Debating Measure M – it’s high time for LA voters to decide on taxing medical marijuana

If passed, Measure M would let the city take home $50 for every $1,000 in pot-shop sales. Sounds like a great way for a city facing a $319-million budget shortfall to generate some much-needed revenue, right? Not so fast, say opponents. For one thing The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office published a ruling that says that even if approved by voters, the measure is illegal because the dispensaries are nonprofits and selling marijuana is a crime. There’s the thorny issue of declaring something illegal and then taxing it. Both sides agree that in all likelihood dispensary operators will be happy to pay the tax for the legitimacy and stability it would seem to grant their businesses. Cynics suggest they also hope that the city’s reliance on tax revenue from their businesses would make the police less inclined to raid their establishments and scrutinize their day to day dealings. Would passage of this measure be perceived as a tacit endorsement for the legalization of marijuana? Would adding another 5 percent tax to the existing 9.75 percent county sales tax be an unfair burden to medical marijuana consumers? Does the projected $10 million in revenues this could raise make all other concerns go up in smoke? Larry and his guests hash it out.

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