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Congress Looking to Create New Regulations, Taxes for Marijuana

Congress Looking to Create New Regulations, Taxes for Marijuana

Meanwhile, in a victory for 2nd Amendment, a judge has ruled that banning guns for marijuana users unconstitutional.

Recently, the Mississippi Poison Control Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center reported a concerning increase in calls regarding children rushed to emergency rooms after eating marijuana-laced candies and chocolates at home.

In 2019, the poison center received just two calls. That number rose to 36 last year, and 14 of those are under the age of 12. Mississippi reflects a national trend. From 2017 to 2021, a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed a 1,375 % increase in such exposures.

Statewide, in the last 10 days, officials said they have received four calls related to children under the age of 6.

Officials are concerned that number will be on the rise now that medical marijuana has become legal in Mississippi.

Legal Insurrection has followed the “progress” related to legalized marijuana and the increasing number of overdose cases (especially associated with synthetic varieties).

At the present time, 27 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. This generally means certain small, personal-consumption amounts are a civil or local infraction, not a state crime (or are the lowest misdemeanor with no possibility of jail time). So, more data on the adverse health effects of long-term use are becoming available.

Based on the new information, Congress is considering new regulations.

Only recently has a steady flow of data emerged on health impacts, including emphysema in smokers and learning delays in adolescents. Lawmakers’ reaction to the bad news raises the prospect that the loosely regulated marijuana marketplace, worth $13.2 billion last year and growing 15 percent annually, could come under pressure.

Even some of those most supportive of legalization, such as the co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), are calling for more regulation and better oversight.

“One of the reasons I have fought so hard to be able to legalize, regulate and tax is because I want to keep this out of the hands of young people. It has proven negative consequences for the developing mind,” said Blumenauer, Capitol Hill’s unofficial cannabis czar.

The move should really not come as a surprise: If there is a way to implement a tax, the US Congress will find it. It must be packaged as a noble endeavor to “save the children.”

In better news for some marijuana users, a federal judge in Oklahoma has ruled that a federal law prohibiting people who use marijuana from owning firearms is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Jared Michael Harrison had argued that their client’s Second Amendment right to bear arms was being violated by a federal law that makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to possess firearms.

Harrison had been charged after being arrested by police in Lawton, Oklahoma, in May 2022 following a traffic stop. During a search of his car, police found a loaded revolver as well as marijuana. Harrison told police he had been on his way to work at a medical marijuana dispensary, but that he did not have a state-issued medical-marijuana card.

…U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City agreed with Harrison´s lawyers, ruling on Friday that federal prosecutors´ arguments that Harrison´s status as a marijuana user “justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm … is not a constitutionally permissible means of disarming Harrison.”


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The Gentle Grizzly | February 8, 2023 at 9:40 am

“Hey, kids! Let’s REGULATE something!”

Where’d y’ put those brownies, Alice?

The Packetman | February 8, 2023 at 9:56 am

Take cannabis off schedule 1 then leave it to the states.

Oh, who am I kidding …

    CommoChief in reply to The Packetman. | February 8, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Mostly agree with a couple of caveats for interstate trafficking and international trafficking. Basically treat it like alcohol/tobacco for the most part. Of course most proponents of legalization don’t want that b/c there are restrictions.

      Yeah, as if those restrictions on alcohol and tobacco are working. Even back in the Stone Age when I was a teen, you could get either with a little effort.

        CommoChief in reply to txvet2. | February 8, 2023 at 11:40 am

        I was referring to tax stamps/bootlegging and marketing. As a person who was two years younger than the grandfathered cohort to purchase alcohol at 21 it was a big change in availability. Losing a beer/liquor license for underage sales is a hefty deterrent. Bama still had some dry counties back then, mid to late 80’s and most grocery stores didn’t/couldn’t sell beef, wine, spirits; had to go to the State store or one of the highly regulated package stores. That experience no doubt impacts my perspective.

        Don’t forget People can still be cited and even arrested for possession of untaxed tobacco or alcohol in most States, IMO that should be the case for marijuana. Lots of folks buy significant amounts in FL and bring back home passing through Bama and get hemmed up for having too much not taxed by Bama.

        The framework for legalization already exists treat it like tobacco and alcohol with the same excise tax levels, restrictions and efforts to mitigate underage use. Alternatively get rid of all the excise taxes and restrictions on tobacco and alcohol. Make it equal and I have no problem with that but carving out special treatment for marijuana is not gonna fly.

        MARK in reply to txvet2. | February 9, 2023 at 9:04 am

        With a little effort OR with little effort. The best sources are school age kids.

      I’m not a fan of how they treat those, either, constitutionally speaking.

        CommoChief in reply to GWB. | February 8, 2023 at 3:57 pm

        So put marijuana, tobacco and alcohol on the same footing with no laws? Cool. Though lots of folks will have the ass about it and I am not entirely comfortable with easy access for kids.

      RandomCrank in reply to CommoChief. | February 9, 2023 at 3:18 pm

      Alcohol and tobacco are MUCH easier to regulate because it’s a real pain in the ass to make your own. Marijuana is very easy to grow, and to store. Once the army of American backyard gardeners really gets into the act, the entire regulatory and tax edifice will collapse. Won’t happen overnight, but it absolutely will happen.

      Once you legalize personal consumption, it’s inevitable that people will take a look and decide to grow a marijuana plant or two next to the tomatoes. Why pay $175 an ounce when you can grow your own for a penny on those dollars?

    Biden can issue an e.o. and kill 11k jobs, disrupt the world oil market and cause a recession but something as sensible as rescheduling weed?

They will tax it to death as they are in California and Colorado, therefore illegal sales are higher than legal

    WestRock in reply to gonzotx. | February 8, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Yep, additional regulation and taxes will drive users (back) to black market sources. That is not what we need, especially with fentanyl. It’s not unusual for sketchy weed to be “treated” with chemicals and this is a recipe for disaster. Nevada has less interference in their recreational market and they offer a great array of products at recents prices (or so I’ve been told), unlike California that ruins everything it touches.

      RandomCrank in reply to WestRock. | February 10, 2023 at 1:05 pm

      I have always scratched my head about the “sketchy chemicals.” All I can think is that this might refer to pesticides used for growing indoors and in forests. The solution for all of that is to grow it outside in direct sunlight.

    JimWoo in reply to gonzotx. | February 8, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    Its very easy to grow too. One good plant can yield $1k worth of known quality weed.

      bullhubbard in reply to JimWoo. | February 9, 2023 at 10:02 am

      Which is precisely why legal home-growing would go a long way to solving tax problems. I grew my own pot for years, on a patio, and 4-6 nice plants would last me a year just about–including homemade “edibles” with the shake. The only problem was the occasional predatory “neighbor” who would rip me off. When growing one’s own is illegal, some people use ethical gymnastics to convince themselves that stealing plants is fair play.

Governments sell the legalization idea to reluctant voters as a cash cow that will help lower their tax burden. Another argument is that decriminalization will remove that income stream to the criminals.

Then they raise the taxes and regulation requirements so high that the illegal sellers that don’t pay that tax, still exist.

    henrybowman in reply to NGAREADER. | February 8, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    True. People still bootleg cigarettes!

      Well, it’s no wonder.

      Cigarette companies buy tobacco from farmers for $1.60 per pound. A pound of tobacco will normally produce about 2 cartons of cigarettes (400 cigarettes).

      The median price for a pack of cigarettes is $7.93. With 20 cigarettes per pack, the average cigarette costs between $0.31 and $0.60.

      There’s a nice profit in there somewhere.

        txvet2 in reply to Paula. | February 8, 2023 at 4:33 pm

        “”There’s a nice profit in there somewhere.””

        And, like liquor and gasoline, that profit goes mostly to the government.

Legal will never beat illegal weed.

Ever. Weed legalizers never think their shit through. Perhaps it is a wide effect from the years of smoking too much of it.

    bullhubbard in reply to chrisboltssr. | February 9, 2023 at 9:54 am

    The article says Med Men was over-valued as an investment and its debt is similar to many pot retailers in CA who can get their stock on credit then turn deadbeat, don’t pay their growers what they owe.

    It’s stoner financial management.

    The excessive tax on “legal” pot is the root cause of all the problems cropping up.

    Any state that allows retail sale but prohibits people from growing their own makes the problem worse.

    RandomCrank in reply to chrisboltssr. | February 10, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    If they actually want to legalize MJ, here’s a radical idea: Legalize it. Just like tomatoes. Watch the price drop to $10/oz in stores. Maybe less. I can’t think of very many agricultural commodities that are as cheap and easy as marijuana. The current “legalization” schemes are a joke on every gullible stoner.

Based on the new information, Congress is considering new regulations.
Based on the Constitution, what’s their basis for those regulations?

I don’t like weed and am troubled by its prolific consumption.
And I still don’t want Congress in the middle of it. It’s just not their job unless it crosses state lines or the national border.

    Suburban Farm Guy in reply to GWB. | February 9, 2023 at 9:52 am

    Meanwhile, the stuff they actually are supposed to be doing, little as it is, will never make the agenda

Hey, here’s a good idea:

Let’s tax marijauna: We can take in a million dollars & use it to support illegals

But let’s not tax illegals: We’ll lose billions of dollars but we’ll support them anyway

The banks will definitely get behind this as there are billions of dollars sitting in safes,

We know that legalization, done properly, CAN work – illegal alcohol sales still exist but are statistically almost non-existent. However the California and New York efforts seem to have failed because they offer no incentive to the consumer to choose them over illegally sourced pot. I am not quite sure what such incentives should look like – for alcohol they are guaranteed purity of product, graded levels of potency, and variety (Scotch, French wine, Polish vodka etc.)

I am pretty sure however, that legal marijuana should be sold for the first 10 or 15 years free of any taxation. The reason I propose this is to destroy the price advantage illegal pot currently has. Once the illegal competition has been wiped out, then taxing can begin.

I am sure that this will never happen – both governments and people want a ‘sin tax’ and a substantial one on marijuana because, well, it’s bad. However the premise behind legalization is that it isn’t bad, correct?

If someone could find a way to raise the costs of illegal pot then the price of a legal product could be raised proportionally, but hell, we can’t even keep illegal 70 kilo humans out of the country let alone 2 kilo bricks of pot.

    JimWoo in reply to Hodge. | February 8, 2023 at 10:13 pm

    That’s a pretty good idea. Taxes here in IL are about %20. But the dispensaries are doing well.
    One change that would allow legal to compete is to let legal stores to use the banking system. Dealing in all cash is dangerous and expensive because security required.

    bullhubbard in reply to Hodge. | February 9, 2023 at 9:44 am

    To stop illegal competition the predatory taxation of cannabis needs to be severely lowered or eliminated, and your proposal for a tax moratorium is a good idea. That would establish the fact that illegal sellers and growers can undercut costs of legally grown and sold cannabis because of this excessive taxation. Honestly, I see nothing wrong with freelancing to avoid over-regulation, as long as the traffickers act ethically and growers don’t deliberately pollute their environment.

    Like most if not all articles on this subject, the writer fails to mention the need to remove cannabis from federal drug scheduling. In fact, scrapping the schedule altogether would be a step in the right direction.

    The fallacy that argues cannabis needs more regulation because children may eat their household’s stash of edibles is more of the same nonsense we see any time legislation arises to regulate so-called “vice.” It is paternalistic moral grandstanding. Parents are responsible for their children’s welfare and keeping them out of the grown ups’ stash–just as previous generations of parents had to keep their brats out of the liquor cabinet–and if a child is psychologically traumatized by a pot OD (they aren’t fatal, as a rule) the fault is with the guardian, not with the herb. The appeal to pity never recognizes that the rulers of children are responsible for their welfare, and curbing the liberties of adults in the name of child “safety” rather misses the point.

    RandomCrank in reply to Hodge. | February 9, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Illegal alcohol sales are virtually non-existent because good booze is hard to make. Even beer is a pain in the ass. Good marijuana is easy to grow. I know about beer because I’ve brewed my own. I know about marijuana because I grow my own. Much easier to sustain alcohol taxes over time because I’m not going to distill my own rye or bourbon.

    It’s not the MJ taxes that create the black market opportunity. Sheesh, for a conservative website, the commenters here don’t seem to have slogged through Econ 101, especially the part about monopoly pricing, which applies to most oligopoloies too. It’s simple: Reduce quantity to support economic profit, the latter being a term of art meaning profit in excess of financial costs and business risk.

    Marijuana is not legal anywhere in this country. If it were, I’d buy clones at the nursery when I get my tomato plants. Instead, the schemes require growers to obtain licenses, which are in short supply. The idea is to reduce the supply to support the price. Yes, the state does that to protect its tax take, no question about it.

    Still, it’s not the taxes themselves that matter very much but the impact of reduced supply on the underlying price. Example: If the growing cost in a truly legal market is 10 cents a gram (Rand Corp study, confirmed by personal observation), and distribution triples that, an ounce would go for $10 and taxes might add $2 to $5. Look around, and actual prices are far, FAR higher because of licensing whose ENTIRE purpose is to raise prices and support taxes.

    This will all come tumbling down. See my other post in this thread for the mechanics rather than my repeating it here.

    By the way, I wish the stoners would quit it with the Cheech & Chong. It’s not an “herb.” It’s a weed.

      bullhubbard in reply to RandomCrank. | February 10, 2023 at 10:28 am

      “By the way, I wish the stoners would quit it with the Cheech & Chong. It’s not an “herb.” It’s a weed.”

      It’s both, but “weed” has a negative connotation, and if it is deliberately cultivated it’s not a “weed” at all.

      And thanks for the condescending comment on “economics.”

      The point is taxation and regulation grossly over-inflate the price of pot. Over-regulation is in effect a tax.

        RandomCrank in reply to bullhubbard. | February 10, 2023 at 1:13 pm

        My economics talk is no more condescending than, say, a meteorologist explaining that the sun doesn’t rise in the northwest and set in the east. What I explained was quite basic. For you to call it “condescending” only illustrates my point that stoners flunked Econ 101, or didn’t sign up for the class because they heard it was dull and the work was hard.

Weed is not really that big of a deal for adults. The biggest problem right now is all of the hood rats that smoke it in their vans with their kids in car seats in the back (no kidding, you can smell it when you walk by the car). It is frying the child’s brain while it is still trying to finish wiring itself. And, of course, society will be left to pick up the bill for these half-wits.

How is federal law banning marijuana users from owning firearms unconstitutional? Is being compos mentis optional for 2nd Amendment rights? True there is nothing in the text to state exceptions for infringement, but SCOTUS accepts felons and the mentally ill have forfeited their right, though I’m not clear on the Constitutional basis of this. How is drug use different? Or is the problem that it needs to be states that prohibit firearm ownership by drug users, not the federal government?

This makes me chuckle and remind myself to ask the clone store if they can get me two male indica plants this year. Now hear me out; there’s a good reason to want to grow less potent plants this year.

It’s for the seeds. In Oregon, you can buy clones in the “legal” retail shops. $25 each, which is way too much. Still, a single clone will easily yield 3 lbs of bud after drying. (I know this from experience.) My growing cost is $1.70 an ounce. If I grew from seed, it’d be more like 50 cents, or less. I expect the feds and/or Oregon to outlaw clone sales. WA State did that quite a while back. I want to grow two male this year in anticipation of what I expect to happen. This will give me a seed bank. Why two plants? Easy: In case one of them dies.

The economics of marijuana, and the botany, ensure that, over time, prices and tax revenues will crash. If I were commercial rather growing strictly for personal use (as a sleeping pill — I don’t like the psychoactive effect), and therefore had to pay harvest labor rather than do it myself, my cost would be $2.50-$3 an ounce.

Interestingly enough, that’s the cost that the Rand Corp calculated about 15 years ago if MJ were grown legally like any other crop. The cost (10 cents/gram) would decline as farmers adapted machinery to reduce the harvest labor component.

What Blumenauer, et. al, really want to do is cut off the backyard home grower. You see, there are about 100 million gardeners in this country. They tend to own their homes, and therefore be older and more affluent. There is considerable inertia and stigma surrounding growing of MJ by gardeners, but that is receding as we speak — new generation of homeowners.

“Tax and regulate” is no match for the army of American gardeners. Some politicians know it, and will try — and fail — to stop it.

    bullhubbard in reply to RandomCrank. | February 10, 2023 at 10:38 am

    I buy seed from Holland seed banks. They come in the mail. I’ve had especially good luck with White Widow.

    I’d never grow pot indoors, as a mater of esthetics.

    You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about legal pot and its markets, so I ask you:

    Why are there so few producers of hashish? It seems to me the hash market has been overtaken by those nasty extractions that use butane and other solvents to produce the cannabis equivalent of crack (“dabs,” “wax” and so on . . . all the babel of terms arising from stoners marketing their products). WA is the only state I know of that has a farm producing hashish in the traditional way–sift, steam, and press.

      RandomCrank in reply to bullhubbard. | February 10, 2023 at 12:48 pm

      I don’t know why there isn’t hashish around. I looked into making it. Somewhere around the house, I have a kit. Thing is, I don’t like getting stoned. MJ is my sleeping pill, in the form of a cookie made with spiked butter. So even when I find the kit, I strongly doubt that I will ever use it. I just want my 8 hours overnight.

      If I bought the marijuana in a “legal” store, each cookie would go for $2-$4 (using “legal” MJ prices of $100-$200/oz.) My cookies cost me 8 cents. The day will come when the invisible army of American gardeners will render these tax and regulatory schemes irrelevant.

      Won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen.

      RandomCrank in reply to bullhubbard. | February 10, 2023 at 12:59 pm

      I have grown it indoors. What a hassle. It stinks; the equipment is expensive; pests (esp spider mites) are a far, far bigger problem; yields are much lower than growing in the summer sun.

      I have two big gardens. I grow tomatoes, apples, pears, several kinds of berries, grapes, salad greens, beets, pole beans, spices, potatoes, asparagus, and carrots. And MJ. I laugh at any stoner who tries to portray growing it outside as anything more than unskilled labor. Same for those descriptions of the various strains, which are imitations of wine talk.

      MJ is fine, but stoners are more often than not their own worst enemy. Or at least comic relief.

BierceAmbrose | February 9, 2023 at 3:47 pm

Taking NY State as a model, I see. (We screwed up legalizing MJ before Cali — wooooooo! Innovation!)

barbiegirl ny | February 9, 2023 at 4:09 pm

Surely you didn’t think they legalized pot for any other reason, right? Think of the revenue the whor…, I mean, politicians lost having waited all this time to legalize/regulate it.