Friday, July 17, 2009

Taxing "Highs"

From the July 16, 2009 "Best of the Web Today" an article in the Sacramento Bee reports:

California could see a nearly $1.4 billion per year increase in state revenues were it to legalize marijuana, the state Board of Equalization says in an analysis of pending legislation to to [sic] do that.

The bill (Assembly Bill 390) by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, is still awaiting its first committee hearing and is likely not to be considered until next year. It would impose not only sales taxes but a $50 per ounce fee on marijuana sales, which would be licensed by the state much as alcoholic beverages are regulated. . . .

"We can no longer afford to keep our heads in the sand when it comes to marijuana," Ammiano said in a statement.

It would be quite the turn of events if the draconian drug laws currently in place in this country are finally removed, not through strong citizen action but as a result of governments at all levels looking for novel ways to address revenue shortfalls.

This would actually benefit the governments in multiple ways. First there would be the additional tax revenue from sales tax and tax stamps but also a reduction in the cost of catching, prosecuting and incarcerating drug users. The government would continue their war on sellers except now it would be under the guise of tax enforcement not drug enforcement so it is unknown if there would be any savings in that area.

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