California lawmakers nix temporary marijuana tax cut

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. An effort to jumpstart California’s licensed marijuana retailers failed to clear a key legislative committee on Thursday, likely dooming its prospects for the year as the country’s largest legal cannabis industry continues to flounder in the shadow of the illegal — and tax free — black market.

Prices for legal marijuana products are inflated in California by the 15% tax consumers have to pay at the cash register and a cultivation tax on growers of $148-per-pound for the flower and $44 per pound for the leaves.

A group of state lawmakers, led by Democrat Assemblyman Rob Bonta, had hoped to temporarily lower the sales tax to 11% and suspend the cultivation taxes for 2 ½ years to help retailers compete with prices on the black market.

A Bonta spokesman said he had agreed to eliminate the sales tax portion of the bill in the hopes it would attract enough votes to get it out of committee and have a chance to pass. But the bill failed

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