After careful independent analysis, it appears evident that a public vote will not be needed for the tax provisions of the medical marijuana ordinance proposed by Mayor Filner for the City of San Diego.
The proposal contains an annual fee of $5,000 per year for all medical cannabis dispensaries. Such fees are standard cost recovery fees, used to pay for additional public services incurred by business establishments.
The proposal also contains a 2% tax on wholesale acquisitions made by medical cannabis collectives from members who cultivate. Additionally, if a dispensary provides its own medical cannabis directly, they will be taxed 2% of the wholesale value of the medicine they grow.
Such taxes do not qualify as retail sales taxes, since they are placed on the business, not the end consumer, and, therefore, are exempt from public vote requirements. Excise taxes are most commonly placed on alcohol and tobacco.
The medical cannabis industry is supportive of such fees. Bob Riedel, Vice President of the United Patients' Alliance, the trade association for medical cannabis distributors, stated, "We providers wish to be responsible, contributing members of the community, and part of this is paying our fair share. Medical cannabis distributors can contribute positively to the economy in many ways: through creating good paying jobs and lowering unemployment, through our rent contributions and lowering the building vacancy rate, as well as through our fees and taxes to the city and state."
"Those in need of medical cannabis have had to go to the black market. No one wins.This ordinance will provide patient protection and a safe environment. The city will have less of a burden and expense trying to eliminate the underground element. Patients are in entitled to a low cost, low risk, pain medication and this city is in need of employment," echoed Ken Cole, President of the United Patients Alliance, "this ordinance proposal helps the City's budget, helps patients and helps the local economy. It is a win-win-win."
About the United Patients' Alliance (UPA)
The United Patients' Alliance is the professional association of medical cannabis providers in Greater San Diego. We are an alliance of organizations dedicated to providing high quality cannabis medicine to patients in a professional, respectful, discreet and safe environment. Our members hold themselves to the highest professional standards and are dedicated to making a positive impact on the communities they serve. Our mission is to protect patients' access to cannabis medicine by promoting the legal, safe and responsible operation of medical cannabis cooperatives and collectives.
About UPA President - Kenneth Cole
Ken Cole is the director of a local cannabis collective, as well as a cancer patient, who uses medical cannabis as part of his treatment for this disease. As a former Olympic basketball player, a coach and motivational speaker, the pursuit of holistic health for himself and others has been a driving force throughout Ken's life. Through his own experiences with medical cannabis, Ken has become a true believer in its therapeutic value and is determined to make it available to other patients in need through safe and respectful dispensing environments.
About UPA Vice President - Bob Riedel
Bob Riedel has been a leader in the cannabis industry for many years. As a cultivator of cannabis for over 20 years, Bob has developed hydroponic methods that set new industry standards. In 2008, Bob founded Mother Earth's Alternative Healing Cooperative, Inc., and introduced a pharmaceutical retail model that raised the benchmark on operating procedures. Gathering a team of professionals in 2011, he was able to obtain the only license in San Diego County for a Medical Cannabis cooperative. This facility became the "gold standard" and was toured by federal, state, and local politicians plus law enforcement.