LOS ANGELES – LOS ANGELES (AP) — California should use armored cars to transport hundreds of millions of dollars in cash tax payments expected next year with the state’s legal marijuana market, the state treasurer said Tuesday.
The state on Jan. 1 will enter a new era with cannabis when recreational sales become legal and join the long-standing medical industry in what will become the largest U.S. legal pot economy.
But the new market estimated to grow to $7 billion annually has a troubling flaw: Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so most banks won’t do business with pot growers, manufacturers or retailers. That means many marijuana companies typically operate only in cash.
Among California’s new state taxes that will go into effect next year is a 15 percent levy on all marijuana purchases by consumers, including medical marijuana. Currently, for legal medical pot, there is no specific state tax on cannabis.
State Treasurer John Chiang formed a task force to work on a solution for gathering the money because the state expects to collect hundreds of millions of dollars