First, a post on American use of and beliefs about marijuana:
There has been a significant increase in the number of Americans using cannabis, rising from 21.9m in 2002 to 31.9m in 2014. The number of regular users doubled over the same period to 8.4m. This coincides with an increasingly liberal approach to cannabis regulation in several US states. The authors of a new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, also found that people perceived cannabis to be less harmful. This perception seems justified as problems related to cannabis use, such as dependency, remained stable during the study period.
These findings are not what you would expect when cannabis use becomes more popular and is thought to be increasingly potent. This study also contradicts another study, using data over the same period, which found that disorders associated with cannabis use have doubled. So which one should we believe?
Second, a post examining the complicated questions around marijuana taxation:
Can I let you in on a little secret? No one knows the best way to tax either medical or recreational cannabis. Every option has trade-offs.
What should the tax be based on? What should the rate be?
Consider a price-based tax such as 25 percent at the retail level. While it would be easy to implement, the effective tax per joint would decrease as the price declines — something expected to happen as competition, innovation and scale-economies push down costs.
Taxing by weight, say $2 per gram, would also be easy to implement, but it means low- and high-potency products face the same tax. This creates incentives for producers to sell more potent cannabis to minimize the tax per hour of intoxication. Some public health researchers worry that more potent cannabis is associated with more health problems, an issue that is the subject of serious debate.