Best Marijuana Tax Plan Yet From An Elected American — WA 2013

“Setting tax rates in the initiative [was] unwise and inflexible. We should reconsider this approach and allow the LCB [Liquor Control Board], in partnership with the state Department of Revenue, to have the flexibility to adjust tax rates in a more real-time fashion for the first few years in order to prevent under or overpricing the newly available product. Comments at various citizen meetings have loudly complained that the rates are too high and too low to prevent or respond to black markets. We don’t know yet. But we can be assured that without flexibility we are unlikely to adjust rapidly to vital market dynamics.”

That’s from the Chair of the Washington State House Finance Committee,  Continue reading “Best Marijuana Tax Plan Yet From An Elected American — WA 2013”


Indexing: Oregon’s marijuana bill doesn’t get it.

A sustainable tax based on weight or volume needs to be indexed for inflation.  A new marijuana legalization bill in Oregon, House Bill 3371, fails that test.  The tax rate, $35 per ounce, can’t be proved wrong — or right.  But the history of alcohol taxation in recent years, where unindexed taxes have lost over half their real value since 1992, proves the value of indexing Continue reading “Indexing: Oregon’s marijuana bill doesn’t get it.”

Marijuana tax indexed: Maryland bill gets it

Delegate Curt Anderson’s Maryland House Bill 1453 to legalize marijuana imposes a $50 per ounce tax on sales to retailers, and then goes on to include as tax: “An amount that the comptroller may set that adjusts the initial $50 per ounce rate for inflation or deflation based on the consumer price index.”

Indexing is essential Continue reading “Marijuana tax indexed: Maryland bill gets it”

North Carolina sales and services tax — a reaction

Here is a comment emailed from a North Carolina tax lawyer:

One analysis puts the [required sales tax] rate between 10-11%.  The more seepage they have in the base, the higher the rate would have to go. Services are easier to obtain for cash (house cleaning, yard work, house painting, etc.) and some can be more easily acquired in cross border activities or electronically where compliance is sketchy. Continue reading “North Carolina sales and services tax — a reaction”

NC sales and services tax proposal runs into more trouble

“[A] swap from income to sales taxation . . . in North Carolina . . . would require sales tax revenue to increase from 1.8 percent to 4.9 percent of state personal income. With the same sales tax base, North Carolina would have to raise its sales tax rate from 5.75 percent to 15.9 percent. With base broadening that would increase the implicit sales tax base to 50 percent of personal income, the rate would have to rise to 12 percent.” Martin A. Sullivan,

I can’t vouch for those numbers, but I have no reason to doubt them.  It remains hard to imagine the Legislature will adopt such a radical proposal.

Federal Marijuana Tax Bill from Congressman Blumenauer — Is the tax burden just right?

Any marijuana tax needs to be low enough to drive trade into legal channels.  That may happen under a bill from Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, which would “create a federal marijuana excise tax of 50 percent on the ‘first sale’ of marijuana – typically, from a grower to a processor or retailer.” Continue reading “Federal Marijuana Tax Bill from Congressman Blumenauer — Is the tax burden just right?”

Grey market for marijuana — medical suppliers may be a problem

Let me put a nuance on the story  Here’s the quote:  “Oglesby doesn’t worry too much about unscrupulous medical marijuana providers entering the true black market – and selling pot to recreational users without a medical card. Why? Because of something he calls, ‘The prohibition premium. You gotta charge more if you are engaged in illegal activity to compensate you for the risk of getting caught and going to jail.'”

Well, the prohibition premium does raise costs for illegal actors, but medical marijuana providers selling to recreational users might have an easy time getting away with violation — it all depends on enforcement.  That’s something to worry about when trying to maintain a tax base.  The illegal market will always be trying to find the path of least resistance.