Is I-502 another avenue to socialism?
With all of the concerns that the public has with I-502. One should be wondering is I-502 another avenue to socialism? Whether you are a cannabis consumer that feels threatened by the new DUID laws, or a medical patient who relies on a vehicle to get to and from appointments for their health, or whether you are an anti-prohibition advocate that does not appreciate simply trading one prohibition for another. There is another subject that rarely gets discussed in this issue. That is the retail market structure.
The reason that this retail market part of Initiative does not get discussed very often is that most everyone that has been working on this issue either in Washington or outside of Washington it is obvious to most that this retail market has no chance of existing.
We saw with initiative SB 5073 that the governor was not willing to put government employees in jeopardy of being penalized by the federal government for participating in illegal activities that violates federal commerce laws on federally illegal substances. Governor Gregoire veoted all of the good sections of SB 5073 (just as I had predicted all along), and kept the portions which further restricts the distribution and doctor/patient relationships. Section 402 and Section 301 were two very destructive provisions of SB 5073 that withstood the governors line item veto.
But lets pretend that the state government is going to throw all caution to the wind, and actually issue these permits. Lets pretend that they won’t block the retail market by withholding the permits. Lets pretend that the federal government is not going to interfere with this and won’t sue the state to block the retail market.
So in these provisions of I-502 the road to socialism is planned and being paved. There are provisions for costly licensing, inspections, testing of product, etc. But after that the cost of the taxes placed on cannabis are extreme. 25% x3 for all levels of distribution, totaling 75% excise tax, plus there is a significant retail tax at the end, after all of the other taxes are tallied up.
“It would cost $250 to apply for a license. It would also cost $1,000 every year to get and keep a license. A separate license would be required for each location. Locations could not be within 1,000 feet of any school, playground, recreation centers, child care center, park, transit center, library, or game arcade. Producers and processors could not have any financial interest in any licensed marijuana retailer.
It would still be a state law crime for a person under age 21 to grow, sell, or possess marijuana. It also would remain illegal under state law for anybody, including people who have licenses under this measure, to sell marijuana or products containing marijuana to people under 21 years old.”
“This measure would require licensed producers and processors to submit marijuana samples to an independent lab for regular testing. The state would receive test results. Marijuana that does not satisfy state standards would be destroyed.
Sales of marijuana would be taxed. Marijuana excise taxes, in the amount of 25% of the selling price, would be collected on all sales of marijuana, at each level of production and distribution. Sale by a marijuana producer to a marijuana processor would be subject to a 25% tax. A sale by the processor to a retailer would be subject to an additional 25% tax. Sales of marijuana by a retailer would be subject to an additional 25% tax. State and local sales taxes would also apply to retail sales of marijuana.
The measure directs the state to spend designated amounts from the marijuana excise taxes, license fees, penalties, and forfeitures for certain purposes. Those purposes include spending fixed dollar amounts on: administration of this measure; a survey of youth regarding substance use and other information; a cost-benefit evaluation of the implementation of this measure; and web-based public education materials about health and safety risks posed by marijuana use. Remaining money would be distributed as follows: 50% for the state basic health plan; 15% for programs and practices aimed at prevention or reduction of substance abuse; 10% for marijuana education; 5% for other health services; 1% for research on short-term and long-terms effects of marijuana use; and .75% for a program that seeks to prevent school dropouts. The remaining 18.25% would be distributed to the state general fund.”
This is essentially what socialism is. The problem with socialism vs. the free market is that the government artificially sets the prices of almost everything in the market, and regulates who can and can not be in business. This inflates the costs of doing business, and lowers the incentive. Then the money that is collected gets redistributed out to functions that the government bureaucracies deem worthy, based on whatever bias is at the helm.
How this works against the consumer is that the quality of the product typically is lower, since the incentive to produce quality products is less as the overall reward is less. It significantly increases the price of the product. It also works against the freedom of the free market for the consumers to decide where the benefits of the industry goes to. When the government is responsible for redistributing the money, the consumer input is rarely considered. If someone in a free market is able to collect the full potential of their product or service in the industry in question, that business owner or individual then takes their proceeds to the market and buys whatever they want. That is a way of voting in a democratic way as to which products and services are valuable to the community (rather than what products and services are valuable to the typically inefficient government).
The free market works for freedom. The socialistic market works for government and tyranny.
When the government controls a market like cannabis, that is already deeply ingrained in the black market, what happens is the market stays where it is and does not move towards government regulation. When the taxes are so high on the product that it increases its cost more than twice as much there is little incentive for the consumer to go to the government regulated market. When it is cheaper and more community friendly to keep their business in the black market.
If these government officials and lawyers want to do something positive to end the atmosphere in the black market, they need to make the legal/regulated market more inviting by keeping costs low for the business owners as well as the consumers.
This is the same principle that we have saw with taxes in this country. There was a time in our country that there was no income tax. Before 1913 a mans/womans labor was their own, the government did not own their labor and couldn’t not tax it. But after 1913 we got both the Federal Reserve and with it income taxes as well as all kinds of other new bureaucracies. By 1944 taxes got up to 94%! Which left very little incentive for American businesses to stay in the USA. So this is when we saw businesses hiring lobbyists to open up markets of trade where taxes were much less, and American jobs started heading over seas. We have saw no decline in this until taxes started going down, and still USA businesses are taxed at the top bracket of the world market even though we are being taxed at about 1/3 of the rate as we were taxed in 1944.
Socialism destroys the market place. This will be no different IF I-502 some how gets legal dispensaries through the state government and if the government actually issues permits.
References for Is I-502 another avenue to socialism?:
by Reverend Ryan