For good reason, there was a lot of excitement among marijuana reform advocates after Tuesday’s election. Three states passed measures legalizing cannabis for medical or adult use, after all. But there were also a few smaller cannabis-related measures on state and local ballots that haven’t received quite as much attention.
Here’s what you might have missed:
In Colorado, a measure to change the definition of industrial hemp under the state constitution passed, 61-39 percent. There were some concerns that, should the federal government legalize hemp—as it seems poised to do—the state’s existing definition would be inconsistent with the federal definition, which could put Colorado hemp farmers at a disadvantage. Now Colorado’s definition will have the “same meaning as it is defined in federal law or as the term is defined in Colorado statute.”
Almost 90 percent of voters in Chicago said they want tax revenue from perhaps soon-to-be-legal cannabis sales to go toward public schools in the city and mental health services. The question was advisory in nature, so it won’t actually change the law—but it does signal that people have strong feelings about where marijuana tax revenue should go.
Los Angeles voters rejected a measure that would have established a public bank in the city, 58-42 percent. The measure was designed to mitigate some of the difficulties that cannabis businesses face when dealing with traditional financial institutions, as well as provide financing for affordable housing initiatives.
A ballot measure that would have allowed Los Angeles to establish a public bank, in part to service the cannabis industry — backed by centrists and socialists alike — failed by quite a large margin. https://t.co/Dl6Vyz9Hdvpic.twitter.com/IwkzwA9GiM
And more than 90 cities and counties across California voted on measures to change the way that marijuana is taxed, licensed and regulated in their jurisdictions. For example, voters in Malibu, California, approved a measure that allows cannabis delivery services and impose a new tax on gross receipts for non-medical marijuana sales.
Los Angeles has a homeless epidemic highlighted by downtown’s ‘skid row.’ Marijuana may soon help ease this epidemic.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve a ballot measure that would see medical marijuana tax proceeds go towards the homeless. This proposed tax would aid Los Angeles’ approved nearly $2 billion housing project to help cope with a 12% increase in homelessness the last two years.
The proposed tax would put a
“10% levy on the gross receipts of businesses that produce or distribute marijuana and related products.”
The tax would purportedly generate roughly $130 million a year in tax dollars that would directly go towards helping get the homeless of the streets and into treatment facilities and low-income housing. The measure’s approval needs a 2/3 vote in favor of the tax, so it’s definitely no sure thing.
Detractors of this proposal believe the measure will hurt patients since it will see dispensary prices rise. However, it’s hard to place a moral argument about using cannabis taxes to benefit the less fortunate.
Moreover, California’s upcoming legalization vote this fall truly holds the key to whether or not this tax even matters. The legal medical marijuana alone only would attribute $13 million a year in tax dollars–so legal marijuana would be the biggest donor to the cause.
The state will not be able to collect taxes on that pending legal industry till 2018.
Golf brings the most unlikely people together–even in Hollywood.
Actor Anthony Anderson of Kangaroo Jack fame recently appeared on Conan on TBS to promote the new Barbershop flick. The late night host quickly brought up Anderson’s celebrity golfing games to which Anderson quickly revealed that he has an annual, “special” foursome with an herbal twist.
Anderson’s unlikely foursome includes himself, Don Cheadle, George Lopez, and Cheech Marin (of Cheech & Chong fame). The diverse foursome has a golfing tradition like none other: eat a pot brownie and wash it down with two shots of tequila at the turn.
Check out the clip right here:
“We play uh, the first 9 holes sober. And a couple of us have cataracts and ailments so we have prescriptions for things. On the 8th green, we take a special brownie and we ingest it. And then we have two shots of tequila and then we play the next nine holes completed wasted.”
The big stunner? Cheech Marin is the lightweight of the group who can’t handle the pot brownies!
The Game, real name Jayceon Taylor, has teamed up with the California-based edible giant G Farma Brands, a company that already specializes in a wide array of chocolate-based edibles and vaporizer tanks. The Game-specific products, simply denoted with a large “G”, are a cannabis-infused lemonade and one gram pre-rolled joints.
The lemonade comes in three flavors: original, pink, and strawberry. Similar to ascending brands in the marijuana business, the branding is discreet, clean, and modern:
Those lemonade bottles really do look like a product you could see in a display case next to a case of Snapples. And perhaps The Game is banking on his other offering, the G-Stiks, to cause the thirst for marijuana lemonade.
The more simple pre-roll, containing a gram of “7 different strains”, is by no means a new phenomenon, but it’s one yet to be truly corporate. That’s about to change:
Most cannabis savants will shy away from any pre-rolls and particularly those with a blend of different leaves. But there’s a large market for lower-end products like this. With lemonade and pre-rolls, it seems like The Game and G Farma Labs are going after two distinctly different consumer bases in one fell swoop.
At first, the products will only be available in California (a huge market unto itself), but The Game sounds like he has his eyes on a bigger prize.
“These guys are the pioneers of innovation in the cannabis industry. I’m excited to help raise awareness for G Stiks and G Drinks in all territories that we are available.”
Like any potential marijuana mogul, The Game is planting a seed that he hopes will grow into a massive money-making entity. As far his The Game is concerned, there’s little risk in such an investment. The rapper has an inherent, massive following (particularly in California), and he’s promoting a product that already has a solid reputation.
As is the case with Whoopi, who also chose to work with an established brand, The Game made a savvy business move by choosing a company that has supply, production, and distribution channels already set. The celebrity marijuana floodgates have clearly begun to open, and these are just two of the many darts thrown at an industry that no one can really predict.
The Game joins other big name rappers like Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Wu Tang Clan (just to name a few) that have debuted or announced marijuana brands in the last year. Some celebrities will succeed, others should stumble, and it should be very interesting to watch it all unfold.
In February, the City of Los Angeles approved a $2 billion housing project that would be completed over the next decade, and one of the funding options could be a 15 percent tax on medical marijuana.
Homelessness in Los Angeles has increased 12 percent in the last two years, with an estimated 254,000 people in need of housing, and local legislatures are under pressure to create solutions. Mayor Eric Garcetti even made an unsuccessful attempt to declare a citywide state of emergency in November 2015.
The City Council realizes that the $2 billion program will require new sources of tax revenue to fund the ambitious project. Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told KPCC,
“Even as our economy improves, we do not anticipate to have an additional $1.78 billion over the next 10 years to dedicate for this purpose.”
City officials have narrowed down their list of possible tax options to cover the cost, but a medical marijuana tax would possibly bring in $17 million in revenue. If they decide in favor of a medical marijuana tax, it could be proposed to voters on the November ballot. Other cities in California that already tax medical marijuana include Riverside County, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs.
In order for a medical marijuana tax to be successful, the City Council needs to convince voters that this tax is the best way of funding the new housing project. Other options on their list include taxes on real estate sales and zoning taxes, which could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, making a medical marijuana tax seem paltry by comparison.
There is also the issue of taxing medicine. California’s medical marijuana program, while notoriously flexible, does not include recreational use, and therefore the tax would be targeting patients rather than cannabis enthusiasts. The price increase could also mean that patients will buy from illegal sources in order to have access to affordable medical marijuana.
California already has plans to tax marijuana, should it become legal. The leading ballot initiative in California is the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which is expected to receive enough signatures to appear on the November ballot and has strong support from the governor’s office. The program outlines how recreational marijuana would be taxed, and how medical marijuana patients would be exempt from state taxes.