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California

Assemblyman Mike Gipson offers tax penalty amnesty bill for pot shops

Medical marijuana

 A medical marijuna dispensary in Los Angeles.

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) has revised a bill in the waning days of the legislative session so that it would grant amnesty from tax penalties to medical marijuana dispensary operators who have not paid taxes.

The gut-and-amend, in which Gipson removed old bill language on another topic and replaced it with his new proposal, was done on Friday, with a week left before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

Gipson said in his amendment that federal law does not recognize the legality of California’s medical marijuana law.

“The uncertainty created by state and federal differences has left cannabis-related businesses with the fear that compliance with state tax laws could lead to federal prosecution,” his amendment says. “Thus, many of these businesses have been noncompliant since their inception, and would owe massive penalties and interest if they were to come into compliance.”

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His bill would create a tax penalty amnesty program for pot shop operators who agree to pay back taxes during an amnesty period of April 1 to Sept. 30, 2016.

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