The Premium On Legal Weed, Ctd

Oct 21 2013 @ 3:21pm

Last week, Jacob Sullum worried that cannabis taxes will be too high to quash the black market. Kleiman, on the other hand, fears that pot will be too cheap:

Now that the federal government has made it clear that state-licensed production in Washington and Colorado will mostly get a pass from federal law enforcement, and now that Washington has decided to allow outdoor growing, avoiding the production bottleneck that might have resulted from the lags in local land-use approval for growing facilities, I’d expect to see much lower-than-current prices in Washington State’s commercial stores no later than next fall.

Why this could be a problem:

If cannabis prices are allowed to fall to something like their free-market levels, a very large increase in heavy use would be the likely result. Preventing that will require heavy specific-excise taxation (perhaps on a per-milligram-of-THC basis) and enough enforcement to prevent the evasion of that tax.

In other cannabis commentary, Kelley Vlahdos looks at the experiences of different towns in Colorado, which have the choice to allow or ban marijuana sales within their jurisdictions:

[W]hile many places—including other major Colorado cities, like Thorton, Westminster, and Centennial—have revolted against so-called “cannabisiness,” plenty of towns and counties are not just resigned to the new reality, but are actually embracing the “weed friendly” label. In fact, officials like Sal Pace, commissioner of Pueblo County, which plans to move forward with commercial sales, say they are happy to get the spillover business from smokeless neighbors like Colorado Springs. “Every time one of our neighbors bans it, we cheer,” Pace told the Denver Post. His people tell TAC that Pueblo is courting marijuana testing facilities and other marijuana-related commerce, and is serious about pot serving as a long-term economic driver

Eliza Gray notes that California will be keeping tabs on CO and WA:

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union announced a new panel, headed by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, to draft a possible 2016 ballot measure to legalize pot in the Golden State, where an earlier attempt failed in 2010. The panel will study the implementation of Washington and Colorado’s laws to see how they might serve as a model for California, according to member and ACLU attorney, Alison Holcomb.