Drug Law

Legal Marijuana in California May Not be Cash Cow

| by Reason Foundation

By Jacob Sullum

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.