The Time Has Come for a Transpartisan ‘Repeal’ Caucus

“The federal government’s decadeslong war on marijuana, one of the most life-mangling policies ever enacted, could be ended with a single sentence: The Controlled Substances Act shall not apply to marijuana.

Put it in a bill, vote on the bill, pass the bill, sign the bill, done. Much of the federal government’s drug war law enforcement machinery would grind to a halt. No legislative horse-trading, no Christmas tree–style gifts to favored constituencies, no giving old bureaucracies new responsibilities. Just the simple and urgent removal of the legal justification for grievous government harm.

This elegant approach, redolent of the 21st Amendment’s repeal of federal alcohol prohibition, is untenable to big-government lifers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.), as Jacob Sullum has repeatedly detailed in these pages. But it’s the shortest line to a point where a supermajority of Americans want policy to be. And it’s a template that could and should be used, at every level of government, by every flavor of politician.”

The War on Weed Continues in California, Which Supposedly Legalized Marijuana Six Years Ago

“The cannabis industry, of course, remains completely illegitimate in the eyes of the federal government. That means anyone who grows or distributes marijuana in California, even with the state’s approval, is committing federal felonies every day. But even though President Joe Biden wants to keep it that way, he has promised not to interfere with states that reject marijuana prohibition. So why are the feds not only busting marijuana merchants in California but doing so in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies?

The explanation, as you may have surmised, is that these particular marijuana merchants were breaking state law as well as federal law. Their businesses were not just “illegal” but also “unlicensed.” Yet the fact that unlicensed pot dealers continue to thrive in California is testimony to the ways in which the state has botched legalization. Most local governments do not allow recreational sales, and even those that do frequently impose caps that artificially limit the supply. Bureaucratic barriers, costly regulations, and high taxes are daunting deterrents for weed dealers who otherwise might be inclined to go legit.

Those burdens, combined with local bans, explain why unlicensed sales still account for about two-thirds of the marijuana purchased in California. As a recent report from Reason Foundation (which publishes Reason) notes, California has one licensed recreational outlet per 29,282 residents, compared to one per 13,838 in Colorado and one per 6,145 in Oregon. Worse, the report adds, California’s stores are distributed unevenly across the state, leading to “massive cannabis deserts” where “consumers have no access to a legal retailer within a reasonable distance of their home.””

Modest Tax Relief Comes to California’s Cannabis Growers

“One of California’s many oppressive taxes on the cannabis industry has been laid to rest. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law A.B. 195, which eliminates the state’s cultivation tax.

California’s cultivation tax, unique among the states that have legalized marijuana sales, forced growers to pay the state for each ounce of cannabis grown. This tax was separate from the state’s 15 percent excise tax and state and local sales taxes.

Because the cultivation tax rate was automatically indexed to inflation, it had actually been increasing thanks to the state of the economy. Anybody attempting to legally grow marijuana shouldered a heavy tax burden, which then flowed downstream to consumers, many of whom realized it was cheaper to continue purchasing marijuana on the black market. The end result: two-thirds of marijuana purchases in the Golden State take place through unlicensed vendors. Because it’s so expensive to grow legally, illegal grow operations abound within the state, leading to more police raids, arrests, and prosecutions, not to mention corrupt practices among local governments who have the power to pick and choose which businesses can open up shop legally.”

“A.B. 195 also bends the knee to the state’s labor unions by reducing the threshold from 20 to 10 employees to require that aspiring licensees enter into a labor peace agreement with a qualifying labor organization. A labor peace agreement is a deal between a business and a labor union that the business will not oppose a unionization effort and the union will not encourage strikes or work stoppages. Making it a mandatory requirement in order to get a license essentially gives labor unions a type of veto power over who can and can’t operate a marijuana business. These agreements also, by their nature, require both sides to waive certain rights under the federal National Labor Relations Act.”

Gov. Newsom Proposes Eliminating One of California’s Many Marijuana Taxes

“When Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and sales back in 2016, the industry ended up saddled with state and local taxes that make it inordinately costly to attempt to sell or buy cannabis legally. As a result, the black market for marijuana still dominates sales in a state where it’s legal to buy it. Industry analysts estimate about $8 billion in black market marijuana sales annually in California—double the amount of marijuana purchased through licensed dispensaries.

The cultivation tax has been consistently eyed by industry analysts as a problem. This particular tax is unique among agricultural products in California, and due to the legislation passed in 2017 to establish tax authorities, it’s regularly adjusted for inflation. As a result, cultivation tax rates actually increased at the start of 2022 despite this big black market problem.

The high cost of attempting to cultivate marijuana has both given cannabis farmers second thoughts and has fostered a whole new drug war as state and local law enforcement officers raid illegal grow operations out in the rural and uninhabited parts of the state. Legislators even passed a new law adding more potential criminal penalties for those arrested for “aiding and abetting” any unlicensed dealers.”

“It’s good news that Newsom is proposing eliminating the cultivation tax. He may be doing it in the hopes that the state will make more money, but California residents will also benefit from cheaper legal options. And if this makes it easier for people to grow cannabis legally, there will hopefully be fewer raids and enforcement operations in the future.”

Why Should a Drug be Illegal or Legal? Part Three: Costs and Benefits of Implementing Drug Bans: Video Sources

I used to support legalizing all drugs. Then the opioid epidemic happened. German Lopez. 2017 9 12. Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/4/20/15328384/opioid-epidemic-drug-legalization Dopesick Reinforces These Pernicious Misconceptions About Opioids, Addiction, and Pain Treatment Jacob Sullum. 2021 11 17. Reason. Two Courts Debunk Widely Accepted Opioid

Why Should a Drug be Illegal or Legal? Part Two: Harm to Others: Video Sources

Substance Use and Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-Analytic Review 2016. Bryan M. Cafferky, Marcos Mendez, Jared R. Anderson, and Sandra M. Stith. Psychology of Violence. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/59511278/Cafferky_201820190604-60960-qtu1qv-with-cover-page-v2.pdf?Expires=1643220750&Signature=JmFWS~QkCg86Icul9oqw-3Sz9j5uO~LzKP~HsVRSKQtNbZcNthwDy3nCgpG9yKXqPN2J2hs4tBs5pXVaD7cqLr9OXk9MDuEs37O1A0-c1-ZxX7EWjD16pZdSF3uKci5vDn4Geu2DhSduZ-Jqd~qkfmjK~NJybrESL7vvuiyszzVMhd~XjwQUQKw-PDdYiOY8qMD4oA~ecbZKCSVF~Rmxm5aFaYmnHAtWJb6Xc221n2SG5db3vXeECkCW3Ym09t7YAkY2b-Sg~sjKhHe3vGbUVcPkSj3aMKjsjBuA~mGK6xynPEQkGlmRJ0Htg22yJsh02QBtbqf51KqlGMKsk0L4uA__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA ALCOHOL USE IN FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Ashlee Curtis et al. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/am-pdf/10.1111/dar.12925 The Role of Illicit