Another Argument for California's Pot Legalization Initiative

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Mytheos Holt of the Independent Voter Network sees a conflict between two initiatives on California's ballot this November. Proposition 19 promises hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year from a levy on newly legal marijuana, while Proposition 26 would require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature to impose new taxes. Holt says this combination would disappoint leftish supporters of Prop. 19:

Since no…marijuana tax currently exists on California's books, the creation of such a thing would first have to pass a 2/3 majority vote in California's legislature if Proposition 26 is passed. And given that anti-tax sentiment in the legislature has historically frustrated this sort of effort, that would in effect make marijuana perhaps the only untaxed drug in California, which, while it would produce a boom in the marijuana industry, would also give purveyors of tobacco and alcohol incentives to seek similar tax breaks for their good.

Thus, the issue of marijuana legalization, while it would satisfy the demands of its more libertarian-minded supporters, would likely end in disappointment for progressives who would like to see the drug taxed and regulated, especially given that regulation is costly, and without revenue, unlikely to be popular and/or feasible.

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  1. Wow, that would be the most awesome coup to get both of those passed together.

  2. Thus, the issue of marijuana legalization, while it would satisfy the demands of its more libertarian-minded supporters, would likely end in disappointment for progressives who would like to see the drug taxed and regulated, especially given that regulation is costly, and without revenue, unlikely to be popular and/or feasible.

    Isn’t this kind of a backhanded admission that the progressives aren’t concerned about the human toll of the drug war, but just want more tax revenue to hand to public employee unions?

    1. I thought that was pretty obvious from the get go, and no one tried to claim otherwise.

  3. the issue of marijuana legalization, while it would satisfy the demands of its more libertarian-minded supporters, would likely end in disappointment for progressives who would like to see the drug taxed and regulated

    This would be so very delicious. And then watch the “pro-legalization” progressives suddenly find the dangers in pot that require it to be more heavily taxed and regulated.

    1. Teh Childrens. Unquestionably.

      1. No, no. Unregulated pot can poison you!

        1. And what about the dangers presented by non-union pot growers and processors? One of them will surely be trampled without the union.

          1. I guess that makes you a scab, then?

            1. “Ain’t no scab,
              Gonna tear our union down!”

    2. It’s almost as good as the judge using the 10th for a pro-gay marriage ruling. (Regardless of how you feel on that particular issue, any libertarian should have been able to appreciate the way that wound up both Reps and Dems.)

  4. Assuming both initiatives pass, I still think you’d have little problem getting 2/3 of the legislature to agree on a reefer levy.

    1. I doubt it. Conservatives rarely have any issue passing sin taxes, regardless of how much they hate liberals. Now, if the state democrats try tacking on a whole bunch of other property taxes, registration fees and other crap onto the bill, Conservatives might find their fur brushed backwards about that.

      1. “I’d like to tack on this rider that takes $200 million from the marijuana tax fund for the preverted arts.”

    2. Actually, there is already a requirement that 2/3 of the legislature have to vote in favor of a tax hike in order to pass it. Prop. 26 leaves that in, while taking away the 2/3 requirement to pass the budget.

      It is important to clear that up, so people can in good conscience vote NO on PROP 26.

      1. Thanks, my first thought was: “Doesn’t Prop. 13 already impose a 2/3 requirement for new taxes?”

  5. Liberals are all for trying to get pot legalized, and gay marriage should be up to the states – and for once (twice?), they’re right – but these same liberals bitch and moan if a state wants to opt out of Obamacare, claiming suddenly (and hypocritically) that states cannot defy the federal government.

    I could use a joint.

    1. There’s nothing inconsistent with that train of thought. Why do you hate Logic, Lib Guy?

      1. Only we leftists are capable of logic! Go suck Ron Paul’s cock, LG!

        1. I got left out! Another example of the rich white capitalist power base abusing the working man!

  6. that would in effect make marijuana perhaps the only untaxed drug in California

    Oh, horror.

    1. Uh, it already is untaxed.

        1. No it’s not. Any extra cost or obligation or liability that results from government action is a tax, regardless of whether it’s styled as one.

          Income tax = tax

          Licensing fees = tax

          Black market margin on reefer = tax

          Substance over form, friends.

  7. Exposes the pitfalls of selling marijuana as a medicine or a tax generator. How about a California proposition that asks simply: Do we own our own bodies or what? Yes or no.

    1. How about a California proposition that asks simply: Do we own our own bodies or what? Yes or no

      What happens when the majority votes ‘no’?

      1. Its time to go abuse yourself like a $10 whore. That way there won’t be anything left for the collective.

      2. I’d be willing to take my chances. But I think the two “own’s” stack the deck in our favor.

  8. Perhaps.

  9. Resistance was futile. You have all been assimilated. Welcome to the Collective. You’ll get the cool sci fi gadgets in a few hundred years.

  10. And given that anti-tax sentiment in the legislature has historically frustrated this sort of effort, that

    Dumb. There’s no reason to think an mj tax wouldn’t have broad support.

  11. Give me a break. Gather up our progressive overlords who never met a tax they didn’t like, then mix in our social conservative overlords who never pass up a chance to scold and interfere with personal freedoms, and you don’t think they will get a 2/3 vote to tax MJ? They will be backslapping and tickling each others balls over their bipartisanship on this one, that is certain.

  12. The money-raising argument has been, at best, secondary all along. The money-saving argument is much more important. And the idea that people should be able to toke on whatever smoke they prefer is really all that should be needed.

  13. We can dream can’t we?
    Well if the numbers are correct or even close then pot should definatly be legal and taxed. Emagine that if California who suggests that the revenue would be 1.4 billion a year, revenue is profit right? Ok so they legalize it, the profit from the first year would go into a fund, at the end of the year divide every person who bought pot and paid the tax into that and send them a check for half, like the stimulus checks, then divide every other person living there that was born in the usa into the remaining balance and send them their checks everyone in California would be rich. After the first year the government then could use the profit to help its economy. What would Californias economy be like if no one was poor? At least those that were born in our great country? Then do that in all other states, what the hell, they can wait one year before taking the profits. 1.4 billion in profit, 40 million or so in population you do the math. after the first year the people wanting pot could even be able to afford it, how great would that be? No stealing to get pot money!!

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