Colorado’s tax revenue from pot sales is lower than expected, causing its Governor to suggest that other states ought to re-think legalization for tax purposes. Meanwhile, some Colorado voters are having second thoughts about legalization.
Those celebrating the legalization of pot in Colorado might be disturbed to hear that non-criminal penalties for using pot might increase even as legal barriers fold. Over at The Daily Beast, Andrew Cohen decries one case in which a quadriplegic living in Colorado lost his job for smoking pot, even though he had registered with the state as a medical marijuana user. In general, companies and other institutions are going to want to step in where the government has stepped out, reserving the right to penalize Americans whose use of pot reduces their productivity or their reliability.
Attempts to legalize pot are fraught with tremendous complexities. The black market probably isn’t going away even with legalization, which means even the visible costs of punishing dealers probably aren’t going to go away either. There’s no better guide to the issues here than Mark Kleiman, perhaps our country’s foremost expert on drug policy and the person Washington state brought in to help set up their new market.