Humboldt OKs 7-acre grow

July 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

When I went to Humboldt County in 2015 to find facts for the California Blue Ribbon Commission, I heard informally that a marijuana grow of 10,000 square feet was enough to make a decent living. So that figure was bandied about as a hard cap – as a way to share the wealth that was about to open up. Being friends with a lot of Democratic Socialists, I’ve been interested in sharing the wealth, and thinking smaller farms would be an experiment in that direction.

Ten thousand square feet, about a quarter of an acre, was the smallest area I heard, but one acre is the hard cap in Proposition 64, the recreational legalization initiative to be voted on in November, (That acre limit sunsets after a handful of years.)  [UPDATE:  A friend in California indicates that the initiative allows one person to own several grow licenses.  So the only remaining hope for spreading wealth is that regulations will cut back on the ability to have multiple licenses.]

Here’s what the Blue Ribbon Commission said about capping production: « Read the rest of this entry »

St. Pierre steps down

July 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

We came from different directions. Allen St. Pierre, who is stepping down as head of NORML, the cannabis consumer lobby, wanted to legalize marijuana for consumers; I wanted to raise revenue from something whose externalities were less positive than, say, wages paid to workers, which we tax so widely now — while we say America’s most important issue is jobs.

Allen figured that when marijuana got legalized, the public would get a cut. I figured the public would get nothing from cannabis unless the government tolerated it. « Read the rest of this entry »

Carbon tax reading

July 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Use government cash or tax cuts to subsidize clean energy? No wonder we’re going broke.

With Exxon supporting a carbon tax, the topic is getting serious.  Lots has been written already; here’s a sample from UNC Library.

Carbon tax books photo

State Universities to grow marijuana

June 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

“Louisiana State University and [HBCU] Southern University want to begin growing marijuana for medical use. The boards of both schools approved plans Friday to pursue licensing, making them the sole growers and researchers for the state, The Associated Press reported.” The source is here.

LSU’s vice president for Agriculture “said university officials believe they can meet security requirements and retain federal funding. He said LSU could become a leader in research on the medicinal properties and cultivation of marijuana.”

Objections to states getting in the marijuana business are looking weaker.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Canopy tax in Humboldt

June 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Humboldt County, California, Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a cannabis cultivation canopy excise tax Tuesday. “Outdoor, mixed light, and indoor farms would all be taxed differently. An example is smaller outdoor grows would be taxed $1 per square foot while the large outdoor grows would be taxed $6 per square foot.”  So small growers get a tax break.

The details have not been drafted. The press report, from KRCR, does not say whether outdoor grows would be taxed more than indoor.

In particular, one thing to watch for is whether the tax contains absurd marginal rates, or cliffs, at break points between categories. « Read the rest of this entry »

Big = Powerful?

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Concentration of economic power makes me nervous, and I’m unpersuaded by the assertion that “”Top researchers just demolished a huge fear about legal pot” in a Brookings study saying, “Worry about bad marijuana—not Big Marijuana.” Big companies selling marijuana will have economies of scale to push prices way down, and political power to oppose tax increases.

Now well organized small businesses, acting in concert, can have plenty of political power, adequate to prevent taxes from going up. Here are a couple of anecdotes, based on my recollections from working for Congress three decades ago, before Citizens United:

The major, multinational oil companies were pretty good at lobbying, but the small, independent producers « Read the rest of this entry »

Alcohol taxes — Brookings

June 17, 2016 § 2 Comments

Having the strong view that alcohol taxes are kept too low in the United States by a combination of industry power and anti-tax sentiment, I was startled to see this ambivalence (at best) from my friend John Hudak and his colleague Jonathan Rauch at Brookings:

“Public health advocates would like to see less advertising reaching minors, and they argue that alcohol taxes are too low to cover social externalities and deter use. The industry argues that taxes are already punitively high.15 Because regulatory practices and taxes differ across states and change over time, generalizing is complicated. On the whole, however, the regulatory regime for alcohol does a credible job of restraining antisocial and irresponsible practices, has proved to be broadly acceptable to the public and the industry, and has also proved to be stable and sustainable. In those important respects, modern regulation of Big Alcohol is a success story.” « Read the rest of this entry »


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