California Gov. Gavin Newsom appears to be reconsidering when it comes to the taxes the state currently has on marijuana, the growers and sales. In his most recent budget proposal, Gov. Newsom released he “supports cannabis tax reform and plans to work with the Legislature to make modifications to California’s cannabis tax policy to help stabilize the market. When asked to expand in his statement he said , “There was intention by having that language in the budget. It is my goal to look at tax policy to stabilize the market” (SacBee).
In Gov. Newsom’s budget, he projects that the state of California will collect $787 million in cannabis revenue during the 2022-23 tax year. Wow! $ 787 million. That is a lot of money. The budget estimates that about $595 million will be divided between youth substance abuse treatments, cost of cleaning up illegal cannabis grows as well as supporting public safety-related activities. Newsom’s goal is “to get these municipalities to wake up to the opportunities to get rid of the illegal market and the illicit market and provide support and a regulatory framework for the legal market” (SacBee).
Gov. Newsom’s statement and budget proposal came as news to many within the cannabis industry here in California. Elizabeth Ashford, Vice President of Communications for Eaze, a well-known cannabis delivery company said, “I think Gov. Newsom knows and his advisers know that they can’t let the legal market fail. It’s extremely important that the steps that state government can take are taken. They need to take these steps.” Ashford is amongst other cannabis industry advocates who believe the legal idustry is facing serious threats with the illegal market and conflicting local regulations. “This is a complex, important job creation ecosystem in the state. So when we talk about the legal market potentially facing an existential crisis, we’re talking about thousands and thousands of jobs and also millions in revenue,” she said (SacBee).
Furthermore, Michael Steinmetz of Flow Cannabis Co., one of the largest cannabis brands in California also praised Newsom’s announcement. In 2021, Steinmetz made news headlines when he promised a tax revolt against the state. “We are grateful the Governor has heard the cries of large and small business owners, farmers, employees, patients and consumers about the dire state of legal cannabis in California”. Rallies at the Capitol were organized for January 13th and January 26th to have voices heard on the matter (SacBee).
There is no doubt that it has been a bumpy road for legal cannabis here in California. Here’s to having our voices heard, positive differences being made, and quality cannabis available for all who need it. Can Newsom make a difference regarding cannabis? Time will tell, California. Time will tell.