March 4, 2010

Taxing Marijuana

March 4, 2010

Is taxing marijuana as easy as people think it is? If it gets politicians to legalize marijuana, BY ALL MEANS LET’S DO IT!!!!! But in reality I don’t think it’s nearly as easy as people think. Exactly how would it work out? Some people think that when it is legal, weed dealers will start coming forward and paying sales/income tax on their business. Otherwise they would be committing felonies, such as tax fraud right? HAVEN’T THEY BEEN DOING THAT THE WHOLE TIME? Weed dealers that I know will just go about business as usual, generating ZERO tax revenue.

What about taxing it by selling it like cigarettes or at liquor stores? You would go into the store and say, ‘Give me a pack of Camel Hydros or Marlboro MJ’s,’ and it would have like 20 doobies in it. Anyone who has ever grown marijuana, or knows someone that grows marijuana, knows that growing marijuana on the same scale of tobacco is impossible, at least if you want it to be good. Tobacco is a hearty plant that can grow from the Caribbean to the Carolinas and it will be fairly uniform in quality.

Marijuana is much different. You are trying to get the plant to within the top 1% of its quality/quantity capabilities. That takes a lot of love and attention, and even then, it doesn’t always work out. There is only one example of a massive marijuana cultivation that would generate enough marijuana to put into a ‘cigarette-style’ system, and that is in Mexico. If you think people will line up at the corner market to buy a pack of bammer joints, by all means tax it to death and see how much it generates, because I think America will be disappointed with the result.

Finally, what about taxing it through a dispensary system like in Colorado or California? People are making tons of money out there right, because the Obama memo has made it a free for all? Let’s just tax it and solve the budget shortfalls nationwide! Guess again. Ordinances, moratoriums, and DEA crackdowns in both states have resulted in significantly less dispensaries staying in business, and virtually no new dispensaries being allowed anywhere.

The feds have stated that they will respect patient rights if they are in accordance with state laws, but in the same paragraph of the memo they also stated they will be going after people that are making large profits from a Schedule 1 substance (according to the feds). Case law, state law, and federal law are all on different pages when it comes to this area of marijuana revenue generation, and until that changes, taxing marijuana this way will be difficult. I’m not saying that it is impossible, but I am saying that there needs to be more focus on the nuts and bolts of a taxation system, instead of just assuming that it will work with no hitches. However, there would be some revenue generated instantly, in the area of prosecutions. All the money that is dedicated to marijuana eradication and prosecution would be saved, which is a staggering figure, and worthy of legalization itself.


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