I know the revenue aspect is part of what makes this palatable to some people, but I hate the dichotomous play of a) recognizing that marijuana is not that harmful and responsible, autonomous adults should have the liberty of using it if they want, while b) saying that marijuana is evil and dangerous and should be taxed and regulated more severely than just about any other consumer good.
I don't know, is that really any better or worse than other "immoral" goods. The excise tax on cigarettes in NY is like $5/pack or about 50% of the cost of a pack and something like half of NH's revenue comes from cigarette taxes. WA privatized their liquor stores last summer and imposed something like a 25% increase in taxes and fees iirc. And here in PA they charge casinos 55% of all slot proceeds which led to more gambling revenue here than even NV (for fuck's sake). So while I agree with you incredulity, I don't know that this is much different than the way any other state would handle it (especially during budget crises).
And of course, this tax will be directly passed on to the consumer (as all producer taxes are). But here's the key: eliminating prohibition and the risk premium paid on a black market product would still make the legalized and taxed version cheaper than it is now. Production costs decline will decline due to a legitimate market, economies of scale, specialization, etc. All of that leads to a more affordable good (who knew? oh wait...)
A little thought experiment: let's use whatapiper's figures - 25% wholesale tax and a $1000 annual fee (I'll ignore the $250 one time application fee). I'm gonna pull the rest of the numbers out of my ass to make the point (aren't you in marketing though? you should know this shit). Now, I have no idea what the whole cost per pound or the distribution costs or what a reasonable markup would be, but below is a back of the envelope sketch that shows all in the cost per ounce is still about $100 discount from what I would pay for an ounce now (allegedly
). I mean, the production costs per pound would have to be $1750 to what an ounce of nug costs in Philly now, and that's assuming my completely made up assumptions are in the ballpark (again, I'd argue that they'd be lower as the technology gets better). And to whatapiper's comment about quality, I think it's much more likely that quality would be as good if not even improve as new techniques and innovation lead to better strains and even wider selection (think microbrews once they eased craft brewery restrictions).
The point of all this is (obviously) taxes are stupid, but not nearly as dumb as prohibition which has far more wide reaching economical (not to mention unjust societal) consequences.
It's just too damn bad that none of this really matters because the federal gov'ts hands are tied, regardless of who wins on Tuesday amiright?
|Cost per pound|| || ||$1,000|
|Distribution (per lb)||50|
|Total per pound||4,114|
|Total per ounce||257|