Marijuana taxes: If they're too high, they'll empower black market, says task force member

marijuana in bong 205x205.jpg
In coverage of last week's final Amendment 64 task force meeting, our Charles Trowbridge noted that in addition to a recommendation about a 15 percent excise tax at the wholesale level, an idea about a 25 percent point-of-sale tax was also floated. Task force member Christian Sederberg stresses that the sales-tax notion wasn't an official recommendation, and he opposed its inclusion as a suggested option -- because he fears that if tax rates are too high, the underground pot market might continue to thrive.

Sederberg, who represented the Amendment 64 campaign on the task force, felt fine about the excise-tax recommendation.

"The amendment contemplated an excise tax of up to 15 percent," he points out. "So obviously, the drafters felt like such a tax would be acceptable up to the 15 percent level."

christian sederberg.jpg
Christian Sederberg.
But, he adds, "additional taxes are where the real concern arises."

How so? "A sales tax burden added to the total tax burden of either the consumer or the producer/retailer could create a situation that empowers the underground market instead of reducing it," he believes.

He didn't keep this view to himself. "During the task force's last meeting, I spoke strongly against a 25 percent sales tax, or really any number, without there being a lot more information about where to strike that balance. And I referred to the end of alcohol prohibition and the approach taken by President Roosevelt and his team.

"Initially, their goal was to undercut the underground market, and then raise taxes when the time was appropriate at a later date."

This argument wound up being persuasive to some degree, since the task force as a whole didn't recommend a 25 percent sales tax. However, he goes on, "it became a dissenting opinion." The task force members who supported such a sales tax "wanted to incorporate it as a possible suggestion. I was against that, too: I thought it was inappropriate for us to come up with a number if we didn't have all the information we needed about how the number would impact underground markets and consumer prices. And the whole purpose of the amendment was to replace the underground market with a regulated market."

In the end, Sederberg says, "there was not a suggestion of a 25 percent sales tax. It was just an illustration included in the recommendation that a sales tax be considered."

Does that mean the Amendment 64 campaign will oppose any sales tax when the Colorado General Assembly tackles the chore of passing a law to enact the measure? No.

Continue for more about marijuana sales taxes and the Amendment 64 task force.



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105 comments
tutonehcc
tutonehcc

I'm gonna get high, so legally high!

gwe22
gwe22

haven't they heard of the taxpayer bill of rights?  state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval and cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth without the voter approval.  this will be decided in court.

Kevin Richards
Kevin Richards

Then they aren't really conservatives, are they Skid?

Dan Goble
Dan Goble

It really seems that law makers just cant get this one right!

Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn

Marijuana has been easy to obtain for as long as I can remember and I am 65 and have lived on the east coast and in the rocky Mountains area. So, if they make what has come down in price more expensive again there will be automatic openings for a black market that has dried up in recent years in Co.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

I also think the high tax rate is a necessary evil at this point to maintain its legality. It wouldn't remain at that level forever. But with this historic law passing, I'm for whatever keeps it legal on the books for now. The more money the state makes, the more other states will follow suit and we can start to see sweeping national progress. Baby steps remember.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

I got sick of buying weed from shady people in Ohio for years. Tax the duck out of it for all I care. Just get the paranoid monkey off my back...

Skid Jarrett Gilmore
Skid Jarrett Gilmore

I missed the part of the article where the conservatives on the task force were against 25% tax on it, Bret.

Bret Egan
Bret Egan

Leave it to liberals to tax something to extinction.

Matt Thyer
Matt Thyer

If you can buy it from "illegitimate" for considerably less, wouldn't you? Its a weed folks, that's why we call it "weed".

PourHouse PubDenver
PourHouse PubDenver

Tax it like tobacco and regulate it like alcohol, with the associated penalties intact, using staffing already in place in those agencies - or repurpose the drug enforcement people currently chasing down illegal substances and place them in the regulatory agency...seems like the logical thing to do without building a whole new regulatory infrastructure and all the associated cost... By the way, just a functional suggestion - not saying anything about use/nonuse at all...

Rich Carollo
Rich Carollo

Lets see pay 25% or 0 to your neighbor? Not a hard decision. In their greed these legislators who champion this will force people's hands

Tony Soto
Tony Soto

For sure. What do they think will happen? Idiots!

Mish Desmarais
Mish Desmarais

Yes, especially since everyone will be able to grow. If you wanted to keep the black market robust, this was the way to do it.

Case
Case

Stupid Stoner Sederberg, Math-Challenged Lawyer Extraordinaire, continues the lies of the A64 pot pimps: "The amendment contemplated an excise tax of up to 15 percent." 

News flash, Sederberg! Your A64 allows the government to set an UNLIMITED tax on marijuana. As our wise friend Donkey Hotay so eloquently points out, this is the same government regulators and jack-booted thugs that have been successfully running the Drug War against pot smokers for over 75 years. You f*cks wrote it, now once again, you are back-pedalling and LYING that you didn't really intend it to work out this way.

55% of voters TRUSTED YOU when you promoted A64 as "legalization". Now they are getting screwed in the ass because of that trust, and all you can do is LIE.

For those too young to know, the prohibition of marijuana started with a PROHBITIVE TAX on marijuana, because the government knew they couldn't legally outlaw marijuana outright. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively outlawed marijuana. All A64 is, is a continuation of this prohibition through taxes, with extra funding for more law enforcement goons thrown in.

Wake up, sheeples! Until you see that Sederberg and all the A64 pot pimps are really promoting the new prohibition and not legalization at all, you will continue to get f*cked up the ass and have your blood drawn forcibly, all because you were too foolish to recognize the wolf in sheep's clothing that is our "kinder, gentler" A64 Prohibition through Taxes.

JimTom
JimTom

It doesn't matter what price or tax they apply, I will still have better, cheaper and cleaner weed than any retail shop. Aren't there still moonshiners out there making lots of money on untaxed liquor?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@gwe22  ... haven't you heard that A64 and the fools that voted for it, EXPLICITLY authorized and demanded that The Legislature create a New Excise Tax on Marijuana, and that the first $40 MILLION of that tax go to schools ?

The Voters HAVE Spoken -- Tax the Shit out of Marijuana!! -- do it for The Children !!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Wayne DeNucci  ... Where own ? .


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Stephen At Half Aspen 

A64 made sure that the Personal Cultivation Limits were so pathetically puny -- 3 (three) flowering plants, indoors only -- that citizens would not be able to grow a continuous sustainable self-sufficient supply ... forcing them to purchase overpriced, overtaxed retail schwag from greedy big $$ dispensary pigs.

A64 = the New Criminal Prohibition, with extra Regulations, Laws, Discrimination and Taxes added for fun!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Dan Goble ... good thing that the Stupid Stoners SURRENDERED TOTAL CONTROL of Marijuana over to those Lawmakers via the rancid turd that is A64, eh?

*** REGULATION WORKS! ... bend over and get REGULATED, chumps! ***

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jack Quinn  ... correct right up to the last phrase.

The Black Market in Colorado is as strong as ever ... thanks to the REGULATIONS, RESTRICTIONS, TAXES and extreme EXPENSES imposed by the Legislature.

The Black Market can ALWAYS undercut the Retail Dispensaries.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ed Haas "I also think the high tax rate is a necessary evil at this point to maintain its legality."

Spoken like a true Spineless Statist Sycophant.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ed Haas "I got sick of buying weed from shady people..."

Because cool dealers wouldn't have anything to do with someone like you.

hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Bret Egan  .... leave it to stupid stoners to tax themselves to the point of failure.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Scruffy Murphy  ... what part of a "harmless plant that never killed anyone" needs to be regulated LIKE Deadly Alcohol that harms, maims and kills 10s of THOUSANDS of people every year ??


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Case 

A64 = the New Prohibition ... with Extra Regulations and Taxes added for fun!


Meet the New Drug Cops ... same as the Old Drug Cops ... only they begin counting at 29 grams and 4 plants  ...

... or the same 0 / 0 if you're under 21.



stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay"Indoors only" is a LIE.

"pathetically puny 3 (flowering) plants...."

cbsdenver.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/tim-blake.jpg

There's FOUR, in vegetation. 6 is the Colorado limit, with 3 flowering at any given time.

donkeysucks
donkeysucks

@DonkeyHotay I can pull a pound a plant if you can smoke 3 pounds in a 8 week period then yes it would not be enough. If you know how to grow and do it right you can make a three plant yield last until your next pull. Maybe you should learn how to grow instead of on the computer talking stupid shit idiot.

Case
Case

@DonkeyHotayUntil it becomes cheaper to produce pot under these new regulations, there will always be a black market of people who are willing to risk jail to make some money. And with all these new targets registering their dope operations with the state, it will be much easier to bust them than it will be to bust the black market. Why would the cops bother with an expensive and difficult undercover investigation to bust someone, when all these stupid "legal" stoners are giving them their surveillance data and illegal transactions in confessions signed, sealed and delivered directly to the cops?

It should now become even less likely your black market dealer will ever be busted, with all these easy targets to go after. Cops, like everyone else, don't want to work more than they have to.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay  = Another pair of Big Fat Lies  from the Jackass!

Your boyfriend Kevin Sabet would be proud of your hysterical propaganda efforts

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 ... that picture you keep posting would be ILLEGAL under A64.

A64 does NOT allow Outside Growing.

You = failing again.


stuka1
stuka1

@donkeysucks PWNS the Jackass with more TRUTH!

...and the Jackass laughs at Sederberg's math.  What a tool.

 And don't forget that while that one 3-plant set is flowering, there is another that is vegetating. And as soon as the first 3-plant set is HARVESTED, another 3-plant set can be started. Rinse and repeat over and over, year-round if you've got an indoor grow.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Case 

... only the Slaves who survived past the age of 21 could possess any items. 

... and it would be illegal for Slaves to sell any of their items to another person. 


Case
Case

@DonkeyHotay And each slave could only own six items at one time, with only three or fewer items being worth more than $500. But, you know, eventually over time they would be able to own more than 6 items each.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Case ... if the Founding Fathers took "baby steps" like this ... the Negro Slaves would still be singing God Save the King.



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