SACRAMENTO, CA — California adults are not purchasing enough taxed-and-regulated cannabis to meet the state’s revenue projections for the first six months of legal, levied sales.
A report due Friday from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration will show the state collected $34 million in cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2018 — leaving the state $141 million shy of the $175 million it predicted cannabis cultivation and excise taxes will generate by the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, June 30.
The figures were published online Tuesday in a blog post by an economist at the state Legislative Analyst’s Office and are the latest indication that California cannabis consumers may be turning to the black market to avoid paying up to 45 percent taxes when local sales taxes are factored.
The Department of Tax and Fee Administration figures do not address local taxes, which range from 7.25 percent to 9.25 percent, and are tallied at the local level.
In addition to black-market sales affecting state projections, lower-than-forecast tax revenues may be due to the number of California cities and counties banning cannabis businesses, and the late start of adult-use retail sales in Los Angeles, the state’s largest market.
Influential electees’ views on cannabis are as diverse as the Golden State.
As the adage goes, “So goes California, so goes America.” The Golden State’s primary election is June 5. The general election is Nov. 6. Here’s a look at major California candidates in state and national races and where they stand on cannabis.
California TV ad steered sober on stoned driving. Now it’s been yanked off the air and removed from YouTube.
BY ED MURRIETA
SACRAMENTO — A federally funded California agency that produced a public-service advertisement depicting cannabis users as responsible people who chose not to drive under the influence of the Golden State’s newest legal intoxicant has pulled the daring commercial from television and YouTube.
California’s Office of Traffic Safety, which solicits and distributes funds from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released the anti-pot-driving PSA in the last week of December. The 30-second spot ran for about a week on local and cable TV stations and was posted with other anti-drugged driving PSAs on the OTS’s YouTube channel.
Despite modern cannabis advertising in the back pages of alt-weekly newspapers, cannabis legalization will not be celebrated like the end of alcohol Prohibition was toasted.
Newspaper advertisements and photographs culled from the morgues of the Sacramento Union and the Sacramento Bee show Sacramento celebrated the repeal of alcohol Prohibition in April 1933 — with ample amounts of beer and food in bars, restaurants, hotels and drug stores steps away from the state Capitol.
All the normals in Sacramento — the Midwest capital of the West Coast — would sprint to the nearest dog-friendly craft beer garage with their hair on fire if anything like this happened with pot.
Reclusive millionaire killed, no drugs found in 1992 botched raid and land theft.
BY ED MURRIETA
California is about legalize pot. If you’re not old enough to remember what it was like before medicinal cannabis became the state’s quasi-legal drug of choice in 1996, you should know there were dark days in the Golden State.
Nevada gaming officials unanimously agree that casino licensees should be discouraged from hosting cannabis-related trade shows or conferences in casino convention spaces and ballrooms. I recommend cannabis tourists traveling to Las Vegas for its legal recreational pot avoid casino hotels at all costs. Here are 29 hotels and resorts in Las Vegas that aren’t affiliated with casinos. Continue reading
The prisoner of America’s War on Drugs discusses his incarceration for cultivation, legalization, William Randolph Hearst’s conspiracy against hemp, California’s “unconstitutional” cannabis regulations, god, and the High Times lifetime achievement award he’ll receive next month, the day after his house arrest ends.
Editor’s Note: I interviewed Eddy Lepp in late May 2017, before his wife’s current legal trouble. Today (Nov. 15, 2017) I’m posting the full audio from the second of two interviews, which I conducted in order to give our first rambling conversation a little more focus. That’s Lepp’s wife, Heidi Grossman, interrupting us early in the conversation. Want a transcription or edited clips? My rates are reasonable. — Ed Murrieta
BY ED MURRIETA
SACRAMENTO — For eight and a half years, Eddy Lepp was America’s most celebrated cannabis convict, serving federal time, including a stint in the U.S. government’s most notorious penitentiary, for growing more than 40,000 plants on a 20-acre operation that observers said resembled a Christmas tree farm.
Lepp was released from prison in Florence, Colo., on Dec. 9 and returned that day to Northern California, one month after cannabis was legalized in the Golden State.
Today, Lepp, at age 65, is an outspoken survivor of America’s ongoing War on Drugs, which began while Lepp was serving as a soldier in an Army intelligence unit during the Vietnam War and which snared him at his Lake County farm in 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Do you have something to say about California’s proposed medical cannabis regulations? The state’s seeking your comments over the next 45 days. If you’re writing to a state agency or elected official, please cut-and-paste your comments and letters into the comments section of this post.
Spurred by a billboard using a picture of a happy cat and a headline purring, “Im so high right meow” to advertise a Tacoma pot shop, the Washington state Legislature passed a bill on Thursday that restricts the images and messages cannabis companies can use on billboards.
Famously Underground Pot Party Goes Legit,
Gets Permits, Regulations, Food Trucks
BY ED MURRIETA
There’s no denying people like pot. There’s no doubt pot attracts tourists and taxes. There’s no way politicians ignore money.
That calculus is benefiting San Francisco’s popular and roguish 4/20 pot celebration, highlighted by the city’s Recreation and Park Department issuing permits for much-needed amenities like more porta-potties, EMTs and ambulances and trash clean-up.
While permits are for services and not approval for the actual event itself, the permits issued March 28 will save 4/20’s bacon — conferring legitimacy, imposing regulations and attracting sponsors to underwrite the amorphous April 20 gathering that’s expected to draw 15,000 or more cannabis enthusiasts for a giant smoke sesh in Golden Gate Park on Thursday.
A generation ago, Nevada’s harsh laws jailed people for pot, sometimes for life.
These days, progressive pot laws working through the Nevada state Legislature would, among other things, guarantee adults the right to smoke pot inside massage parlors while receiving pot massages from licensed workers who’d be protected by law for performing such services.
You’d have to bring your own pot-laced lotions and oils but the legislation allowing massage therapists to use cannabis and hemp products on clients for topical purposes was heard last week by lawmakers in Carson City.
In addition to legitimizing the cannabis spa treatment, Senate Bill 396 would prohibit the state’s professional licensing board from taking disciplinary action against health care providers and massage therapists who administer or recommend pot products to patients and clients.
The dastardly dandy political hitman is pro-pot and possibly treasonous
BY ED MURRIETA
Roger Stone is Washington’s most stylish swamp creature, a political dandy with nefarious tendencies who’s slithered and mucked among notorious despots, soulless fixers and every American president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.
Stone is currently making headlines and stirring soundbites for two reasons:
He’s the highest-profile and mouthiest Trump associate under investigation by both the FBI and Congress for possible ties to Russian operatives who tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.
A crypto-conservative libertarian, Stone is merrily mau-mauing prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding cannabis legalization and urging President Trump to keep his word on states rights to legalize cannabis.
A simple Google search of the name “Roger Stone” reveals a dossier of dirty tricks, conspiracy theories and media madness, each link just one click away from dark realities and sinister insinuations.
Such canards would seem unbelievable if it didn’t seem Roger Stone himself hadn’t sprung from a failed Seth MacFarlane pilot — a fashion-forward, silver-haired sitcom villain broadly drawn as the spooky spawn of Mayberry’s Gomer Pyle and Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy. It’s easy, yet disturbing, to imagine Roger Stone in a “Family Guy” cutaway, orgasmic at a keyboard, dripping the racist and sexist tweets that got him banned by CNN and MSNBC as a guest on news programs.
Here are six important things to know about the daffy and dastardly Roger Stone, including the skinny about the tattoo of Richard Nixon’s smiling face inked on Roger Stone’s back:
Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom with his eponymous pot strain, Segerblom Haze.
BY ED MURRIETA
If Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom’s legislation prevails, what’s happened in Amsterdam for the past 50 years will become the future of cannabis tourism in Las Vegas and across the Silver State into the 21st century.
Once famously harsh on those who possess or sell marijuana — threatening 20 years in prison for the former and life sentences for the latter — Nevada has become America’s most progressive pro-pot state in the past three years.
Nevada voters approved medical cannabis in 2014 and adult-use recreational cannabis in 2016. This year, the Legislature is set to green-light recreational pot sales six months ahead of schedule and likely will give local governments the authority to allow public consumption of cannabis virtually everywhere except federally regulated casinos — in hotels, bars, restaurants, brothels and even on The Strip of Sin City itself.
Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, spoke with us in a telephone call this week from his office in Carson City, where the bi-annual Legislature is in session until June. Here’s an edited transcript. Continue reading
As President Trump echoes Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon with his attacks on the media as the enemy of the people, his attorney general’s views on pot and the people who smoke, vape and eat it are reminiscent of the man who inspired “Reefer Madness” in America.
Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics beginning in the 1930s, was America’s original racist drug warrior. Jeff Sessions, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General, is the most recent.
Here are some cannabis quotes from both men. Can you tell who said what? Continue reading
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s Cannabis State Legalization Task Force was formed in January to prepare the city for cannabis legalization. Today, one day after California voted to legalize cannabis use by adults, the task force delivered preliminary recommendations urging the city to swiftly license cannabis businesses beginning in 2018.
“Prop. 64 creates a very specific state licensing scheme from seed to sale,” said Terrance Alan, chairman of the 22-member task force. “The response needs to be local and focus on how well local jurisdictions implement those license types.”
Alan said the task force is focused on land use, public safety and tourism. Business types include cannabis farms, processing and manufacturing facilities, testing labs, kitchens and cafes.
Produced by Ed Murrieta, Content Creator & Media Visionary
Editor & Writer
I've worked as a reporter, writer, editor, streaming media producer, content manager and marketer at leading online news sites, major newspapers and pioneering media start-ups. I'm also a culinary school graduate who's worked in food production and restaurant operations.