Mechanics of stated THC tax on marijuana

A cannabis flower tax could be imposed as the greater of a weight tax or a stated THC tax (using the THC figure the seller claims on packaging or in selling). The tax could be the greater of (1) $x per gram of product weight or (2) $Y per gram of stated THC weight.

Here are very rough notes on how such a tax might work (supplemented by comments from my friend Jon Caulkins at the end).

Example 1: Continue reading “Mechanics of stated THC tax on marijuana”


Why minimum unit pricing for cannabis leaves me cold

Minimum unit pricing – charging a minimum price for temptation goods – appeals to some students of cannabis legalization.

To me, government monopoly or high taxes can work better to serve policy goals. I’m just starting to think about this, and looking for pushback.

  1. The successes claimed for minimum unit pricing often involve loss leaders – where temptation goods are sold at a low price so as to bring customers in to buy goods that produce more profit for the seller. To the extent that cannabis commerce is isolated, that problem goes away. Most cannabis retailers in the United States sell little other than cannabis. They may sell pipes, papers, and T-shirts, but none sell alcohol. I don’t know of any that sell food (other than cannabis-infused food) or household goods. So any price-cutting that cannabis sellers do today goes pretty much straight to the bottom line. Sellers are hardly making up for the loss by selling non-cannabis products..  A well-regulated cannabis market lets cannabis seller sell nothing or almost nothing but cannabis, I think.

Continue reading “Why minimum unit pricing for cannabis leaves me cold”

Panel for NORML: “Legalization as an Economic Stimulus for All”

The NORML Conference in DC on September 11 has me on a panel that with the proposed title, “Legalization as an Economic Stimulus for All.” And we may get into this question: “How is it that we can create a market that is inclusive to those who have been most disproportionately affected by prohibition?”

My take is: Let the government own the means of production, and hire people who were disproportionately affected. The government monopoly model is happening in North Bonneville, Washington, and in the State of Louisiana. Or take tax revenue to help those folks, or, in a less targeted way suggested by Arwa Mahdawi, to help African-Americans who have suffered especially from the War on Drugs. Continue reading “Panel for NORML: “Legalization as an Economic Stimulus for All””

Speaking in Denver — “Center for New Review”

The National Cannabis Summit has me speaking for an hour Wednesday, but its program, downloadable at, says I’m with the “Center for New Review.”  Googling that yielded nothing, so maybe this post will open up this website to anyone who’s curious.  (Welcome!  It’s Revenue.)

British Indian Hemp Commission — Posting Volume 1

The National Library of Scotland has posted the enormous 1893-94 public domain Report of the British Indian Hemp Commission, and authorized anyone to repost it with attribution:  (Thanks.)  Any student of marijuana policy will learn something there.  There is lots of confusing vocabulary, and I’ll post some notes at some point, but I’m still wading through it.  Any student of marijuana policy will learn something there (and volume 3 is much more useful and understandable for a tax man — I’ll post that someday, but the entire report is at   Dale Gieringer of California NORML told me about this Report years ago, but I just found it online.

So, in 20-page (or so) chunks, here it comes, starting with volume 1:

Vol 1 Indian Hemp text 1-19 74464868_19_38

IHD Vol 1 pages 19-38 or so74464868_39_58 Continue reading “British Indian Hemp Commission — Posting Volume 1”

Provoking a marijuana audience?

I get to talk for an hour on marijuana revenue at the National Cannabis Summit in Denver on August 30 at 9 a.m. The sponsors write m: “Speakers are evaluated on several criteria, including audience engagement, and the results are posted online after the conference as part of our speaker ‘Zagat’s’ guide.”

OK then. I’ll try to be provocative, and hope for pushback (engagement) with statements like these:

  • Cannabis revenue design should be a public policy issue; government revenue should be an afterthought.
  • The optimal rate of crime is greater than zero. That includes black market crime of untaxed marijuana sales.
  • Taxing marijuana only by price is untenable in the long run, and the Tax Foundation is simply wrong.
  • Government monopoly is the safest way to distribute cannabis.
  • Marijuana advertising should remain non-tax-deductible.
  • Taxing bud or flower by THC is not realistic.
  • Medical marijuana should not be tax exempt.