State financial estimators say they need more information before predicting how legalizing medical marijuana would affect tax revenue. The financial estimating conference is meeting this week to consider an initiative possibly headed for the 2014 Florida ballot.
If it’s deemed medical, pot could be exempted from sales taxes like medicines are. But Office of Demographic and Economic Research Coordinator Amy Baker says, as the proposed amendment is written, it appears sales of the plants and smoking devices would be taxed.
“We do not believe that medical marijuana would fall under any prescription-based exemption from the sales tax and similarly the paraphernalia or related items wouldn’t fall under the 'medical products' part," she says.
She says that’s because the amendment would authorize doctors to give marijuana certificates, not prescriptions.
But an agricultural sales tax exemption could cancel out the tax, if marijuana growers sell directly to patients. Researchers are awaiting clarification on that point.
At the estimating conference Monday, researchers also looked at the potential effect on property taxes. They say it would be up to each of Florida’s 67 county property appraisers to decide whether a property’s value rises or falls because of a growing operation.
Estimators also say marijuana baked into food would be eligible for the same tax exemptions as regular food, depending on where it’s sold.
Final estimates are expected next week.