Jimmy Carter, Marijuana, and Revenue

“President Jimmy Carter, at a meeting . . . predicted the experiments in Washington and Colorado would go badly.  In his speech Friday, Carter was more cautious about what could happen in Colorado and Washington.”

Marijuana would be taxed less than cigarettes in both states.  That’s kind of a red flag.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  “There should be no advertising for marijuana in any circumstances and no driving under the influence,” he said.  “We need to avoid the use of marijuana, particularly among young people.”

“We have to prevent making marijuana smoking from becoming attractive to young people, which is, I’m sure, what the producers of marijuana … are going to try and do.”

Maybe the old monopoly model will prove the way forward:  “Only as the profit motive is eliminated,” [John D.] Rockefeller wrote [in the Prohibition era], “is there any hope of controlling the liquor traffic in the interest of a decent society. To approach the problem from any other angle is only to tinker with it and to insure failure. This point cannot be too heavily stressed.”

Yes, Mr. President, Loosing the invisible hand of free enterprise and private incentive into the marijuana trade is not where you would start.  Neither is medical use only, but here we are.

The goal of the marijuana fix is that while not exactly everyone wins, the only losers are the folks in the illegal trade – and teenagers.  And  maybe that fix is the Third Way, after medicinal and private.  Monopoly and control — better than locking people up?

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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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