Another questionable marijuana tax idea

$5 per package of rolling papers.  That’s the idea in a Maine bill.

With papers selling for $2 or $3 now, the responses are easy to predict:

— Smokers will use pipes.

— Consumers will buy papers in bulk out of state and share them with friends.

— Suppliers will sell enormous “packages” to dilute the burden of the tax.

Here is the entire bill:

SECTION 1. Chapter 64H of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following section.

Section 2B. In addition to the foregoing tax there is hereby established an additional tax of $5 on the sale of tobacco rolling papers per package.

+++++

That paper tax (thanks to Allen St. Pierre for telling me about it) is still a better idea than this one.  And at some low level, a paper tax might make sense as part of a network of taxes.  Maybe.  But not at $5 a pack.  And not without taxing pipes.  The tax rate would have to be low enough so that buying papers in New Hampshire is not worth the trouble.  Such a low rate would probably mean the tax is not worth the effort.

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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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