Saturday, January 3, 2015

Open Letter to petitioners re #Measure48 Mississippi

Mississippi Measure 48 is a proposed constitutional amendment, posted at http://www.mississippiforcannabis.org/ .  I have a question about its "locality tax," licenses, and fees.   Answers and further discussion will be edited into this post.

" ...Regulations will require an annual Mississippi Cannabis Sales license issued by any Mississippi County Circuit Clerk for a fee of no more than $1000.00 to all adult residents who apply, and a $25.00 annual city or county governing locality fee to farm 10 - 500 plants. Locality fees for cannabis farms with more than 500 plants will not exceed $1000.00...."

At first this "locality fee" sounded like a flat yearly fee, but the last sentence above makes it clear that is wrong.  Is it $25 per plant?  If so, it should say "per plant" after "$25."

But it couldn't be $25 per plant, because 500 plants times $25 is $12,500.  501 plants, however, would only be $1000.  A fee of $25 plus $5 per plant would still be $2,525 for $500 plants.  The locality fee part makes no mathematical sense.

@msforcannabis replied:  "The fee is only for 10 or more plants and is $25 / plant not to exceed $1000. Tax statement is correct"

@AnRycke replies:  And yet it says, "Locality fees for cannabis farms with 500 plants will not exceed $1000," clearly not including farms with less than 500 plants in the $1000 limit.  Remember, you won't get to interpret this when it goes to court; a judge will, and a judge will go by the words, not your intent.


You might rethink making this a constitutional amendment.  A statute can be more detailed and is far easier for the legislature to fix.


In my opinion, the Mississippi Cannabis Sales license should be one-time, and the locality fee should be a lot lower and not plant-based.  What other kind of farms anywhere are charged a per-plant tax?  Who will count the plants?  At what size or level of maturity?


"...Owners of 9 or fewer cannabis plants are not considered farmers and are not required to pay a farming locality fee..."

Is one required to pay the $1000 for the annual Mississippi Cannabis Sales license for growing 1-9 plants even if one is not selling?  It sure looks like it, which would make cannabis growing a privilege of the rich in Mississippi.  The only requirement for selling regarding the license is in the title of the license.

"...The 7% cannabis sales tax, and the farming locality fees may be reviewed in 2025 and every 5 years thereafter. The cannabis sales tax can only be lowered; farming locality fees may be adjusted but only by 10%...."

This sounds like the locality fees can be adjusted 10% up or down, but there is no allowance for review or adjustment for the annual $1000 Mississippi Cannabis Sales license.

Please clarify your measure before collecting signatures on it.