Measure N Will Increase Tax on Marijuana on July 1st
On Nov 8, 2016 San Diego voters approved Measure N (a tax on recreational marijuana).
The final polling results were 351,088 in favor and 160,109 opposed. N Measure allows a 5 to 15 percent tax on gross receipts of recreational cannabis in San Diego. The tax from this measure will increase to 8% on July 1, 2019. City Council can decide to increase the rate in the near future and can go as high as 15%.
It may be surprising that this measure passed when Californians are already complaining about the expensive cost of legalized marijuana. This measure was initiated in response to the approval of Prop 64. City Council was concerned that the passing of legalized marijuana would cause problems in San Diego, deeming the tax necessary in order to cover the expense of legalizing cannabis in San Diego. This is in addition to the 15% that Proposition 64 has already tacked on.
Supporters argued that this tax was needed in order to allocate funds meant for the repair of infrastructure or other city priorities. Additionally, it would not be spent on enforcement and regulation of cannabis. They also stated that the measure was flexible, since the tax could be adjusted up or down depending on future projections of services needed to govern the industry.
Opponents argued that none of this tax revenue would go toward housing, outreach, educational services and drug rehab. The opposition also made the point that after factoring the state tax of 15% and the California Sales tax of 8%, that the only winner would be the black market who is able to sell marijuana at a much lower price since they operate outside the bounds of the law.
Opponents to the measure made a good point in 2016. Fast forward to 2018 and the average cost of 1 gram of marijuana is $16 in San Diego. The following shows how San Diego compares with the rest of the state:
- Area Gram Ounce
- California Average $15 $296
- San Jose $15 $285
- San Francisco $17 $290
- Los Angeles $13 $240
- San Diego $16 $285
The only place where weed is more expensive is in San Francisco known for its exorbitant prices of everything. When compared to Colorado the sticker shock is depressing if you reside in California. The average rate for Colorado is $11, Denver $11, Boulder $12, Colorado Springs $13, Fort Collins $10 and Aurora $12. To put this in perspective, Colorado’s most expensive marijuana is California’s cheapest. In fact, marijuana in California is more expensive than in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Michigan. The only place where it costs more is Nevada.
Despite the fact that the state of California, its cities, and regulating bodies are on a mission to tax marijuana to death, they have still managed to come up short. It hasn’t clicked in yet that taxing cannabis at extreme rates is only causing people to buy illegal marijuana. Guess what’s the tax revenue of illegal cannabis? Zero, nada, zilch. Voters were promised tax revenue in the tune of $175 million in the first half of 2018. The actual amount received was $134 million.
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More on the Line Than Money
There is more at risk than losing tax revenue when giving the black market the upper hand. Consumers are in danger of buying marijuana that has not been lab tested. Legal dispensaries are required to sell marijuana that has been lab tested for safety. These tests look for harmful chemicals such as pesticides, artificial growth hormones, ethanol’s, butane, xylene, mold, fungus and mildew. Some of these chemicals or bacteria can be very dangerous for people who have a weakened immune system.
Traces of fecal matter, dust, and hair is also tested for to make sure the products meet sanitary standards. Unfortunately, these concerns do not come to mind when consumers are buying the cheapest product, that is until they get sick.
How to offset the cost of Cannabis
If you live in San Diego or similar cities where regulations of marijuana are increasing, there’s not much you can do about the rising cost of marijuana. The obvious solution is to make sure your vote counts. Many people do not pay attention to measures and local bills that are initiated. Failure to inform yourself about what is going on in your local community oftentimes effects your wallet. If you take cannabis for anxiety or other medical conditions, you can look into getting a medical marijuana card. Once you’ve received a medical marijuana card by an approved physician, you can save around 14% to 20% at the registers when buying cannabis.
Harbor Collective MMCC is a recreational and a medical dispensary. They can help you with the process of applying for a medical card. Bring your State ID and you can fill out the form right at their office. If you have any questions feel free to call and speak with one of their friendly staff at 619-841-2045. Save even more by taking advantage of our Happy Hour Special between 7am – 10am to save 10% off your total purchase.