NV’s marijuana tax model for MA

When I decided to study cannabis revenue, the most advanced thinking I could find early on was that of Dick Evans, a Northampton MA lawyer.  My first footnote in my first article , saying his website was then “probably the most comprehensive compilation of information about laws to tax marijuana” in the world, was a tip of the hat to Dick, who got me going in March 2010 by having me testify before a committee of the Massachusetts Legislature (which wasn’t much interested).

Dick has an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, and I agree with some of it – especially the last part. The title is, “On marijuana law, the Legislature is fixing something that isn’t broken.”

But here’s Dick’s conclusion:

“Allow the voter-enacted law to be implemented, tweaking it only to make up for the lost time. Let the bureaucrats do their jobs. Let people know where to file applications.

“Let’s catch up to Nevada.”

+++

So he’s not opposed to tweaking. And I’m with him on Nevada.  While I don’t think Dick necessarily had tax improvements and increases in mind, it’s worth noting that the Nevada Legislature took what the voters had done but then improved the tax structure: The Legislature increased the tax on medical at the pre-retail level and added a brand new recreational retail tax. Not only that, they are pioneering a new weight tax, with new categories that Colorado doesn’t have. ‪https://newrevenue.org/2017/07/02/nevadas-70-cent-per-gram-tax-on-marijuana-flower/ 

Now Nevada’s quick, if tormented, move to recreational sales (which started this month) is quicker than MA’s.  Maybe a strong tax plan is part of a sound overall plan, so NV’s success with both is part of shrewd thinking.  That’s pure speculation.

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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