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Marijuana: To Tax or Not to Tax
By Ploy C
Over the years people’s perception on the idea of legalizing marijuana has evolved. Twenty states have legalized marijuana for medical use. Maine, Washington, and Colorado are the only three states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. On November 5, 2013, the people of Colorado voted on Proposition AA, which was passed by over 60%. As of right now, Colorado allows adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana. One restriction is that they can only purchase one ounce at a time, but are allowed to grow their own marijuana at home.
Proposition AA enacts a tax that has a 25% levy on marijuana. After recreational marijuana was legalized, this high tax was voted into place. The revenue brought in is put toward regulating and enforcing marijuana laws and funding education. Or so they say.
To look more into the opinion of citizens, I talked to Harrison Haverlock, a senior at Ithaca High School, who is thoughtful on the subject. I also spoke with a former medical marijuana grower, Tim, from California. (Listen to the story for full interviews)
Now, I think this 25% tax levy in Colorado is a great idea. More focus should be put on education, and that is exactly what the revenues brought in will do. Although taxing is a good idea, it may be too high, making it so there is a risk of the black market coming back. A black market is exactly what law-makers were trying to avoid, so the very high tax might just defeat Proposition AA’s purpose. However, since marijuana can be grown at home, the chances of the black market coming back would be slightly less.
So, what effect will putting such a high tax on marijuana have? Will it push people back to the black market, or will it pay for itself through the tax?