2-16-16 – Montpelier is Breaking Bad

by Rob Roper

Maybe someone out there isn’t familiar with the show Breaking Bad. It’s about a mild mannered high school chemistry teacher who, hit with insurmountable medical bills, becomes a drug manufacturer/dealer. It doesn’t end well.

But, as Montpelier contemplates getting into the pot business, looking over its shoulder at a structural Medicaid deficit, it’s hard not to see the similarities. Now, there may be some or even many legitimate reasons for looking at legalization of marijuana, but “cuz the state needs money” is not one of them. Yet, this seems to be the leading if not the only reason legalization is moving forward.

First, they’re talking about a 25% tax on sales! This is confiscatory. If pot is such a sin that it needs to be taxed at this rate, it calls into question whether or not it should be legalized in the first place.

Second, they’re NOT talking about letting citizens grow their own plants at home. In fact, according to a story on VPR, allowing homegrown would be a deal breaker. Why? Well, maybe because people growing the stuff at home for their own personal use would not pay the 25% tax.

And, third, the legislation would seriously restrict who would receive a license to grow and sell the legalized marijuana. This is a recipe for cronyism – a few politically connected people getting rich off of a quasi-partnership with the state.

In short, this is not some sort of enlightened approach to expanding liberty and trusting adults to make the right decisions for themselves. This is the state is setting itself up a drug dealer with an interest in maximizing its profits, whacking its competition, and keeping their customers on the hook. This is not healthy policy, Governor Heisenberg.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert February 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm

How does law enforcement tell legal pot and home grown pot?

I suspect that some of the agrarian types in the legislature will be seeking a license and probably their friends as well.


Ann February 20, 2016 at 1:23 am

Marijuana is not healthy for Our Kids. The adults in Montpelier should know that and act responsibly to not allow it to be legalized.


jim bulmer February 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

You mean to tell me that the siren call of a 25% tax is so compelling that the legislature hopes to legalize pot????? These people are so obsessed with taxing anything that moves they are stupider than anyone can imagine. This just one more of a ton of reasons to turn these idiots out come November.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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