New Jersey Governor Announces Medical Marijuana Will Be Taxed, MMJ Advocates Surprised

 by lucy

Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration announced that every medical marijuana purchase will be taxed.  State Treasury spokesman Andrew Pratt explained that the state’s 7% sales tax will apply to every purchase made at a dispensary by a doctor-recommended medical marijuana patient.

Some dispensaries, including Montclair’s Greenleaf Compassion Center, the first collective to get the green light to open in the state, had been holding off on opening their doors until the sales tax issue was settled.  Now that Christie’s administration has made their plan clear, many medical marijuana advocates and lawmakers are surprised.

Four out of the five primary sponsors of the state’s medical marijuana bill say they were never consulted about their intent regarding taxing the drug.  State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora spent five years gathering support for the  bill before it was enacted in 2010 said that he was never consulted and that taxing marijuana was never the goal.

“If you use medical marijuana as a pharmaceutical, then you shouldn’t be taxed for it… You don’t punish a person who’s terminally ill and needs the drug,” Gusciora explained.

Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey Ken Wolski shared Gusciora’s sentiments.  He told the press, “It’s clearly unfair… If you want money from marijuana, you need to legalize it for recreational purposes, not tax people who are sick.”

Another sponsor, State Senator Nicholas Scutari, explained that he had been a part of brief, informal discussions about whether medical marijuana would be taxed.  Scutari, however, understood that because the bill did not specifically grant a tax exemption for medical marijuana, it was likely that a sales tax would be imposed.

None of the other primary sponsors of the bill remember being consulted about the sales tax, but that isn’t stopping the Christie administration from claiming that taxation was part of the deal all along.  Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak told the press, “It’s been made clear to us by that sponsors that they intended that.”

So far, 318 patients in New Jersey have been approved to use medical marijuana.  138 more are currently going through the screening and application process.



8 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 0

    Envious said on Dec 3, 2012

    ummm…. sooooo hows the FED IRS gonna take this? federal laws and what have u… and the Gov continues to contradict itself….

  2. 1

    doctorwizzy said on Dec 3, 2012

    the whole system is corrupt anyway…so fuck these dudes. NJ's medical program is a fuckin joke anyways, the idea of marijuana being legal in any form(be it medical or otherwise) in this right wing, and pharmaceutical ran state is also a joke.

    • 0

      Envious said on Dec 3, 2012

      soo true. it really has to do completely with control over the minions. keeping money flowing upward and with the freedom.

  3. 1

    Chubbs said on Dec 3, 2012

    Maybe it's just me but I see this as a good thing. The more rules the better. Trust me. Grey areas suck.

  4. 1

    TheUndead said on Dec 3, 2012

    Maybe the feds wont blow up collectives now that they know there getting their cut.

  5. 1

    spkavyo said on Dec 3, 2012

    We pay sales tax here in CO, unless the dispensary builds it into the price, which some do. It helps the state run the program and helped sell the program to the legislature. All states are hard up for money, sales tax is a positive for politicians, and revenue makes them more likely to defend their program from the feds!

  6. 0

    THEKILLINGFIELD said on Dec 3, 2012

    there is tax on everything!

  7. 0

    joebeef said on Dec 3, 2012

    Although the tax can be argued that it gives the program more legitimacy, as a resident of NJ i see this as just another hurdle. The limited amount of doctors that are allowed to prescribe because of the high cost to apply for a license,along with the high cost for a patient to register for card is already enough money that the state is generating profit. Also a 7% tax on weed that is capped at a maximum 10% THC level is ridiculous. This is just another step my state is taking to stop people from getting their medicine.

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