10 GOOD REASONS TO OPPOSE HB 514 – THE TAX ON MEDICAL CANNABIS FLOWER
- Louisiana has a Constitutional prohibition against taxing prescription drugs. This means that if we pass a tax on flower, we’ll then have no tax on oxycontin, fentanyl or other opiates and opioids that are widely abused and ruining lives, but we will have a 4.45% tax on medical Cannabis flower. That’s just more bad public policy and none of us can afford it!
- A slight majority of the 37 medical Cannabis states do not tax Cannabis medications, but the more important point is that not a single one has a tax on some forms of the medicine (here, flower), but not on others (tinctures, topicals, vaporizers, edibles, etc…).
- If we only have two producers affiliated with LSU and SU, then prices will already be too high to compete with the underground market. Tax it further and we’ve then pushed it further out of reach for the average or poor consumer who already has to come out of pocket for uncovered Cannabis medicines. The insidious truth is that the LSA knows that if a patient needs their medicine or a parent needs it for a child, they’re going to get it one way or the other and it’s widely available in flower form both from Arkansas, eventually from Mississippi and most importantly, the illegal market here in Louisiana. The LSA knows that if black and brown people then have to necessarily remain attached to the underground market, then they remain susceptible to arrest and incarceration so that the LSA’s business model is uninterrupted. Sinister stuff, really.
- Higher prices are never better and while it may be fine for many affluent patients, many patients across LA won’t be able to afford the difference between legal pharmaceutical Cannabis and bud from a dealer.
- The tax bill was passed in the House in part because of an important misrepresentation or lie – Mississippi and Arkansas are states that have a tax on flower. In fact, Mississippi has no tax on any form of medical Cannabis and so, when their program does go on line and our flower is first available in January of 2022, ours will have a tax and theirs may not. Our patients are already going across the border to the north and into Arkansas to get their medicine from legal Cannabis stores there and this is Louisiana’s last chance to get this done right so that we won’t start losing our patients to the east (Mississippi) now too.
- You have to draw the line somewhere and if you don’t, you get a raw deal. Otherwise, it’s just fear based on faith that any resistance would tank the flower bill. Weak negotiators get weak deals and in this case, the patients of our state get screwed.
- Legislators have been told that Cannabis flower isn’t medicine. It is though. In fact, it’s a superior medicine and it is the source from which all other Cannabis medicines in Louisiana are derived.
- We can pass flower without the tax on flower. The two were separated because the bill sponsor, Rep. Tanner Magee understood full well that taxes are generally not welcome in republican circles. This is the poll from March 2021 showing that flower itself is about as popular as apple pie, baseball and blue jeans with a 75% approval rating (https://winwithjmc.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/LATA-Executive-Summary-Release.pdf).
- Make the LSA fight for their own crappy tax rather than having everyone convinced that the flower and the tax are a package deal such that the LSA is allowed to have a heavy hand in the doctor-patient relationship – a sacred place where they have no business being involved at all. So far, the LSA has taken no position since this article was published on the eve of this session (https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/article_161ee2f8-9e19-11eb-aafd-6b1c9eda89bb.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share).
- (10) Medicines shouldn’t be taxed and Cannabis flower is a medicine. It’s a superior form of the drug and if we really want our citizens to be safe, we should expect the LSA to support lower, not higher costs for flower. Otherwise people will go into the illegal market to get it and that’s where patients can either get hurt or killed in a bad transaction or become ill or worse from adulterated (non medical) street grade products.
Say no to “Tanner’s Tax.” Say no to any “Surcharge on suffering.”