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California Tax Board Says Legal Pot Could Raise $1.4 Billion

July 17, 2009  | 

California could see a nearly $1.4 billion per year increase in state revenues were it to legalize marijuana, the state Board of Equalization says in an analysis of pending legislation to to do that.

The bill (Assembly Bill 390) by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, is still awaiting its first committee hearing and is likely not to be considered until next year. It would impose not only sales taxes but a $50 per ounce fee on marijuana sales, which would be licensed by the state much as alcoholic beverages are regulated.

Today, although considered illegal by federal authorities, California allows limited sales of marijuana for medicinal purposes, subject to local control, in accordance with a ballot measure approved by voters in 1996. And the state imposes sales taxes on those pot transactions. But wider sales would, under the Ammiano bill, be dependent on federal permission.

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