Out of Control Policy Blog

Taxing and Regulating Recreational Marijuana in CO, WA (AUDIO)

I recently appeared on the Tax Policy Podcast hosted by Richard Morrison, Manager of Communications at the Tax Foundation, to discuss taxing and regulating recreational marijuana in Colorado (Amendment 64) and Washington State (Initiative 502). The roughly fifteen minute interview covers a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Providing background on marijuana policy issues in Colorado;
  • Defining the language, regulatory and tax concerns of Amendment 64 within the context of implementation;
  • Explaining the challenges of formalizing the recreational marijuana industry;
  • Comparing repealing prohibition of alcohol to marijuana;
  • Highlighting federal and state concerns that may inhibit implementation; and much more.

Listen to the full interview online (MP3 audio file) here.

To clarify one comment I made in the interview, technically the Oregon's Measure 80 would not have created state owned and operated stores. However, it would have put strong state controls in place, including price setting, the summary of the certified ballot reads:

Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use is permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes "hemp" from "marijuana"; prohibits regulation of hemp. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies, medical research facilities, and to qualified adults for profit through state-licensed stores. Ninety percent of net goes to state general fund, remainder to drug education, treatment, hemp promotion. Bans sales to, possession by minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit, minors barred. Commission regulates use, sets prices, other duties; Attorney General to defend against federal challenges/prosecutions. Provides penalties. Effective January 1, 2013; other provisions.

For more on this issue, see Reason Foundation's drug policy research archive here.


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Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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