Will Legal Cannabis Live Up to the Tax Hype?
In her column for The New York Times, Ginia Bellafante questions whether legal cannabis will generate tax and social justice windfalls in New York — citing the work of Jonathan Caulkins and the Marron Institute's Mark Kleiman.
I asked Mark Kleiman, of the Marron Institute at New York University and one of the most sought-after experts on drug policy in the country, what the future looked like. He foresaw a world in which pot, legal in ever more states and eventually at the national level, will get cheaper and cheaper. The expected tax windfalls would become less likely, unless pot is taxed at the level of potency rather than sale price. The trend toward vaping means there will be greater demand for oil, and if you can melt everything down for oil, pot will be less expensive to produce, because at that point you can grow it like corn.
“You can produce all the intoxicant used in a year on 40,000 acres,’’ Mr. Kleiman said. “That’s 20 family farms in Iowa.” Eventually a joint could cost a nickel; Nabisco will take over edibles. “You will have pot grown in Iowa, processed by Cargill and sold by Amazon,” Mr. Kleiman said. “No one will make money except Jeff Bezos, who always makes money.”