As perhaps one of the most covered national elections has unfolded, many
Americans did not focus on their state elections as closely. The legalization
of marijuana was a popular ballot item in many states. Some states already
allowed for its medical use, asked its residents to expand it for recreational
use as well. Other states, which still considered marijuana illegal chose
to take a step towards legalization by legalizing the drug for medical
use only. In 2016, four states legalized marijuana for recreational use
On the recreational side, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine all
passed the recreational use of marijuana. While each state had its little
quirk, the states uniformly allowed the drug to be legal for adults over
the age of 21. In all states it will be illegal to drive while consuming
the drug and one cannot drive under the influence of it.
The amount of possession varied amongst the states. In California, Nevada
and Massachusetts, the amount of concentrated pot was mixed but they all
allow an individual to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Maine was
the outlier and allows for possession of up to 2.5 ounces in public. All
of the states will continue to disallow its use in public, however.
Being that the drug is new on the market, it will be interesting to see
how the states regulate and tax the product. Will it be taxed along the
lines of a state’s tobacco taxing regime or will an entire new structure
be created? Will it be taxed at the wholesale level, the retail level,
or both? Many states, like California, have punted on this issue. California
allowed until 2018 to set up parameters for retailers to sell it. So,
for now, one is allowed to possess it in California, but it is illegal
to sell. Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine have set up similar contingencies.
Needless to say, there will be much more to come on this topic.
About the author: Mr. Donnini is the president and founder of Tobacco Tax
Refunds, Inc. He is also multi-state sales and use tax attorney and an
associate in the law firm Moffa, Sutton & Donnini, PA, based in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Donnini has extensive knowledge handling wholesale
tax controversy and refunds.
In his law practice Mr. Donnini's primary practice is multi-state sales
and use tax as well as state corporate income tax controversy. Mr. Donnini
also practices in the areas of federal tax controversy, federal estate
planning, Florida probate, and all other state taxes including communication
service tax, cigarette & tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and Native American
taxation. Mr. Donnini obtained his LL.M. in Taxation at NYU. Mr. Donnini
is licensed to practice law in Florida. If you have any questions please
do not hesitate to contact him via email [email protected]
or phone at 954-639-4496.