Senate Marijuana Bill’s Taxes Are Old-Fashioned.

The new Schumer-Wyden-Booker marijuana legalization bill is available.

It’s disappointing that the sticks precisely to the early 2017 design of the Blumenauer-Wyden bill, with ad valorem taxes for five years before switching to “specific” (non-ad valorem) taxes, only at that late date taxing flower by weight and concentrates by THC.  See http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/327694-marijuana-legalization-grows-closer-with-senate-tax. 2017 is a long time ago for a drug that was first legalized in 2012; we’ve come a long way in what we know since then.

That five-year delay may have had some possible justification in 2017, but not now.  But even then, ad valorem taxes were outdated.  Sure, no one was taxing anything by THC content – but several states had already worked out taxing raw plant matter by weight, the state of the art tax system in 2017.  In the intervening four years, Canada, legalizing in 2018, moved straight into taxing flower by weight immediately, and concentrates by THC content almost immediately.  No five-year delay!  The system up north seems to be humming.  Lots of states tax by weight already, and Canada has the gold standard using both bases, weight and THC.  I don’t know why we don’t just go ahead and copy it — now.

2 thoughts on “Senate Marijuana Bill’s Taxes Are Old-Fashioned.”

  1. Is there any thought given to coordinating with the states so that vendors can piggyback on to what the feds use much as is now done by many states on their income taxes. I would think that also might then recommend use of a system like the Canadian system.

    1. Ha! Just out: https://www.bu.edu/bulawreview/files/2021/07/LEFF.pdf

      If the prospect of the federal government cannibalizing state
      revenue from marijuana legalization is distressing (or unjust), Oglesby argues
      that the federal government could share revenue from its marijuana taxes with
      the states.
      This is an extremely common solution when taxing is most efficient
      at the federal level, while spending choices are more appropriate at the state
      level.

      +++ Almost on point!

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