Russ Belville and Dan Riffle on Ohio Issue 3

My friends Russ Belville and Dan Riffle discuss the details of Ohio’s Issue 3, a cannabis legalization measure, thoughtfully and civilly. They start at the 28:15 mark here (URL, and go to about the 1:06:00 mark.

Here are some notes, taken while listening. (I appreciate Russ having me on his show, but I agree more with Dan here.)

Dan says Issue 3 is “anti-democratic” and “anti-capitalistic.” Continue reading Russ Belville and Dan Riffle on Ohio Issue 3

Saying No to Ohio Measure 3

Ohio’s Marijuana Referendum: Watch the Money

With 1,300 “likes” at Posted: 10/27/2015 5:30 pm EDT

When Russell Long came to the U.S. Senate and joined the Finance Committee, legend has it, he voted against every motion, no matter how noncontroversial. Eventually, a more senior senator asked him why. Long reportedly answered: “I’m not for any deal unless I’m part of it.”

Ohio voters might bear that saying in mind when they vote on the Issue 3 marijuana legalization plan on November 3.

Issue 3 exemplifies “regulatory capture” — when an industry writes the rules for itself. Regulations are supposed to protect the public from industry. With regulatory capture, regulations protect an industry from the public. Continue reading Saying No to Ohio Measure 3

Caulkins blasts Ohio Issue 3

Emailing back and forth with my friend, RAND Vermont report co-author, and drug policy expert Jon Caulkins, I’m authorized to report that he says, “’Responsible Ohio’ is the most egregious corruption grab since the Teapot Dome scandal.”

Clarifying where that quote comes from:  Professor Caulkins and I were emailing on another topic.  I took the liberty of sending him my two Ohio pieces from Huffington Post.  He wrote back, and mentioned Teapot Dome.  I asked if I could quote him, and he said “Sure.”  So that’s all I can point to.

Duke Mj and Excise Slides

Here: Barnes Sales and VAT 26 October
are slides from my guest appearance discussing Marijuana and Other Excise Taxes at my old friend Peter Barnes’s Value Added and Sales Tax at Duke Law School today, It’s a joint course with Duke’s Public Policy School course:  Great fun.  Nothing against my fellow U.S. Americans, but it was especially interesting to talk with foreign tax officials learning tax policy at Duke.  (They are not onto cannabis yet, and are working on the never-ending issues of tobacco and alcohol.)

No home growing w/o license

From a tax perspective, Ohio’s November marijuana Initiative may be the worst plan ever to reach the ballot. It caps tax rates forever, by Constitutional amendment.   (Another objection is that it channels all the new wealth directly to its millionaire funders.)

But the Ohio proposal contains a restriction on home growing that I don’t remember seeing in such a prominent proposal. Home growing is a threat to the millionaires who would seize all commercial growing rights for themselves. So the proposal makes home growers get licenses.  But the silver lining for tax enforcement is that licenses will make it harder for home growers to break the rules and start selling in commerce, in competition with the legal, taxed market.  If you want a tight tax system, licensing home growers would be part of the plan.   Continue reading No home growing w/o license

1691 liquor tax break

Tax breaks for special interests are nothing new.

Rabushka 424 Va liquorTaxation in Colonial America, by Alvin Rabushka, mentions the Virginia liquor duty of 1691, which provided full duty for most liquor, a 50-percent reduction for liquor brought in on “ships owned in Virginia in which the importer had an interest,” and complete exemption for liquor brought in on ships made in Virgina.  Continue reading 1691 liquor tax break

Ohio and Esau

Thanks to Ohio State Law Professor Doug Berman, who said this was a “lovely and astute new Huffington Post commentary.”

Marijuana, Ohio, and Esau  By Pat Oglesby

“Politics is always the lesser of two evils,” Federal Fifth Circuit Judge John Minor Wisdom told me when I was one of his law clerks. I didn’t quite understand that then, in the late 1970s, but I get it now.

Marijuana legalization is gaining steam, and the question is becoming not “whether to legalize” but “how.” And it’s about the money. A recent RAND report put it this way: “A state that legalizes marijuana by allowing limited private sales creates a privilege to sell it. That privilege is worth money, maybe lots of money.”

So the money is up for grabs. And a small group plans to grab all the money in Ohio. The “Responsible Ohio” ballot initiative, to be voted on in November, lets medical and adult-use marijuana be grown and processed only in “ten designated sites,” all owned by wealthy funders of the initiative. Continue reading Ohio and Esau