State Capitol News
Wed January 26, 2011
Medical Marijuana Not Exempt from Prescription Tax
Phoenix, AZ – Proposition 203, approved by voters in November, allows those
with a doctor's recommendation to purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of
marijuana every two weeks from state-regulated dispensaries.
Attorney General Tom Horne acknowledged that prescriptions are
generally exempt from the 6.6 percent state levy.
(But that statute didn't use the word prescriptions. It used the
word written certification in order to avoid doctors getting in
trouble with the federal government for prescribing substances
that are outlawed under federal law. So, since they're not
prescriptions, then, in my view, it's taxable like anything else
The amount of money at issue is nothing to sneeze at. Horne
figures the levy could generate $40 million for the state.
(The $40 million is a rough estimate based on a Denver Post story
as to how much was sold in Denver County, and applying that pro
rate to the Arizona population.)
Horne acknowledged his conclusion means those who buy marijuana
with a doctor's recommendation will pay taxes. And those who
acquire it elsewhere, for any other reason, will not.
(Well, I suppose that's true of all products if you buy
contraband. There have been problems with cigarette smuggling for
that very purpose. You avoid taxes.)
For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.