I agree that it wouldn't be as simple as doing a global search-and-replace to swap out the word alcohol for cannabis. But it would give a decent starting point if the government has any hope of meeting the referendum deadline. Developing new institutions wholecloth would be a big job. Adapting current rules for spirits is a lot easier. Notable and good (to my view) features of the rules around spirits:
- home distillation is legal, as is informal social supply. Excise only applies if you go commercial - along with the other rules for being a commercial operator. Applied to cannabis, this would allow all kinds of opportunity for growing at home, for running a licensed retail operation, and for entrepreneurial discovery. If you find that your friends rave about your home-grown product, maybe it's time to expand to take it commercial. That's how a lot of our craft brewing industry got going - folks who figured out that they were good at brewing because home brewing is legal.
- A lot of opposition to legal regulated markets will come from worries about kids having access. We already have rules preventing supply to minors, rules requiring licensees at bottle shops to be responsible, spot checks making sure licensees are behaving responsibly on pain of fine and of losing their licence. We already have rules around advertising and marketing aimed at children. Porting those over could help assuage those fears.
- Some communities might want to ban use in public; that kind of thing can be set in Local Alcohol Policy around alcohol ban areas. Could do the same for cannabis.
None of this is to say that the rules for alcohol are perfect for alcohol, or that they'd need no adjustment in application to cannabis. But it gives us a starting point.
I also think a pile of opposition to regulated markets comes from lack of imagination around how the rules could deal with particular problems. For folks unfamiliar with an area, it's real easy to hit the first perceived problem and imagine that it's insurmountable, and so reject the whole thing.
But if they have a familiar framework to start from, they can instead think through how that framework handles whatever the problem is.
Like "Oh, how will we know there isn't meth in the weed? Solve that! Ha!" Well, how do we know there isn't antifreeze or drugs in the wine? Do we currently have to worry about that? No. And we wouldn't have to worry about it for cannabis markets either.
Or, "How would you license retailers?" The same way we license bottle shops is a rather good start.
Agree. NZ has something pretty close to a sweet spot in combination of public and private provision.
I was only congratulating their having fooled me, as I like to imagine that my radar isn't that terrible for this stuff.
Patton could say "Rommel, you magnificent bastard!", couldn't he?
Hate on Houston all you want, Deep Red, but note that it successfully delivers very affordable housing while making sure the infrastructure costs are borne by the people who live out in the sprawling suburbs. I put more emphasis on also easing up on the height limits and making it easier to increase density than Hugh does, but I don't think he's opposed to also allowing greater densification.
Note too that the true friend of the property speculator ISN'T Hugh Paveltich. Property speculators make bundles by knowing which areas will be scheduled for intensification and buying them up then dribbling them out. Paveltich tends to say, on the edges of town, let anybody develop suburbs anywhere so long as they're willing to front the infrastructure costs via MUDs. It is hard to think of anything that would more quickly destroy the regulatory rents earned by the speculators than a blanket policy allowing development.
Think real hard about mood affiliation, Deep Red. The policies you favour may well be lining the speculators' pockets.
Thanks, David. We both missed the Christchurch launch: I'd already moved to Wellington. It was in late August.
Thanks! The word I stole from Scott Adams, who used it to explain cell phone pricing plans that make it deliberately difficult to compare things against competitors.
A few points worth noting:
- 2003-2012, average after-tax income is up 50% plus or minus a bit across all income cohorts. "Oh, the system's only helping the rich?" Decile 2 had higher percentage growth in after-tax income than Decile 10.
- A default start point in 2008 makes after-tax income gains for Decile 10 look disproportionately large; the top end had far less growth 2006-2008 than did the middle. Basic story is that the rich guys tanked more in the recession than did others, and consequently had a bigger upswing in the post-crash. If you want to net the tax-change effects from the recession effects, you're better looking at a 2006 or earlier start date.
- Note too that some of the income gains in the higher deciles will be due to the reduction in the top marginal rate: labour supply does respond a bit here, and some income that previously was hidden in companies isn't worth hiding at a 33% rate. I doubt this means that we'd have huge income gains were top tax rates to be lowered further, but there'd be some.
- The share of tax paid by top earners' going up would be irrelevant, but for the very relevant fact that Labour opposed the tax shift on grounds that the rich would wind up paying less in tax. The drop in top decile income tax, in percentage terms, is much smaller than the drop in other deciles' income taxes, though a full analysis here would definitely require adding in the GST effects.
Nicely done, Graeme. Thanks.
Both can be going on at the same time, Hebe. In some cases, it's entirely the underlying stuff that's driving demand for intoxication; in others, drinking problems cause the other problems. Where alcohol or other intoxicants are used as self-medication for other pre-existing problems, sometimes it makes things better and sometimes it makes things worse. What is clear though is that counting all of the resulting problems as though they're solely due to alcohol rather overstates alcohol's relative contribution.