San Francisco has had to suspend collecting tax on marijuana because the rate of taxation added to the regulatory mess has made legal pot more expensive than the more traditional black-market material.
Even though the illegal dealers – in volume at least – still face the costs of possible arrest, confiscation of stock and even destruction of their growing fields, the government has managed that feat of making legal more expensive than illegal.
As the National Desk reports, “suspending the business tax on cannabis will help support legal cannabis retailers as they struggle to compete with illegal cannabis sellers.” The entire point of legalization was to make cannabis more available to consumers – something that clearly hasn’t happened. Possibly proof of Ronald Reagan’s warning that the most dangerous words in the languages are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Don’t forget, he was governor of California. He knew.
It’s a larger warning, however. The progressive ideal of government is that it does everything, in great detail. There’s no doubt at all that there are some things which must be done and which can only be done by the government. But everything doesn’t require such attention – and certainly not in such detail. For here we have that example. The progressive government designed, from the ground up, that legal cannabis market. They designed the taxation, the rules, the regulations, issue the licenses, everything. They own it – and it doesn’t work.
Managing to make a market worse and more expensive than gang-run anarchic illegality takes some doing but they’ve managed it. Now think of an America where everything is this way. Welcome to that progressive vision of the future.