Tax cut for “wispy” buds in Alaska?

The tax on marijuana bud or “flower” in Alaska is $50 an ounce.  Regulators there are considering cutting the tax to $25 for “immature flower” that appears “loose” or “wispy.”

My reaction is:  No!  Please don’t! Unforced error!


“Loose” and “wispy”?  Who’s to say?


That is a hard line to draw.  Who decides what’s “loose” or “wispy”?  The taxpayer?  Will the tax collector get a look?  Will there be appeals?  Lawyers?  Alaska, like California, Colorado, and Nevada, already charges a lower tax for “trim” or “leaves.”  That distinction involves a little line drawing, but not a lot.  I think the bud-trim line is close enough for taxpayers and government to agree about which is which nearly all the time.


But “loose” and “wispy”?  I hear that the public may pay less for loose buds, so some sellers say they will destroy the product rather than pay the tax.


But are loose buds lower in THC?  THC, or intoxication, is the target of any cannabis tax, I suppose.  


Or are loose buds less appealing to smokers, and so destined for concentration?


If so, it seems to me that Alaska could tax them by THC content – separating them out for taxation until after concentration and measurement of THC.


I don’t think THC measurement is ready for taxation, but you could do what we in the RAND-Vermont report suggested:  Take the seller’s word for it.  Consumers tend to want product labeled as high-THC, so the seller who cheats (by finding a cooperative tester who give a low number) risks losing customers.


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