Credit: 401(k) 2012 at Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that recommended low federal cannabis taxes to avoid unfair pressure on the industry.

According to the report, cannabis advocates who claim that legalizing the drug would provide a new tax revenue source for the government may not be considering the potential economic impact of overburdensome taxes on financially strapped cannabis users and companies. The report says that high-priced cannabis products have the potential to send consumers to  illicit markets, “in turn jeopardizing recreational marijuana’s economic potential.” The CRS says these pressures could cause uncertainty for cannabis businesses and negatively imact their ability to provide employment.

The report also predicts that higher tax rates will deter new customers from ever trying weed, “which may be a policy goal for some lawmakers.”

The CRS recommends that legislators direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis to investigate the potential economic impact of federal cannabis taxes before pursuing any legislative action.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is currently considering a recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services to reschedule cannabis as a Schedule III drug, which will reclassify it as having some medical use. In a statement, the CRS said it could be “likely” that the DEA will accept the recommendation.

New Mexico lawmakers in 2021 opted for a 20 percent cannabis excise tax that is set to increase in the coming years. Legalization advocates and architects of New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulation Act justified both the current rate and the expected increases as the sweet spot to knee cap the illicit market, but also generate revenue. 

Lubbock Voters to Decide Decriminalization

The Lubbock, Texas City Council unanimously rejected a petition to decriminalize marijuana. Now the issue will go on a ballot, leaving the city’s voters to decide.

Local advocacy group Lubbock Compact collected more than 10,000 petition signatures to put the issue before the city council—more than double the amount of signatures required.

But the council said it couldn’t adopt an ordinance that contradicts state law. Now the proposed rule will be presented on a ballot in May.

A number of other smaller Texas cities have successfully passed voter initiatives to decriminalize weed, but in each case, the cities’ councils have not gone through with putting the voter-approved laws in place.

Lubbock is located about 100 miles from Clovis dispensaries.

Dispensary Offers Free Weed Cards to Vets

Albuquerque’s Enchanted Botanicals dispensary is giving away free medical cannabis cards to qualified military veterans through the end of November.

Veterans with a valid military ID can apply for enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program for free at either of the shop’s two Albuquerque locations (5737 Menaul Blvd. NE and 3417 Central Ave. NE). The application process will then be completed at Albuquerque Integrative Medicine.

That’s quite a deal, considering many companies charge more than $100 for an initial consultation and more than $50 for renewals. The state does not charge for medical cards, however.