A brief History of how Sacramento taxed medical marijuana

  Tax season just ended, so I thought I’d talk about something specific to medical marijuana patients: the sin tax on medicinal cannabis that Sacramento voters voted into office in 2010 via Measure C. In a city council session early in Summer 2010, before the midterm election, the Sacramento City Council was having discussions about the medical marijuana ordinance. They were discussing making dispensaries licensed and legal in Sacramento City, when a city council member thought it would be prudent if they put a marijuana tax on the ballot. The idea behind it was that if Prop 19 made it legal for the recreational use of cannabis, they would need a tax structure in place in order to make sure that the city was compensated for recreational marijuana sales. In late June, a new Business Operations Tax structure was proposed. The BOT had not been updated since 1991 and “modernisation” was in order. The numbers thrown out at that meeting were a gradual 3-4% tax, no higher than 5% on medical cannabis donations and 10% on recreational over the counter sales.Thirteen citizens, including Ryan Landers of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, Joy Cole of SacPatients and Lanette Davies of Crusaders for Patients Rights, spoke out against any tax higher than 2%. The Council instructed staff to draft it; both Sandy Sheedy District 2 and […]

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Cultivating Medical Marijuana in Sacramento

Spring has sprung and the time has come for everyone to plant their gardens. If you live in a residential zone in Sacramento, you most likely won’t be legally employing the sunshine to nourish your marijuana plants. It has been totally illegal for a few years now to plant any cannabis outdoors or indoors in the County of Sacramento, This was all due to a ban passed by the County Board of Supervisors in 2010. No law prohibiting cultivation of cannabis existed in the City of Sacramento until November 2012 when the Sacramento City Council passed it’s own ban on growing marijuana outdoors. The City Council pushed it through quickly and it now exists in the form of Ordinance 2012-045. This law states that it is illegal to grow cannabis outside, either in a residential zone or in a residential-use building. The only way to legally grow is to do it indoors by submitting a plan to the city, keep it under 400 feet, follow all the safety and lighting precautions, and then allow the city to inspect and approve it. It’s that simple! Perhaps on closer inspection, this process is far out of reach of the common Sacramentan. So, the following is my attempt to lay out in a plain and straightforward manner the information I’ve gathered about cultivating cannabis in The City of […]

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Opinion: SB289 comes to the capitol, and what it means for medical marijuana patients

Have you ever heard of “drugged driving?” Well, the proponents of Senate Bill 289 are making it their job to bring this new phraseology into the vernacular of the California electorate. What precisely is "drugged driving?" On the surface this law seems to make sense – nobody wants someone who is incapacitated behind the wheel of heavy machinery. However, closer scrutiny reveals that anyone who has consumed cannabis in the last few weeks could test positive. While the law will allow for prescription drugs to be exempt, this exemption does not apply to those who choose marijuana as medicine because they can only get it through a doctors recommendation – which is not the same, legally, as a perscription. Therefore, anybody who had smoked marijuana in the past weeks would be considered "drugged driving" – yet someone taking oxycodone the night before they were pulled over would be fully compliant under this new law. Scientists and anyone who has used Cannabis know the psychoactive effects wear off within hours, but the law will be requiring law enforcement to test for THC-COOH, the substance in cannabis that stays in the body for weeks. Someone could pass any number of field sobriety tests, but would still be considered “drugged driving”.   What this bill basically ends up doing is making it impossible for anyone who uses cannabis […]

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Sacramento welcomes NORML chapter

Since its formation in 1970, the nonprofit known as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws aka NORML has not had a presence in the Sacramento area. Originally formed by Keith Stroup on a mere $5,000 donation from the Playboy Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based group has grown to have 12 chapters in California and more than 100 in other American cities and abroad. Bob “Adman” Bowerman took it upon himself to change all that. Newly retired at 61 from his multimillion-dollar ad agency Concepts, Bowerman became familiar with medical cannabis due to personal illness. “I got my medical cannabis card in 2002,” he told me in a recent interview. "Cannabis has helped me through three big medical issues. First there was a severe case of shingles, then there were two surgeries, all in the last three years. Cannabis really is medicine.” Bowerman decided to get involved with NORML after attending one of the organization’s conferences in Los Angeles. He saw a clear role for himself to play. “They have enough lawyers, and a lack of marketing people,” he said. “They also needed a strong NORML chapter in the Sacramento area. It seemed like a good fit. So I cashed in part of my retirement and gathered some like-minded media people, and here we go.” Bowerman founded NORML’s first media-based chapter, a group specifically focused […]

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