“America’s First City-Owned Pot Shop”

Excerpts from Joel Warner’s eye-opening article, EMBRACING POT: Weedtown, USA: Home to America’s First City-Owned Pot Shop:

Inside the Cannabis Corner’s . . . facility is a one-of-a-kind experiment. The shop, which opened its doors in 2015, is run by the city, making it the only government-operated cannabis store in the country. By September 2016, it had generated $2.2 million in revenue, Continue reading “America’s First City-Owned Pot Shop”

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Rachel Barry on Proposition 64

Summary: I give California’s Proposition 64 very high marks for tax structure, avoiding two deadly tax traps “better than any marijuana initiative voters have ever seen..” I asked Rachel Barry, a public health expert and my good friend and conscientious colleague on the Newsom-ACLU California Blue Ribbon Commission on marijuana legalization, what she thinks of Proposition 64 from a public health perspective – does she oppose Proposition 64, or just severely criticize it?  I asked because I wanted to quote her in my document.

That resulted in the following back and forth. I do not express an opinion on her views, but want to put them on the record:

RB:

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’m more of the severe critic. Continue reading Rachel Barry on Proposition 64

Best Marijuana Taxes Yet: California’s Proposition 64

Best Marijuana Taxes Yet: California’s Proposition 64

Two devastating traps threaten taxes on newly legalized marijuana. One is the quicksand of inflexibility, leading to impotence during a whirlwind of market change. The other is playing favorites, opening an abyss of tax evasion. California’s Proposition 64, on the ballot in November, avoids those traps better than any marijuana initiative voters have ever seen.

The test of time

Taxing the embryonic legal marijuana industry is like buying clothes for an expected baby. Prepare for changes. The marijuana industry will evolve in ways we can’t predict. We don’t know the best way to tax marijuana, and even if we knew, that way will prove wrong as the market evolves, with free market entrepreneurs pursuing wild ideas, surprising everyone but themselves.

But we can foresee one trend. The early legal market will face a price war from the incumbent black market, but then pre-tax prices will drop, as the legal market is liberated from the “prohibition premium” — the extra costs and risks of operating illegally. That is, eventually, the legal industry will grow and become efficient, pushing pre-tax prices down – way down. Why should cannabis cost so much more than tea? Pre-tax, after federal legalization, it won’t.

Taxes calculated as a percentage of price are child’s play to create. A price-based tax will start strong. Then, as pre-tax prices collapse, so will price-based tax collections. Continue reading Best Marijuana Taxes Yet: California’s Proposition 64