Taxes, alcohol and drugs

A California Assemblyman is looking to a marijuana tax help address their budget woes. It’s a common argument and I think it’s a bad one. I’ve repeatedly made it clear that I’m not a marijuana alarmist, but commercialization and taxation of tobacco and alcohol have been wrought with serious problems. Their lobbies are extremely powerful and the alcohol lobby has been very successful at keeping taxes low. With all of California’s budget problems, there is no alcohol tax increase in their budget accord. In Michigan, the worst economy in the country, the beer tax has not increased since 1966. Worse, they rely on problem drinkers and underage drinkers for a substantial portion of their profits.

If we eventually legalize and tax it, let’s hope that they go for the moon and tax it high. There’s lots of evidence that high taxes reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol related problems.

I’ve said it before, but I think Mark Kleiman has the best solution.