First, some of the facts: Cannabis consumption has been proven effective for managing chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, glaucoma, ADHD, side effects from cancer drugs, inflammation, and much more challenging to treat mental and physical conditions. As a result, over two-thirds of states in the US have legalized the sale of cannabis and cannabis products, with more to follow.
The cannabis industry has supported the creation of over 321,000 full-time jobs and has seen an unprecedented 27.5% per year employment growth rate since 2017. Sales revenue in our state has already surpassed the 1-billion-dollar mark, yet this medically significant, job-creating revenue-generating industry is on the verge of collapse.
Taxation on the cannabis industry in Los Angeles is now the highest at a cumulative 38% sales tax rate! These exorbitant taxes are closing the doors of legitimate licensed businesses and opening the doors for unlicensed, illegitimate operations skirting taxes and regulations.
My pledge to you:
As your Los Angeles City Controller, I will work closely with the cannabis community and audit the Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) to effectuate real-world recommendations on how to:
- Expand the number of legitimate cannabis retailers
- Expedite the licensing process
- Support the elimination, reduction, and suspension of taxation at the state and local levels
- Uphold the highest levels of fiscal transparency
- Support the federal legalization effort, including the Safe Banking Act
- Recommend technology enhancements to make the licensing process more efficient and transparent
- Identify inequities and encourage support for and monitoring of the City’s Social Equity Program
For our city:
Although medicinal and adult-use cannabis is now legal under California law, workers in California, including city workers who test positive for non-psycho-active cannabis metabolites (CBD), can still be fired or not hired even though these tests are not reflective of the current level of THC in the body. Unlike alcohol which leaves the system after 24 hours, residual THC can be present in the body for up to 30 days.
For this and many reasons, I look forward to working with our next Mayor and City Council members to identify ways to:
- End cannabis drug testing for police and city employees
- Provide better and safer banking access to state-legal cannabis businesses
- Reduce taxes while increasing city revenue by increasing the number of legitimate dispensaries
- Lobby to decriminalize cannabis and remove the drug from the federally controlled substance list
For your safety:
As of January 1, 2022, farmers are being hit with a raise in cultivation tax. What will be the unintended consequence of this? Three thousand black market dispensaries (almost 4x the legal ones). The illicit market can breed more crime and this affects us all. The last thing our communities, schools, and neighborhoods need is more violent crime.
I will work tirelessly to ensure a speedy and fair licensing process to significantly increase the number of legitimate businesses in Los Angeles and eradicate the tax-evading illicit marketeers.
Stephanie Clements and I will fight and speak up for ways to support this struggling yet vital industry. Your voice, your choice for Los Angeles City Controller.
Thank you for your vote and support on June 7, 2022