To maximize marijuana revenue, a state might do what a Concord (NH) Monitor editorial – and Gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand – suggest: “Legalize marijuana use and move its sale into state stores.”
New Hampshire’s government-monopoly liquor stores do now what the Monitor suggests for marijuana: “Locate outlets on its borders and structure pricing to maximize sales to nonresidents.”
In the long run, to get substantial marijuana revenue, New Hampshire might have to race to the bottom in a price war, as it does with liquor. But for now, border outlets are the state monopoly version of the dream that the late Russell Long, former chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, had for taxes: ‘‘Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.’’
The notion that the federal government will tolerate only private sales, and that state sales are somehow impossible, is fading into the obscurity it deserves. The municipal marijuana monopoly in North Bonneville, Washington, is well over a year old. LSU and HBCU Southern Louisiana are gearing up for a grower’s duopoly.
Indeed, state sellers are likely to be more responsible than private sellers, with the profit motive tempered by the possibility of public oversight.