Buzz-kill: Denver proposes 5% tax on marijuana sales

posted at 9:21 am on July 10, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when marijuana activists argued that legalized pot could help control budget deficits by reducing police costs and raising tax revenues?  Putting that into practice in Denver has proven a bit difficult.  Advocates for legalization are now balking at a 5% tax on marijuana purchases, possibly going to 10% to match the state’s taxes on cigarettes:

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants to impose a tax on recreational marijuana to cover the costs of the coming industry that would be roughly akin to the tax burden on a pack of tobacco cigarettes.

But marijuana advocates fear excessive taxes could destroy the whole idea around voter-approved Amendment 64 and keep recreational pot users in the black market.

“If it is too much tax too quickly, it will kill the transition to the legal market,” said Michael Elliott, director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. …

Hancock is recommending a 5 percent tax in the first year but said the city should have the flexibility to increase the tax to up to 10 percent.

“We believe a 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana will fulfill the city’s needs to effectively regulate and enforce this new law while protecting our children and families, supporting public health and ensuring the integrity of our neighborhoods,” Hancock said in a statement.

The state has a referendum coming in November that would impose a significant tax on marijuana purchases — 15% excise tax, and a 10% sales tax — to which the city tax would be added.  That’s a big hit, er, large tax bite for recreational marijuana users.  On the other hand, it’s about what cigarette smokers end up paying for their fix, too.  Marijuana users might complain that tobacco has more health impact than marijuana, but that’s not going to be a terribly effective argument coming just after Colorado legalized pot for recreational use, nor is it necessarily supported by science.

Both habits are similar in terms of environmental impact, and with any kind of taxation, in terms of enforcement.  That’s why the argument that legalization would eliminate the waste of police resources was always nuanced.  Cigarettes have always been legal, but significant trafficking of untaxed cigarettes plagues law enforcement in most states with vice taxes, especially those adjacent to low-tax states (like Minnesota). Taxation is even more necessary for marijuana in order to pay for the extra cost of dealing with intoxication, which cigarettes don’t generate.

While legalization means less interdictive law-enforcement activity, it probably means more intoxication and more after-the-fact involvement than before, as well as new efforts to keep now-legal marijuana out of the hands of minors. The city estimates that the expected market of $128 million in legal sales will cost the city nearly $10 million for law enforcement and health-related spending, and it makes the most sense to tax the activity that produces the cost.  That’s more than 5%, but it’s less than the 10% — so far.  That’s why Mayor Hancock wants the flexibility to scale up the tax if the costs get out of hand.  That may be a buzzkill to marijuana advocates, but it’s a rational basis for taxation, if those calculations are correct.

Update: Of course, people can’t usually grow their own tobacco.  That’s not true of marijuana, which as reader David K pointed out in an e-mail to me, is called “weed” for a very good reason.  Now that marijuana has been legalized, David thinks there will be little appetite to bust people for growing their own supply — but if it’s being done to avoid paying taxes, I’m not so sure.  Ask the citizen distillers in the South how they handled the “revenuers” back in the day.


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Of course they did. Duh! That was the whole point and once they taste that sweet, sweet tax drug, there will be no going back.

rhombus on July 10, 2013 at 9:24 AM

It’s for the children…

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 9:25 AM

“We believe a 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana will fulfill the city’s needs to effectively regulate and enforce this new law while protecting our children and families….

I guess I should have read further…

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

It should be taxed at the same rate as tobacco products.

smoothsailing on July 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Why shouldn’t it match the tax on tobacco? Here in NY, the tax is half the total cost per pack or more, depending on the brand. Albany went so far as to station state police and revenue people outside the nearby reservation, to make sure they got their money from people buying cigarettes there. Then there’s 8.2% sales tax on top of it.

Liberals always want a free ride.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Remember when marijuana activists argued that legalized pot could help control budget deficits by reducing police costs and raising tax revenues?

The people who push for legalization are too focused on their product to think that the tax will ever come.

nobar on July 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM

The vacantly-grinning green, uh, thing makes me think of the legislature that passed this.

“All in favor, say ‘Aye’.

“No, say, ‘Aye’, d***it. Not ‘I go dooda, voody, voody, I go dooda, voody, voody’- will somebody get the right honorable representative un-twisted, please?”

clear ether

eon

eon on July 10, 2013 at 9:32 AM

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to tax it like alcohol or tobacco or other ‘vice’ taxes.

I also think it’s funny that lefties only seem to understand the negative economic impact of excessive taxation when it’s something they like that’s being taxed.

Good Lt on July 10, 2013 at 9:32 AM

An industry born and raised in the black will simply go underground again to avoid the tax. Just that simple.

jake-the-goose on July 10, 2013 at 9:32 AM

The pro marijuana forces have always said that it was no worse than tobacco. So why wouldn’t it be taxed at the same rate? Scarfing about these taxes is just another sign of liberal hypocrisy. High taxes are supposed to be good, unless the dopehead liberals have to pay them themselves.

bartbeast on July 10, 2013 at 9:35 AM

A 5% teaser to start with. It’s only an investment for the community health & well being. You know them Liberals re always looking out for you.

RdLake on July 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Remember when marijuana activists argued that legalized pot could help control budget deficits by reducing police costs and raising tax revenues?

Yeah, these activists are now saying “You were serious about that?” Of course potheads have no long-term memory so they forget that they thought legalization could control budget deficits.

I honestly think they inexplicably thought that legalization would be done without the same taxation and regulation that governs other sinful activities like smoking tobacco or drinking booze.

Happy Nomad on July 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Unexpectedly.

pambi on July 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

At least Twinkies are comin’ back, mang.

forest on July 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

The Amendment said that it should be taxed and regulated “like alcohol.” The government seems insistent on treating it like tobacco. Despite the fact that health wise the two aren’t close to comparable.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that potheads would object to paying taxes.

Steve Eggleston on July 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Filed under “did you really not expect this”, file #umpteen-zillion.

MelonCollie on July 10, 2013 at 9:40 AM

“By starting at 5 percent, it will help us through unforeseen problems, to make sure we are doing this right…

“The government is us, and we’re doing things right” – Obama

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 9:40 AM

This only passed in Colorado because it was pitched as a way to raise revenue for the state. It only makes sense that cities would want to raise revenue from it also. The county I live in banned all dispensaries so they are waiving the chance to raise money. Ironically there were several medical marijuana dispensaries here BEFORE this law passed. They were forced to close. MMD have also practically disappeared in Denver. They were EVERYWHERE 2 years ago. So I guess this bill is also a job killer. Unintended consequences; )

Kerbouchard on July 10, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Well, this was one of the arguements pot heads made for legalizing it. “Hey man! We make it legal and they can tax it to pay our debt!”………. Here ya go, enjoy!

And I`m sure they`ll pay it since they can`t buy it in a underground manner. Because making it legal was going to fix that too, right? :)

ThePrez on July 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM

When sales of potato chips go up because so many get the munchies so often, and liberal politicians say people are unhealthy, let them impose their long-awaited ‘fat tax’, too. Plus increased premiums under Obamacare.

That Law of Unintended Consequences sure knows how to kick in. Unexpectedly, of course.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM

It’s what they wanted.

Anyone else annoyed by that dopey look on the eyes of that damn mascot? Says a lot doesn’t it?

thebrokenrattle on July 10, 2013 at 9:42 AM

decriminalization vs. legalization

mjbrooks3 on July 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

The Amendment said that it should be taxed and regulated “like alcohol.” The government seems insistent on treating it like tobacco. Despite the fact that health wise the two aren’t close to comparable.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Funny, but I’ve seen people cough harder and longer from one hit off a joint than from smoking a whole cigarette.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Grow your own or pay a couple extra dollars.

What seems to be the issue here?

patman77 on July 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that potheads would object to paying taxes.

Steve Eggleston on July 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Chris of Rights on July 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Grow your own or pay a couple extra dollars.

What seems to be the issue here?

patman77 on July 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

That tax is coming too, count on it.

nobar on July 10, 2013 at 9:50 AM

As a long time pot user, now former user, I’ve always said that pot should be de-criminalized but not legalized for this very reason. Once they begin to tax it, we’re just one shot step form the state promoting it’s use. Think lottery.

Hucklebuck on July 10, 2013 at 9:51 AM

That’s a big hit, er…

What can I say, it made me laugh. :-)

If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ~ Ronald Reagan

Anything in the Farm Bill to subsidize weed farmers, yet?

Fallon on July 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Should say “short” and “from” rather than “shot” and “form”. Still experiencing effects from prior bakings.

Hucklebuck on July 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Grow your own or pay a couple extra dollars.

What seems to be the issue here?

patman77 on July 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Filburn was unavailable for comment.

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Unexpectedly.

pambi on July 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

*snicker*

I guess libertarians are gonna be a tad upset by this…

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Clearly, the weeders will use the “Doritos sales offset” as a strategy…

hillsoftx on July 10, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Ha H-(faints)

-stoned Nelson

22044 on July 10, 2013 at 9:56 AM

The FDA and the EPA are itchin’ to jump on the regulatory band wagon.

Knock on the door.

Potfarmer – Who is it?

” We are the EPA and we’re here to inspect your hydroponic facility…we also have OSHA & the FDA is here to take samples”

Potfarmer – &*%^$#@!!

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Funny, but I’ve seen people cough harder and longer from one hit off a joint than from smoking a whole cigarette.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

1. Smoking is not the only way to consume marijuana. Vaporizing, eating or drinking all do not require the inhalation of smoke.

2. How many times have you seen 7 people share a cigarette? While the amount of particulates is higher per hit, tobacco users who smoke half a pack a day more than make up for that in terms of the amount of tobacco consumed.

3. Second hand marijuana smoke has not been linked to one case of lung cancer or other lung disease.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

harshin’ their mellow in the rockies

DanMan on July 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Gary Johnson steps into the fray…in 3…2…1…

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The pothead has spoken.

CurtZHP on July 10, 2013 at 10:02 AM

What, you pinheads thought the guvment suddenly became cool because they legalized your all-natural glaucoma medication?

And that weed mascot, smart move giving it the half lidded vacant eyes, you idiots might as well have added some drool to really make the effect complete.

Bishop on July 10, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Maybe they should start a party and call it..

Taxed Enough Already.

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Anything in the Farm Bill to subsidize weed farmers, yet?

Fallon on July 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I would expect weed farmers to have to conform to the same existing regulatory conditions other crop farmers have to deal with.

It can get pretty expensive…ask a farmer or rancher.

Welcome to the Federal Agricultural Policy Fun Farm…StonerBoyz.

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Far out and heavy man. Like it was easier to buy weed when it was illegal. The man is always trying to do you in.

chicken thief on July 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Unexpectedly proposes…
Wait til the epa, fda, usda and other assorted govt alphabets gets through with the users. Their heads will be unscrewed a little more than they bargained for.

Kissmygrits on July 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM

I think it’s funny to hear people talk about growing their own weed. It’s not as easy as people want it to sound.

Sure, anyone can grow it. But if they don’t know what they’re doing they’re growing a bunch of useless crap that will be more likely to give them a headache than give them a high.

If Denver really thinks they’re going to raise revenue, they’re dumber than a box of rocks. Whatever they project, halve it. Shops will be springing up right outside the city limits in order to skirt the extra tax.

And of course most potheads are going to continue buying their pot from whoever they got it from prior to legalization, thereby skirting all taxes.

ButterflyDragon on July 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM

What, you pinheads thought the guvment suddenly became cool because they legalized your all-natural glaucoma medication?

I have a buddy in California that got his glaucoma diagnosed over the phone. True story.

DanMan on July 10, 2013 at 10:11 AM

The pic of the giant Green Cannabis Dude is a keeper!!

To Ed, et al, you guys need to use this one OFTEN!!!

(Additionally, feel free to use the Giant P*nis flower
run amuck in Belgium)

ToddPA on July 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM

LOL,made my day.

docflash on July 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Maybe they should start a party and call it..

Taxed Enough Already.

Electrongod on July 10, 2013 at 10:03 AM

All the potheads will gather at city hall to protest, then yell “Hey man, we’re taxed enough….uh….uh….somethin’. Yeah whatever!”

Bishop on July 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM

bartbeast on July 10, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Yes, what he said!

kirkill on July 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

So people will voluntarily buy from a source that ADDS a tax, and will shun the street dealer who doesn’t charge a tax.

Yeah, that happens all the time.

GarandFan on July 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

My fellow legalization advocates needd to grow up.

First of all, we argued for decades that cannabis should be treated like ethyl alcohol and tobacco. Well, Congress and every state legislature places excise taxes on both whiskey and cigarettes.

Second, while you do have to be careful about raising taxes so high as to encourage the development of a black market, a 5-10% tax rate is highly unlikely to cause someone to make the decision to gravitate from a legal market to a black market…

JohnGalt23 on July 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM

So people will voluntarily buy from a source that ADDS a tax, and will shun the street dealer who doesn’t charge a tax.

Yeah, that happens all the time.

GarandFan on July 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

It does in fact.

Lots of people have the opportunity to buy black market tobacco. Most choose to simply deal with the local 7-11…

JohnGalt23 on July 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Despite the fact that health wise the two aren’t close to comparable.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

How come they aren’t comparable? Is your mind too weak to make a comparison?

They all alter psychologically and physically. They all have adverse short and long term health impacts.

A liberal like you should also be able to compare them to a cheeseburger or 64 oz. Pepsi.

kirkill on July 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Bishop on July 10, 2013 at 10:02 AM

And should have covered his fingers with Cheedle (the orange residue left by Cheetos, for those too young to know).

kirkill on July 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM

I never saw a tax so popular on Hot Gas before. “Yeah, that’ll show, em… darn liberals” (as if no conservatives smoke weed).

rhombus on July 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Subcaption on this article’s front page link:

Things to pay in Denver when you’re baked.

Good one.

apostic on July 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

So Tax forms will provide a spot to check “Drug Dealer” for occupation?

portlandon on July 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM

It does in fact.

Lots of people have the opportunity to buy black market tobacco. Most choose to simply deal with the local 7-11…

JohnGalt23 on July 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Most black market cigarettes are sold via local stores and the customers have no idea they’re black market at all.

When you see “loosies” (individual cigarettes) being sold on the counter, the chances are they are black market cigarettes that no taxes have been paid on.

Black market cigarettes is nothing like pot because the point of sale is completely different.

ButterflyDragon on July 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Who says people can’t grow their own tobacco? It’s a plant just like cannabis. It takes about as much care as growing tomatoes. Sure, there is processing involved to achieve a smokable product, but I know folks that have grown their own tobacco for years.

I think we need to look more closely at all of these “studies” that say marijuana doesn’t have any long lasting effect on a person’s brain if the pot users didn’t think this tax was coming just behind legalization.

AScott on July 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Legal weed in CO. is already being diverted to the black market to avoid the current sales tax and 15% wholesale tax.

This is actually an interesting economic issue, in that marijuana doesn’t require much in the way of processing as compared to alcohol and tobacco products. Therefore, marijuana will be more sensitive to taxation and black market activity will increase at lower tax levels. A tax at the same level as alcohol or cigarettes will do a lot more damage to the legal market, and would increase the illegal activity the law was supposed to decrease.

RadClown on July 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Despite the fact that health wise the two aren’t close to comparable.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

How come they aren’t comparable? Is your mind too weak to make a comparison?

They all alter psychologically and physically. They all have adverse short and long term health impacts.

A liberal like you should also be able to compare them to a cheeseburger or 64 oz. Pepsi.

kirkill on July 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Wrong again, Oxmyx/LFOD.

Pot and tobacco are directly comparable in both short and long-term health effects. And the research does not favor pot as the safer of the two;

N Engl J Med. 1988 Feb 11;318(6):347-51.
Pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana as compared with tobacco.
Wu TC, Tashkin DP, Djahed B, Rose JE.
Source

Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine 90024.

Abstract

To compare the pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana and tobacco, we quantified the relative burden to the lung of insoluble particulates (tar) and carbon monoxide from the smoke of similar quantities of marijuana and tobacco. The 15 subjects, all men, had smoked both marijuana and tobacco habitually for at least five years. We measured each subject’s blood carboxyhemoglobin level before and after smoking and the amount of tar inhaled and deposited in the respiratory tract from the smoke of single filter-tipped tobacco cigarettes (900 to 1200 mg) and marijuana cigarettes (741 to 985 mg) containing 0.004 percent or 1.24 percent delta 9-tetrahydrocanabinol. As compared with smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana was associated with a nearly fivefold greater increment in the blood carboxyhemoglobin level, an approximately threefold increase in the amount of tar inhaled, and retention in the respiratory tract of one third more inhaled tar (P less than 0.001). Significant differences were also noted in the dynamics of smoking marijuana and tobacco, among them an approximately two-thirds larger puff volume, a one-third greater depth of inhalation, and a fourfold longer breath-holding time with marijuana than with tobacco (P less than 0.01). Smoking dynamics and the delivery of tar during marijuana smoking were only slightly influenced by the percentage of tetrahydrocanabinol. We conclude that smoking marijuana, regardless of tetrahydrocannabinol content, results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco.

PMID:
3340105
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3340105

So go ahead and light up that doobie, dude. Just be aware that you’ll end up in the IC ward right next to the guy who smoked two packs of Camels a day.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Second, while you do have to be careful about raising taxes so high as to encourage the development of a black market, a 5-10% tax rate is highly unlikely to cause someone to make the decision to gravitate from a legal market to a black market…

JohnGalt23 on July 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM

The article referenced is only about the city of Denver sales tax. There are more – federal, state and county. The current total tax rate on cigars in Colorado runs around 40%.

IMHO, MJ should be taxed at the same rate as cigars and cigarettes. If the current rate for regular tobacco products is too high for MJ users, then reduce the tax rate on the tobacco products. (BTW – I’m a life-long non-smoker)

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM

The Amendment said that it should be taxed and regulated “like alcohol.” The government seems insistent on treating it like tobacco. Despite the fact that health wise the two aren’t close to comparable.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Dude, are they harshing your mellow?

Ward Cleaver on July 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM

eon on July 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

1. Smoking is not the only way to consume marijuana. Vaporizing, eating or drinking all do not require the inhalation of smoke.

2. How many times have you seen 7 people share a cigarette? While the amount of particulates is higher per hit, tobacco users who smoke half a pack a day more than make up for that in terms of the amount of tobacco consumed.

3. Second hand marijuana smoke has not been linked to one case of lung cancer or other lung disease.

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

libfreeordie on July 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Good job Ed, must be another slow news day. What in the hell did you think they were gonna do, let weed sales take place without the government getting their cut?

RMCS_USN on July 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I’m fine with the tax. I have a private grower anyway, and his crop is much superior to the stores. I’m a light user, off and on for 40 years. The higher the tax, the better for the black market, but that will take care of itself.

Our family doctor prescribed pot for my wife 4 years ago. She has chronic pain from a car accident many years ago. Our doctor says pot is safer than Celebrex, which she also prescribed but said to avoid taking as much as possible.

I’m surprised at the ignorance of people who think only liberals smoke pot. Use of pot crosses all political lines, just like alcohol. I have four friends who are self-made multi-millionaires and 30-40 year pot smokers. Three are hard-core conservatives, one is liberal.

Nonsmokers have no idea what’s going on and are living 40 years behind the times.

Voters in Colorado and other states voted for freedom from antiquated laws dealing with a natural plant much less dangerous than alcohol. Everybody that wanted to smoke pot was already smoking it. And that’s many more people than nonsmokers realize.

Meremortal on July 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

what were these idiots thinking? sheesh! they wanted legalized marijuana but didn’t think it would really be taxes like crazy. what morons… cheech and chong comes to mind…

jetch on July 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Funny to see “conservatives” here being fine with taxing stuff, and berating pot smokers on health bases… you’d make perfect bureauweenies if you aren’t already.

Grow your own and make hashish out of it. Fewer impurities, lower smoke intake, cleaner buzz, less bulk.

It’s odd at this point that where weed is more or less legal it is still being sold as weed rather than as hashish.

Akzed on July 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM

One of the things Colorado always had going for it was it’s natural tourism draw for families. A couple of weeks ago, my aunt and uncle went on a Great American Road trip with their grandchildren visiting National Parks and what not. The route home took them through Colorado where they intended to spend 3 or 4 days. (I’ll insert here that they don’t pay alot of attention to politics and trends around the country.)

Their first stop was just after entering Colorado in one of the cute little tourist towns with shops filled with hand crafted items, toys for the kids and lots of homemade fudge. Having been “young” back in the 60′s, they quickly recognized the distinct odor coming from the public park and by the second store were becoming quite concerned. The proprietor told them that his summer business was off significantly because of all the bums that were taken over the public spaces to get stoned and loiter – nice people just don’t want to expose their kids and parents to that kind of thing.

Neither did my aunt and uncle…. they promptly packed the grandkids back in the RV and cancelled their reservations at the RV park. They re-routed themselves out of Colorado as quickly as possible. Makes you wonder how many more folks are going to start removing Colorado from their travels just so they don’t have to deal with the pot heads.

2nd Ammendment Mother on July 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

2nd Ammendment Mother on July 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The interesting (to me) twist here is that the Dems in charge are driving out gun related businesses, while now legalizing and to some degree endorsing pot business.
And my wife and I noted last night, while filling out the application forms for our concealed carry permits, that the form asks whether you use medicinal MJ or other drugs, as well as whether you’ve been treated for alcoholism.

Do you use, grow or possess marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, or are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

Considering the other questions on the form, our conclusion was that if you use MJ, even medicinally, even though it’s now legal, you cannot get a concealed carry permit.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Ed, your “…nor is it necessarily supported by science…statement lacks the seemingly necessary link to support your claim. Could that be because there is NO CREDIBLE study to support your claim? Are you seriously suggesting that marijuana use has equally adverse affects on health than tobacco or alcohol, both which are legal to purchase and consume?

I think a little common-sense trumps today’s politically-motivated “scientific” studies. Don’t you?

Al-Ozarka on July 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Colorado made the mistake of adjusting the price of marijuana from “street” prices that people had payed before to “legitimate” prices when they should have just left it alone.

So the cost of your average bag of mj went down. Even with a 5/10% tax placed on it it’s still inexpensive comparatively to before.

I smoke pot. I like pot. And I’d have absolutely NO problem paying the same amount that I do now if it became legalized and having ALL the extra just go to taxes.

Still, you can’t blame people for not wanting to be taxed at a higher rate than they currently are on any product now, can you???

It’s a stupid thing to fight though. Make an example Coloradans. Contribute MORE than your “fair share”, as a gratitude for the action taken on marijuana, and to show that you CAN offer more than just slow responses and hot pockets. ;)

Tax the firs out of it. Pun intended.

Genuine on July 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Colorado made the mistake of adjusting the price of marijuana from “street” prices that people had payed before to “legitimate” prices when they should have just left it alone.

So the cost of your average bag of mj went down. Even with a 5/10% tax placed on it it’s still inexpensive comparatively to before.

I smoke pot. I like pot. And I’d have absolutely NO problem paying the same amount that I do now if it became legalized and having ALL the extra just go to taxes.

Still, you can’t blame people for not wanting to be taxed at a higher rate than they currently are on any product now, can you???

It’s a stupid thing to fight though. Make an example Coloradans. Contribute MORE than your “fair share”, as a gratitude for the action taken on marijuana, and to show that you CAN offer more than just slow responses and hot pockets. ;)

Tax the fire out of it. Pun intended.

Genuine on July 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Sorry for the double post. Caught the Firs=fire mistake right after I pressed submit and thought I’d caught it quick enough.

New culpa! :)

Genuine on July 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Tax the firs out of it. Pun intended.

Genuine on July 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I don’t smoke anything – pot or tobacco – and never have, but I don’t think pot should be taxed more or less than cigars or cigarettes. As I understand it, the total tax on cigars is around 40% right now. That to me is way too high. To be honest, ALL of these things should only be taxed at the same routine sales tax rate as everything else.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

It’s amazing how much BS gets tossed around just because the topic is marijuana.

David K pointed out in an e-mail to me, is called “weed” for a very good reason.

So you got a contact high and forgot how to fact check?

People still call it weed but not because of its ubiquitous growth potential. This remark is among the more persistent myths surrounding cannabis. It is a throwback to an era wherein wildflowers of all types were more common. This statement was relevant about a hundred years ago.

You can’t just throw seeds anywhere and then smoke what sprouts. You really should research this before making such a dumb statement.

Botany is science. There is data. Use it.

The real challenges will arise from those criminals using federal or state property to harvest crops and avoid paying taxes. Federal tax evasion will likely prove to be a very, very effective weapon against trafficking in the new age of recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Capitalist Hog on July 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

And BTW – the mayor of Denver is a black Democrat – so if you disagreee with his tax plan – you’re a RACIST!!!!!

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

“We believe a 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana will fulfill the city’s needs to effectively regulate and enforce this new law while protecting our children and families….

I guess I should have read further…

Yeah, and that 5% is just a beginning, give ‘em time and it’ll be 15% supposedly to cover the costs of health care, regulation, PSAs and awareness campaigns such is done with taxes on cigarettes.

Once gov’s got a source of tax revenue from willing consumers there is no going back.

And, yes, of course, a reason for legalizing MJ was the prospect of more tax revenues for our free wheeling spenders in government.

hawkeye54 on July 10, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I’m fine with the tax. I have a private grower anyway, and his crop is much superior to the stores. I’m a light user, off and on for 40 years. The higher the tax, the better for the black market, but that will take care of itself.

Meremortal on July 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Not arguing about your smoking, however your comment was the perfect lead in. Yes, you have a private grower. However, the amendment limited the amount that could be grown for “personal use”. If you are growing more than that or distributing, the full weight of the previous narcotics laws falls on him, and you if caught. And it will be aggravated by the fact that now tax revenue is at stake, and they will be looking to drain people like Dracula with the munchies.

The previous black market channels still exist, and they will still be in use. Which means that the drug raids will continue on untaxed pot. We will be still facing the downsides of the previous legal regime, plus a whole new set.

To be honest, the market for recreational marijuana is to a significant extent composed of minors. For whom legal possession is not allowed. Another opening for state action, AND another channel for black market sales.

And there is always going to be a …. reluctance for those of the black market or those “just helping friends” to be ensnared in the tax reporting bureaucracy. The same government that can make it a felony to loan a gun to a friend for a hunting trip or at the range [which the Democrats did last session of the Legislature] can use the same mindset to make it a felony to pass over a joint or a small partially filled baggie.

Even the ever-benevolent, all-powerful,Gaia-loving, Democrat controlled STATE is still the STATE that lives and prospers by extorting from citizens and claims a monopoly on coercive force.

I do not think that it is a matter of conservative HA readers finally finding a tax they support. It is a matter of us understanding the remorseless logic of governance and having a realistic view of what they will do, regardless of party.

I admit to a certain amount of amusement at the shock of realization amongst some supporters of the marijuana legalization initiative. It was well written to be passed, but horribly written for implementation. The reversion to typical stoner reactions has got to be worth a laugh.

Reality: legalization is not going to be all unicorns and cotton candy. Democrats will turn on any group of their supporters with no qualms if money or power are involved. In this, they are no different from Republicans. There still are going to be busts for pot possession/use. The street price for pot was depressed for over a decade because the overwhelming supply met the demand, and even with the premium due to technical illegality; cops concentrated on other drugs so it was easily available and not hugely expensive. Now that it is legal, regulated, and taxed: the street price will rise, the legal price will rise as the government leech seeks ever more, the legal risks will be greater, and the cops will be concentrating on it because there is tax revenue and property confiscation involved.

Subotai Bahadur on July 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Now that it is legal, regulated, and taxed: the street price will rise, the legal price will rise as the government leech seeks ever more, the legal risks will be greater, and the cops will be concentrating on it because there is tax revenue and property confiscation involved.

Subotai Bahadur on July 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

I agreed with most of your essay, but not this. If and when growing large plots for sale and distribution are made legal, the street price will invariably go down. Government may try to artificially inflate the price with taxes in order to seek revenue and discourage habitual use, but those selling on the black market will have to adjust their prices in order to compete with the legal stamp of approval and convenience of going to a store. For example, I don’t find myself eagerly seeking out liquor bootleggers, even though Washington State’s sales and bottle taxes on liquor are obscene.

John the Libertarian on July 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The referendum REQUIRED them to tax pot.

Did nobody read the thing before voting for it? Hell that’s WHY I voted for it.

http://www.leg.state.co.us/LCS/Initiative%20Referendum/1112initrefr.nsf/c63bddd6b9678de787257799006bd391/cfa3bae60c8b4949872579c7006fa7ee/$FILE/Amendment%2064%20-%20Use%20&%20Regulation%20of%20Marijuana.pdf

(d) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL ENACT AN EXCISE TAX TO BE LEVIED UPON MARIJUANA SOLD OR OTHERWISE TRANSFERRED BY A MARIJUANA CULTIVATION FACILITY TO A MARIJUANA PRODUCT MANUFACTURING FACILITY OR TO A RETAIL MARIJUANA STORE AT A RATE NOT TO EXCEED FIFTEEN PERCENT PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 2017 AND AT A RATE TO BE DETERMINED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY THEREAFTER

They’re allowed to go as high as 15% before 2017, with no limit after that… 5% boosting to 10% in a year seems more than reasonable.

gekkobear on July 10, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Tax it the way we tax everything else. Not a tenth-of-a-percentage point less than alcohol.

Jaibones on July 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Tax it the way we tax everything else. Not a tenth-of-a-percentage point less than alcohol.
Jaibones on July 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Actually, in a logical world, alcohol and accidents involving alcohol costs the states and tax payers LIGHT YEARS more per year than marijuana ever could possibly manage when it’s legal, ever. So… If taxes are applied for the sake of offsetting the costs incurred by a product, alcohol should be taxed far FAR higher than marijuana.

Genuine on July 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I agreed with most of your essay, but not this. If and when growing large plots for sale and distribution are made legal, the street price will invariably go down. Government may try to artificially inflate the price with taxes in order to seek revenue and discourage habitual use, but those selling on the black market will have to adjust their prices in order to compete with the legal stamp of approval and convenience of going to a store. For example, I don’t find myself eagerly seeking out liquor bootleggers, even though Washington State’s sales and bottle taxes on liquor are obscene.

John the Libertarian on July 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The “infrastructure” for black market marijuana is well established, ubiquitous, relatively cost inhibitive, and relatively easy to conceal. Also, the quality and variety of the product is fairly uniform by its nature. In “seeking out a liquor bootlegger”, unless you are simply after the basic moonshine, you would find that it differs greatly in every respect.

Market prices would have to come way down (like you, I believe they would) for the tax to be insignificant to the purchaser. Once that price point was found, there would be re-considerations for the farmer to dedicate land for other crops.

Contrary to popular opinion, I believe the amount of land needed to supply the pot heads would be infinitesimal compared to food. The rush to supply marijuana at current prices would quickly be followed by oversupply and a crash in prices.

I predict most farmers returning to traditional products, and the eventual equilibrium of land dedication would result in boutique farmers, akin to ginseng, and a high enough price to keep the well established black market, and their loyal customers dodging this pie-in-the-sky tax revenue “pipe” dream. :)

Saltysam on July 10, 2013 at 9:03 PM