The Preposterous Tomato Model for Marijuana

“[L]egal pot would be amazingly cheap. In fact, midgrade stuff would be so cheap that it might make sense for businesses to give it away like ketchup packets or bar nuts.”[1]

Lots of folks in the marijuana community want marijuana untaxed and unregulated, but it ain’t gonna happen, because the public won’t sit still for it.  Marijuana won’t be ridiculously cheap — after inevitable regulatory costs and taxes.  The stoners entertain the tomato model (no tax, no regulation) as an ideal.  Prohibitionists use the tomato model as a scare tactic.

What if the federal government quashes tax collection and pushes back hard against big operations?  A prohibition premium will remain in place to keep marijuana more expensive than tomatoes — or ketchup.


Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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