In a wide-ranging letter to members of Congress, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser warned there could be “potential resulting disruption” to the existing state-legal marijuana markets if federal legalization isn’t structured carefully.
In particular, Weiser singled out the suggested 25% national marijuana tax rate included in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s recently introduced bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
Weiser warned that such a high tax rate could cost states valuable tax revenue of their own and force them to chop budgets on social equity programs or for other programs that rely on marijuana taxes.
Weiser also cautioned Congress that a new national marijuana market should be “rolled out in stages” in order to protect small businesses, particularly from being overrun by Big Tobacco.
“If a national market is not rolled-out carefully and in stages, large companies, particularly existing tobacco-focused companies, will be able to move into new markets immediately, displacing and pushing out smaller players,” Weiser wrote.
“Many cannabis companies are small and/or minority-owned; without phased implementation, we are concerned these businesses will be pushed out of the market thus diminishing the social equity principles behind any federal market rollout.”