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Medical Marijuana: The Cure for State Budget Woes?

In the last election, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, which legalized medical marijuana for patients diagnosed with certain debilitating conditions. It appears that the law could also transform some forms of pot use into a significant revenue source for the state.

The new law requires physicians to write certifications for marijuana, rather than prescriptions. State law prohibits sales tax on prescription medications, according to AZCentral.com -- but products that require a certification can be taxed just like "buying something off the shelf or over the counter," says Anthony Forschino, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Revenue.  Every marijuana dispensary will be required to have a sales tax license.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who opposed Proposition 203, says he expects -- based on Colorado's experience with medical marijuana -- that a state tax on medical marijuana usage will generate at least $40 million per year in revenue for Arizona.  Some legislators who also opposed Prop 203 during the election are now said to support it, because it will benefit the state's budget, which has been severely slashed in recent years.

Guest blogger Ruth Carter is a law student in her final semester at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 28, 2011 at 02:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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