Here’s a popular tax increase Illinois would do well to emulate


Now that Illinois is finally joining the parade of states with enlightened policies regarding same-sex marriage (see HERE), it would behoove politicians and voters in the Prairie State to also emulate other sensible approaches on certain social matters.

Consider, for example, a situation in which a sizable tax increase is actually popular among ordinary folks.

History shows that in most locales, tax referendums (or is it “referenda”?) are not easy to sell to voters. Even the most justifiable tax hikes usually face iffy prospects when the issue is left up to the electorate.

Hence, it’s big news when a tax increase is approved by voters by a whopping 2-to-1 margin. That’s exactly what happened yesterday in Colorado, as voters gave a thumbs up to a 25-percent tax on marijuana.

In a referendum last fall, Coloradans approved legalization of marijuana for recreational use. HERE‘s the upshot on yesterday’s follow-up referendum:

Colorado voters approved a 25 percent tax on newly legalized marijuana on Tuesday, paving the way for retail sales to begin next year.

The ballot measure broke the tax down into a 15 percent excise tax that will go toward school construction and a separate 10 percent sales tax to fund enforcement of marijuana policy. In total, new tax revenue is expected to add about $50 to the price of an ounce of medium-quality marijuana.

“Colorado is demonstrating to the rest of the nation that it is possible to end marijuana prohibition and successfully regulate marijuana like alcohol,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the legalization-advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement after the vote.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, voters approved the tax 65 percent to 35 percent.

Colorado and Washington state became the first states to allow the sale of marijuana for recreation purposes in ballot referendums last year.   Washington regulators have already imposed a 25% tax on each of the three separate parts of pot production.

If Illinois were to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, it could make considerable strides against several of the biggest problems it faces.

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use would bring an end to the multifaceted disaster wrought by prohibition of the weed. The ill-fated war on marijuana has strained and corrupted the criminal justice system in Illinois and has cost the state countless billions of dollars. It’s time for the Land of Lincoln to put an end to this madness.

Just legalize the stuff and tax the hell out of it.

American public opinion on social issues like gay marriage and marijuana has become increasingly liberal in recent years. Accordingly, it’s inevitable that Illinois will change its laws on these matters. The change has now arrived on the issue of marriage. Sooner or later, the same thing will happen with respect to marijuana.

It might as well be sooner.





  1. “Just legalize the stuff and tax the hell out of it.”

    If you tax the hell out of it people will continue to use the black market. We need to keep the tax fair. No need to get greedy.

  2. P. J. Sullivan

    I don’t believe it, Joe. Gas and cigarettes are very heavily taxed and I don’t see much in the way of black markets for either one.

  3. Pj can you grow gas in your backyard? How well does Tobacco grow in the northern climate? Marijuana is called weed for a reason.


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