Desert Hot Springs looks at huge revenue from cannabis

Here’s news about local marijuana revenue in Southern California, from the Press Enterprise,  All that follows is an excerpt:

Desert Hot Springs is preparing to become what one grower called “the Silicon Valley of marijuana” by granting permits to cultivate. At least one project is expected to start construction in about a month. Continue reading “Desert Hot Springs looks at huge revenue from cannabis”


Limited local economic power to tax cannabis

This is included in a April 21 post on

I’m giving panel talks on this topic April 21 and 22 in Riverside and Irvine, California. California gives localities a free hand, legally, to impose taxes and fees on cannabis commerce, but economically, their hand is less free.

7 reasons localities have limited economic power to collect taxes or fees on cannabis: Continue reading “Limited local economic power to tax cannabis”

Tax base slides from NYC

Oglesby 830am April 18 Tax panel has slides from my panel appearance at

Here is the conclusion, listing taxes that a jurisdiction might add over time, one by one, in creating a tax regime:

  • Start low and go slow.
  • 280E ad deduction rule — Retain or tweak
  • Tiny canopy license fee
  • Modest tax on percentage of retail price
  • Later, tax on cannabis by weight; Tax stated THC (backup – AMT)
  • Later, tax on concentrates by weight of THC


Whatever vice tax society wants

The cannabis industry, or some of it, wants taxes as low as possible. Consumers, at least some of them, display different interests.

I asked my friend Allen St. Pierre, head of NORML, the lobby for cannabis consumers, about his view of taxation. (Congratulations to new parents Allen and his wife on the birth of their daughter.) Here’s what Allen authorized me to publish:

“Consumers will pay whatever vice tax society wants so long as the taxes are sufficiently low enough so as not to foster an untaxed and unregulated black market in cannabis production and sales.” Continue reading “Whatever vice tax society wants”

PPIC on taxes

“Regulating Marijuana in California,” a Report by the Public Policy Institute of California, does a good job of explaining some of the tax issues involved with legalization.

But rather than dwell on what the PPIC got right, I’ll write about two problems. Unlike my friends who study drug policy broadly, I look just at the tax part.  Mostly, I’ll quote from the RAND Report, Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions,, which is in the public domain, and which I helped write.  The quotes are in bold.

  1. Colorado’s weight-based tax

The PPIC Report overlooks the way Colorado actually taxes product at the producer level, which is by weight. The rate of the weight-based tax has changed to approximate 15 percent of the latest market value, but the RAND Report explains it this way: Continue reading “PPIC on taxes”