There have been a number of arguments to legalize recreational marijuana over the years. I am not going to get into the right or wrong of legalization, but I am going to post an article about a not-so-inevitable outcome of that legalization in California.
On Saturday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about some recent problems in California that are the result of legalizing marijuana so that the state government could tax it.
The article reports:
How many industries have been damaged or destroyed by high taxes and excessive regulation? A lot. But I have mixed feelings about this one: California cannabis industry on brink as buyers return to dealers.
The cannabis industry in California is on the brink of collapse because of high taxes and onerous regulations that have burdened legal operators and allowed illegal growers to flourish, campaigners have warned.
About 75 per cent of cannabis consumed in the state comes from illegal sources, industry figures say. They blame taxes, too much regulation and a failure to tackle illegal competition, which is free from red tape and able to offer cannabis at much lower prices.
Marijuana is cheap and easy to grow. Legal sellers complain that police do little to enforce the laws against illegal dope, but once the government declares marijuana to be A-OK, there isn’t much reason to prioritize a crackdown on those who sell a legal product but dodge taxes. The case against legalized marijuana having been abandoned, legal sellers are in somewhat the same position as the taxi companies who tried to get Uber and Lyft banned in various cities.
The article notes that the marijuana industry is trying to get tax relief. Obviously, if legalizing marijuana was done to raise tax revenue, seeking tax relief goes against the whole reason for legalizing it. Having the police crackdown on people who are growing marijuana at home for their own personal use makes about as much sense as arresting someone for growing five tobacco plants in their backyard.