Thinking about Measure A before you vote is important. Do we really want to price an new business out of town? Measure A is a local tax on cannabis sales to bring in money for road repairs, youth programs and Parks and Recreation programs. What Measure A does not tell you, is that Proposition 64, the proposition that legalized marijuana, already taxed cannabis an additional 15%, on top of current sales tax. Adding that to Culver City sales tax, cannabis is scheduled to be taxed at 25%. Measure A would increase, what I consider an already hefty tax of 25%, to an increase of 35% on a business that hasn’t even started in our town yet.
A 35% tax on cannabis presents several problems. Every other shop in Los Angeles is charging 25%, so Culver City would be more expensive providing the same product and therefore causing small business to be negatively impacted. There is an app called Weedmaps, that shows the prices for various products including marijuana shops around the Los Angeles. If this tax passes, our stores will be significantly more expensive and therefore consumers will search for other sources.
There is already a competition with a black market that does not pay tax. When you put such a high percentage of taxes on a product, you could drive consumers to purchase from negligible sources.
Measure A also puts a tax on the testing of cannabis. Why would we tax science, safety innovations and information about cannabis to consumers? This could potentially interfere with important knowledge for consumers about what are potential cures and safety risks for the consumer.
If Measure A passes the three cannabis stores that will be permitted within Culver City limits would be required to pay for a City Tax administrator, which would determine wages within the these stores. Therefore the stores themselves would be paying for their own administration of which they have no control. This tax puts the cannabis industry, new for Culver City, in strenuous chains. Other cities such as West Hollywood and Los Angeles, successfully created businesses without levying additional taxes. Requiring a small group of businesses to provide a salary for its own administrator, could potentially narrow down the choices for who creates business in Culver City.
If the Sales Tax measure passes, then I urge the City Council to remove their portion of the 10% Sales Tax to even out the tax load. I am concerned without such measures and considerations, any cannabis business in Culver City will fail.