Sharing the wealth from legalization

Lots of people would like to get licenses to grow cannabis.  If you wanted to avoid Big Marijuana and share the wealth from legality, you could hand out many licenses for small quantities rather than few licenses for large quantities.  The number 10,000 square feet of grow area came up unofficially on a trip to Humboldt County.  To spread the wealth widely, that could be a hard cap for everyone.

You’d need related party rules, so if Farmer Jones got to grow 10,000 square feet, Farmer Jones couldn’t create Jones Farm, Corporation, Inc., to grow another 10,000 square feet — and couldn’t be co-owner of another corporation with an allotment.  More here ( [Broken link.]

Bernie Sanders is getting a lot of attention, but this is a long way from socialism.  Socialism is public ownership of the means of production. Hard grower caps are public allocation of privileges of production.

This is not a new and fresh idea. Tobacco quotas did the same kind of thing, starting in the 1930s. — with cite to Anthony Badger’s Prosperity Road.

Lots of licensees make enforcement difficult.  That’s a trade-off.



CO tax on plants and seeds?

A fine point I’m trying to think through: Immature plants are specifically subject to Colorado’s producer excise tax – currently at a rate of $1.20 per plant. Colorado lawyer Rachel K. Gillette, who won the Allgreens case against the IRS, confirmed for me that seeds are not subject to that tax.  I’m thinking they should be treated the same.  So far. Continue reading CO tax on plants and seeds?

Opposite of gateway is bypass?

Original title:  Opposite of gateway is barrier?

A list of not-entirely-serious pros and cons about cannabis, here, mentioned the “con” argument that marijuana is a “gateway” drug (“If when you say cannabis you mean the Devil’s weed, the gateway to the nightmare of hard-drug addiction, the tempter of teenagers that terrifies parents, the cause of Willie Nelson’s feeling that the flesh was falling off his bones, . . .”).

But I didn’t mention a “pro” argument on the other side – that legalizing cannabis takes away the message that it’s in the same category as heroin and methamphetamine. In Vermont, for instance, 35 people died from heroin in 2014.

Shifting cannabis to the legal market would have two advantages. First, it would mean a consumer wouldn’t get cannabis and hard drugs from the same dealer.  That would tend to marginalize the hard drug dealer.  The cannabis consumer would have a completely different supplier — not the hard drug dealer.  Second, the shift would send a message to everyone, especially young people, that marijuana is not in the same category as those more dangerous drugs. Continue reading Opposite of gateway is bypass?

Mortgage interest deduction subsidizes housing

“What would you do if you had $1 million? Believe it or not, some of you might live in government-subsidized housing.” That was the pre-ad lead in to a story on the Fox News Grapevine Show 18 August 2015, which was not about the hugely more expensive mortgage interest deduction, which costs over $400 billion over five years.  That’s a huge government subsidy for housing. Here’s the transcript:

Helping Hand

You — the taxpayer — are subsidizing more than 25,000 families in public housing — even though they exceed the income limits. Continue reading Mortgage interest deduction subsidizes housing

Cannabis oversupply and price collapse?

Here’s a story from the Denver Post about huge marijuana grow operations starting up in Pueblo County, Colorado.

Here’s another story, by Joel Warner in the High Country News, where I suggest that those huge operations will have a first mover advantage, but that advantage may not last.  (These operations are unlikely to have intellectual property protection to keep the kind of first mover advantage that leads to a Winner-Take-All scenario, like Facebook.)  And a market glut could bring prices crashing down in the long run. Continue reading Cannabis oversupply and price collapse?

No special rule for medical cannabis — Guest post by Ben Scales

As a tax man, I don’t think a special tax rule for medical cannabis can be administered in a trustworthy way by government. So I oppose it.  Having a tax agency examine the medical condition of individuals — or taking someone’s word for it — is not a model I trust.

Here’s another reason, from my co-presenter at a Continuing Legal Education event sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association, Ben Scales, an Asheville lawyer and activist.

I’ve been working for cannabis law reform for more than 20 years, alongside many of the leaders of the movement. Over that time, my positions have evolved. I’ve always believed that cannabis should be legal for all uses, but I’ve spent the last 10 years or so focused on seeking safe access for qualified patients.  My thinking was: let’s let the sick and dying get theirs first.

I’ve now come around to believing that that strategy is a “box canyon” that will hinder, rather than further, the progress toward the ultimate goal of cannabis freedom. While I certainly understand that cannabis has medical benefits, I don’t think it’s properly classified as a medicine. Continue reading No special rule for medical cannabis — Guest post by Ben Scales