Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Evidence Proves Tax Argument For Marijuana Is Flawed

7 November 2018

Family First New Zealand says that the cost benefit analysis of drug law reform may sound attractive, but international evidence shows that it is a flawed pipe dream.

“The myth pushed internationally by drug advocates is ‘Let’s tax it and use the money to provide addiction services and build schools and hospitals and houses and (insert a great cause here)…’. But the marijuana industry is quick to overestimate large amounts of revenue from marijuana sales, but it rarely fully recognises the societal costs of legalisation,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Other societal costs not referred to by drug supporters include: greater other drug use, greater marijuana use among underage students, property and other economic damage, controlling an expanded black market, sales to minors, public intoxication, and other burdens. No policy is without its costs. Legalisation also results in administrative and enforcement costs, similar to alcohol regulation.”

Alcohol and tobacco have already warned us that tax revenue from marijuana sales will fall well short of the costs. A report published the Ministry of Health in 2016 estimated that the total cost of smoking to New Zealand’s health and welfare systems was $2.5 billion in 2014. Tobacco excise tax currently raises approximately $1.5 billion gross per year. A 2016 Treasury report stated that excess healthcare costs for smokers over non-smokers in New Zealand are almost $2 billion.

Alcohol-related harm in New Zealand has been recently estimated to cost approx. $5 billion per year. This equates to a cost of $14.5 million every day. Excise tax revenue from alcohol in 2016 was $661 million.

“Trends have already surfaced in Colorado & Washington state, suggesting that costs outweigh revenues. Over half the pot money promised for drug prevention, education & treatment in Washington State never materialised. Bureaucracy consumes a significant portion of Colorado marijuana tax revenue.”

Researchers say that the alleged reduction in law enforcement and justice expenditure have not been realised overseas, with crime increasing and an increase in the costs of added regulation for non-compliance. Furthermore, the budget estimates do not cover the additional health and education on cannabis harms and the fact that the illegal drug trade will inevitably continue to thrive under more regulation and taxation. Drug dealers and other criminals who derive huge profits from the drug trade will not cease criminal activity in the face of legalisation.

In 2010, Gil Kerlikowske, President Obama’s Drug Czar, said: “The tax revenue collected from alcohol pales in comparison to the costs associated with it… Tobacco also does not carry its economic weight when we tax it… It is clear that the social costs of legalising marijuana would outweigh any possible tax that could be levied. In the United States, illegal drugs already cost $180 billion a year in health care, lost productivity, crime, and other expenditures. That number would only increase under legalisation because of increased use.”

“As Helen Clark correctly said earlier this year, ‘The perfect day will be when we don't collect a cent from tobacco tax because nobody is smoking.’That ideal day also applies to marijuana and other drugs. Drug Free 2025 is the goal,” says Mr McCoskrie.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

a well

Wellness: Gordon Campbell On Ardern, Davos, And Wellbeing

The word “well-being” has a nice warm ring to it. So much so that the ‘wellbeing budget’ being touted by PM Jacinda Ardern at the rich folks’ club in Davos, Switzerland sounds more like a marketing slogan than an actual policy initiative.

Still, it is just as easy to forget that GDP – the common measure of how well an economy is performing – is also a marketing device. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Shipping Is NZ’s New Trade Problem

So Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May have signed a piece of paper promising peace in our time when it comes to our trade with Britain... Brexit is not the only concern. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: National Announces Spokesperson For Drug Reform

National Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Paula Bennett to the new position of Spokesperson for Drug Reform as the Government pushes ahead with its agenda of drug decriminalisation, to signal National’s commitment to holding them to account. More>>

ALSO:

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday]. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels