Los Angeles

Of Pot and Taxes: How Some Buyers Can Save Some Green

Pot buyers will be paying some extra cash in sales taxes, but those applying for medical marijuana ID cards can save some money.

California is set to make a lot of money through taxes on legalized pot, but some people in Los Angles County will be able to dodge those taxes.

Starting Jan. 1, the state is set to impose a 15 percent excise tax in addition to a 10 percent sales tax. However, people with active prescriptions to use medical marijuana can apply for an identification card with the county, which would allow them to avoid the sales tax.

"To save 10 percent every time I spend anything? That's great," said Jason Waszak, who was shopping for marijuana at the Buds & Roses dispensary in Studio City.

The process to apply for one of the ID cards is an involved one.

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health requires that people apply annually and in person. It also costs $100 for the application fee.

Anyone looking to skirt the system, however, should be warned: the county says that it will verify your doctor's license with the state medical board.

Aaron Justis, president of Buds & Roses, said the industry is in for a new era of regulation, especially since the drug is also supposed to be safer for consumers.

"They're gonna see a well-regulated marketplace like they've never seen before," he said.

For dispensaries like his, the coming weeks will be a litmus test of just how big the booming buds business will be.

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