Legal marijuana in Colorado has been a boon for freedom, allowing people to make, transfer, and consume marijuana products free from the threat of arrest by state or local police. At the same time, there is an unfortunate side-effect of the liberalization of marijuana laws in the state — the government scooping up great amounts of money via marijuana “sin taxes.”
The high marijuana taxes punish people who purchase marijuana by depriving them of money to save, to give away, or to spend on other goods or services. The sin taxes also are a means of controlling people’s behavior. Facing high taxes, some people will forgo or reduce their purchases of products containing the plant.
Proponents of the sin taxes claim the taxes are justified because using marijuana is a sin that should be discouraged. But, even if it is granted that there is some truth in that claim, a much greater sin is the use of government force via taxation to control people’s nonviolent activities.
There is plenty of marijuana sin tax to roll back in Colorado. Ethan Wolff-Mann calculates in Money magazine that sales and excise taxes increase the price of marijuana by 27.9% in the state.
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