6 Ps for marijuana tax bases

Beau Kilmer, beneficent captain of the RAND team that wrote the Report Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions, has come up with 9 Ps to help analyze marijuana legalization: Production, profit, promotion, prevention, penalties, potency, purity, price, and permanency. (I’d add “Patients,” to address whether tax exemption for medical marijuana makes sense, but that’s a side issue, addressed here.  And “Patience” will come in handy.)

As a corollary to those Ps, here is a way to think about marijuana’s tax base (the measuring stick to which a numerical rate is applied), discussed at pages 76-87 of that Report, using six more Ps:

Pounds – the weight of the substance, maybe with different rates for different products.  I’d say grams, but pounds starts with a P.

Potency – the amount of THC, the principal intoxicant, by weight, maybe just for concentrates where potency might be reliably measured. (An accessory base could measure claims of THC that sellers make.)

Price – an “ad valorem” base, taxing a percentage of the amount paid in a commercial transaction, with rules to try to prevent gaming in related party transactions and bundling.

Planted area – the number of square feet used to grow marijuana. (I’m still thinking “Perimeter” might be the 4th P in one word, but that would be a stretch, since the area under cultivation doesn’t correlate directly with the length of its boundaries, though you get the idea.)

Power – the amount of electricity from the grid used in connection with growing the plant.

Package – put some or all of those five bases together, maybe one by one, over time.



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