The problem with marijuana ballot initiatives (VOX Media)

Updated By GERMAN LOPEZ | Oct. 1, 2014

Voters in three states and Washington, DC, will decide next Tuesday whether to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical purposes.

Beau Kilmer, co-director of RAND Drug Policy Research Center, suggested it could be better to tax marijuana products based on the amount of THC, the main psychoactive compound in pot, they contain. That way, the actual effect is being taxed — both to raise revenue from the most potent products and deter heavy users who might consume stronger forms of marijuana, such as dabs or edibles, to placate their habit. “It’s perhaps the best way to tax for intoxication,” Kilmer argued.

Another model preferred by Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA, would put a production cap on the amount of marijuana that can be grown within a state. The state would then hand out a limited number of licenses, constrained by the government-set limit, to the highest bidders. All the revenue raised from this auction would go to state coffers. Unlike a sales tax, the system would directly limit supply and, as a result, provide the state more control over products and prices.

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