Florida Governor Ron DeSantis believes medicinal marijuana companies should pay more to do business in the state.
DeSantis told reporters that the state “should charge these people more. These are very valuable licenses,” the governor explained. “I would charge them an arm and a leg. I mean, everybody wants these licenses.”
It was unclear whether DeSantis was talking to medical marijuana businesses already operating in the state or those looking to enter Florida, which insiders say has the potential to be one of the country’s strongest cannabis markets.
Historically, DeSantis has been in favor of the industry, even helping to push through legislation to aid growth. It now seems as though that favor had a price attached, and that the Florida Governor has now come to collect.
This is yet another blatant example of how states always feel cannabis licensing/regulatory fees are their quick fix to all kinds of fiscal shortcomings that have little to nothing to do with the cannabis industry.
C Is for Cannabis And Also, For Cash
Florida has a lot of potential as a cannabis state. With medical marijuana becoming more accepted and accessible in the United States, Florida is one of two states with well-defined cannabis laws that doesn’t automatically have some form of gambling.
Sports and entertainment also offer the state opportunities to bring in more tax revenue.
Which begs the question: why aren’t these sectors being fleeced for cash as well?
A government’s budget shortfall is a nightmare that can be solved with the quick fix of revenue. If you’re looking for a place to get some extra money, look no further than cannabis companies. The industry is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative in the country, so it makes sense state governments would take an interest in it—especially when their own budgets are short on funds.
Governors across America have been trying various ways of grabbing cash from the cannabis industry, including taxes on pot sales or legal fees associated with licenses and permits issued by local authorities. These measures vary from state to state: California has imposed a 15 percent tax on all recreational marijuana purchases; Nevada imposes a 10 percent excise tax plus $50 per ounce wholesale rate; Alaska levies an excise tax between $50-60 per pound (depending upon whether this amount exceeds $3 million per business); Massachusetts plans to levy up to 3 percent sales tax on marijuana products sold by licensed retailers; Oregon assesses a 17 percent sales tax plus other fees associated with licensing requirements such as application processing times ($250) or annual renewal ($500).
Level The Playing Field
You’re no doubt familiar with the many pleasures of sports and entertainment: watching your favorite team win a championship, getting swept up in the drama of an NBA Finals game, or losing yourself in a movie.
But there’s another benefit to these industries that may not be as apparent: They bring in a lot of money for state governments.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis wants to capitalize on that aspect by taxing recreational cannabis sales at higher rates than medical marijuana sales, citing the potential revenue benefits to his state.
The cannabis industry is willing to pay higher fees for licenses in order to do business in the Sunshine State. In fact, the governor’s office has said it expects more than $800 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales over a five-year period.
Again, why should the cannabis industry have to bear the full financial weight of this burden?
Many individuals feel the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) will be able to use this money for other purposes, such as funding school safety initiatives and infrastructure projects.
At the end of the day, these are business owners willing to pay for the privilege of doing business. Surely the same laws and rules that apply to them should apply to everyone else as well? Time will tell whether this largely accepted modus operandi will eventually be replaced by a more sensible model.
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