By: Ryan Pettigrew
Criminals in Colorado took a collective sigh of relief when Proposition AA passed on Tuesday, adding an extremely high tax to marijuana, which was previously legalized in the state. Part of the tax does create a huge loophole which renders it ineffective, only taxing the wholesale value when most shops grow their own, but it’s the mentality that resuscitated criminal profits. The wholesale industry was killed by the tax but it became obvious that Colorado politicians are going to squeeze the legitimate businesses right out of the industry.
In addition to the 10% sales tax and 15% wholesale tax, local areas are allowed to get their greedy little hands on the profits too, and it’s almost a given that they will. Black Market marijuana dealers were almost forced to go out of business with the legalization, or traffic their product out of state, but the new taxes just provided new opportunity for them. The higher the tax rates rise for marijuana, the more expensive the product gets, and that opens the door for Black Market marijuana dealers to undercut legitimate businesses.
Supporters of the bill argue that consumers will gladly pay higher prices for legitimacy but they’re overlooking the obvious. In Colorado, it’s not illegal to buy or possess marijuana, only to sell it. So consumers are at no risk buying it from Black Marketers, and since they previously purchased it this way, they still have their dealer on speed dial.
If drug dealers wanted to be in the lime light, I’m sure their shout out would go something like this: “I wanna give a shout out to the greedy politicians and ignorant citizens who voted for this bill; because without you, I’d be out of business.”