On Monday, a group of medical marijuana patients and providers testified against a proposed measure that would tax medical marijuana dispensaries. This increase in taxation would also lead to an increased cost of marijuana for patients, many have speculated.
The measure is intended to keep the black market from growing once the sale of state-taxed legal marijuana begins later this year. Having one market where the marijuana is taxed and one where it is not does not make sense to legislators.
The bill had a public hearing in front of the House Finance Committee. It would require dispensaries to pay a sales tax of 25%. The 25% amount for medical marijuana is the same as what legal marijuana stores will be charged.
Many of the speakers at Monday’s hearing argued that medical marijuana should not be taxed because it requires the recommendation of a physician. In Washington, prescription drugs are not taxed.
Despite this argument, many believe taxation of medical marijuana is necessary to uphold the integrity of the program. “If we don’t equalize taxes, we run an even greater risk of a black market, and we set the stage for substantial market distortions,” Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the measure, said after the hearing.