"I just went to a dispensary in Santa Cruz and was charged 32% tax. The people there said the tax is for medical and recreational buyers. But I’m reading different things about this online. I read that you can get a state medical cannabis card that exempts you from some of the new taxes. Is this true? Is this a different card than the Hello MD card?"
Tax issues are always tricky and best served by proper legal council. Each city and county may have differing rules regarding medical and recreational use as well.
The 15% California cannabis tax is charged on all regardless of state card or online Dr. rec. The remaining city and local taxes usually were being waived for medical uses with either a card or a rec.
It seems that tele-health providor recommendations are being held valid in California. However some retail organizations I know are claiming you must have a state issued card to be exempt from the city and state franchise taxes.
Also be aware there is a clause related to the ownership of firearms for anyone possessing a state issued medical cannabis card.
Here’s a short article that goes over the MMIC–Medical Marijuana Identificaiton Card. You get this card through the state for additional tax breaks. You can only get this card if you already have a medical recommendation (your HelloMD card). You don’t have to get an MMIC, you only need your medical recommendation to purchase medical cannabis, but it will make product cheaper. Hope this helps!