Legalization advocates are a rare breed: they can’t wait for the day when they will be allowed to pay more taxes. But how should marijuana be taxed? That’s a good question, or rather, a series of messy questions. (And maybe you can help answer one of them: read on.)
First question: What do you tax? The selling price or the weight of what’s sold?
A percent of the selling price is easy to implement, but the revenues from such a tax could plummet if the economies of large-scale production and more efficient distribution bring about a (much hoped-for) price collapse.
Taxing by weight would provide the state with a more secure revenue stream. But that brings us to the next question: The weight of what? Do you tax marijuana, hash and hash oil at the same rate, or do you create different tax rates for different products? What will be the tax rate for products developed in the future?
A third choice, taxing by THC content, would permit taxing different cannabis products by a single standard, and seemingly the fairest one: how much mind-altering goodness they contain. But the amount of expensive testing involved makes that choice impractical for now.
However the tax is structured, one thing is certain: If taxes rise beyond a certain point, many buyers will stick with the black market. What is that point? You tell us. A one-question poll about how great a tax you would pay on an ounce of legal marijuana has been posted on masscann.org. All you eager taxpayers out there are invited to help answer a crucial question: How high a tax would you actually pay?