There are 30 states that have legalized medical cannabis. This is an attempt to collect and present the information that is available on how they tax it.
Here are lists of states: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html; http://norml.org/legal/medical-marijuana-2.
I have tried to do primary research on taxation of medical cannabis only in the eight states that have legalized commercial recreational cannabis, at https://newrevenue.org/2017/10/16/state-marijuana-taxes-today/ (chart from that site at end of this post). For the states that have not legalized commercial recreational cannabis, here is the information I’ve been able to assemble. (The Center for New Revenue would like a volunteer intern to put this information into better form.) Fees may create an additional cost, for patients and sellers. This post does not get into them.
Omits the taxes on medical cannabis in California and Washington, for instance.
Nevada’s 2% tax on medical cannabis was replaced effective July 1, 2017, with a 15% wholesale tax (applying to all cannabis). https://tax.nv.gov/Forms/MMT/. But Third Way pointed me to Rhode Island’s 4 percent excise tax on medical cannabis, in addition to the 7 percent standard sales tax.
Updated October 2017
I’ve not examined the whole document, but, skimming, find a few errata:
Leafly says medical cannabis bears no tax in Alaska, for instance, but Alaska does not exempt medical cannabis – all commercially sold cannabis is fully taxed at $50 an ounce. https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_Marijuana_Legalization,_Ballot_Measure_2_(2014),_Full_text_of_initiative.
As above, Nevada’s 2% tax on medical cannabis was replaced effective July 1, 2017, with a 15% wholesale tax (applying to all cannabis). https://tax.nv.gov/Forms/MMT/
For California, Leafly says “Medical marijuana sales are exempt from the 7.25% standard [sales] tax + [15%] excise tax.” Yes, some medical cannabis sales don’t bear the 7.25% sales tax, but no, they bear the 15% excise tax.
Undated, but wrong on many rules – maybe because it is out of date: (Nevada, California, Washington, and more).
But MPP pointed me to Pennsylvania’s 5 percent tax on growers. http://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/Tax%20Types%20and%20Information/Pages/Medical-Marijuana-Tax.aspx
MPP and Third Way pointed me to New York’s 7 percent excise tax on only cannabis. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-bill-establish-comprehensive-medical-marijuana-program
This old chart is way out of date:
The Tax Foundation doesn’t look specifically at taxes on medical cannabis, so far as I can tell. https://taxfoundation.org/marijuana-taxes-state/, and I have questioned some of its reporting on recreational taxes. https://newrevenue.org/2017/10/04/inaccurate-info-about-cannabis-taxes/
The National Council of State Legislatures is a source I do trust, with a frequently updated web site on medical cannabis, http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx, but it doesn’t have a tax column.
OK, here’s what I have on taxation of medical where recreational is sold legally. Alaska taxes medical because it has no special commercial medical system. CA and WA tax medical almost as much as recreational; ME and NV tax it about half as much; CO taxes it lightly. MA and OR exempt medical marijuana from all taxes.
|Producer (medical, too, if *bolded*)||Retail (medical, too, if *bolded*)||Standard sales tax?||Tax break for medical marijuana?||Ratio of medical tax to adult use tax|
|CA||*$9.25, indexed*||*15%*||7.5% on recreational||7.5%||>67%|
|CO||15% (often weight proxy)||15%||2.9% on medical||27.1%||10%|
|Maine||No||10%||5.5% on medical||4.5%||55%|
|Mass||No||13.75%||6.25% on recreational||20%||0|
|Nevada||*Weight in lieu of 15%*||15%||6.85% on recreational||15%||41%|
|WA||No||*37%*||6.5% on recreational||6.5%||85%|
A host of localities tax medical cannabis. Deep in this document there is a list of California localities that imposed such taxes in 2016: http://www.drugsense.org/ dpfca/votersguide1116.html# LOCALS. The earliest California adopters,which voted in 2009 and 2010 to tax medical cannabis, are listed in Table 1 on page 275 here: https://newtax.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/laws-to-tax-marijuana-published-version-in-state-tax-notes.pdf.