This year marks a turning point in the crusade to legalize marijuana. Beginning last week, the state of Colorado became the first state in the nation to establish a system for legal development and selling of marijuana. Washington State is slated to license more than 300 pot shops sometime in the next several months.
Furthermore, the polls continue to show growing support for the legalization of marijuana. The latest surveys show a majority of Americans endorsing the concept of making marijuana legal. In 1969, only 12 percent said they wanted marijuana legal, compared to 58 percent today.
The biggest question now is: what next? Should the federal and state governments legislate and tax marijuana? Even proponents of marijuana legalization continue to promote the idea of taxing marijuana to fund government expenditures. Heck, the supposed anti-tax crusader and libertarian-leaning Republican Grover Norquist thinks a tax should be applied, despite the pledge made by his group, the Americans for Tax Reform: “I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
Norquist told the National Journal in October that it’s not a tax increase and likened marijuana to cigarette and alcohol taxes.
“That’s not a tax increase. It’s legalizing an activity and having the traditional tax applied to it,” explained Norquist. “When you legalize something and more people do more of it, and the government gets more revenue because there’s more of it … that’s not a tax increase. The tax goes from 100 percent, meaning it’s illegal, to whatever the tax is.”
It’s safe to say that genuine libertarians – Rothbardians, if you will – differ from Norquist.
First, if Norquist were a true anti-tax crusader than he would advocate eliminating federal and state taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Secondly, he would oppose any tax on marijuana. Third, any steep taxes on marijuana will just lead to another underground economy, much like cigarettes. This means, the marijuana movement will move back to its initial state.
Once the government gets its hands on any commodity then the taxes and excessive regulations will never cease and perhaps exacerbate as time goes by. Marijuana should most certainly be legalized because adults should be responsible for themselves and be permitted to consume anything they like as long as they don’t force it onto others.
Therefore, eliminate the terrible laws against marijuana and allow adults to use it if they want to, but don’t tax marijuana if you’re in support of the efforts of the marijuana movement.