That is a mantra that always accompanies any discussion about legalizing pot. Americans seem to take it for granted that anything that isn’t necessary for survival is a luxury that should be taxed. If it involves a perceived vice, it’s almost as if guilt takes over and a subconscious need for punishment kicks in.
Colorado’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force seems to be taking this concept to heart. From reason.com:
The Denver Post reports that the task force wants marijuana to be heavily taxed. Amendment 64 calls for an excise tax collected at the wholesale level “not to exceed 15 percent prior to January 1, 2017, and at a rate to be determined by the General Assembly thereafter.” The task force says the initial rate should be the full 15 percent and recommends a special tax at the retail level on top of that, in addition to the standard state and local sales taxes. “Though the task force did not endorse a specific amount for the sales tax,” the Post says, “it gave a 25 percent rate as an example.” Both taxes would have to be approved by voters.
I can’t help but worry that if the drug war ever ends, the government will find a way of making legalization even worse than the drug war. High taxes may ultimately result in a black market for legal pot just as high taxes perpetuate a black market in alcohol and tobacco. It must be some kind of chicken and egg thing. Do people get stupid after becoming affiliated with government or do they have to be stupid to get into government in the first place?