Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

August 5, 2010
Rancho Cordova readies measure to tax marijuana cultivators

Voters in Rancho Cordova will decide in November whether to tax residents who grow their own pot.

The city measure, put on the Nov. 2 ballot by the City Council this week, would impose taxes on all local residential cultivation if California voters approve Proposition 19 to legalize recreational use.

But the city's proposed "Personal Cannabis Cultivation Tax" also makes no distinction between medical and recreational cultivation. So the tax would kick in for anyone currently cultivating for personal medical use -- whether Prop 19 passes or not.

If passed by local voters, the taxation measure in the Sacramento County city would make at-home cultivation a much more expensive endeavor.

The Rancho Cordova measure would impose a $600 annual tax per square foot of indoor cultivation of 25 square feet of marijuana or less and a $900 per square foot tax if the indoor growing area is more than 25 square feet.

The city tax would cost a local indoor grower $6,000 a year on 10 square feet of pot plants and $15,000 for 25 square feet. Outdoor growers, who would be billed at a lower rate, would pay a $1,200 residential tax for 25 square feet of marijuana plants.

If Proposition 19 passes, it would allow California adults over 21 to cultivate in a 25-square foot residential space. Medical growers often exceed those limits by cultivating with other pot patients.

Under California law, individuals with physicians' recommendations for marijuana can have six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried pot at any time.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that medical users can exceed those limits if their cultivation is consistent with their medical needs.

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