Taxes and bridges

One way to approach tax design is  like bridge building.  Anyone can do it.  Throw a plank over a creek and you’ve got yourself a bridge. Say marijuana consumers pay an extra X percent at the retail counter and you’ve got yourself a tax.

At a primitive level, that all works.  For a while.  But the plank won’t handle much traffic.  And with the marijuana tax, what happens when market forces drive prices (and taxes) down?  What about a free pot with pipe purchase?  And employee discounts?  And pilfered product — or product that’s “lost” in transit?  The way we tax alcohol and tobacco is not vulnerable to these problems.  More here:  https://newrevenue.org/2015/04/28/weight-base-arbitrary/.

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