There are some choice nuggets for marijuana fans deep in the weeds the $125 billion budget the California legislature just passed Thursday. These are called “trailer bills”, little items that are rolled into the larger, omnibus budget so there is not much attention paid to them or debate about them. And one of these trailers is truckin’ to keep cannabis dispensaries and businesses from having to haul their cash hundreds of miles to Sacramento just to pay their taxes.
Yes, it’s true that because banks refuse to accept money from marijuana companies, cannabis businesses have to drive to Sacramento with a trunk full of cash just to pay their taxes. Needless to say, this is a little risky. But the new bill packed into the state budget would allow marijuana taxes to be paid within the business’ home county.
The bill is called the Cannabis Safe Payment Act, and was introduced by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener and San Diego state senator Toni Atkins. It allows for marijuana business taxes to be paid at any of the 22 State Board of Equalization offices, and allows counties to set up a framework to pay these state taxes within that county as well.
“The Cannabis Safe Payment Act will save these business owners from having to drive all over our state with suitcases full of cash, which is a huge public safety problem,” state senator Wiener said in a statement. “Cannabis is a significant part of our economy, and it’s only going to grow as we fully implement adult use.”
Medical marijuana is already a $2.7 billion industry in the state of California, and the the legalization of recreational marijuana sales is expected to make it nearly a $5 billion industry. That could mean more than a billion dollars annually in taxes, which probably does not belong in the trunk of someone’s car.