Capitol Alert

Colorado governor offers advice to California on taxing legal marijuana

The LED lighting system at the Evergrow grow house in Tumwater, Wash., on Oct. 19, 2016.
The LED lighting system at the Evergrow grow house in Tumwater, Wash., on Oct. 19, 2016. The New York Times

California took a major step last November when voters approved an initiative legalizing recreational marijuana, but there is still much work to be done before licensed businesses can begin selling weed to customers next year.

One of the biggest challenges facing state regulators is how to enforce a cultivation tax on growers and a 15 percent sales tax that were included in the ballot measure. California tax officials have complained for years about the difficulty of collecting revenue from the medical marijuana industry, which largely pays taxes in cash because few financial institutions will take its money. And the exponentially larger legal weed market will create new demands on a program tracing the plant through every step of the distribution chain to ensure that no untaxed product is sold.

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee will hold an oversight hearing on implementation of the cannabis tax system, 1:30 p.m. in Room 2040 of the Capitol. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is slated to open the discussion by sharing lessons from his state, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

WORTH REPEATING: “What does it take for the California Democrats to actually fix anything?” - Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Hunington Beach, blaming the majority party for the Oroville Dam crisis

PUT THE ICE ON ICE: Reports of deportation raids last week have heightened fears among immigrants living in the country illegally. While the California Legislature is pursuing bills that would prohibit state and local agencies from using their resources for immigration enforcement, activists are worried that departments sympathetic to the Trump administration’s stance on illegal immigration could step up their collaboration with federal authorities. Noting that a handful of California sheriffs, including Sacramento County’s Scott Jones, recently met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance will rally, 10 a.m. on the north side of the Capitol, demanding that no county sheriffs assist with deportations.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Activists tried to convince the CalPERS board to divest from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline

A LOW BAR: California’s bar exam passage rate fell to a 32-year low in 2016, with just 43 percent of aspiring lawyers passing the qualification test. How did things get so dire? And is California’s notoriously difficult exam still serving its intended purpose? The Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold an informational hearing on the poor results, 9 a.m. in Room 447 of the Capitol.

CIVIC DISCOURSE: Civic education is a passion of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who has made it an objective to revitalize civic learning and engagement in K-12 schools. A summit, 9:30 a.m. at the Secretary of State’s building on 11th Street, will review the progress of that initiative and consider the next steps. Among the speakers is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a native of Sacramento, who has long lamented the lack of civic education as a “crisis.”

MUST READ: Oroville Dam evacuation underscores the challenge of moving masses

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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