Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taxing Marijuana

In Oregon, where pot is sort of* legal, i.e. for "medicinal" uses, the cash-strapped state has come up with am idea: Tax it.

Sponsored by Rep. Ron Maurer, R-Grants Pass, House Bill 3274 imposes a $98-per-ounce tax, which would cover the state's cost of operating and securing the production center.
*First off, I have to point out that the federal government thinks that pot is still illegal, although I hear the prez is looking to fix this.
(Day by Day, great webcomic)

Second off, that production cost of $98/oz seems a bit high for a center that will supply every pot head in the state with government-grown weed. I guess the staff costs will be up there if you count 3 shifts of armed (union) guards, OSHA inspectors, electrical inspectors, agricultural inspectors, inspector inspectors, and the governors neer-do-well cousin, all working under the watchful eye of a cabinet-level appointee. The posting of a lifetime for a summer intern, no? I'm sure it will produce the kind of high-quality product and service that makes the DMV everybody's favorite agency.

I have to come out against this on principle. After all, it is NEVER a good idea to give the government money. As P.J.O'Rourke notes, this is akin to giving teenage boys whiskey and car keys.

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