A group of Democratic state lawmakers and one Republican colleague on Monday proposed slashing taxes to jump-start California's sluggish legal marijuana marketplace.
Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland, Democratic state Treasurer Fiona Ma and three other Assembly members said at a news conference that the state's year-old legal marijuana marketplace is struggling to keep up with California's entrenched black market not encumbered by state and local taxes and time-consuming and costly regulations.
Bonta said the state's legal marijuana industry is "not occurring as we hoped, expected and wanted."
The proposed bill would for the next three years eliminate the state's $148 per pound cultivation tax on farmers and reduce the state's 15 percent excise tax on retail sales to 11 percent. A similar bill failed to clear the Democratic-controlled Assembly last year.
On Jan. 1, 2018, California broadly legalized marijuana use for adults after overwhelming support for Proposition 64, which promised to fill state and local coffers while helping to eliminate the state's illegal operators. But far fewer licenses and tax revenues have been collected than expected and legal businesses point to the state and local taxes and red tape as the reasons.