Taxing Pot – A Tax on Society


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Supporters of marijuana legalization as a road to tax revenue need to look at what is happening in California and the Netherlands.   Frustrated and fed up with pot collectives flouting their laws, California cities asked the state and federal governments for help.  Lake Forest and smaller California cities have struggled in to regulate the clinics, while Los Angeles and San Jose have sought to rein in a large number of collectives that have cropped up.

Now that residents of Colorado, Oregon and Washington will vote on legalizing marijuana in November, in order to tax it, its time to take a look on what the real payoff would be.  Sure, there is so much money to be made in pot that its not surprising these states would look to taxing pot as a source of revenue.   The new problems that would result will not make amounts taken in with  taxes worth the effort.

Government officials claim that medical marijuana clinics are lucrative ventures that operate under the guise they are helping the sick, and landlords don’t follow zoning regulations which demand they not be in proximity to schools and daycare centers.

In the Netherlands, where marijuana coffeehouses exist and where there is an official policy of toleration, the use of cannabis by non-residents is being restricted.  In fact on November 8th, European judges have ruled that the Dutch authorities are not in breach of single market laws by barring foreigners from buying the marijuana that is on sale at the coffee shop.

Slowly but surely, Dutch laws are chipping away at toleration. The Dutch government is reclassifying high-strength cannabis to put it in the same category as hard drugs, saying that the amount of THC, the active chemical in the drug, has gone up making it far more potent.  Coffee shops will be forced to take the popular, high-strength varieties off their shelves next year.

Pot advocates say it can be regulated and give us tax revenue.  Legalized lotteries also give tax revenues, but all tax boosts on the economy eventually get lost with time and governments need to find more sources of funding.  Taxing marijuana would have a short term effect with a larger tax on society.

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