Taxing Marijuana: So?

taxing marijuanaRecently, The Daily Beast published an article on taxing marijuana and its legalization. Apparently, the author is upset that marijuana would be taxed and regulated.

The author complains that both Washington and Colorado are treating marijuana the way alcohol was treated…”during Prohibition” [his emphasis]. This, of course, makes a lot of sense, though. Colorado Amendment 64 said it was going to treat marijuana in this way (despite the fact that the author mistook “taxing” and “being under the influence” as the same thing), and since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, we cannot understand why there is such outrage that the drug would be treated the same way since it is, in fact, still illegal. In other words, it is still prohibited.

“Not only are pot taxes likely to be sky high,” the writer says, “various sorts of restrictions on pot shops may well make it easier to buy, sell, and use black-market marijuana rather than the legal variety.”

Oh? So how were you going to make a successful argument for legalizing marijuana in the first place without taxing it? How were you planning to put a consumable good in the marketplace without regulating it first—a controlled substance no less? How were advocates going to make a case for legalizing something that has been illegal for the past century when, as stated yourself that only 1% of people have anything to gain from its legalization?

Yes, it is “a bummer all around” that legalization did not immediately solve all the woes inherent with an underground, illegal product without causing further issues in the process. Of course, had advocates looked at how the medical marijuana industry in states like California operates, they would have foreseen that, yes, the illegal black markets for street weed are still alive and well. So why would that have suddenly changed? Medical marijuana in California has been readily and easily available for years—it is not as if this information just suddenly came to light.

Of course, when something is legalized, it has to be regulated, and it has to be subject to licensure. This, in turn, costs money. That means costs associated with it increase in addition to the production costs. Inherently, legalized, regulated weed is necessarily more expensive than the mystery weed on the streets, even when not considering that there must be an incentive for society—e.g.; taxing marijuana.

That is the nature of free markets and black markets; it is not unique to marijuana.

The author complains that municipalities also have the freedom to opt out of selling marijuana, despite criticizing “the nanny-state” for impeding on his freedom. He thinks it is absurd that a city—in a state that legalized the sale of marijuana—should be able to opt out of selling weed in their city, yet also get to collect state taxes. In a state that is on the verge of breaking in two because the metropolitan areas are dictating statewide policy in rural areas, it is ironic that the author cannot see the absurdity in his own indignant attitude.

Your thoughts on taxing marijuana

What are your thoughts? Is taxing marijuana the big issue, or something else? Let us know in the comments!

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