Pennsylvania Marijuana Monopoly + Taxes = Belt + Suspenders

An article quotes me praising state marijuana retailing over the for-profit alternative — in light of a bill in Pennsylvania to allow just that. The article, at https://www.law360.com/tax-authority/articles/1376043/pa-house-bill-seeks-to-legalize-tax-adult-use-cannabis, is throrough, but paywalled. It gives no prediction for the bill’s prospects.

Here are some selected quotes:

Pat Oglesby, founder of the tax policy nonprofit Center for New Revenue, said that state-run stores could help curtail the black market because they have greater flexibility to adjust their prices than private businesses. If necessary, that state could raise or lower prices as needed to prevent illegal sellers from undercutting the legal market, he said.

“Their prices are totally dynamic,” he said of state stores. “The revenue can come through taxes or profits.”

As such, Oglesby said that he would prefer any potential state-run system to eschew a tax altogether to provide lower pricing out of the gate “when bootleggers are at their strongest.”

“If you’re going to have state stores, why have a burdensome tax?” Oglesby said.

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