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Medical marijuana- the answer to RI’s budget woes?

March 8, 2011

You didn’t hear about it in Governor Chafee’s budget address, but deep inside his plans for Rhode Island’s finances are a few ways to generate state revenue from the yet to open (and yet to be announced) medical marijuana dispensaries.

Chafee’s budget does this in two ways-

1. Medical Marijuana would be subject to a sales tax.

Strangely, Chafee does not extend the sales tax to prescription drugs, even though medical marijuana is by definition medicine. The state expects to collect around $800,000 from the tax in fiscal year 2012 (that’s from July 1st of 2011 to June 30th of 2012)

2. Compassion centers would pay a 4% surcharge on the money it makes off patients.

The state estimates this surcharge would generate about half a million dollars in fiscal year 2012.

Chafee’s budget involves sacrifices for many Rhode Islanders- services such as landscaping and hair cuts would be subject to sales tax, public employees will have to pay more for their pensions, and everyone will have to spend more money to park at the beach.

Should the medical marijuana community take a hit too?  Or is it unfair?  What do you think?

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