado: the standard 2.9 percent sales tax, a special 10 percent special cannabis sales tax, and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transfers.

The excise tax money grew from $2.5 million in March to $3.5 million in May. It brought it $13.6 million through May 2015, more than the $13.3 million it drew in all of 2014. The two main reasons for the jump are more marijuana stores opening and a one-time tax-exempt transfer which benefited the shops.

Recreational marijuana sales stayed roughly the same in Colorado between March and May, totaling $42.4 million in March and $42.5 million in May. May's medical cannabis sales in Colorado totaled $32.4 million, their highest since October 2014.

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