The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Laura Thomas 415-283-6366 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

Oakland Voters Approve Taxing Cannabis Dispensaries; Measure Expected to Produce $300,000 Annual Revenue for Essential Services

DPA Congratulates Oakland Voters on Passing Medical Cannabis Revenue Measure, Expects other Cities to Follow


Efforts to tax cannabis to generate revenue for California's sagging
coffers received a boost last night as Oakland voters approved Measure
F by 80 percent.

Measure F adds a 1.8 percent gross receipts tax to medical cannabis
dispensaries, producing nearly $300,000 in annual revenue. Early
returns showed Measure F passing by the largest margin of all of the
revenue measures on Tuesday's ballot. The tax will go into effect in
January 2010.

"Oakland voters know a good idea when they see one," said Laura
Thomas, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Once
again, Oakland voters are ahead of the curve, but we hope the state
will catch up with them soon. The politicians need to listen to the

Medical cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles and other communities
also are pushing for new taxes, and should be recognized as a revenue
source. Dispensaries already contribute payroll taxes, sales taxes, and
licensing and other fees to government coffers.

Marijuana sales have the potential to raise millions for California
if regulated and taxed. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill (AB
390) where California would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Recent estimates from the state Board of Equalization showed a possible
$1.4 billion annual revenue stream.

"Taxing medical marijuana is a no brainer and fiscally makes sense
for a cash-strapped state like California. But this is the tip of the
iceberg," added Thomas. "Once Californians see the benefits of taxing
and regulating medical marijuana in Oakland, the next logical step is
to tax and regulate all marijuana use across the state."

The Drug Policy Alliance is the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

(212) 613-8020