Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The High-Tax Trojan Horse

Tomorrow, the Liberal Party will kickoff its biennial convention. Party leader Justin Trudeau insists that the party convention will flush out his party's first substantial policy proposals leading into the 2015 federal election. So far, he's only offered up one: the legalization of pot.

This was, and always has been, a blatant appeal to potheads -- the kind of sad individual who populates the typical 4/20 festival -- for votes. As I've noted before, any marijuana user who votes for the Liberals on the back of a legalized pot promise is setting themselves up for a serious disappointment. Perhaps even a disappointingly-life-changing disappointment.

But recent news out of Colorado -- one of the states to legalize marijuana -- shows just how bad it can be. Users in Colorado were already beginning to get a sense of just how badly this was going to go for them:
But as it turns out, it's even worse than they ever imagined. The tax take in Colorado has exceeded lawmakers' wildest expectations. By a whopping 21%.

To some people, this would seem like a good thing. For example, if you favour big government, and love to see the government raking in lucrative tax revenue in order to pay for it, you might love this. Perhaps not so much if you're a pot user paying for it all. And if you're a pot user in Canada thinking that you won't pay through the nose under Trudeau's promised marijuana legalization, you just haven't been paying attention. At least not to this issue. Maybe there's been a magic eye poster monopolizing your attention.

OK, I'm done being facetious. But here's the point: a Liberal government legalizing marijuana won't hesitate to tax the living bejeezus out of you. It's just what they do. And they'll find all sorts of pet projects to fund with it that won't benefit you in any way, shape, or form. Although I'd bet that the $10 in tax on the above pot buy, left in your pocket, probably would. Especially cumulatively across numerous buys.

That doesn't necessarily mean the status quo, either. Decriminalization offers pretty much all the freedom of legalization, without the government's hand digging to the bottom of your pocket.

Think about it carefully, before you wake up to find a Trojan horse in your living room.

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