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Cost of tax exemption for medical marijuana would be minimal

in Statewide by

No need to worry about the hit to general revenues from the Senate’s medical marijuana sales tax exemption.

The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference estimated Friday that the bill might reduce tax receipts, but not enough to notice — even when accounting for the non-state residents who would qualify for cannabis cards if the bill becomes law.

“We felt like there might be a few snowbirds coming in, but we didn’t think that would be a lot,” said Amy Baker, director of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

More telling would be CS/SB 406’s extension of medical marijuana use to people suffering “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as those enumerated, and for which a physician believes the use of medical marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

“It does have a more expansive definition of ‘other,’ Baker said. “We think it adds to the pool of people (eligible to use), but we didn’t put a number on how many people.”

Bottom line: a “negative insignificant” revenue impact.

You’ll find more details about the bill, including a comparison to the House version, here.

The conference expects a proposed amendment to the House’s medical marijuana bill, HB 1397, exempting vaporizing devices from sales taxes, to have a “positive insignificant” effect.

That’s because of research suggesting the number of patients who “vape” is relatively small. Moreover, a lot of medical marijuana providers give the devices away free of charge, or at least offer free replacements if one breaks.

Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.

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