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Annual Report on Tax Exemptions for Medicinal Cannabis


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Comparing Taxes on Cannabis to Taxes on Other Products in California

December 17, 2019 - In this post, we describe some of the similarities and differences between taxes on cannabis and taxes on other products in California. Our estimates suggest that taxes on certain cannabis products are roughly comparable to taxes on distilled spirits but much higher than taxes on beer and wine. California’s state and local governments generally tax cannabis—including medical cannabis—more heavily than other medicines. In some instances, however, exemptions can make tax rates on medical cannabis comparable to tax rates on other medicines.

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How High? Adjusting California’s Cannabis Taxes

December 17, 2019 - In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the nonmedical use of cannabis (typically called recreational or adult use) and created a structure for regulating and taxing it. In this report we provide (1) background information on cannabis and its legalization in California, (2) a discussion of the effects of adjusting the tax rate, (3) an assessment of other potential changes to California’s cannabis tax structure, and (4) recommendations for the Legislature.

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[PDF] Analysis of the 1987-88 Tax Expenditure Budget

January 1, 1988 - The objective of this report is to provide the Legislature with information which will enable it to subject tax expenditure programs to the same ongoing scrutiny that direct expenditure programs receive, thereby facilitating the development of proposals to renew, modify, or delete individual tax expenditure programs in conjunction with the regular budget process.

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[PDF] The 2017-18 Budget: The Governor's Cannabis Proposals

February 14, 2017 - Voters legalized the use of medical cannabis in California in 1996, and the Legislature approved the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) in 2015. In November of 2016, voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized and created a regulatory framework for the nonmedical use of cannabis. In the coming year, the Legislature will face key choices about whether it wants to make statutory changes to bring the regulatory frameworks of MCRSA and Proposition 64 into greater alignment. Additionally, the Legislature will need to determine the staff and other resources to provide to the various agencies charged with regulating and taxing the cannabis industry. We recommend the Legislature (1) work with the administration to enact legislation to align the regulation of medical and nonmedical cannabis to the maximum extent possible, (2) make its decisions on the extent to which it wants to align the regulatory structures for medical and nonmedical cannabis before making its decisions on the Governor’s requested funding and related positions, and (3) take a more incremental approach to budgeting for departments that are requesting resources in 2017-18.

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The 2019-20 May Revision: Sales Tax Exemptions for Diapers and Menstrual Products

May 12, 2019 - In the May Revision, the Governor has proposed two new sales tax exemptions that would go into effect on January 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2021: one for menstrual products and another for children’s diapers. These exemptions would apply to the full amount of the state and local sales tax. The Governor’s proposal would require our office to submit reports evaluating these exemptions by January 1, 2021.